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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

7 Social Networks for Family Historians

Family historians tend to make good social networkers - in other words, they are skilled at building connections with other people through social interactions. Bearing this in mind, it isn't surprising that as a group they have embraced the rise of Web 2.0, or in plain English, genealogists quickly discovered ways to utilise new websites and technologies which allow users to build communities of like-minded folk.

Over the last couple of years, a number of social networks have sprung up, some designed specifically for use by genealogists, others which are more general, but still extremely useful to anyone who wants to connect with other researchers, or find people who are researching the same lines. Today, I'd like to take a look at a handful you might find useful.

Facebook - Facebook is one of the most popular networks, and although not intended as a genealogy tool, it does have a thriving community of family historians who socialise, share advice and take part in writing challenges and carnivals. The site can also be a useful tool for finding long lost relatives. Since I have been a member I have been contacted by 3 previously unknown cousins who found me by simply using the name search tool. However, this might not work as well if you have a popular surname. There are also a small number of applications which members can add to their pages to display a family tree and/or find others who are researching the same lines, and a Blog Network application (you can see my network widget in the far right sidebar) which you can use to find interesting genealogy blogs.

Genmates - This is a new, but growing, purpose made network. Features include forums where members can post their research interests or ask for advice, blogs, events, photo albums and an events listing board. The site is very easy to use and you have the option of email notifications to keep you up to date with new messages and posts. Because of the ease of use, I would suggest this as good site for anyone who is new to social networking.

My Heritage - Another purpose made site, but this one is more sophisticated. Members can build a family tree, either manually or by uploading a gedcom, add photos, post to the message boards, contact other members, and download the accompanying family tree software package to coordinate their online and offline research. There is also a powerful search tool, but I've found it seems to concentrate mainly on US relevant resources - the site is still new so that may change.

Ancestry UK and Ancestry.com - Although, Ancestry is really designed for research, there are a number of community features which give the site a social feel. You can upload and share your family tree, leave message in the forums, or search for other people who share your research interests.

Geneanet - Particularly useful for anyone searching on the European mainland, you can upload your gedcom, use the forums, contact other members, and contribute to the wiki. The site is available in both English and French.

My Family - Made by the people behind Ancestry, features include photo albums, online family tree, discussion boards and video uploading. You have the option of keeping your tree private, only sharing it with those you invite.

Amiglia - I haven't used this site, but it seems to be similar to My Family. Features include family tree, photo albums, calendars and maps. There is also a tool called Family Facebook which displays all your friends on one page along with contact options.

Any suggestions of your own? Why not share them in the comments =>

1 comment:

  1. Anyone have experience with Geni? I'm using MyHeritage and love it but I have a few family members already on Geni. One of the significant strengths of those collaborative Trees is that all your family members contribute; that said, they don't work as well if your family is using different sites.