June 18th, 2013

How to Use Facebook for Genealogy

Do you know how to use Facebook for genealogy? Many of us spend hours everyday either logged in or being active on the world’s largest online community, but how many of us take advantage of its genealogical potential? It should really be a no-brainer. Facebook has massive potential for connecting with relatives and other researchers. The potential for sharing information is incredible, yet many of us don’t know how to effectively use it to expand our genealogical horizons. It’s really as simple as searching, and you’d be amazed at the wealth of genealogical information and contacts that are out there just waiting to connect with you.

I am by no means an expert on Facebook, but I have come across some very valuable genealogical resources there. For one thing, there are lots of genealogical groups that have Facebook pages. I have found the National Genealogical Society, the Daughters of the American Revolution, JewishGen, the Genealogy Society of Ireland, and many other well-known and respected genealogy groups and societies. If there is a specific society or organization that you like or want to follow, simply type their name in the search window in the Facebook toolbar at the top of their page and you’ll know instantly if they have a Facebook presence.

Many of the society and genealogical group pages on Facebook allow you to post on their wall, so it’s easy to leave a message as you would on a message board. Other members or fans can view your post, and will be able to reply to any queries you might have. Another benefit of these pages are the photos and links to valuable information they post. Some pages such as the Pennsylvania Genealogy Research group have a section just for research resources, and many have an Events tab where you can view upcoming events form around the world such as seminars and conventions, or even events happening online such as webinars and tutorials.

Create a Facebook Page to Share Youth Own Story and Resources

If you want to build your own Facebook page you can easily do so. This is especially useful if you have a genealogical product you wish to sell, or even if you just want to share your family tree and genealogical data. The procedure to begin creating a page is;

  1. Click More at the bottom of the right column on your Facebook homepage. (Underneath the ads.)
  2. Click Create a Page
  3. Click one of the boxes to choose a category for your Page
  4. Choose a subcategory and enter the required information

All you have to do after that is to agree to the Facebook terms of use policy and you’re on your way to creating your own Facebook Genealogy page. Once you create your page you can use the Notes option to share stories, research notes, or anything else you wish to! Your page can also be a great place to share your family photos and announce any events you might be planning such as a family reunion.

If you are researching a specific surname, look for other Facebook genealogy pages that are doing the same. It’s also a great idea to like as many other genealogy pages on Facebook as possible. Don’t do too many at once however, as Facebook might consider you as spammer. Pick 5 or 6 pages everyday and Like them by clicking their Like button. Whenever you like a page, make a short comment on their wall, and invite others to visit your page. This will give you more exposure, and increase your chances of connecting with other researchers or even family members searching the same surname as you.

There are also many Apps on Facebook such as I Remember, which allows you to create a memorial page for a family member or friend. Live Roots features a specialized index listing well over 200,000 resources, though some you have to pay for. Mundia is Ancestry.com’s app designed to help genealogists find ancestors who are listed in existing family trees or message boards. We’re Related and Family Links help individuals to find family members who are on Facebook and to share information with them.

As you can see, Facebook has great genealogical potential. Next time you log-on, spend some time investigating the many different genealogical aspects and applications. You never know, you might bump into someone you’re related to!