Saturday, November 17, 2012

Using Facebook for Genealogy

This summer I was asked to give a presentation at the local library about social media and family research. Some of the topics discussed were blogging, Twitter, Google+, Pinterst and Facebook.

Until that point I had not realized how Facebook had morphed into a place for genealogy connecting and information gathering. There are many posts about recipes, crafts and sharing the usual cute photographs, but slowly family history is taking the lead.

The most enjoyable benefit has been the ability to chat with genealogy friends around the world. From every state in the union to the land down under, each day I am connected to the global community. Gaining different perspectives and understanding various cultures has added another dimension to my research.

How easy to it is to ask someone from England about a particular area your ancestor resided and get an answer in moments! This happened several times in my quest to locate my brick wall ancestor, Henry Wakefield. A fellow researcher gave me several clues that may just take me a step closer to knocking down another brick.

Facebook has broaden my family history horizons. Over the past year I have discovered Canadian Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, Anzac Day and more from Facebook friends. Learning first hand about holidays and observances your ancestor may have celebrated is fun and educational.

Keeping up-to-date about webinars, technology and helpful websites has been extremely easy. Just today DearMYRTLE posted the link for "Show Don't Tell: Creating Interactive Family Histories" webinar by Lisa Alzo. Right away I clicked over to register!

DearMyrtle's Facebook group is "closed". This means anyone can see the group listed on Facebook, but to post you must be a member. Usually you need only ask to be included.

Several of my favorite groups are British Isles Genealogy, Who Did You Find Today?, RootsWeb genealogists and Technology for Genealogists.

Of course you will find the big genealogy sites represented. Tons of information can be found on Ancestry, and FamilySearch. A great feature of FamilySearch is specialized pages for various states and countries. The Indiana page is very active.

Also, make sure to check out your local historical and genealogical societies to discover if they have an online presence. Head over and "like" Allen County Genealogical Society, US National Archives and Connecticut Historical Society.

Our local library genealogy discussion group created a group page. We will use Facebook to share meeting notes, upcoming events and member questions.

Need help with genealogy blogging? You guessed it, plenty of help and support on Facebook! Head over to GeneaBloggers, Genealogy Beginner and BloggingGenealogy. Each of these pages offer tips, guidance and opportunities to ask questions.

Yesterday I asked advice on selecting a newspaper database for research. Immediately a genealogy friends shard a suggestion. Seems that Newspaper Archive offers the opportunity to view ten free articles. Just head over and start searching. With this one little tips I have found several new leads.

The best benefit by far has been connecting with fellow researchers. The virtual friendships have been priceless. From support when your wheels seem to spin to praise on blog posts. Each day I look forward to checking in with my group of Facebook buddies.

So give Facebook a whirl, and maybe you too will become a wee bit addicted.


  1. Thanks for the shout- out, Deb and HAPPY Facebooking.
    Myrt. :)

    1. DearMyrtle,

      You are most welcome! Thank you for all the wonderful opportunites and information posted on your Facebook page.

  2. Dear Myrt directed me to your blog from facebook, and I enjoyed reading it. Online Social Media offers wonderful tools.

    1. Susan,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I agree, social media does offer lots of great tools. Loving the road to discovery!

  3. Deb, it seems there is an ever-expanding genealogy presence on Facebook, which is great. Once, I just typed "genealogy" into the search bar on the top of the Facebook page, and scrolled through the many results to see what I could find. Even with all that effort, I still missed seeing some of the resources you mentioned. That tells me there are new sites popping up on Facebook every day.

    I particularly appreciate the Chicago Genealogy group on Facebook. Talk about immediate--the help there is awesome. What a great group of fellow researchers. I believe you also need to request to be added there to be able to post, but it is a painless process and so worth it.

    There is so much power in coming together and sharing our resources. That's the strength of social media for genealogy, in my opinion.

    1. Jacqi,

      Indeed there is always something new on Facebook for genealogy. Thanks for the heads up about the Chicago group. Will be checking them out.

  4. Deb, this is a very promising collection of Facebook Group suggestions! I've copied the link to your post. Especially, I like the idea of asking someone in Ireland about one of my brick wall ancestors -- in fact, our original emigrant. More projects for another day. Thank you for sharing your expertise and experiences!

    1. Mariann,

      Thank you for stopping by to read the post and leave a message. Hope the suggestions help with your research and of course knock down that brick wall!

  5. Deb,

    Thank you so much for the shout out. I really appreciate it. And I agree with you. Facebook is a great place to find and connect with genealogy friends.

    You've done such a good job with blending your own personal researching, your professional expertise, as well as your gracious helpfulness. Keep up the great work!


    1. Caroline,

      You are most welcome! I love following you all of the internet. Twitter, Facebook, blogging, Google+, etc. Where you lead I will follow.

      Appreciate your kind words.

  6. Don't forget my book on how to get all this going! The Social Media Guide for Ancestral Research Using Web 2.0 Technologies! A great review by Gena Philibert-Ortega at and available through

    Great way to expand and grow your tree!

    Claire V. Brisson-Banks