by Nancy Maliwesky
I like to spend a few minutes in the morning reading, drinking coffee, and checking my e-mail and Facebook page. I got to thinking about all the ways we now have to communicate that our grandparents and their grandparents couldn't even imagine. What with the internet, social networking, cable television and satellite radio, the world has truly become a smaller place, and as I scroll down the shared posts and videos on my Facebook page the enormity of this global impact astounds me. It is not unusual anymore to see a video with over 1.5 million views. Can you imagine sending out a post looking for family information that has the potential of reaching 1.5 million people?
I follow a number of genealogical society and professional genealogists' Facebook pages. I have also started a few genealogy groups and pages on Facebook. It is always nice to see genealogy posts scattered throughout my morning read and I love the ones that get my mind working in ways I hadn't previously considered. Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist, just posted a chart where he is tracking his DNA matches and their minimum, medium, average and maximum shared DNA by relationship (cousin, sibling, grandparent, first cousin and the requisite "removed"s). When I first looked at it, I couldn't make heads or tails of it, but upon second viewing, and reading the comments, it started to make more sense, and may be an idea I should think about exploring. Thanks Blaine!
I've also been very impressed by the activity on the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Association's group page. Oftentimes, when you start a group, you feel like you're the only person posting on it, and you wonder how successful it is. This group has really taken off, and the shared knowledge of the many participants makes for exciting dialog and a treasure trove of information. It's exciting to see what lines people are working on, what genealogy vacations they are planning and having a place to share photos of relatives and shared ancestral locations is quite compelling. It really gives me a sense of community, and I'm not even a Pomeroy (OK, I stand corrected, but it's through marriage only!)
So, how do you grow your genealogy friend and family base? Well, starting with like-minded family members is probably the easiest way. Next, you might like the page of a genealogical society you belong to or that is in an area you are researching. Many times people post genealogical finds on these pages, including family bibles, photographs, their own research or links to their blogs. If you have been to a conference and were impressed by the speakers there, you might want to look them up to see if they have a page on Facebook. Many businesses and entrepreneurs use Facebook as a marketing tool and will post interesting information on their pages which will be added to your newsfeed if you "like" their page. You may also wish to see if the surname(s) you are researching has a Facebook group. If one exists, ask to join it, if one doesn't, consider creating a group. All you need are a few appropriate pictures to give the page interest, and the ability to post frequently about topics that would be of interest to your target audience.
Well, my coffee is getting cold, and I've got a New York State Family History Conference call in a few hours, so I guess I'll wrap up my latest rant. Enjoy your day and give a thought to increasing your genealogy presence on Facebook! I hope to "see" you in my Facebook newsfeed tomorrow morning!
©2015 Nancy Maliwesky
Nancy Maliwesky, one time Central New York Genealogical Society Board Member and Chair of the New York State Family History Conference worked as a professional genealogist with the American Pomeroy Historic Genealogical Society for ten years. Recently retired, she continues to pursue her passion for genealogical research and writing. She is also a singer/songwriter (the self proclaimed "Singing Genealogist") and an artist.