Friday, May 7, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Social Networking

Amy over at We Tree has done it again with her 52 Weeks Challenge.  You can read about it at GeneaBloggers or at the bottom of this post. 

This week's challenge is about social networking which most people think of as being Facebook or Twitter.  I don't Twitter (yet) but am active on Facebook, mostly with my family.  I can say that it has been a fantastic way to stay in touch with those who are geographically spread out across the globe.  Last week at the NGS conference, I learned about a great way for genealogists to network when I attended Gena Philibert Ortega's talk, "Beyond the Horizon for Social Netorking in Genealogy."  One of the ways to network that she talked about is called Genealogy Wise.

Genealogy Wise is basically a Facebook for genealogists.  I must admit I was initially skeptical but by the end of Gena's talk, I was impressed with what it has to offer.  Here's a sampling:
  • Free
  • Scheduled educational chats
  • Blog postings
  • Groups for surnames, localities and topics
  • Your own page where you can:
    • Create a page listing surnames you are researching
    • Post photos
    • email feature
  • Connect to other social networks like Twitter
  • Feed your blog to Genealogy Wise
This is something I am going to sit down and set up later this summer.

Getting back to the use of Facebook for genealogy.  One of the tips Gena had that caught my attention was to upload pictures to Facebook.  Then do a mass message to family members, who are on Facebook, asking them to tell any stories that go along with the pictures.  Facebook could be a wonderful way to collect the stories of your family members.

Thanks Amy for your timely 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy assignment.

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge 18
Dip your toe in the social networking pool. Genealogists are some of the friendliest people on the block. Networking with them by using “social” web sites will help your research and provide you with new friends. If you’ve never used social networking tools, this Social Networking in Plain English video by Common Craft is a good place to start. Picture the ways you can use social networking to meet and collaborate with other genealogists. Some of the more popular social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter and even Linked-In (though this site is more business-like in its purpose). You do not have to join these sites if you do not feel comfortable doing so, but you should at least know they exist and that they can benefit genealogy research. Those that are well-versed in social networking can refer others to the video. Bloggers are encouraged to discuss how they use various social networking sites in their own research.

© 2010, copyright Michelle Goodrum


  1. Thanks for the insights! I've not used Facebook for genealogical purposes, but I'm rethinking that now.

  2. I have used facebook for genealogy. There are some relatives I don't have email addresses for, that I sent them an invite to the family reunion via facebook.
    Also, if you have an unique family name, you can search for it on facebook...a lot of times finding relatives. I have and have had great success! Also, I have found a heritage group there. You'd be surprised what you can find/do on facebook.

  3. Mindy, What a great idea to do a surname search on Facebook. I've got a couple of fairly unique surnames that I will try. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Good for you for doing that challenge on Social Networking. It seemed too difficult for me, but then maybe I would have learned something. Thanks Michelle.

  5. To be sure and get stories for family photos- put your own story and then make a mistake (misname a face, date or event)! People will jump all over themselves to tell you where you went wrong and add details to the corrections! Come on you know it's true- siblings like to catch each other goofing up!

  6. Donna, What a deviously fun way to get more information AND let you siblings think they have done a "one up" on you!