Genealogy Social Networking Day 31 - Online Family Trees

First off...Happy Halloween! We've come to the last day of Family History Month.

The last thing I will talk about for social networking is Online Family Trees. I have covered a couple of the big sites that host online family trees earlier this month. There are others I haven't mentioned as well. In those I mostly focused on how to contact individual users and connect on the site. Not all online family trees are visible to the public, some people choose to keep theirs private.

There are also personal family tree websites. Some are hosted through other big sites (e.g. Famberry or Family Pursuit...), some are self-hosted websites. While family trees through those sites are often restricted so just family members can view them, self-hosted sites are usually publicly available. They usually have a family tree, sources for their information, and stories and photos. There is no standard template, so finding information on a site may be difficult. One nice thing about stand alone websites is that they are searchable. You should be able to find them with any search engine (like Google).

As for family trees hosted on the big sites (Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast...), you can search the site for names and information. Doing this can lead you to more sources and filling in branches of your own tree. If the tree want to see is private, you can request access to it, or send a message to the owner and ask if they have certain information you want.

I hope you search for family trees online, and search within the big sites for other trees that match up with yours.

Happy Family History Month!

Genealogy Social Networking Day 30 - LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It focuses on business connections. It can be great for genealogists as well. There are genealogy groups on LinkedIn, and many genealogists have profiles there. If you are in one of these groups, or connected to other genealogists, you can easily find people with expertise in areas you need help in. Likewise, if you have an expertise in some area, others can find you or recommend you to people needing help.
With the business focus, you can have more specific conversations without wading through memes and other nonsense (Facebook, I'm looking at you). You can connect with professional genealogists, or hobbyists, but you are sure to find people with the same passion for genealogy that you have. It isn't as social as other sites, but is still a good place to find other genealogists.

Do you connect with genealogists on LinkedIn?

52 Ancestors Week 43 - Louis DeValkeneer

This weeks theme is "Oops" over on No Story Too Small. We have a funny family 'oops' story that involves my 2nd great uncle Louis DeValkeneer and the city of Pittsburgh. The story goes something like this:

After coming to America in 1910, Louis and his family were going to take a train to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but mistakenly got a ticket for Pittsburg, Kansas. Eventually they made their way back up to Pennsylvania to join the rest of the DeValkeneer family, which had all settled in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA.

This would just remain a funny family story, but then one day, while doing a general genealogy search for the name DeValkeneer (since almost everyone I've ever seen with the name is related to me) I came across something interesting. In the 1915 Kansas state census, in Crawford County, there is a listing for Louis De Valkeneer, his wife and 3 children. They live in Washington Township, which buts right next to Pittsburg, KS.

Maybe it's not just a silly story after all.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 29 - Yahoo! Groups

Yahoo! has a forum-type section of their site called Yahoo Groups. There are groups for just about everything. They were popular before Facebook became such a huge thing, but some of the groups are still going strong. There are lots of different genealogy groups.

You can find general groups like "Ancestor Hunters", geography specific ones like "Pennsylvania Genealogy, topic specific like "DNA-Newbie" for genetic genealogy, or surname ones like "Burton Genealogy". There is a search engine on the site that lets you narrow down what kinds of groups you want to look for (or posts within a group).

Some groups are small but very active, others are large but quieter. Once you join a group you can look through all the previous posts, photos, files, or links to find further information. While they may not be as popular as some Facebook groups, they are still a wealth of information, and if you find an active group you can have more personal communication and genealogy help. Definitely worth checking out.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 28 - The NextGen Genealogy Network

The NextGen Genealogy Network is specifically designed to help network younger genealogists. They are trying to bring together all generations of genealogists, while helping the next generation feel included and find their place.

As a younger genealogist myself, I am often surrounded by people of my parents or even grandparents generation. I totally see the need for finding more inclusive ways of bringing younger people into the community. That's where NextGen comes in.

Young genealogists sometimes have a hard time finding their voice in an older community, but with the explosion of internet resources for genealogy it is easier to get them involved. NextGen targets genealogists in their 20's, 30's, and 40's, though they welcome anyone who wants to join. They arrange meetups at genealogy conferences so you can meet other young genealogists in person. They have occasional Twitter chats and Google+ Hangouts to further the conversation online.

If you are a 'next generation' genealogist, are you part of the NextGen Network?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 27 - Conferences

There are many local genealogy conferences all over the world, especially in the US. Most people go to the conferences to learn new things about genealogy and new resources or ways to use the resources. It is pretty neat to be in a room with hundreds of other genealogists all learning together.

