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Social Networking for Genealogists

   I’m surprised as I’m going around and giving lectures, how many avid genealogists, who log on to databases and “google” for ancestors avoid social networking like the plague!  When I ask why they’re not on Facebook or Twitter the usual response is some form of “I don’t care what people had for lunch!” defines social networking as: “an online community of people with a common interest who use a website or other technologies to communicate with each other and share information, resources, etc."  Doesn’t that define genealogists?

   I think people who avoid social networking are missing out on a great resource.  My introduction to Facebook was back in 2007 when my daughter called and said, “Guess what I did today?”  The answer was I went skydiving and there’s a video on Facebook. My response…what’s Facebook?  Well, I had to sign on to see the video.  Shortly after that people started to “friend” me.  How did they find me?

  Over the years my use of Facebook has increased.  My friends tend to be family (I get to check in on what my children are doing) and genealogists.  Genealogists are wonderful, sharing people.  Have a question about how to cite a source?  Follow Elizabeth Shown Mills.  A legal issue?  You’re likely to find an answer with the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell (she doesn’t give legal advice online, but writes fabulous blogs).  And if you have an Irish question, I hope you follow me…but not on my personal page, but at Donna Moughty Genealogy, a page devoted to Irish genealogy (no pictures of my kids or grandchild).

   On Donna Moughty Genealogy I curate information that I think is interesting for Irish researchers.  Some of the material references blogs I’ve written, but a lot of the information comes from others…specialists like John Grenham, Fiona Fitzsimons, Brian Donovan and Claire Santry.  Rather than trying to find all of the Irish specialists, you can just follow me.

   I do the same on Twitter, just in short bursts with a link to the extended article or information.  Want to know when FindMyPast is offering a free weekend or discounts?  Same with Ancestry or other important resources.  

   I find that even Facebook and Twitter users are not familiar with all of the resources available for genealogists.  I have ancestors from County Mayo, and there is a (very active) Facebook page devoted to that place (you have to request to join this closed forum).  If you have ancestors from a specific location, doesn’t make sense to find a resource where other people with ancestors from the same location will congregate?  People on this site are from all over the world, including local people from Mayo.  What a great place to ask a question.   

   When you sign up for an account on Facebook or Twitter you don’t have to post any information…to begin with, you can simply receive information, discovering individuals with a common interest who share or curate information in which you are interested.  On Facebook, to find a person or page, use the search feature in the top bar. The top results (below) are from posts I’ve made, and the bottom two, are my personal page and my genealogy page.

When you find a person or page of interest, you want to “friend” or “like” them on Facebook.  For example you can “friend” me on Facebook on my personal page (and see personal as well as genealogy content I post) by clicking on “Add Friend,” or you could “like” a particular post I’ve made and then make a comment such as “great presentation.”   😃

Add friend

 However, on my Donna Moughty Genealogy page, you can “like” the page, and then receive the posts I make in your news feed.  You can also comment or share any posts I make.

Like DMG Page

   Twitter works in a similar fashion, except you “follow” those individuals you are interested in.  If you find the information is not helpful, you can “unfollow” them as well.  You can search on the name of an individual, or on a “hashtag” [#].

   For example you can search on “#IrishGenealogy” or “#Ireland” to see what’s out there and who is tweeting.  


   My suggestion…jump in and test the waters.  It’s a great way to learn about new resources or methodologies to help you break through those brick walls   Post comments on my feeds and let me know what you think!

   Happy Hunting!

 Looking to research in Ireland?  Sign up now for either (or both) the Dublin or Belfast Research Trips scheduled for October 2016.  (A final decision on the Belfast trip will be made on 30 April so sign up now!)

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2018