Family history and social media

LoboStudioHamburg / Pixabay

ANZAncestryTime this week was looking at the use of social media for family history.

1. Which format(s) of social media do you use in your #familyhistory research and communication?

Most participants use Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Some use LinkedIn and others Instagram and Pinterest. But all agree networking is important to keep up with webinars and seminars and general genealogical information. A new group similar to Facebook is Ancestorian – see link below.

Fran: The main ones I can share things I find and my own research via sharing blog links. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Each has a different use. Also use messenger a lot for discussions, chat, etc

Pauleen: when I question the time I spend on FB it’s because it’s my go-to place to discover new info these days or clues about places or, for example, DNA.

ANZ: Facebook groups can be very helpful resources. Especially those with photos of ancestral places

Caitie: I’m part of so many genealogy groups on Facebook for learning – DNA based, locality based – family groups for sharing etc. I love Twitter chats when I am free to participate!

Jane: I have used Facebook in the past but am using ancestorian.com more and more

Carmel: forgot to mention Flickr for sharing family albums and Google photos for the same. Email – for elderly rellies and society members some of who are frightened of FB

Karen: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I have found a lot of incredibly useful information on Twitter, through feeds such as: @TroveAustralia @nlagovau @slqld @statelibrarynsw @naagovau

Caitie: I forgot to mention YT!! Those who know, know I did genealogy videos back in 2014-2015 ish. I have many ideas for videos and should get back to it but you know, time.

Alex: I am probably using that increasingly and think that we should use it more as a Society. We’ve posted some good stuff lately. youtube.com/channel/UC043s…

Sue: I created a video and put on YouTube about how to use a blog for your family history when helping with Intro at UTAS Diploma youtu.be/5JnZzpYrLxY

Shauna: I only use YouTube for learning about genealogy resources – must try doing some videos. I liked @caitieamanda when she was doing them- sigh another thing on the to do list

Maggie: I’m loving Twitter at the moment, to keep up to date and to interact with other family historians. FB has been good for niche interests, but I’m not as active on there. WhatsApp for family/colleague chat. I don’t like it much, give me a decent mailing list anyday, but that’s where some friends and fam hang out, so gotta go where they are

Liz: I use Twitter, Facebook and email lists and forums mainly but also have a small blog with the names I research and starting to write small articles about some of my ancestors

Sue: Used to use rootsweb and rootschat but now use the io group – member of a Tas Convict group and Tas general group

Carmel: Deleted LinkedIn account when I retired in a digital clean up. Now try to not take out too many new subscriptions, need to limit Social media time compared to real time

Claire: Facebook business page, my own blog (cbgenealogy.ie), newsletter approx monthly. I use Twitter for general chat & also @boards for our genealogy forum for longer queries there

Hilary: I use Discord for interacting with others on WikiTree with common interests a more immediate way of interacting

Helen: Another source that has been helpful for me is the ‘Knitting Genealogists’ group within @ravelry – incredibly helpful if you are a ravelry user!

Alex: ooh I did not know this. (Goes off to join group on Ravelry). I’m bookluvvie on Ravelry.

Helen: knitsontrains – not that I do that anymore! Not so much for Aus stuff (I could reciprocate if folks were interested) but other ravelers have been very generous looking up stuff in Canadian newspapers for me!

Margaret: I’m on a lot of the DNA matching Facebook groups – but have not had much luck in making connections.

WCH: Social media was focused on just Twitter for a long time, as I didn’t want to deal with potential racism on Facebook. The Facebook page I eventually set up gets less interesting interaction than the Twitter account, generally. I just started using LinkedIn.

Pauleen: I was just debating whether blogging is social media or not. Personally I’d include it because the comments and interactions are what built up my genea-network. I also draw lots of people interested in a person or topic. For me that makes it “social”.

Alex: I think Instagram is very visual so have only participated in photo memes. I am contemplating recording interviews for our Society because I think that might get more takeup on Insta.

geralt / Pixabay

2. Which social media do you prefer for your own family history? Why?

Again Facebook got the highest amount of positive comments.

Karen: Twitter – can reach out to like-minded researchers. Facebook – longer posts Instagram – can be good for telling stories. E.g. Am thinking of doing some ANZAC Day posts this year about soldiers in my extended family who died in the wars.

Shauna: for my own genealogy I have a database and I have been downsizing my binders to a Word text document with scanned images. I think this will be more useful than heavy binders going forward.

Helen: Twitter for me so far (thanks @MsFrugalone!) but this may show my age – my students have told me they get answers to EVERYTHING on Reddit! Haven’t checked it out for family history though

Alex: I think ALIA (Librarians Professional Association) uses Discord for Trivia competitions 🙂 Perhaps we could have Trivia for Genealogists on Discord 🙂

Sue: When doing the Diploma of Family History UTAS in 2014 I started private Facebook groups when each subject began, I still run those groups

Alex: and I thank you from the bottom of my heart dear Sue. They were so valuable and important in terms of keeping me on track and abreast of glitches or hiccups.

Sharn: Alex I learned more about how to do things via those social media UTAS groups than from the Uni. They were amazing!

Alex: yes we set up a Facebook group for graduates from our Beginners course at QFHS so they could keep in touch and keep learning together. They were also invaluable doing the UTAS course.

Greg: Greg posting under Ancestorian account. I used Facebook a LOT but found many groups impersonal, often with admins who bordered on outright abusive. I didn’t like how Facebook takes control over how groups operate. Never saw how to use Pinterest or Insta.

Alex: hmmm. I think it’s Blogger for me because I just love the ability to record research. I like the interaction on blogs as well. I’ve been burned on Twitter (not this group obviously) and Facebook can be all consuming. Not being able to search it is a pain.

