The first genealogy published in America appeared in a newspaper 284 years ago – today – May 7, 1724.
The first genealogy published in book form was in 1771 – the Stebbins Genealogy and by 1876 and the nation’s first centennial there were less than 1,000 genealogies published.
With a push from President Ulysses S. Grant the idea really took off. It was 132 years ago on May 25th that he issued a “Proclamation” to the American people asking them to remember their history, write it down and distribute it widely.
He wrote that he wanted to see “a complete record” of our history … be kept and placed in each county and in the Library of Congress”. If the Internet were available then I am sure he would have suggested that they be put online too.
According to the 16 Mar 1912 issue of the San Jose Mercury “Genealogy Study Rapidly Growing. In Recent Years Americans Have Been Making Great Study of the Family Tree”. By the year 1920 there were 2,000 published genealogies and by 1972 there were 50,000 family histories in print.
With the publication of Roots in 1976 genealogy really took off.
By the late 90s the Internet was becoming a common tool for genealogists. By 1998 there were over 90,000 published genealogies. Today, just ten years later that number has jumped to over 150,000 published genealogies.