Face-to-face interaction is the original social networking. You certainly don't need the internet to do that. And conferences are a great place to meet new people and find others with common interests and goals. I have been to our local conference 2 years in a row now, and have quite enjoyed it. I was probably one of the youngest people there (which is an odd feeling when you are in your 30's), but always felt welcome by the people around me. We were all there for the same reason, and age or ability level didn't seem to make much difference.

While at a conference you often break out into small classes about specific topics. This is a great time to interact with and meet others who are interested in those topics, as well as meeting the presenter. Meal times you can sit with new people and talk to them about their research. There is often a vendor fair where you can explore different products and services and find people also looking into the same things you are, buying the same books, joining the same organization, etc.

Don't pass up an opportunity to network with others in person at a conference.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 26 - BillionGraves

BillionGraves is a website for photographing and transcribing headstones. You use an app on a smart phone to take a photo, which is geo-tagged with the GPS location of the headstone.  It's such a cool thing, especially when your ancestor is buried in a very large cemetery. Anyone who downloads the app, and signs up for the free site, can photograph a cemetery. Volunteers can also transcribe photographs, which is great for people without smart phones.

When transcribing, you can input the information on the headstone. After the record is created, other information can be added. Family members can linked together, obituary and personal history added, even other supporting records can be uploaded (like a printed obituary or death record).

There is a community page where you can ask questions and talk with others on the site. They have a leaderboard for top contributors, both photographing and transcribing each month. I made it onto the board one month when I photographed several local cemeteries. I know it doesn't really mean much, but it's fun to see your name on there.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 25 - Find A Grave

There are many resources online to find ancestors. Find A Grave is a site to literally find them, in their final resting place. It involves memorial pages for each person, with places to connect them to other family members as well as room to write a biography or transcribe an obituary. Photos of the headstones can also be posted.

The information on Find A Grave is completely free. It is also searchable both on the website and through other sites like Ancestry and FamilySearch. You can join for free and save memorial pages of your ancestors into your own 'virtual cemetery'. This is great for keeping your ancestors easy to find when you need to refer back to the page. Or, you can suggest changes to the pages, adding family members or biographical information. If you find the memorial of a direct ancestor, within the past couple generations, you can request to become the owner of the memorial.

You can also become a contributor to the site. As a contributor, you can upload photos of graves, or just help transcribe photos others have uploaded. You can also 'pay it forward' by taking photos for other people. If someone wants a photo, they put in a request for it. Then, local genealogists can choose to claim and fulfill the request, go take a photo, and upload to the page. Any member can request a photo, and upload photos for others.

There are also community forums for Find A Grave. You can ask questions and join discussions on various genealogy and cemetery topics. You can also view galleries of interesting and even humorous headstones and epitaphs. Definitely worth going to the forums if you are a regular Find A Grave user.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 24 - is a family tree social networking site. It is designed to bring living family members together to share and preserve your memories and family history. You can keep track of your current family stories as well as those from the past.

You can build a family tree manually or start with importing from other social networks. You can combine family trees, merging your with your cousins. Together you can research your family history. You can search through millions of historical records on the site and add it to your tree.

Much like other social networks you can add photos and videos, and comment on other's photos. There is a family map to keep track of your family's locations as well. They have an app to make it easy to keep in touch on the go.

52 Ancestors Week 42 - Jean Baptiste Henri

I know very little about Jean Baptiste Henri. All I really know is he is the father listed on Irma Henri's birth record. From her birth record we know he was born around 1840, probably in Belgium. And in 1868-1872 he and his wife Adele Dumont lived in Chatelineau, Belgium. I have searched for other records of him and his wife, but I haven't found anything yet.
If anyone has more information about my great-great-grandfather and his family, let me know.

Adele Dumont ?-?

Maria Celina Henri 1868–?
Irma Henri 1872–1947

Genealogy Social Networking Day 23 - Family Tree DNA

If you do genealogy chances are you have probably heard of using DNA to find information about your family history. Family Tree DNA is one of the big companies that provides DNA testing for genealogy. They provide Y-DNA, mt-DNA, and Autosomal DNA testing.

After you get your results you can find others who have matching DNA. There are DNA projects you can join, many are surname or location based. They also have forums to connect with others. In the forums you can get all sorts of questions answered, and learn how to use your DNA results to help trace or confirm your genealogy.

23 and Me also does DNA testing, but doesn't have the supporting community the same way Family Tree DNA does. Ancestry DNA provides limited testing, but is supported by genealogy community and family trees. Ancestry DNA can be transferred to Family Tree DNA for a small fee, so you can use the one basic test to get the benefit of both sites.

