Looking to connect with family, find distant relatives, or other researchers for collaboration? Facebook is still a great place to start.
Love it or hate, Facebook is still a good place to find and communicate with family members.
It has been around for a long time now. Whether you love Facebook or just tolerate it (like I do), the fact is genealogists and family members alike are on Facebook.
Facebook is no longer just for the “young” social media minded. In fact, my young adult children love 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 still a great place to start.
Let’s Get Started With Your Genealogy on Facebook!
I primarily use Facebook in 4 different ways.
Connection with Known-to-You Family Members
Naturally, first up, connect individually with your family members that you already know.
Share your photographs and family stories.
Share upcoming family events. For online family events, you can create an event right on Facebook.
Additionally, use Facebook’s messaging feature to talk individually with relatives. Message by typing your messages or talk face to face with messenger’s video chat.
Create a Family Group Page on Facebook
A group page is a fantastic way to share both current and past family news, stories and photographs. (Think of all those baby pictures we like to see!)
I’ve used family group pages to gather my family’s oral history. Ask for specific stories or try posting a weekly prompt about your family’s history.
Encourage family members to post 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.
Join Facebook Groups with Similar Research Interests
Just like creating a family group page, create or join an existing Facebook group specific to your particular research interests.
You might consider a Facebook group focused on a specific surname or a specific location.
Perhaps you have discovered an family line of Polish descent. Now you want to connect with other researchers of Polish ancestry. You’ll find a Facebook group over on Facebook that focuses on just that! Here you can share information you have found or ask questions of the group.
Have you hit a brick wall in a family line? Ask others in the group for a new perspective. I always find genealogists incredibly helpful.
Follow Genealogy Societies & Archives
Genealogy societies as well as archives have a social media presence including being on Facebook.
For example, I “Liked” the North Carolina Genealogical Society’s Facebook page , so I can keep up with the society’s upcoming events. This is also a way to learn about volunteer opportunities such as opportunities to assist in transcription projects.
[Pro Tip: Participating in a transcription project is a fantastic way to improve you skills for reading old documents.]
Another example for North Carolina researchers to follow is the page of the Government & Heritage Library – Part of the State Library of North Carolina. Yes, archives and libraries are also on Facebook!
Best Practices for Participating in Facebook Groups
Let’s talk about how to be a good Facebook group member. Your goal is not just get information, but to an active member.
- 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 your traditional research methods.
Let me know in the comments if you use Facebook – or another social media platform – as part of your genealogy research. 👇
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