The thing about history, family history is that I didn’t care about the details until I got closer to the end of my life. As a child and early adult, I confess that I was truly self centered. All the stories pictures that my grandfather tried to shove down my throat annoying and got in the way of MY LIFE. Thank God for Social Media class. Now my children can have there history in one place one disc until they are mature enough to care.
Due to Social Media family history research today can be much easier. You might think of social networking as chatting with your friends online using Facebook, but social networks of all kinds can play a role in your genealogical research too.
Here are a few ways you might use social networking for family history research:
Reconnect with family members you have lost contact with. Your own family members are your best resource when you begin your family tree. Social networks give you a way to contact people quickly with questions even if you’ve lost touch and don’t have an address or phone number to reach them through.
Connect with others researching members of your family tree. Even Ancestry.com is a specialized form of social network. Using their social tools (or those of similar sites), chances are good that you can find other people researching ancestors you have in common. This can be a great way to find information on a more distant branch of your family tree or to get access to family records, such as photos, that your immediately family doesn’t have.
Follow your favorite family history resources. With social networks like Twitter you can follow genealogy websites and blogs of interest to you. This can be a good way to make sure you don’t miss announcements such as sales on access to family history databases or even free tools and downloads to help you keep your research organized.
I also found a few Apps that can be helpful also:
Ancestry – This app from Ancestry.com really isn’t that robust. It’s less about being able to do research on the road (I’d just use the full site for that), and more about carrying your Ancestry family tree with you to share with others. I find that useful because when I visit family out of town I often have new things to share in my tree. This lets me do that without lugging my laptop around everywhere I go.
Find Grave – This app gives you access to the FindAGrave database right on your mobile device. This is one of my favorite resources which I use before planning a family history trip. It helps you locate, identify, and preview grave sites of your ancestors.
MyHeritage – This app from MyHeritage.com is for members of the site. It gives you a little bit more functionality than the Ancestry app in that you can initiate searches right from the app in addition to tracking your tree.
Please let me know if you have any other tips or tricks for researching family history.