Friday, May 23, 2008

If you offer it, they will come!

Gary Gibb on the blog has a post today titled "Why such little interest in Central and South American records?" He describes the surveys they have taken and the results show that, even though there are many people from these countries in the USA, and in the countries themselves, the interest in genealogy research seems low.

I commented to his post by saying:

An interesting question, but I can think of several responses.

1) How many databases do you have for Central and South America?

2) It’s a pretty big place - with a total population exceeding North America. Only Belize and Guyana speak English as a first language, right? Brazil speaks Portuguese, Surinam Dutch, and the rest speak Spanish. Does Ancestry have a Spanish or Portuguese language capability?

3) The population of much of Latin America is poor, and does not have universal Internet access. If poor, buying basic necessities would trump paying
for an Ancestry subscription - but a subscription to what?

4) If you offer services in their language that meet their needs, they will come. The horse has to come before the cart.

I really believe that any subscription web site has to offer significant and indispensable content to any new market, in the market's dominant language, before there will be an influx of paying customers. That just makes sense, doesn't it?

I believe that the vast majority of immigrants from Central and South America in the USA are working hard, trying to assimilate into the culture, and staying in touch with their families in their home country. Genealogy and family history is not a priority to them in their lives at this time.

Those that may be interested in genealogy in Latin America probably have developed their own set of research sources - both online and offline.

Here in the San Diego area, we are close to the border with Mexico, and there is some interest in genealogy research among citizens of Latin American heritage. There are major research databases online at the LDS IGI and Ancestral File, and offline with church/parish baptism/marriage/burial registers available on microfilm through the LDS Family History Library. LDS FamilySearch Record Search has also made the images of the 1930 Mexico census available - but there is no index for this census yet.

What say you? Do you agree with me that "if you offer it, they will come?"

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