Showing posts with label social network. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social network. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Finding New Cousins on Facebook

Have you ever heard of "trolling for cousins" or "fishing for cousins"?

You can use social media like Facebook to find distant cousins. These cousins may have the key to a family tree branch that has you stumped.

There's nothing sinister about it. It's a simple way of gaining an introduction and making a new connection.

The idea is to post a bit of family history that will interest the cousins you know. Tag those cousins in your post and ask a question.

If they don't have the answer, they may tag their cousins from the other side of their family. Engage those cousins in the conversation. Share what you know, and ask them for any details they can offer.

Example 1

Found by accident, I recognized the names!
This week I posted a photo I took of a tombstone. It contains several names I knew—the names of my distant cousins' grandmother's family. Her family is not related to me, but they came from my parents' neighborhood. My dad remembers her fondly. I'm very interested in them, so I've documented them in my family tree.

But there was one name on the tombstone I didn't know. Luckily, one of the cousins I tagged reached out to her cousin from her grandmother's family. He had lots of answers for me, and his elderly mother gave him even more information to share.

Example 2

A while ago I used Google Street View to capture an image of the house in Italy where my grandfather was born. I posted it in a Facebook group dedicated to my grandfather's hometown. My goal was to see if anyone knew who lives there now.

My grandfather's house still stands.
I mentioned my grandfather's last name of Leone. Someone responded that no one with that name lives in town anymore. I replied using the name of a Leone cousin I know, saying that he lives nearby. Then I listed out the names of his siblings. These were names he told me years ago when we first me online.

Two of the siblings I mentioned responded, saying "Here I am!" in Italian. Now I have two more connections to my grandfather's town. I'd like to try to meet them when I visit again.

Facebook is still a place for those dog and baby photos, and that's great! At no other time in history has it been this easy to reconnect with old friends and find unknown relatives.

Remember: Treat any genealogy facts you learn on Facebook, or from someone's own mouth as leads. It's up to you to find the documents that prove the names and dates you may learn from a cousin's cousin.

What documents or photos do you have that someone else can help you better understand?

Stay connected! Follow me on Twitter or Facebook and know the moment a new article comes out.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How to Build Your Social Genealogy Network

I've spent 90% of my genealogy research time alone. Most of us relish being left alone to sort through the facts and documentation for people in our family tree.

The other 10% of my time used to consist of:
  • a couple of genealogy conferences
  • emailing relatives and potential relatives
  • watching Ancestry's Crista Cowan present extremely helpful lessons on YouTube.
That all changed this year.

I still want plenty of alone-time to dig into the research. But throughout the day, I check in with an extended community of genealogy researchers online.

You'll find a welcoming, generously helpful genealogy community online.
The vast amount of free help fellow genealogists are willing to provide will amaze you. You can:
  • Get help translating documents from another language.
  • Get opinions on how to read a poorly written name on an old document.
  • Get advice on where to search for missing information.
  • Be the first to know about a new family history resource.
You'll quickly see who the experts are within any group. If you send them a friend request on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, you can stay on top of their latest advice.

I spent years transcribing facts from Italian birth and marriage records. Then an expert in a Facebook genealogy group showed me that I was reading baptism and marriage dates incorrectly!

In a LinkedIn genealogy group, I learned about a website with thousands of Italian vital records. In a Facebook genealogy group, I learned about free software to make it easy to download those records. Twitter helps me stay on top of genealogy tips and upcoming conferences or seminars.

Here are some of the top platforms for interacting with fellow genealogists:


Click the Groups icon on your Facebook homepage and start typing in search terms. Search for "genealogy" or a specific type of genealogy, like "Irish genealogy". Many groups have an administrator who must OK your request to join. Once you're in, read the group's rules of conduct. It's usually the first post on the page.


When I first joined, I would search for #genealogy or #familyhistory to see what was happening. Now my Twitter feed is 99% genealogy-related. Why? Because all I do is:
  • interact with genealogy posts
  • follow other genealogists
  • post about genealogy.

Search for genealogy on the homepage. You can choose from Posts, Communities, Collections, or People & Pages. I haven't done much exploring yet, but I do maintain a genealogy collection where I post each of my blog articles.

You may also want to look at Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Search for genealogy topics. Follow the experts you've found on other social networks.

You'll find your fellow genealogists are willing to help, collaborate, and inspire you.

I hope to see you in my Facebook groups: Fortify Your Family Tree and My Italian Family Tree.

Stay connected! Follow me on Twitter or Facebook and know the moment a new article comes out.