Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Genealogy Do-Over Week 11

Welcome to week eleven of the Genealogy Do-Over. This weeks topics are Reviewing Social Media Options and Building a Research Network. 

What is social media? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines social media as "forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).".

Reviewing Social Media Options

I have been using Facebook for about six years now, but my Dawning Genealogy Facebook page was created last year to go with my blog, Dawning Genealogy. I have been using Pintrest for about two years now. I use Pintrest for anything related to genealogy such as my blog posts, gift ideas, reference materials, quotes, scrapbooking, and blogging ideas. I use Blogger for posting my blogs. I am not a Twitter person, though I have tried, it only drives me crazy! 

What options are out there for genealogists to use? 

I typed this phrase into Google's search bar "social media sites for genealogy" and here are the results I received. I am looking for hits that I don't see mentioned in our handouts from Thomas or that I am not familiar with. 

The first item I see is Cyndi Howell's, Cyndi's List ( Many of us are very familiar with her list and her work. The second item is Popular Social Networks for Genealogy by Family Search, the content is broken down into nine categories. The categories are Blogs, Forums, Groups, Message Boards, Networks, Podcasts, Trees, Wikis and Social Genealogy Articles. There are links in each category to get you started. You can find this article at (

The third item is from Family Tree Magazine and is from their 101 Best Websites for 2014 which was published on August 1, 2014. The article by David Fryxell is titled Best Social Media Websites for Genealogy, you can find it here, ( The list includes Facebook, Flickr, Pintrest, WeRelate, WikiTree and YouTube.

The fourth item is from a site called Social Media AN, How to use social media for genealogy and family history. The first article I see is titled, "Top 10 Social Media Sites For Family Historians - Revised 2014"  posted by Carole Riley in December 2014. You can read Carole's post on this site, In alphabetical order she lists the following sites Blogger, Delicious, Facebook, FamilySearch Wiki, Flickr, Google Docs, Pintrest, Skype, Twitter and You Tube. Each of these platforms offers something different for the genealogy community. I use six of these sites. For instance, I have used YouTube for tutorials for and Evidentia. I have the ability to Skype, it was preloaded on the new computer I purchased last year but have never tried it. I am still learning Evernote and I have been using the Delicious App, a bookmarking app, which I am hoping will help me keep a better organized list of bookmarks.

The fifth item down didn't really fit into our topic this week, so I have chosen to skip over it. The sixth item down is Genealogy Wise, The Genealogy Social Network from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I am a member of this site but I don't use it nearly as much as I should or could. Here is the link, (

The sixth item and final item I want to share is this blog post at ( by Katrina McQuarrie, titled "Using Social Media Genealogy Research". The post was written February 5th, 2010 and maybe a little outdated, but it has some good general information there. You can find the blog at (

As you can see there are many options out there for genealogists in the world of social media. In our handouts for this week, Thomas provided us with a list of social media resources. When I started to research my post for week 11 last Wednesday and Thursday, Thomas had not yet posted his handout. I was thrilled to find a link to Genealogical & Historical Groups/Pages on Facebook (in English), a pdf file created by Katherine R. Willson. Originally I found Katherine Willson's file at Gail Deaver's blog, Genealogy a la Carte. To celebrate the one year anniversary of her blog, Gail updated her pdf file, Facebook for Canadian Genealogy file which originally appeared on her blog on November 12th, 2014. Here is the link to Katherine R. Willson's site, Social Media for Genealogy, ( as well as the site on Gail Deaver's site, ( I knew about Gail's Facebook for Canadian Genealogy because I shared her post with a cousin whose great grandfather is from Canada and I thought she might find it interesting and helpful. I contacted Gail yesterday to ask a couple of questions. That is when I learned that Katherine R. Wilson was the author of the first file.

Are the old formats becoming obsolete?

