Friday, April 16, 2010

Uses for Facebook in Genealogy

Last Tuesday a reader on Facebook asked this question:
"Cyndi: Can you put forth some suggestions on how to use Facebook for genealogical purposes/research? Thanks."
Here's a quick run-through of ideas based on my knowledge of the features available with Facebook.
  1. Obviously, Facebook is a great way to network with other genealogists. You can make friends with fellow genealogists, learn from one another, and expand your genealogical horizons. When all else fails, you can always get a pick-me-up from your Facebook friends.
  2. Facebook is just one more way to publish information online. It gives you the opportunity to share what you know with the genealogical world. Create a Facebook Group page for a specific topic, location, surname, or ancestor. There are FB groups for genealogical societies, one-name studies, etc. Examples:
  3. If you have a genealogical "product" you can create a Facebook Fan Page. The page helps you spread the word and can do a lot for helping people to understand what your product is and what it can do for them.
  4. Facebook group pages and fan pages have a "Discussion" tab option. It works a lot like message boards on other sites. You can set up discussions on specific questions or topics. Discussions can be used for Q&A, for leaving queries, and for talking about research strategies.
  5. Facebook group pages and fan pages have an "Events" tab option. Events can be something that happen in the real world or in the online world of social networking, chats, and blogs. You can invite people to participate in events and host events for just about anything that will help get people involved.
  6. Facebook pages--individuals, groups, or fan--have a "Notes" tab option. Notes can be used to post longer bits of text than you might post in the comments field on a FB wall. You can use notes to share research notes, stories, or anything that is longer and more-involved in scope.
  7. Facebook pages--individuals, groups, or fan--have a "Photos" tab option. You can set up photo albums for specific individuals or families. This is a great way to share your ancestral photos. FB gives you the ability to label the photos and for others to leave comments about the photos.
  8. Facebook pages have a "Links" tab option. You can share your favorite online resources with others on FB. As you find web sites with helpful information, share the link.
  9. Third-party applications are available for everything you can imagine. If you're on Facebook you've seen the games and quizzes. But, there are some useful tools you might find for research purposes or sharing with fellow researchers as well. I've found them for polls, surveys, calendars, family trees, and many more. Examples:
If you have more ideas, let us know here.


Becky Thompson said...

Thank you for putting this together. Recently a high school friend that I reconnected with asked me the same thing. I steered her in this direction, but you've put it all together so nicely.

Kathryn Doyle said...

Great summary, Cyndi. I'll be including this article in my "Suggested Links From the Blogosphere" in the May issue of the California Genealogical Society

Joe said...

Hello Cyndi,
My Online Death Indexes website has a Facebook fan page:

Terry Thornton said...

Thanks, Cyndi, for such a helpful set of suggestions.
Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

Carole Riley said...

Thanks Cyndi! I'll be sending members of the Society of Australian Genealogists this way.

Bubba said...

Great ideas as usual Cyndi. People just need to be aware that Facebook is a great way to share and exchange, but not necessarily the way of long-term preservation.

Bonnie said...

This is really helpful. Facebook has really become a huge part of everyday life now in many ways.

Bonnie said...

This is really helpful. Facebook has really become a huge part of everyday life now in many ways.