Have you tested your DNA for genealogy purposes?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 22 - WikiTree

WikiTree is a free family tree website. They are creating one giant world family tree, wiki-style. They have different types of memberships (all free). A Guest Member can participate in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum, upload a GEDCOM, and can comment on profiles on the WikiTree. A Family Member can do everything a Guest can do, but they are added in as a family member by one of the 'Genealogists'. Once added in they can make changes to some of the profiles and add some information to them. Finally Genealogists are full participating members of the site and sign an honor code to help fulfill the mission of the site, and do genealogy work on the tree.

Each person on the family tree gets their own profile page. On that page you can enter information, cite your sources, add family members, stories, and photos. You can collaborate on the work with other researchers. The G2G boards allow you to ask questions and get research help. You can tag your posts, follow tags so you get notifications if others use the same tags (e.g. a surname), and answer questions. If you find a genealogist you trust with your information (i.e. they are your cousin or something) you can invite them to see the full profile of living people. Living and recently deceased people have more privacy built in on the site, and the further back in time you go with the tree the fewer privacy restrictions.

Are you a volunteer genealogist on WikiTree?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 21 - YouTube

YouTube is not typically a place you think of going for genealogy. Don't let the cute cat videos fool you, there is a lot of great information to be had on YouTube. Just searching the word 'genealogy' brings up over 120,000 results.

There are organizations that use YouTube to post videos, including archives, libraries, societies, family tree companies, and many more. You can find videos from popular shows like Finding Your Roots and Genealogy Roadshow,, Genealogy Gems, and Family Tree Magazine among many others. Just about any topic you want to learn about has a video full of information.

Each video (with few exceptions) allows you to share it and comment on it. You can link to it from just about anywhere on the web and in social media. For smaller YouTube channels, the owners/posters may even respond to questions in the comments and interact with their audience. Or you can interact with the other commenters yourself.

Go check out a video and learn something new!

Genealogy Social Networking Day 20 - Family Pursuit

Family Pursuit has 2 basic options, a personal family tree website, or a community tree. Joining the Community Tree is free, but hosting your private family tree is a paid subscription (all members of a site pay just one fee). They say one of their goals is to create a community for genealogists to network, share knowledge, and build relationships.

The Community Tree is a wiki based tree, where anyone can add information and people to the tree. With the community tree you can collaborate and network with many other genealogists all working toward one large family tree. Changes that are made can be undone if something was wrong. You can add ancestors to your 'watch' list, so if others make changes you can see them right away. You can also create research projects for yourself or multiple users.

The personal family tree websites are for you to collaborate just with the family members you want to. You can make your own family tree, and invite others individually to view and work on your tree with you. You can create assignments and projects for people on your site, which keeps duplicate research to a minimum. You also get notified when changes are made, so you know when people add information and sources. The private trees can also be synced with the FamilySearch tree, if you choose to activate that option.

Do you use Family Pursuit to pursue your family history?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 19 - Genealogy Wise

Genealogy Wise is a genealogy specific social network. In this website there are groups, either location, topic or surname specific, forums, classes you can take (offered through The National Institute for Genealogical Studies), blog posts by members, instructional videos, and online chats. It's a bit like Facebook and forum websites combined, but just for genealogists. And with over 38,000 members, there are lots of people to connect with.
Within your profile on the site, you can list surnames you are researching as well as locations. You can also search through existing members to find others researching your same surnames and connect directly with them. There are groups for various surnames and locations (lots of surnames actually).
In the chat rooms, there are scheduled chats about specific subjects. There are also places for free chatting to ask questions, get help, and socialize with other genealogists. They also offer private chats which are one-on-one between people. This can be helpful if you are getting specific help on something, and it's faster than other messaging options.
There is a way to upload photos, but this isn't a photo sharing site, so keep them relevant, and you only get 100 photos. You can also upload up to 30 videos. If you have expert knowledge in a particular topic, you can create a video and upload it for easy sharing on the site. You can write blog posts and put them on the website. They will show up as a blog feed on your profile page as well as in the general blog posts feed.

Have you connected with others locally or with your surnames through Genealogy Wise?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 18 - MyHeritage

MyHeritage is another family tree website. It actually now owns Geni (that we looked at yesterday). It is one of the major tree based websites for people to do genealogy online. They own the rights to several collections of historical records, which are searchable on their site. Being internationally based, they have many resources for searching outside the US.
On MyHeritage you can create your own family tree 'website'. You can attach photos and stories, and invite others to see your tree. You can then share events with them and collaborate on your genealogy research. You can choose to have your tree be public or private, or just parts of it public (like privatizing more recent generations and living people). There is an option to create family tree charts as well, which you can print from home with all the information already in place for you.
They connect easily with several apps including BillionGraves, Family Tree Builder, and Timebook. Timebook uses the information you put into your family tree and generates a book about your genealogy. Of course, they have their own MyHeritage app too.
When you input a person into your family tree, the site not only searches for historical records that match your information, they also search for other trees that have the same person. They call these 'smart matches'. If the other person has their tree public, you can see all the related information, and find out if you have the same ancestors. It is a fast way to connect with others who are researching the same people as you.
You can contact the owners of the other family trees, which is helpful if you have questions about where they got their information. You can see if they have attached sources or citation to their information right on the ancestors profile page. Being able to see who else may share your relative and be able to contact them is a wonderful thing when researching.

