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?