Thursday, May 28, 2015

How'd She Do That?! Using Facebook to Break Through Brick Walls


I continue to be AMAZED how social media can QUICKLY give you the answers to break through your family history brick walls.

In just the last 2 weeks, I have turned to Facebook for help and was not disappointed. Here's how I did it!

FamilySearch.org has created new Facebook groups. I joined them all. In the U.S., the groups are entitled "U.S. Northeast Genealogy Research Community," "U.S. South Genealogy Research Community," "U.S. Midwest Genealogy Research Community," and "U.S. West Genealogy Research Community." 

Other places in the world are not left out. "Europe Genealogy Research Community" and "Northern Europe Genealogy Research Community" are just the tip of the iceberg.

These Facebook pages, or groups, are being viewed by people like yourself. People who love genealogy and family history and are ready to help if they can.

My first experience was with the "U.S. Northeast Genealogy Research Community." After joining, I put a little message that read:
     "Hello! I am a professional genealogist, speaker, and writer of a family history blog at www.mykithnkin.blogspot.com. One of my biggest brick walls is locating where in New York my Louis Lockwood and Sabrina Robinson came from! Can't wait to ask some questions here!"

That's it. That is all I wrote. In less than 24 hours, I had the answer (and more!) that had eluded me for more than 10 years. Patricia Morrow, the town historian for Windham, New York, saw my post and quickly found Lewis [yes, there was a spelling change] Lockwood and Sabrina in the 1855 New York State census. Then, she uploaded biographical sketches of Lewis, documentation of Lewis' previous wives and tombstone pictures. I was shaking my head in amazement. That was a genealogy miracle if I ever heard one! [Note: Typically, you will want to put more information in your request for help than I did.]

In the weeks to follow, I have been able to find Lewis' parents and the parents of his wives which have been added to my family tree. Help from Patricia gave me the answer to break through that brick wall and I was able to then continue my own further research.

Yesterday, I had another wonderful experience, this time with "Europe Genealogy Research Community." While researching some Scottish records, I found a birth record that included the marriage date and location for the child's parents. Unfortunately, I could not make out the name of the town they were married in. I could read that the village was located in Ireland, but I am not familiar with that country's towns. I searched all village and town names in Ireland trying to find one that "looked similar," but to no avail.

I knew I needed help. Facebook to the rescue! I posted the image of the birth record to "Europe Genealogy Research Community" and Becky Pate took a look. "Banagher," she said. Yes! I could see it now. And wouldn't you know it was in County Offaly right next to County Tipperary where the couple's older children were born.

FACEBOOK FOR BEGINNERS

If you are not Facebook savvy you will need some instructions. First, go to www.facebook.com and create your account. You will need an email address. They will also ask you for your birth date. Don't worry, your birth date will not show on your page if you don't want it to. You can fix that later.

After you create a Facebook account, you will need to confirm it. An email will be sent to you and you will click "Confirm Account."



You will be directed back to your Facebook page. You may skip the steps of adding friends and adding a profile picture if you wish. Now, you will search for the FamilySearch groups I mentioned above. [If you do not see the search field I have indicated in the picture below, just refresh your page.]



When you have clicked on the group you are interested in, you will be directed to their page where you will need to click "Join Group."


These FamilySearch Facebook groups are being monitored and managed, so you will need to wait until you are "approved." I was approved within a few hours. Once you are approved, when you return to this page, you will see that you can "write something" on their page. Others will see your post and hopefully you will get the answers you are looking for.


So join the social media movement and break through your family history brick walls using Facebook!

Learn to do courthouse research from home for FREE. Read more here: http://mykithnkin.blogspot.com/2015/03/courthouse-research-from-home.html

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20 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this blog post . . . and your Facebook post! Fingers crossed I can knock down a brick wall or 12!

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    1. Ha, ha! Yes, here's to breaking down ALL of those brick walls! Good luck!

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  3. I am one of the admins of these new groups. Thanks so much for writing about our new wonderful groups. Here is an article from the FamilySearch Wiki that has links to all of the pages: https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Genealogy_Help_on_Facebook. We are closing the Europe site because we are breaking it up into regions such as Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central. In the Wiki article it provides a breakdown of which countries are in which group. When you are accepted you can see the main picture at the top of the page that provides a list of countries that are in the group. Everyone come join in the fun and tell us all about yourself.

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    1. Betseylee, thank you so much for letting us know about these changes!

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  4. Yes! Facebook genealogy groups and pages are amazing! I've had very kind people help me translate documents in the Norwegian Genealogy group I belong to.

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  5. Amie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/05/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-may-29-2015.html

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Jana, thank you so much! I am honored! Also, I heard the news you were asked to be a blogger for BYU's family history conference...Congratulations!! PS..I requested you on Facebook, so take a look!

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  6. Thank you so much for this information! I was able to find two of my father's cousins that I never knew on Facebook. If your readers do not know, you can message folks that are not your friends by paying FB $1 so that message goes into a person's regular FB message box rather than the *other* box that not many folks know about or check regularly. It worked for me and I know have a large extended family I am getting to know!

    I did anonymous here as I couldn't figure out how to put my name! Sandy Trudell Duke

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    1. Sandy, I don't know how your comment slipped by me, but thanks so much for this information about $1 messages...I didn't know that! I am going to have to use that little hint!! Have a great day!

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  7. Great post! I wanted to let you know that I have included it in my NoteWorthy Reads for this week: http://jahcmft.blogspot.com/2015/06/noteworthy-reads-16.html

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  8. Thanks for this post. It's great to know that FamilySearch has created these groups. It looks like they have created quite a few European groups and one for the British Isles.

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    1. Tim, you are very welcome! Yes, FamilySearch just added Mexico about a week ago and more are in the works for other South American countries. So exciting!

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  9. Thank you for your blog and the information provided! I just joined a couple of the groups today and look forward to making progress on my brickwalls.

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  10. Wonderful post! I'm a big fan of using social media to help with genealogy research, and your post perfectly illustrates how helpful it can be.

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  11. Thanks for this post. I didn't know about the 'other' FamilySearch Facebook groups. And, it's wonderful to know how helpful they can be!

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    1. It is such a great resource. Who knew Facebook could help with genealogy! Thanks for reading!

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