Do you use their Smart Matches to contact other genealogists?

52 Ancestors Week 41 - Robert Gregory

Robert Gregory was born in Aldbrough, Yorkshire, England sometime around 1823 or 1826. I'm not completely sure which. Some of the censuses say 1823, others say 1826. There are also christening records from the small area for early 1824 and one from 1827 for the name Robert Gregory. So, I think he is either the child of William and Margaret Gregory or John and Hannah Gregory. Again, I'm not sure which it is. One of these days I'll send a request for his marriage record, which should have at least his father's name on it.

In the second quarter of 1850 he married Mary Ann Alderson. According to the 1851 census he was an Ag. Laborer. They soon had a child named Mary Ann. Then, they up and moved to Durham county (a couple miles away really) to work in the coal mines. They lived in Newfield for a while, having more kids. Eventually Robert started working at the Castle Eden Colliery, and moved his family into housing there.

Sometime in the second quarter of 1897, in his 70's, Robert died in Easington, Durham, England.

Mary Ann Alderson 1831–?

Mary Ann Gregory 1852–1926
Jane Gregory 1857–1930
Robert Gregory 1860–?
William Gregory 1862–1900
Isabella Gregory 1864–?
Margaret Ellen Gregory 1865–?
Elizabeth Gregory 1868–1901
John S. Gregory 1874–1951

Genealogy Social Networking Day 17 - Geni

Geni is a family tree website. They have both free and paid versions. You can create a family tree and invite you family to join. You can upload photos, documents, and other information about each person on your tree. Anyone can share their tree with anyone else and share documents and research. With a paid subscription you can choose to 'merge' your tree with the main worldwide family tree they have created.
When you create a tree you can choose to include contact information for living relatives and invite them to be a part of your tree, for them to view it and add to it. There is a family calendar, timeline, and news features that can be used with your tree. Within your family group you can highlight changes made to the tree, to spotlight research you all have been doing.
If you do a search through the website you can find other family trees that may include your relatives. You can use this to find more distant living relatives. You can then contact them and share information and even join each others family tree group.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 16 - Podcasts

Podcasts are like a radio show that happens intermittently. They usually consist of experts in their given field talking about various subjects. They may talk about the latest news or products, or give information about resources and techniques for doing research.

Some podcasts provide opportunities for callers to ask questions, allowing the audience to participate. It's pretty cool that you can call and ask your questions to an expert and get advice right away. Most also keep an archive of past casts, so you can go back and listen to them anytime.

There are several genealogy blogs and sites that have podcasts, and they usually post a schedule and even a topic. Here is a short list of places to go for genealogy podcasts.
Family Tree Magazine
The Genealogy Guys
Genealogy Gems
Blog Talk Radio (lots of different topics, including genealogy)
BBC Tracing Your Roots

I'm sure there are more out there, this is just a selection. There are also podcasts out there for history, if you want to learn more about some of the general history your ancestors lived through.

Now go listen to a podcast.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 15 - Famberry

Looking for a way to share your family history and work on a family tree with members of your own family? That's what Famberry is there for. You can sign up for a free account, make a family tree, and invite others in your family to join you. The trees are secure and private, so you can add in names and dates of living people without the whole world seeing it. You can share family photos and stories as well.

It has a traditional family tree structure, allowing you to go forward or back in generations. It also has a way to create a timeline for your family as you add in dates. You can create calendars, which is a great way to remember each others birthdays and anniversaries.

You have 1 terabyte of space for storing photos and messages.  It's an interesting way to connect with living relatives, as well as add information about ancestors.

They do have a way of searching for your ancestors on other trees, to allow you to connect with more distant relatives. You can keep your information secure from them if you want, or build a new relationship with them and invite them in.

The main goal is to help maintain and build family relationships. Wouldn't doing family history be a great way to do that? Check out Famberry if you are interested.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 14 - WhatWasThere

WhatWasThere is another photo/map pinning site. On this site there are basically just two tags for a photo, the location and the date taken. While the focus seems to be historic photos, there are current photos as well (since some day even they will be historic). The goal is to "weave together a photographic history of the world" Some of the photos can be overlayed onto Google street view.

