09 April 2011

Facebook Family History for Free

Crista Cowan, you are a genius! Last year I became enthused about interactive Footnote pages, a place where I could put documents, photos, and stories about a particular ancestor or relative. I worked on a couple of pages, even linked them to my Facebook account. But only two or three people responded (via Facebook). Eventually I became discouraged and decided the time spent wasn't worth the response. I turned to our family website and posted some things there that seemed pretty exciting to me. Again, very little response. I decided to become a family history blogger and established relationships with other family history enthusiasts, but not so much with "normies."

In her class at RootsTech called "Virtual Family Reunions: Using Online Tools to Find More Cousins Than You Know What To Do With." Crista Cowan made a simple suggestion: "Why not reach out to others on social media, where they already are?" Why was I trying desperately to drive traffic to my blog or to our family website to connect with my cousins? How about establishing an ancestor "page" on Facebook? Crista suggests using an immigrant ancestor or one who is about 200 years old, starting small and building. Our relatives are already there, we just need to establish something interesting, build trust and connect with them.

How will those pages become popularly "liked"? (That's Facebook lingo for "looked at.") 



Sunrise over the reservoir--early morning hike
This photo from our last family reunion is one of the ones
I posted on our Facebook family page.
1- I already am linked to numerous cousins and other relatives as friends. They will see the page I establish from my FaceBook account.

2- I can do descendancy research on those ancestors I choose to spotlight and then search for them on Facebook to suggest they may have an interest in our common ancestor.

3- Because of the popularity of Facebook, the page will emerge near the top of an on-line ancestor search.

4- I can continue to post tidbits on the page to keep up the interest.

Eventually we may have an ancestral family reunion, virtual or real-time. We can exchange information and family insights with one another. We can continue to build on the past to forge new connections. So far I've just posted on the page someone started for my dad and mom's family. I've noticed that Crista is right. It takes some regular posting to keep people interested, but it doesn't have to be much. I'm excited to follow her suggestion about establishing a page for my "further back" ancestors.

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