Thursday, July 30, 2009

Social Networking Tools for Genealogical Purposes

I have mixed feelings about the various social networking sites on the internet and their usefulness in genealogy.

I suppose I have been using a form of social networking for several years at WeRelate, a wiki for genealogy. This site has been very useful for posting a public family tree in which anyone can participate. Adding data can be difficult for anyone not accustomed to the format and few people have given input to my family tree. I have been in contact with many cousins through WeRelate though, because the site shows up on search engines. Like everything else, most of my tree on WeRelate is unfinished and is waiting for me to have more time.

I became active on Facebook about a year ago and have found it very useful to share pictures with family in the various groups that I have set up. I do not like most of the Facebook applications because I find them to be very intrusive as far as privacy is concerned. I no longer use the We're Related application because of the repetition every time a person is added as a relative. I do not like to bother people who are not as interested in genealogy as I am.

I have recently joined a social network for genealogists called Genealogy Wise. Although it is created by the same company that brought We're Related to Facebook, it has less nonsense and is very helpful with serious research.

I also have a family tree on Genoom where cousins can contribute and build on your tree. I am finding this site gets a bit out of control with so many offshoots springing up on the tree. Like WeRelate, I am sporadic in adding updates and will never finish.

My newest activity is posting blogs when I feel the urge or have time. There is less pressure to finish a project and I can ramble around in any branch of the family that I choose. A family tree is never finished, like a jigsaw puzzle without edges. The missing pieces in the middle are the most challenging but the outer twigs are exciting too.

I enjoy making contact with cousins and others who enjoy the stories and facts relating to my family and I will continue using the social networking tools that are available.

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