The site isn't as focused on the social aspect however, so you can't directly connect to others who have posted. You can see their username, and the copyright information, and what the source of the photo was (usually a personal collection). The site does have a Facebook page and a Twitter account that they post things to often. So, you can follow them and connect to people that way.

Have you posted any photos to WhatWasThere?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 13 - WeRelate is a wiki family tree. It is sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc., in partnership with the Allen County Public Library. You can create profiles of your ancestors, include photos and documents for your research, cite sources, and add in a family tree. If your ancestor is already on there, you can add information to them. Others can also see what you've done, and make changes or add information.

It's a great free service that is trying to create a single unified family tree. So far it has pages for over 2.6 million people. Each person gets their own page, with information and stories. You can write a biography for example.

They also have weekly contests to find information on people and attach sources to the page. You can also volunteer to help. They have lots of ways to help maintain the website, or you can help others break through brick walls on their ancestor.

Are your ancestors on WeRelate?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 12 - Flickr

Flickr is a photo sharing site. It's like Facebook just for photos. You can join groups, post photos, like other's photos, comment on them, and share you photos in lots of ways. One cool thing about it is that it's not just people posting photos, it's also libraries, museums, and archives including the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, even Getty images.

There are lots of cool genealogy related groups. Some are families, some are places, some more general. You can join lots of groups and post to any or all of them, or just look through what others have posted. For example, there is a group for West Virginia Cemeteries. So if I have photos of my ancestors headstones buried in WV, I can post to that group. Or I can find other more artistic photos of the cemetery and monuments.

You can find old photos from around the world, both of people and places. And you can upload your own family photos. You can choose to have them public or private, so it can be used as a backup even if you don't want the whole world to see. The best part is that you get a free terabyte to fill with your photos.

Do you use Flickr for genealogy?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 11 - HistoryPin

Ever wish you could see old photos from the places your ancestor lived? Or, have you seen photos and wondered where exactly they were taken, and what it looks like now? That's where HistoryPin comes in.

The whole aim of HistoryPin is to bring people together and share history. It is a London based company, with lots of photos of the UK already on there. They have expanded around the globe though, and the more users, the better it will get. They don't just have individual people posting photos, they have libraries, archives and museums posting as well.

They take a Goggle map, and pin photos to it. They even have some location photos overlayed right into a Google Street View photo. Some of the photos are historical, some are current photos of landmarks and historical plaques and monuments.

When you click on a photo it gives you a few options. First, is the basic information about the photo, where it is from, who posted it, and tags. You can click on the tags and find related photos.
The next tab on the photo page is 'Comments and Suggestions'. Here you can post your own comment, put additional information about the photo if you have any, ask questions, anything you want.

Then comes 'repeats'. It's modern photo replicas of historic photos. These can be taken with the HistoryPin app. If you know where a photo was taken, you can go there and take a modern photo of the same place. It's kind of neat to see how things have changed over the years. And the last tab has copyright information.

You'll also notice that there are social media links on each photo. You can share the photo in multiple ways with the push of a button. How convenient.

Definitely check this out today!

Genealogy Social Networking Day 10 - Societies

Genealogy societies have been an important place for genealogists to get together for a long time. Even now they are common places for researchers to gather. Many have a web presence, local meetings, publications, and libraries of information. They also have experienced people to help you in your own research.

There are groups based on lineage or surname, location, or other commonalities (religion, military service, ethnicity, interest groups...). If you have a particular interest in an area of genealogy, there is probably a group for that. The fee to join is usually pretty small.

There are lots of local societies here in the US. And you don't have to live near an area to be in the society. For example if you live on the west coast, but have lots of family in one county on the east coast, you can still join the local society over there. They can be very helpful in finding local resources, answering questions, and might even do a quick lookup for you in their library. If they publish a newsletter, you will get that too, which might contain important information on your family or research area. It can connect you to many other researchers who are working in your area of interest, and might be connected to your own family.

Or you can join a society that is local to you and make friends with researchers in your home town even if you don't have family history in the area. Many societies will have meetings where you get together in person with others in the society. There is something awesome about meeting like minded individuals in person, especially now that the internet is so prevalent. People now often think of social networking as an online activity, but consider going 'old school' and meeting face to face.

Some societies will hold annual conferences where they bring in bigger name speakers. Others stick to smaller meetings with local speakers to talk about different subjects. Some societies do charity work; others offer free classes. There is always something to be gained by joining.

Do you belong to a genealogical society?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 9 - Instagram

Instagram is not a place you would normally think of for family history. But, with millions of users, there are certainly ways to use it. Instagram is definitely for genealogists.

First that comes to mind is Throwback Thursday (#TBT) or Flashback Friday (#FBF). People post old photos instead of new ones. Some people post photos from just a couple years ago, but others post ones from grandparents photo albums or older. People post old photos of places they've been or their family is from. They post photos from their genealogy!