Caitie: Facebook and blogging. It reaches more people and is in a friendlier format for those I’m sharing directly with like my family.

Dara: I love Facebook groups and pages for following local history, so many old pics and stories shared, even found some of my dad and granda.

Sue: Definitely blog and Facebook which I actually started when I went travelling around USA Canada so a way of family knowing how and where I was

Fiona: Facebook Messenger group as its a great way to share news and get discussion going on images and family stories. It’s more direct rather than a page or group page that can get lost in a feed. For a wider family group a fb group works.

GDJ / Pixabay

3. Which social media do you prefer for family history societies or groups? Why?

Linda: recently heard of a new website called Ancestorian, think of Facebook but for genealogists/researchers only, has loads of different groups, have joined many groups but rarely used it as yet

Jane: ancestorian.com works really well for groups. … built just for family history (doesn’t collect and sell your data like some other sm sites do). Lots of groups already and any member can start a new group if their particular interest isn’t covered.

Carmel: FB for societies but must admit it annoys me that a refresh of personal page, as often happens when one navigates away to follow a link, loses the order in which one was reading hence often need to search for a post again from a group or society

Fran: I prefer Facebook Groups for the society members only, where I’m the social media person. A Facebook page for general society sharing of our own and others content.

Sue: if a society has a facebook group with lots of members then when it comes time for membership payment, just putting a notice on there about how to pay easily will build members

Karen: Many of the “new” cousins I have met have shared images and stories that I had no idea about. While this has mostly been done via email, FB groups have also been helpful. However, I love the library and archival feeds on Twitter! Have learnt SO much.

Fran: I use @feedly to find material to share online that hopefully is useful to society members and family historians

Sharn: I definitely prefer Facebook for Societies and Groups because I can visit and catch up more easily than on Twitter. But Twitter chats are great for learning especially #HouseHistoryHr and #ANZAncestryTime and #AncestryHour

Sue: I’m a member of Sorell Historical Society FB group and often mention what I am going to write about in my @OnePlaceStudies and get ideas from members including images

Alex: I think most of our demographic are flat out getting on Facebook let alone any of the other social media platforms.There’s a healthy disrespect for social media. I do think people need to be digitally literate i.e. understand where info is from.

Caitie: Very true! My mum joined Facebook for a month and couldn’t understand it but she loves Twitter & has her own twitter account. She will probably see this tweet 🤣

Pauleen: Which I suppose shows we need to share our info on different platforms if we want yo maximise the impact.

Pauleen: And to understand privacy settings. I check out how tightly people control that and only accept people I know in person or who I’ve followed in genealogy for a long time. It’s great for keeping international connections too.

Fran: I find Facebook messenger groups are great. You can have a real conversation with a select bunch. It’s easy to go back and check out previous discussions as it is not in a pile of other non related posts.

Hilary: I use Google Group and Discord for interacting with groups on @wikitree as well as their forum

Linda:  I prefer Facebook Groups, I’m in numerous one’s for surnames, places, English Counties, DNA, and just general groups for queries, would like to use Twitter more for genealogy but don’t find it as user friendly as a Facebook group, Instagram I don’t use at all

Fiona: I keep up with many groups via their blogs or fb pages as they give timely info. But like Greg (@ancestorian) I don’t like how you have little control over what is picked for you fb feed.

Pauleen: We have an ANZ FB group for fans of local and family history blogs and another for the bloggers to get advice or swap notes. Very handy to meet new bloggers and promote our own blog posts. Do you share yours in a private FB group Tara?

Fran: Groups are great that you can restrict membership to people. Great advantage for families and societies or topics that you wish to focus on.

geralt / Pixabay

4. Can you recommend any tech apps or techniques to manage your social media?

Fiona: No social media before lunchtime.

Fran: I love apps that integrate. For example I use Co-Schedule, @buffer or @hootsuite to post on most of my work, society and personal social media posts. I like being able to schedule. Integrate with my apple products, WordPress blog, IFTTT and more.

Paul: Bit late to the party but I use the app buffer for scheduling tweets and posts it’s a great tool

Karen: While I do not like the way Adobe does business (e.g. huge fees for cancelling a monthly subscription), I do like their Adobe Spark software which can be used to create posts with the right specs for different social media sites.

Sue: I used to use flipboard to collate great posts from students in the blogging challenge I ran worldwide from 2007 – 2017

Carmel: Used IFTTT and Zapier for a while but really don’t post enough to bother with them.

Tara: Excellent reminder that Tweetdeck is a great way to keep on top of Twitter feeds.

Alex: I inherited an amazing Excel calendar from the former Facebook coordinator at QFHS. I spend about a morning once a month scheduling posts for our events. The rest I do ad hoc from browsing. But I probably need to use something like Loomly.

Shauna: I like TweetDeck for Twitter as I can see multiple streams at the same time. Using hashtags is also very useful for bringing information together

Caitie: This is what I need help with. I don’t really have a posting schedule either so to speak. If I think of something to share, I just share it.

Wellington Chinese History (WCH): I use Google calendar for important events and dates, and zapier.com “zaps” to automatically send out tweets and post to Facebook and LinkedIn.

geralt / Pixabay

Blog posts:

Fiona: creating a Feedly account to collate posts you want to read

General comments:

Sharn: I’m grateful that Social Media and Zoom have allowed me to stay in touch with and meet new people!

Helen: Was disappointed when they killed the forums on @TroveAustralia & the ability to contact other members. When you were able to work out who might have textcorrected/tagged things of interest you could contact them. I had a great family connection success this way

ANZ: Sometimes we have to restrict notifications so we manage social media, not the other way round.

Readers: What social media do you prefer for your family history? Why and how?

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One thought on “Family history and social media

  1. Thanks again for the summary Sue. This discussion was so busy and I’m looking forward to reading your wrap up

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