Last week, I was the featured guest on The Forget Me Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told radio show hosted by Jane E. Wilcox. She invited me to speak about creating virtual genealogy communities. As a founding member of the Facebook group Nashi Predky / Our Ancestors for Ukrainian Genealogy, I have been willing to talk about starting online communities using social media. Prior to this interview, I presented at the APG’s Professional Management Conference during day one of their poster sessions.
My poster “Creating a Virtual Community: Nashi Predky (Our Ancestors) Unites Ukrainian Researchers” focused on the creation of a Facebook group to fill researcher’s need of an online “home” for Ukrainian genealogy. By using the social media platform of Facebook, researchers have the ability to use live arena to get and share information. While being “only” on Facebook does limit the group’s reach, our success is definitely measurable. Our group gained over 830 members within its first 12 months!
So, how does this relate to New Jersey genealogy? The answer is quite simple… Were you aware that there are 40+ groups that focus one NJ genealogy and history? If not, maybe I can convince you to become a member of one or more!
There are two main groups that focus on New Jersey and genealogy: New Jersey Genealogy and New Jersey Genealogy Network. Both are closed groups, meaning that you have to request permission to join and be able to post. This feature is not meant to be a deterrent to researchers, but a means to reduce the influx of unwanted “spammers” to group pages. Each group has over 1000+ members and depending on the posted topic/question, the newsfeed can be very active.
• Real-time networking! Remember, genealogists need to interact with each other to gain knowledge and share information. By posting within a group, you can share family data, ask questions, and assist others.
• Finding Family Factor! Yes, you may find family members, not matter how distant, online. Collaboration on the same or collateral lines is good for everyone.
For those who are not members of Facebook, it’s okay. It may not be your thing, but it is important to educate yourself that these social media platforms exist and foster good genealogical activity.
Not just for your Jersey roots…
If you’re curious about what groups could be out there for your research, I urge you to consult the “Genealogy on Facebook” List created and maintained by Katherine Willson. You can download the 158 page PDF file which contain 5,100+ links. The latest file was updated on 21 April 2015.
Not only can you find groups that focus on localities (US and International), but topics such as Technology, DNA, Surnames and more are covered too!