Friday, January 09, 2009

Facebook and Twitter

Ok, I admit it, I resisted social networking websites. I had preconceived notions based on what I knew/heard about My Space. About 9 months ago a cousin told me to join Facebook to connect with other cousins. She told me it would help me do genealogy. I thought “yeah, right.”

Then an invitation came from a fellow geneablogger. I once again thought “why would I want to do that?” I sat on the invitation for a while and then I decided I would go ahead and do it. I thought, “hey it’s a new year, let’s try something new”.

Now, for those who don’t know about Facebook, you can read about it at Wikipedia at and at Facebook’s website at

I LOVE FACEBOOK. Yes, it’s true. Facebook and other social networking sites are fabulous ways to work on your genealogy. Just last night, through my Facebook page I was able to do an instant message chat and talk to a cousin in Texas. She provided me with a ton of information and I was able to update my PAF file while talking to her.

I have used Facebook to upload old family pictures and then have cousins help me to identify them. I’ve used Facebook to get connected to cousins we didn’t know but were “friends” of other cousins.

Facebook has also been a great tool for being more connected to each other’s lives. With family in very far off places, well to us, like Florida and Puerto Rico, Facebook has allowed us to become a more regular participant in their lives through the update status feature and reading each other’s “wall”.

Facebook has also been a way for me to connect with other genealogists. I can learn from their posts, check out website links they have posted and expand my professional network.

Facebook would be great for those who have a cousin or two that they are working on genealogy together. You could post your recent findings, documents and pictures. You could update the other person about what you are doing next. It would be like a virtual research log.

Please try it. And once you try it, tell your cousins to try it. Now, other social networking sites do exist. Twitter is another site but it looks to me to have some limitations. (but I am not an expert on it). It appears to be basically just a site to give a shout out about what you are doing in just a few words. But I know some genealogists use Twitter to update their Facebook pages. And it is just another tool for you to use.

Join me on Facebook and Twitter. On Facebook, just use my name, Gena Philibert Ortega or my email On Twitter I am genaortega.
I’d love to hear how you use these applications to further your genealogy.

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