There are museums on Instagram, as well as the US National Archives, FamilySearch and other similar websites, and genealogy societies. Everyone seems to have at least some presence on Instagram these days. Along with a photo, they can post information or post a picture of a flyer. Some places post a schedule of events at their website or facility, post photos from a conference, or information on a hashtag they use to connect for a specific purpose.

And of course, it's an interesting way to document your own personal history. There are several companies that will print your Instagram photos directly from the site, no extra uploading (some that include your captions and the comments with it). Unlike twitter, you can use more than 140 characters to describe your photos. You can tell a story. You can also use hashtags to connect with others on the same topic, tag a location, or tag people (who will receive a notification that you tagged them). You can also choose to have your Instagram public or private. If you choose private, others must request to see your feed, so only those you want seeing your photos will be able to see them.

You can follow friends and family, as well as other genealogists or the National Archives I talked about. You can search hashtags (like #genealogy), or use them to connect with different groups. For example, the US National Archives uses #AskAnArchivist. So you can post a photo, ask a question in the description and tag them with their handle @usnatarchives and the hashtag, then they will see it and can answer your question. There are meetups that can happen on Instagram by using unique hashtags. It's a great way to virtually get together with people of similar interest.

How do you use Instagram for genealogy, or to connect with other genealogists?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 8 - Forums

Forums and Message boards can do a lot in your research by asking for help. You can ask for information about an ancestor, a location, and even a genealogy product. It may take some time to get answers though. And many forums and message boards are not a frequently used in the past couple years.
Many family tree websites have forums or message boards. One of the better known ones is Ancestry, who also owns the Rootsweb message boards. Cyndi's List has a list of links for various other message boards and query sites.
This can be a great resource to look into because the boards are organized and searchable. Even if it isn't an active board you can often look through past messages and queries and find information.

Genealogy Social Networking Day 7 - Google+

I use Blogger as my blogging platform, which makes it super easy to post everything to Google+. I know that many people don't use Google+ as regularly or at all, but there is actually quite an active genealogy community there. It is definitely worth looking into.

There are several large genealogy groups on Google+ that can keep you updated with news and information as well as just connecting with others who share your hobby/passion. For example, DearMYRTLE has a great group with over 2,500 members, and also links directly to Google Hangouts that happen regularly.

On it you can post and share updates, like Twitter, but it also has better connecting features for social purposes, like Facebook. The photo tagging is better, has great privacy controls, a nice app, and it integrates other google services, so switching over to your gmail or a search are super easy.

You can follow different people and put them into various 'circles', so your family and your genealogists can see different posts (since much of the family won't want to know about some random genealogy news). Or put people into more than one circle so, for example, my dad can be in family and genealogy. You can have as many different circles as you want, and put as many people in each circle as you want. Also, you can just look at the posts from each of your circles separately, so if you just want to see genealogy posts, you can go to your genealogy circle and just see those.

Are you on Google+ yet? Follow me!

Genealogy Social Networking Day 6 - Blogs

Blogs can serve many purposes. Some blogs have tutorials for genealogy research, updates on the latest news and products in the industry, or family stories. That last item is what can truly connect genealogists on a personal level. That is also 'cousin bait'.

In my blog I focus mostly on telling my own family history. I include as many names and dates as I can so that when people do a search for a name, place, or date I might show up. Then people doing genealogy research on the same family can connect with me and we can share information and resources.

It is from my blog that I pin things to pinterest, post things on facebook, connect to other blogs (like No Story Too Small for the 52 Ancestors project), and use other forms of social networking. This is my 'home base' on the web for my genealogy.

One of the first things I did after starting my blog was get it listed on GeneaBloggers. It's a great site that keeps a running list of genealogy blogs. You can search the list for various topics or locations. Most are personal family tree blogs like mine. Also on the site are blogging helps, topic suggestions, and other genealogy news. I have found many great blogs to follow from this site.

How do you use blogging to connect with others?

52 Ancestors Week 40 - Joseph Piraux

Henri Joseph Francois Piraux was born on October 11, 1841, in Glimes, Belgium. He was the oldest of 10 children born to Jean Joseph Piraux and Adelaide Francoise Hellin. 
He married Marie Chirese Paris on October 25, 1865, in Glimes, Belgium They had seven children. At some point between 1880 and 1890 they moved to Chatelineau in the Hainaut Province of Belgium.

Jean Joseph Piraux 1811–?
Francoise Hellin 1817–?

