Facebook has been around for a long time now. Many I know have a bit of a love/hate relationship. Whether you love Facebook or just tolerate it, the fact is genealogists are on Facebook.
Facebook is not just for the “young” social media minded. In fact, my teenager loves to remind me that Facebook is “old people social media”. Ahem…. well, moving right along. If you are looking to connect with family, find “long-lost” or distant relatives, or other researchers to collaborate with, Facebook is a great place to start.
4 Strategies for Using Genealogy in Your Genealogy Research
- Connect with known family members – Connect individually with your family members. Share your photographs and family stories. Share upcoming family events. Use Facebook’s messaging feature to talk with relatives. I’ve used this feature to “talk” with family and friends around the world!
- Create a family group page – A group page is a fantastic way to share both current and past family news and stories. I’ve used family group pages to gather oral history. One family member would even post converted family videos to the family’s Facebook page. Seeing images and family members’ recollections of the events was priceless. Use a family group page to plan your next family reunion. Whether large or small, formal or informal, Facebook is a great way to advertise and plan a reunion.
- Connect (or create) Facebook groups with other like-minded genealogists – Just like creating a family group page, create or join an existing Facebook page to share with other genealogists. Examples would include Surname Focused, Location Focused, Topic Focused pages. Here you can share information you have found or ask questions of others. Have you hit a brick wall in a family line? Ask others in the group for a new perspective.
- Follow genealogy societies and archives to keep up with local genealogy events in your area. For example, “Like” the North Carolina Genealogical Society’s Facebook page and keep up with the society’s upcoming events. Also, learn about volunteer opportunities and opportunities to assist in transcription projects. Another example for North Carolina researchers to follow is the page of the Government & Heritage Library – Part of the State Library of North Carolina.
Tips for Succesful Use of These Genealogy Facebook Strategies
- Abide by the rules of the group. Group administrators set ground rules for participating in a group. Frequently these rules include approved topics for posting.
- Be helpful. In other words, don’t only post about your genealogy finds and questions. Answer other users’ questions. Share information that will be helpful to others’ research.
- Stick to the established topic(s).
- Be active. Don’t just lurk in the background. Participate in the discussions!
- When you like a society (or any group page), adjust your notifications settings to receive their posts and events in your news feed.
Social media including Facebook is a “can’t live without” for some and a “time waster” for others. However, used strategically, social media can be a fantastic supplement to our traditional research methods.