Archive for June 2010

Using Facebook to unite your family

No Comments »

I have had a number of enquiries about my previous blog, where I have mentioned what a boon Facebook has been to me, in uniting me with lost or unknown family members, and assisting me in my own family history research.
So this is a brief tutorial on how to get your family interest group page started.
  • Sign yourself up for a Facebook account if you haven't done so already, and sign into your account.
  • You will see a link for "Groups" on the left hand side of your page.
  • Click "Groups". Then on the right hand side of the screen, click the button that says "Create a Group".
  • This takes you to another page, "STEP ONE" with a series of boxes that you need to fill in.
  • The first box is your Groups name.
  • Call it Genealogy - <name of people researching>
I have called mine for example:
Genealogy: Alexander McKENZIE (b Feb 1865) m Georgina SWANSON (b Apr 1869): ABERDEEN 
  • In the description field, type as much about your research interest as you can. Include full names, dates etc.
  • I also include a disclaimer stating that the group is open only to descendants/relatives and that if they request an invitation to join the group, they should state where they think they may be connected. It is important that your family feel that you are keeping their privacy safe.
  • I select "Common Interest" and "Families" in the group type scroll down menus.
  • The box "recent news", I reserve for my most up-to-date research breakthroughs, and try to keep updated.
  • I leave "office:" box blank, but I fill in my email address, so that I can be contacted.
  • If you have a family history website, then put the website address in the website box. I leave street address blank, but I do put my city in the town/city box.
  • Click "CREATE GROUP" at the bottom, which then takes you to "STEP TWO"
  • A series of options have been pre-selected. Read them carefully, but I leave them all as they are, EXCEPT the bottom subheading which says "ACCESS". I choose "this group is closed" for this option.
This means that your group will be able to be found by someone doing a search, but they won't be able to view anything other than brief details about the group, and they won't be able to post. If they want to join then they will have to request an invite.
  • Click SAVE, and it will ask you if you want to post the new group profile to your Facebook profile wall. I would say "Yes".
  • Lastly, you get the opportunity to invite people who are already your Facebook friends, and also to invite people via email, who aren't on Facebook list.
  • Keep your Facebook group up to date, with news. Use "Wall posts" to communicate with your family. Encourage them to post family pictures and anecdotes.
I hope people find this useful. If there is enough interest in this subject, I may hold a workgroup in the near future.

Good luck, and have fun!


Family Reunions

No Comments »

It's my experience that family history brings families together. Not just with the ones that have passed away, but also with the ones still very much alive. Its also a great way of meeting new family members too! 

Years ago, when I first started my family history, I was introduced to new family members in person - who then gave me information about their branch or twig. 

A wee bit later, I progressed to posting queries on RootsWeb message boards, and was tickled pink to get email responses from other people who were also tracing their family tree, and had found we had relatives in common. 

Eventually, closer relatives that I had never met also got in touch. I have spread my net wide, and have posted my "interests" as we family historians call it, on various genealogy websites. I am always excited and amazed when I get a response from a posting that I made 10 years ago. 

I thank goodness that I chose and maintain a webmail address, so that I would always be found, no matter what country I live in, and no matter who my Internet Service Provider is. 

In more recent years, I have made great use of Facebook. I started genealogy interest group pages in the names of the four main branches of my father's family, and the four main branches of my mother's family. Just this year, so far, I have "met" six new family members, and in turn, been introduced to their immediate families. 

Like so many families today, our geographic spread is far and wide: UK (Scot-Eng-Ire-Wales), Spain, South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

But the internet brings closer together and makes us neighbours . . . 

Also, a heads up to let you all know that the 1901 Census for Ireland is due to be launched on 3 June 2010 (UK time) and will be free. The site is fully searchable . 

Along with the 1911, this is the only fully surviving pre-independence census for Ireland so is quite important for those with family in Ireland at the time.

Happy hunting to you all . . .