Marie Josephine Adelaide Piraux 1843–?
Melanie Marie Piraux 1845–?
Louis Justin Piraux 1848–?
Emile Francois Piraux 1849–?
Ferdinand Eugene Piraux 1851–?
Euphrasie Flore Piraux 1854–?
Charles Joseph Piraux 1856–?
Alfred Jean Baptiste Piraux 1858–?
Louis Camille Piraux 1860–?

Marie Chirese Paris 1848–1890

Camille Joseph Piraux 1866–?
Marcellin Eugene Joseph Piraux 1868–?
Emile Francois Joseph Piraux 1871–1929
Marie Flore Piraux 1873–1873
Flore Elisa Piraux 1875–1877
Auguste Joseph Piraux 1877–?
Helene Adeline Joseph Piraux 1880–?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 5 - Pinterest

I have been using Pinterest for years. But only in the past year or so have I used it for genealogy. Pinterest is a visual 'pin board' where you can save pictures and links. Many people use it to save cool pictures, craft related links, and recipes. But, it's also a great place to save bookmarks of all kinds. You can upload your own photos too, not just pin ones you find online.

You can use it for inspiration for scrapbook pages or family trees. Pin tips for research or free genealogy forms. You can pin local history articles, family stories and photos, tombstones, links you find helpful in your research, and just about anything else you can think of.

One of the perks of Pinterest is that you can access it from anywhere. You don't have to have your computer with it's web browser bookmarks with you. And you can have as many different boards as you want, with any title or theme you want. You can repin the same link or photo to multiple boards as well.

Another great thing is the social networking. You can follow other genealogists, repin things you find in a search, comment on any of the pins, and even collaborate with group boards. With a group board you can have multiple people pinning to it with the same topic in mind. This is great for connecting to existing family or with other genealogists interested in the same areas of research.

Speaking of types of boards, you can make a board that includes a map. You can attach pins to specific locations on that map. This is great for family history. You can upload a photo (or pin one from the web), give it a description that pertains to your history, attach it to a place on the map, and basically create an interactive map of your genealogy complete with photos and links.

There are many genealogists on Pinterest already, even 'big name' bloggers like AnceStories and GeneaBloggers. If you search for "genealogy" you will tons of pins, which can be overwhelming. So be sure to click over to 'boards' under the search to find people with whole boards dedicated to genealogy of various kinds.

Have fun pinning (it can be addictive)!

Genealogy Social Networking Day 4 - Twitter

Twitter is a great place to connect with other genealogists. It probably won't directly give you information on your family history, but it can help you keep up with what's going on the genealogy world, connect with others during genealogy events, let you share bits of your research, and let you socialize with other like-minded individuals.

Using hashtags (#) you can tag your posts so others can connect to the same topics. You can join in #genchat every other Friday evening to discuss different pre-chosen genealogy topics (hosted by Jen Baldwin). You can search for #genealogy on twitter to find related tweets. You can even follow people who give daily genealogy tips.

Many genealogy sites and bloggers use twitter to connect in real-time. You can use twitter to share quotes from a conference or lecture you are attending, get updates from software makers and websites on new features, learn about the latest genealogy news, and even just chat while watching "Who Do You Think You Are?".

If you are interested in a particular topic or location, you can set up a twilert, which will alert you to relevant tweets.

You can create lists of users on Twitter. This can help you separate various groups of people you may follow. You can create your own list of genealogists, or follow existing lists.when you click on the list, you will get a feed of tweets just from this list of people. It's great to divide up your feed like this sometimes, when you just want to focus on genealogy for example.

Do you use Twitter to connect with other genealogists?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 3 - Facebook

Many people think of Facebook first when you say "social media". It is one of the most popular sites for social interaction online. It is also a great place to connect with other genealogists online.

On the site Social Media Genealogy you can find a wonderful PDF file with thousands of links to facebook groups dedicated to genealogy. Much of this list is location specific groups, but there are lots of others as well.
You can connect with popular genealogy websites through Facebook (e.g. Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch). You can be in groups and like the pages of popular genealogy bloggers (e.g. GeneaBloggers, dearMYRTLE, and Cyndi's List). There are groups for various topics in genealogy. You can join groups dedicated to finding living distant cousins. And if you just want to chat with other genealogists about any- and every-thing, there are groups for that.
You can also start your own group. I am in a private group of family genealogists started by my 1st cousin once removed. We share information and photos on just our shared family line. It's been great to see the research my own family is doing and to share what I have done as well. It also helps reduce the amount of overlap in research because it's easy to share our work with one another.

How do you use Facebook to connect?

Genealogy Social Networking Day 2 - Ancestry is a great resource for doing family history. It allows you to make family trees, add sources and photos, and search their records. It's also a good tool for social networking.

Ancestry has message boards that users can post to when seeking help with research. You can post by location, topic, and even surname. The message boards are fully searchable with lots of options. You can search within each specific category as well.