How many of us still use message boards or forums? I decided to take a random look at the message boards at ( for several surnames in my family tree to see what I could find. Most of what I found on Ancestry's message boards were at least a decade old with a few posts from 2006 that indicated that they had not been read. I also went to the message boards at which when I looked up the same surnames, I found much more recent posts which were between 2013-2015 but mostly for other family members and not my direct line. For many years I have used message boards with only minimum success. 

Is the genealogical community as a whole moving away from message boards or forums and turning to Facebook Groups, Pintrest, Twitter and Blogs for (1) a wider audience, (2) faster responses to queries, (3) more specialized or streamlined topics and (4) better accessibility to people and information? It is very clear that social media is fast becoming the newest tool for genealogists. It is perhaps the best tool for genealogists because of what social media gives us: a place to exchange ideas, theories, research and collaboration but also by surnames, places and a wide variety of other more specialized topics such as DNA, ethnicity, city, county, state and regions.  Whether we blogging, tweeting or using Facebook we are changing the way our predecessors researched and published their own research.

My plan for social media is to keep going with the formats I am comfortable with but will keep my eyes and mind open to new possibilities.

Building a Research Network

What is a network? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a network in three ways and it is the third meaning I am interested in and which states that a network is "a group of people or organizations that are closely connected and that work with each other.". As Thomas pointed out in our handout, by participating in the Genealogy Do-Over, we are already participating in a network. 

As genealogist, we are dependent on many people. We are dependent on the people who transcribe records whether it is to create an index, create digital copies of vital records, books, census records, immigration records, property records or military records. We depend on the personnel of libraries, archives and other repositories to help us locate the records of our family whether it is in the city, county, state or regional levels. Whether we realized it or not as genealogists, we have been networking for years.

Research Network = Research Toolbox

I have met some great people in the last 35 years since I began my family research.  Before Facebook and blogging my genealogy network was very small. I joined Facebook in 2009 and started finding more family members who were researching the same families as I. However, last year I made the jump to blogging and between the two my genealogy network has expanded by leaps and bounds. 

I want to keep expanding my network and to do that I realize that I need to keep expanding my opportunities as well. I have joined a few more groups on Facebook that are specific areas of genealogical research such as DNA, Citing Sources, Social Media, specific counties in certain states and Geneabloggers to name a few. I am going to join a historical and/or genealogical society this year and I am currently researching which will be best for me.

In the meantime, I will keep networking via Facebook, Pintrest and my blog, Dawning Genealogy. I will look for networking opportunities in the states I do most of my research in as well as close to home such as local or regional genealogical and/or historical societies who have guest lecturers. 

Genealogy+Social Media+Network= A well rounded genealogist.

Next week is week 12 and we will be discussing, sharing research and reviewing research travel options.

Carole Riley, How to Use Social Media for Genealogy and Family History, "Top 10 Social Media Sites for Family Historians – Revised 2014" ( : accessed on 10 March 2015).
Cyndi Howell, Cyndi's List - Social Networking for Genealogy and Family History ( : 11 March 2015).
David A. Fryxell, Best Social Media Websites for Genealogy (Family Tree Magazine, David Fryxell, September 2014), p.21 ( : 10 March 2015).

Gail Deaver, Genealogy à la carte (Blog at, Gail Deaver, 2015), pp. 1-12; PDF download, Facebook for Canadian Genealogy, ( downloaded 8 March 2015).
Genealogy Wise, The Genealogy Social Network from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies ( : 11 March 2015)
Katrina McQuarrie,, "Using Social Media for Genealogy Research" February 5, 2010, ( : 11 March 2015).
Katherine R. Willson, Social Media for (Blog at, Katherine R. Wilson, 2015), pp. 1-132; PDF download, Genealogical & Historical Groups/Pages on Facebook (in English), ( : downloaded 10 March 2015).
"Popular Social Networks for Genealogy",, ( : 10 March 2015)
"social media" 2015 ( : 10 March 2015).
"network" 2015. ( : 10 March 2015). 

Copyright © Dawning Genealogy/Dawn M Kogutkiewicz 2014-2015, All rights reserved.  

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