If you haven’t already discovered the many ways that Facebook can help you in your genealogy research, get ready for a whole new world. I use Facebook in my research and writing quite a bit. In fact, it is actually so popular that most Genealogy websites have a facebook page and ancestry.com can even link the living people in your tree to their facebook accounts and profile pictures.
Early on in my Facebook journey I discovered the joy of reconnecting with family from all over the states. Most of my cousins and aunts and uncles have facebook accounts. Even my 84 year old grandpa has a facebook account and really keeps up with all of us through it. And of course my mom and siblings have Facebook accounts. This is great as for the most part we rarely get to see each other and through facebook we can keep up with each others lives, many times on a daily basis.
A couple of years ago I discovered that Facebook was a great way to further my genealogy research. I created a closed group just for my father’s side of the family and invited all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins and so on to join in. Through it we have shared stories, memories, pictures, vital statistics of new members, current events, and really just had a lot of fun. We also started planning a family reunion by using the group as a communication vehicle. Facebook offers several ways to communicate to groups of people. Of course there is the one on one friendships but you can also create groups which are only open to people you invite and therefore conversations are limited to people within the group. Another option is to create a page which is really more one dimensional. This works best if you are just wanting to share information without alot of interaction. And if you are planning a reunion you can create a Facebook event through which you can invite people and share information, pictures and etc. I have used all of the above options in my genealogical endeavors.
The family group is my favorite. As I was preparing for the family reunion I started looking for living descendants of the family. As I found names I would look for them on Facebook, then invite them to the group. As they accepted they would in turn tell me about other descendants which would then get added. It was an awesome way to really reach out and find so many connections. Many of them couldn’t make it to the reunion but they enjoyed learning about their ancestry through the stories and pictues shared in the group. To this day when I am researching a descendant line and I find a living person I immediately look for them on Facebook.
Recently I have begun working once again on my father’s father’s line which is still somewhat mysterious especially when it comes to pictures and stories. I have found records through my research but the records only make me more curious about the family. So I have started to work forward on the lines of my grandpa’s siblings and from his aunts and uncles lines. Trying to find living relatives that I can communicate with and who might possibly have the stories and pictures that I am missing. I have sent quite a few private messages and friend requests in the last few days and I am really hoping for some answers soon! I am like a kid waiting for Birthday cards in the mail, I keep checking to see if anybody has answered my enquiries.
Another thing you can find on Facebook besides genealogy websites like family tree, ancestry, family finder, and so many others are genealogical societies like the DAR, the Mayflower Society, The Jamestown Society and so many more. You can also look for groups or pages with Surnames you are interested and see if there are any connections. Another thing I have seen are county and/or state historical or genealogy societies with Facebook pages. And if there are genealogists that you follow they probably have a facebook page as well. Look for mine at Rosanna’s Genealogical Thoughts.