Research Tip of the Week

Tip Tuesday

Each week I provide a tip that can be helpful in genealogy research. This week my tip is about the use of social media in genealogical research. I use several forms of social media. My primary form of social media is Facebook, but recently I have ventured into the land of Twitter and Pinterest. Each platform seems to have its own drawbacks and benefits. This week’s tip will focus on using Facebook in genealogy research.

Facebook in genealogy

Social media can be valuable in genealogy research in unexpected ways. Here are my tops uses for Facebook when working on genealogical related projects.

Connecting to living people

Facebook is a great source for researching living people. While genealogy focuses on researching ancestors, you may need to look up a living person as part of your genealogical research. DNA matches are one instance where Facebook can be helpful. People test out of curiosity about ethnicity and never return to the site. If you have a DNA match that you want to connect with, it might not be a bad idea to search Facebook. People respond to Facebook messages more readily than they do Ancestry messages in my personal experience.

Genealogy groups and pages

Facebook has become a hub of genealogical activity. It’s free, and it gives genies a chance to collaborate across the globe in real time. Some of the brightest minds in the genealogical world have carved out a presence on social media.

One of my favorite groups on Facebook is Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques. The group has over 60k members and Blaine Bettinger is one administrator of the group. It is my go to source when I have questions about genetic genealogy. The group is hugely active and it usually up to the minute on big news in the genetic genealogy field.

The second group that I really enjoy on Facebook is the Genealogy Squad. It is a group with Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s list, the Genealogy Guys, and Blaine Bettinger as administrators. The Genealogy Squad is the sister group to Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques which focuses on the traditional records based aspect of genealogy research.

Family groups and pages

Facebook has become a popular place for families to create groups that serve as a connecting spot. My personal journey of genealogical sharing began with a Facebook family group. Support from my family members helped build the confidence I needed to venture out into a more public platform. That first group, The Shuck Funny Farm is now a virtual family reunion that never ends. It spans generations of people with a shared family line in rural West Virginia.

Members of the group share memories and personal stories of family members long gone. There are photographs shared that are not available anywhere else. The group is just under 100 members, and it has added a rich layer to the genealogical research for many relatives. The personal details add an amazing context to the genealogy. 

Facebook is just one social media platform that can be useful in genealogy. With the use of Facebook, you can put yourself in contact with the best minds in genealogy and stay up to date on latest news and events. It also allows you to connect with both close and distant relatives and opens up the possibility of creating ongoing virtual family reunions.

Do you use Facebook in your genealogical research? What groups or pages do you find useful? Have you checked out the Facebook page for this blog?

Published by

Carrie Brown

Carrie Brown is a genetic genealogist, hobby blogger, and long-time history enthusiast with a passion for genealogical research. Currently she is working on her degree in business from Western Governors University. Carrie is a member of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy and volunteers her time as a research volunteer for

9 thoughts on “Research Tip of the Week”

  1. I use Facebook all the time for genealogy. I belong to numerous groups—some geographically based, some ethnically based, and some more general. But I didn’t know about the two you listed, so thanks!

    I also use Facebook to find cousins. I have found and contacted many cousins through Facebook whom I otherwise would not have been able to find. It’s a blessing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I looked for my Great Grandmother’s brother’s obituary for years…then I found him alive at 98 via Facebook. He’s passed on now but it was a really wonderful surprise to see his face alive and well at that age because of Facebook. My personal Facebook is packed with cousins I have never met. It’s so great for sharing photos and memories!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found his granddaughter on Facebook because she had birthday photos of him. He never got on Facebook but he did use a cell phone and was very tech savvy for his age. I keep trying to sell my Grandma on Facebook but she has a hard time working her remote control at this point so I think that ship has sailed lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been ignoring FB for the past year or two. I do a family newsletter by email and tried starting a private group for the people who get the newsletter, but it never took off. I should try it again. I may check out these two groups you mention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Facebook definitely has drawbacks. It is one of those suffer with the bad to get to the good stuff.
      It took a year or two for my family group to get moving but now it’s a popular group. I tried one on my paternal side and it went no where. I think it depends on the family.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If you are building descendant family trees like Family Tree Tops then you can advise your client to check names of new and unknown family members. It is difficult sometimes to find everyone currently living. Living Family Trees are for personal use only: wall art or family reunions display.

    Liked by 1 person

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