FindTheData – Looking at Data from Different Angles

findthedata

[Editor’s Note: I was contacted by FindTheData earlier this week to learn more about their website and how data comparisons can be run as well as how their widgets can be used on a blog.]

FindTheData is a relatively new Internet property that displays several data sets related to a variety of topics including business and finance, education and society. A search on the site with the term “genealogy” brings up several items including Family Names/Surnames/Last Names Popularity.

findthedata genealogy

 

Sites that rank the popularity of surnames or even given names abound and this really isn’t new information. But for me what is new is the ability to run a comparison between two data points:

findthedata genealogy surname comparison

 

In the above example I ran a comparison of the Johnson and McEntee surnames (since MacEntee was not available as a data point).

Data Sources

A review of the page shows that the data source is “United States Social Security Administration” but the genealogist and researcher in me wants a little more detail such as the date of the information etc.  Perhaps as FindtheData gains more traction the sources of their data will become more refined.

In talking with the folks at FindTheData it appears that most of the data is coming from government records and other publicly available data sets. FindTheData is presenting it in a format that allows you to look at the data differently and run comparisons. This is something I wish I could do at other sites!

Affiliated FindTheData Sites

I also found out that there is a FindTheData network of affiliated sites which includes FindTheBest (a site with reviews on products and services again allowing comparison between several data points) and Locate Grave. The Locate Grave site is interesting in that it has information that genealogists and family historians might want to use. The 6.8 million plus records are pulled from what appears to be the Veterans Administration and perhaps is the same data as in the Nationwide Gravesite Locator. In addition there is a Death Record data set with close to 90 million records many coming from state-level databases.

FindTheBest currently offers a Genealogy and Family Tree Software review table (again with the comparison feature). It isn’t clear to me how reviews are done and whether anyone can submit a review. The data for the genealogy software reviews is from “CNET, GenSoftReviews.com, Mymac.com, Family Tree Magazine” according to the site.

Widgets

FindTheBest does allow you to create customized widgets for many of the datasets and then embed them in your sidebar or blog post.  Below is an example of the widget for the Genealogy and Family Tree Software listing mentioned above.

Data Possibilities

For me, the FindTheData concept along with its affiliated sites has potential especially if more genealogy-related data sets were included and it was understood where the data originated. One potential drawback for users is the use of advertisements at FindTheData. This is part of the business model and users can’t expect a site to make data available for free.

So I’ll be keeping an eye on what FindTheData has to offer in the future especially since my main challenge now is being able to analyze genealogy data in different ways.

Disclosure: I was contacted by FindTheData via email to learn more about their products and affiliated sites. Please see Disclosure Statements for more information on my material connection with genealogy-related vendors.

©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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