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The Role of Social Networking in Family History Research

Family history research today can be much easier for amateurs and professionals like, especially when starting to work on a new family tree. One tool we now have that wasn’t available in the not-so-near past is the social network.

You might think of social networking as chatting with your friends online using Facebook. But social networks of all kinds can play a role in your genealogical research too.

Here are a few ways you might use social networking for family history research:

  • Reconnect with family members you’ve lost contact with. Your own family members are your best resource when you begin your family tree. Social networks give you a way to contact people quickly with questions even if you’ve lost touch and don’t have an address or phone number to reach them through.
  • Connect with others researching members of your family tree. Even Ancestry.com is a specialized form of social network. Using their social tools (or those of similar sites), chances are good that you can find other people researching ancestors you have in common. This can be a great way to find information on a more distant branch of your family tree or to get access to family records, such as photos, that your immediately family doesn’t have.
  • Follow your favorite family history resources. With social networks like Twitter you can follow genealogy websites and blogs of interest to you. This can be a good way to make sure you don’t miss announcements such as sales on access to family history databases or even free tools and downloads to help you keep your research organized.

Do you ever use social networking tools in your family history research? Which tools are your favorites, and how do you use them?

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