How to Use Social Media for Genealogists

26 June 2023

The explosion of social media platforms has revolutionised the way we communicate and connect with others. Beyond its role in fostering social interactions, social media offers a treasure trove of resources for genealogists. By leveraging these platforms effectively, you can unearth fascinating stories, discover long-lost relatives, and piece together the puzzle of your family’s past. In this blog, we will explore the ways you can utilise social media to enrich your family history research journey.

Genealogist on Social Media

There is a myriad of benefits for using social media for family history research. Gone are the days of dusty archives and painstaking searches through yellowed records; we can now use online platforms to connect and collaborate. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become thriving communities for genealogists worldwide. A key benefit of social media is the ability to find others with shared interests, exchange information, and expand your networks. Genealogical societies, specialised interest groups, and forums provide fertile grounds for connecting with like-minded individuals so you can benefit from their expertise and collaborate on projects. This interconnectedness transcends geographical boundaries, allowing genealogists to tap into a global pool of resources and insights.

Some benefits of using social media for your research are:

  • Knowledge sharing and collaboration
  • Access to rare documents and records
  • Crowdsource research
  • Preservation and digitisation of research

Define Your Objectives

Before diving into the world of social media, it’s essential to outline your research objectives. Clearly define what you hope to achieve from your family history research. Are you searching for specific relatives, looking to fill gaps in your family tree, or interested in gathering stories and anecdotes? This clarity will guide your approach and help you make the most of social media platforms.

Maintain an Organised Approach

Organising your research materials and findings is crucial. Keep a dedicated folder or digital archives where you can save screenshots, photos, and links to relative posts, conversations, websites, etc. This ensures that you can easily reference and revisit valuable information in the future.

Create a Strong Online Presence

Establishing an online presence is an important step in leveraging social media for family history research. Create profiles on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn dedicated to your genealogy research. Use your real name if you feel comfortable and include relevant key words in your bio/profile summary to attract like-minded individuals and distant relatives who may come across your profile. This focused platform will allow you to engage with other genealogists, share family photos and stories, and connect with relatives in a dedicated space. By building an online presence, you also increase your chances of catching the attention of others interested in the same family lines or geographic regions.

Social media words

Join Genealogy and Family History Groups

Social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn host numerous genealogy and family history groups dedicated to connecting like-minded individuals with shared ancestry or interests. Members share research tips, resources, and collaborate on projects. Engage actively in these communities, ask questions, share your findings, and tap into the collective wisdom of your fellow researchers.

Utilise Genealogy-specific Platforms

In addition to mainstream social media platforms, also explore genealogy-specific platforms tailored to family history research. Websites like Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, and Findmypast, along with their copious records and family tree building software, these platforms often have their own social features allowing you to connect with other researchers. You can also follow these companies on their social media to keep up to date with new records, search tips, and sales.

Harness the Power of Hashtags

Hashtags are powerful tools for organising and discovering information on social media. Utilise relevant genealogy-related hashtags such as #genealogy, #familyhistory, or specific surnames, geographic locations, or historical periods. Incorporating hashtags in your posts and searches will expand your reach, ensuring that your content is seen by others interested in similar topics.

#AncestryHour is a great way to get involved using hashtags. Ancestry Hour runs every Tuesday evening between 7pm-8pm on Twitter. During this hour, the family history community comes together to discuss relevant topics, answer questions, and share tips and tricks. This is a great way to network, meet new people, and possibly get some of your burning questions answered.

Engage With Other Accounts

Social media platforms are home to numerous local historical and genealogical societies. Additionally, many historical archives, libraries, and museums now have an online presence. These organisations often maintain active profiles sharing valuable resources, upcoming events, and historical insights. By following and engaging with these accounts, you can gain access to a wealth of information, localised knowledge, additional records, and much more.

Social media platforms

Crowdsource Information

Social media’s power lies in its ability to connect people worldwide. Leverage this connectivity by crowdsourcing information from the online community. By doing everything already mentioned, actively reaching out to people, and putting yourself out there, you can solve mysteries through teamwork and the power of people!

Network with Distant Relatives

Social media can help you connect with relatives you may not have known existed. Utilise search features on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to find individuals who share your family surname or geographical ties. Reach out to them with a polite message, introducing yourself and expressing your interest in exploring common ancestry. Building connections with distant relative can lead to valuable exchanges of information, fresh insights, family photographs and documents, personal stories that enrich your research and can lead to establishing meaningful connections.

You can also make a Facebook family group. This is a great way to keep in contact with your family members, where memories and updates from relatives may lead to undiscovered ancestors. You can use the family hive mind to solve puzzles, saving you hours of research.

Utilise Advanced Search Features

Most social media platforms offer advanced search features that can be immensely helpful in family history research. Take advantage of these tools to search for specific names, ancestral locations, or keywords related to your research. Narrow down your search results by specifying the timeframe or geographic location to focus on relevant content and potential connections.

Leverage Live Streaming and Video Platforms

Take advantage of live streaming features on platforms like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, or YouTube to conduct virtual interviews with older relatives. Capture their stories, memories, and recollections about your shared family history. This dynamic format allows for real-time interactions, provides an opportunity for extended family members to participate, and preserves valuable oral histories for future generations.

YouTube is a platform full of knowledge and information. You can find a tutorial for anything and everything, and genealogy is no different! You can learn so many research techniques by just watching a video. Do you have knowledge to share? Why not create your own YouTube channel and share your own genealogy tips and tricks. You may have the answer the people are looking for!

Podcasts are another great way to learn and connect with other genealogists. Follow the podcast’s page as this allows you to keep up to date with their newest episodes. You can also leave comments for the podcasters or communicate with the community.

Genealogy Social Media

Document and Share Your Findings

As you make progress in you family history research, document your findings, and share them on social media. Create engaging posts that highlight significant discoveries, share intriguing stories, or showcase old family photographs. This not only allows you to connect with others who may have additional information but also helps preserve your research in a digital format. Engage your followers by encouraging them to contribute their own stories. In doing this, you may break down some brick walls through thanks to the hive mind!

Respect Privacy and Verify Information

While social media can be a treasure trove of information, it’s crucial to approach it with caution. Respect the privacy of living relatives and be mindful of sensitive information. Always verify the facts and sources of information before adding them to your family tree. Cross-referencing with official records, documents, and oral histories is essential to ensure accuracy and avoid perpetuating misinformation.

In conclusion, social media has revolutionised the way we connect and share information. It offers tremendous opportunities for family history research. By joining genealogy groups, engaging with local historical societies, and utilising hashtags, you can tap into a vast network of individuals with shared interests and ancestral connections. By leveraging the power of social media, you can unravel fascinating family stories, connect with distant relatives, and embark on a captivating journey of discovery that enriches your understanding of your family’s past.

Social media genealogy connections
© 2024 Family Wise | Privacy Policy | Website created by: stellasoft