9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009

Tuesday, 30 Dec 2008 | by Mark Tucker

As 2008 closes, we stop to ponder what awaits genealogy in 2009.  In coming up with this list, I have no insider information.  I simply looked at the information publically available and tried to determine what is possible or likely for the upcoming year. 

So here is my list of 9 genealogy predictions for 2009:

  1. Two more desktop genealogy applications will support source citation templates from Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained. Currently Legacy 7 and RootsMagic 4 support this. The other two might likely be Family Tree Maker and The Master Genealogist.
  2. One major online database (Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, FamilySearch, Footnote) will announce upcoming support for Evidence Explained source citations.  Other sites will soon follow with their own announcements.
  3. FamilySearch Research Wiki will grow to over 30,000 content pages (excluding talk and stub pages) by the end of the year. As of 28 December 2008, there were 12,573 content pages.
  4. FamilySearch will announce a replacement for GEDCOM. GEDCOM will still be supported for many years as software will support it as well as the newer format. Reasons for the new format will be to better support source citations and media.
  5. I hope I am wrong about this one, but with the current economic downturn we could see financial pressure force one of the more-recently-started genealogy companies to merge with or be acquired by another company.  Worse case scenario, it could go bankrupt.
  6. Many more genealogy societies will join the social networking site, Facebook, by adding a group page. Searching groups today for “genealogical society | genealogy society” (the pipe symbol “|” means “OR”) returns 80 results. I wouldn’t be surprised if by the end of 2009 the total was over 200.
  7. More genealogy applications will be available for the iPod Touch and the iPhone. Currently the iTunes App Store only lists three applications: MobileFamilyTree, FamViewer, and Shrubs.  This last holiday season, the iPod Touch was a hot item.  I wonder how many genealogists own one now.
  8. Through blogs and podcasts, genealogists will hear more about the benefits of Web 3.0 (also called the Semantic Web) and how it applies to genealogy.
  9. Genealogists are puzzle solvers when it comes to researching their family history, but do they play games?  I expect to see a genealogy-related game released in 2009.  It could be a casual game for Facebook or something more interactive for the Wii.  How about a Mii Familii Trii?  The game might teach research-related concepts (citation, transcription, etc) or (via GEDCOM import) put your ancestors in the game. 

How about you?  What do you think genealogy will be like in 2009?  Don’t be shy about posting a comment.

This time next year we will revisit this list and see how well the predictions compare with reality.


  1. has pulled back the curtain a bit on what new databases will be added during the next year or so:

    Comment by Chad — 31 Dec 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  2. This definitely gives one reason to stop, think and ponder. You presented some ideas I had not really given thought to.


    Comment by Tina Sansone — 3 Jan 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  3. [...] genealogy software applications now support or will soon support EE source templates.  If my 2009 genealogy predictions come true, more and more genealogy applications (desktop and online) will support these [...]

    Pingback by ThinkGenealogy Innovator Award #2 | ThinkGenealogy — 14 Jan 2009 @ 12:12 am

  4. #5. I wonder which of the “more-recently-started genealogy companies” you would be referring to. I have my ideas … :)

    Comment by genthusuiast — 18 Jan 2009 @ 4:03 pm

  5. [...] This iPhone app and others that will likely appear this year addresses prediction #7 in the post, 9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009. [...]

    Pingback by Reunion Released for iPhone | ThinkGenealogy — 19 Feb 2009 @ 6:48 am

  6. I think will move more towards becoming a social genealogy network. They’ve already begun making some changes to their community area. The next big step for them will be allowing people to make other members their “friends” or “cousins” so that we can more easily re-visit trees that are linked to ours. Ancestry will make it easier to learn more about members and search for people who have common research interests or who are located in areas where you need research help. Users will be able to add things on their profile like, “I volunteer with RAOGK” or “I will visit cemeteries in the Houston area”. If does this, it will be an incredibly useful site, more powerful than Geni or other genealogical social networks.

    Comment by Aisha — 5 Apr 2009 @ 7:28 am

  7. [...] December 2008, I wrote a blog post titled 9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009.  It is now time to review that list and see how well the predictions matched [...]

    Pingback by 9 Genealogy Predictions for 2009 Reviewed | ThinkGenealogy — 2 Jan 2010 @ 12:00 am

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