Ancestry also owns Rootsweb, which is another great community and set of message boards.  Aside from message boards there are lots of other great resources that can be found through rootsweb. We will be looking more into those later in the month.

When you go to a message board, first do a basic search. If you are trying to find something, there is a chance someone else also has looked and has information already on the site. Search for surnames using various spellings, look for the places you are researching, or go to a topic like military or immigration. If you can't find any information already on the boards, then create a post and ask for help.
Be patient, not everyone is on the boards regularly. Sometimes you have to wait months or years to get information or help (depending on how specific your question/inquiry is). Other times it takes just a few hours or days.
If you leave you inquiry a little broad, you might be more likely to find people doing similar research, or people working in the same location who can help you out with information or resources. At the same time, give lots of information to help others find you and help in your research. If you put lots of names, dates, and locations in your post, others are more likely to find it in a search themselves. And, you can always start broadly, and add more information as the thread of posts grows and people ask for details or clarification.
And when you use message boards, be sure to thank other genealogists who have been helpful and who replied to your posts. A little politeness goes a long way.

Ancestry also allows you to message other members. When you are doing research, you may come across photos or documents uploaded by other members. You can add them to your tree, and often see other trees to which the same photo or document has been added. Some trees are private, but others are not. You can contact the tree owners and ask permission to see the tree, ask how they are related to the ancestor you share, or any other communication. Click on the profile picture to look at who else has used the photo, and you can contact them.

How do you use Ancestry to connect with other researchers?

52 Ancestors Week 39 - Richard Dye

Richard Dye was born in May 11, 1823 and christened on May 15, 1823. He was the 3rd of 7 children born to Jonathan Dye and Elizabeth Alderton.

Richard married Sarah Kemp on September 2, 1846, in Attleborough, Norfolk. They had 10 children together. 3 of those children died while they were living in England. Then in 1870 he immigrated to America, with the family following the next year. The family settled in Provo, Utah.

Richard died March 16, 1905 of old age (81 years).

Jonathan Dye 1788–?
Elizabeth Alderton 1801–1841

John Dye 1819–1894
Mary Dye 1821–?
Hannah Dye 1825–?
Rebecca Dye 1828–?
Jane Dye 1831–?

Sarah Kemp 1823–1903

Sarah Ann Dye 1846–1869
Robert Dye 1848–1866
William Dye 1850–1932
Hyrum Dye 1851–1860
Heber Charles Dye 1853–1880
Edmund Willard Dye 1855–1925
Samuel Dye 1858–1915
John Hyrum Dye 1859–1944
Rebecca Dye 1861–1863
Lovina Clarissa Dye 1865–1922

Family History Month is Back!

October is a great month in family history. The kids are in school, the weather is colder, and that makes for longer days spent inside doing genealogy.

I admit that most of my genealogy research is done online. Being on the younger side for a genealogist the internet is comfortable for me. I got into my family history just as internet genealogy was really taking off. While I still send away for some records, I have never been in a courthouse (I have plans to though).

This being family history month, I thought I'd spend some time writing about social networking for genealogists. I will focus mostly on internet networking, because it's what I am most comfortable doing. So here is the series:

Social Networking, Genealogy, and You

First up is FamilySearch.

FamilySearch is known for it's one giant family tree. Much like Wikipedia anyone can log in and make changes. A wiki relies on lots of eyes making corrections and changes to produce as accurate a result as possible. It works in many cases, and the more people using it the better it becomes. It's a crowd-sourced family tree.

Also common to wiki's is the need to attach sources. If you notice on Wikipedia there are usually sources attached at the bottom of the articles. Experts and other interested parties support their claims with outside sources.
The FamilySearch tree is much the same. You can attach sources, and if you make changes you can add a note with the reasons why you made the change. Just like Wikipedia, it isn't good to use the FamilySearch tree as a source cited for your info. But, it is a good jumping off place to help you get started in your search. Be sure to use the sources listed for the information you seek, and cite those as the sources (not the whole tree, just the individual records).

One nice thing about the FamilySearch tree is that you can see who made the changes or added the information and can send them a message. I added my email address in there as well so someone could email me without using the FamilySearch system, but not everyone does that. This message option is good for connecting to other genealogists researching the same lines as you.

FamilySearch also has a Wiki of it's own. The FamilySearch Wiki is a collection of over 82,000 articles on genealogy topics. Like other wiki's we discussed, anyone can add to it or make changes. They have links to tons of resources based on topic or location. This is a great place to start if you are researching in a new location you haven't worked with before. And, if you are an expert in a particular place or topic, or have a great new resource to share, you can add it to the appropriate page.

How do you use FamilySearch to network with other genealogists?