I have an account with StatCounter.com
that tracks the number of visitors I have. It also will track the searches that lead people to my site (on a random tangent, isn't it irritating when people use the word "sight" instead of "site"?). It is interesting to see what brings people to this site. Obvious searches are the most popular: surnames, names of historic events, places, etc.
The searches I enjoy the most though are the ones that are complete sentences or nearly so. And the ones that are looking to copy a letter for specific occasions. Here are a few examples:
- i'm sorry i wasn't there for you when your mother died letter
- a letter of commendation for police officers participated in a funeral service
- regret letter when you cannot attend your sisters wedding
Just for the record, I don't have any of these on my site. But it does point out that there does seem to be a need for a site that will list these kinds of sample personal letters
for people to copy. In the age of the form letter, we seem to be unable to write these kinds of things on our own. Actually, it is a little sad that we can't offer regret or commendation in writing without assistance, don't you think? It certainly makes it clear how far away we are from the letter writing of the last century.
I went to GoogleTrends
to see what kinds of searches are happening for letters. I got a little sidetracked, and looked to see which was more popular: searches for the correctly spelled "genealogy" or the incorrectly spelled "geneology
". It's the correct version
, for the record, but not by as strong a lead as you'd like to believe, and it seems to be declining. What does this increase in misspelling ratios indicate? An increase in new genealogists who have yet to learn how to spell the word? An increase in bad spellers in general? Perhaps this too is an indicator of the decline in writing -- greater reliance on spellcheck?
As you might expect, for cities, Salt Lake City leads the pack on genealogy searches, both correctly and incorrectly spelled. New Zealanders
seem to be front of the pack for countries with the U.S. in second place. This reflects only English language searches of course. If you look up the French/German (genealogie
) and Spanish (genealogia
), they are significantly less popular
than the correct English spelling. Of course, you have to reflect that this is Google, and so other countries might be using a different search engine more frequently thus skewing the country results.
In a comparison of "family history" vs. "genealogy"
, genealogy bests family history, as you might expect. Interestingly though, Aussies seem to have about equal interest in both, the U.K is mostly interested in family history, whereas the Kiwis, Canadians, and Americans are all about genealogy. Hmmm
Sadly, I don't seem to be able to access the searches that contain the words "letter". The best I can do is go to GoogleSuggest
and start a search with letter. Up pops a box suggesting "letter of resignation", "letters", "letter writing", "letter of recommendation", "letter of credit", "letter of reference", "letterman", "letterhead", "letters from iwo jima", etc. It also tells you how many results you will get with the search. It is an interesting way to explore the human psyche regarding searches though.