In this post I’ll share with you my secret weapon: my collection of 26 genealogy groups on Facebook.
#1 – Simple Facebook searches
Are you looking for a long lost cousin? Facebook is like the modern equivalent to the phone directory.
#2 – Facebook groups
Got a genealogy puzzle? There’s a Facebook group out there for it. I love helping other people with their questions because it’s the best way to sharpen my own research chops, and working in BigLaw law firms taught me to pay attention to the questions as much or more than the answers.
NOTE: All of these links connect to groups within Facebook. You’ll need a Facebook account to access them. After that, you’ll need to ask permission to join, as most, if not all, are closed or private groups.
My top picks are:
- Gail Dever’s Genealogy à la carte. I read Gail’s blog daily – sometimes multiple times a day.
- Canadian Genealogy
- Canada Genealogy Research Community
- Canadian Photographic History
- Saskatchewan Genealogy Network
- Obituary lookups Canada – there are angels out there who will look up an obit for you provided you ask nicely (and supply as much information as you know to make it as easy as possible for them). [Note: This is an American site.]
Groups for your country of interest
We truly are a nation of immigrants. Here are my groups:
- Africa, Asia, and Pacific Genealogy Research
- French Genealogy – Don’t be intimidated by not reading French – there is still a lot you can do, and if you’re stuck, there’s always Google Translate
- Genealogy for Asian Canadians (this is my group)
- Genealogy and information on Chinese and Japanese in Hawaii – headed up by my friend Mika Local, focusing on the migration of Asians to the USA with an emphasis on Hawaii
- Irish Genealogy Brickwalls, Irish Genealogy, and Northern Ireland Genealogy
- Scottish Genealogy
Groups for your area of interest
In genealogy, the clues truly come from everywhere:
- Behind the lines – SOE and the clandestine war – Ever since learning about my uncle’s time training for Force 136, I’ve been curious about the doings of the Special Operations Executive (SOE)
- CCNC Our Stories Project – the Chinese Canadian National Council’s group where you’ll find stories written by Chinese families about Chinese families
- Evernote genealogists – If you’ve been following me, I am a huge Evernote fan, but no software is perfect.
- Mac Genealogy – I moved to a Mac platform for home and business about 3 years ago. This is a great forum for sharing and learning all those sneaky Mac tools.
- Genealogy – dating old photographs – I have learned more about old photos and fashions in this group than I ever thought possible.
- Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques – probably the hottest topic in genealogy today – this group has 54K members and growing, and one of the admins is an acknowledged expert in the area of DNA research: Blaine Bettinger.
- The historical diaries – looking into our past – less genealogy-focused and more history
- Geneabloggers Tribe – Do you write a blog about genealogy? Join the 3500+ members who do genealogy and write about it
- Technology for genealogy – Want to know what family tree software other people are buying, or the best software to draw family lines, or why your PDF handler is messing up?
- Vintage railway stations, Round houses, Locomotives, coaches, cabooses of Canada – invaluable maps and information on western migration
Depending on the rules of the society, you may need to be a member but these are always worth joining, if only to see what other members of the society are working on. I’m a member of both the BC and Saskatchewan genealogy societies. Find them at BCGS Genealogical Discussion Group and (this is their page – they don’t have a group as yet) Saskatoon Branch, Saskatchewan Genealogical Society – SBSGS.
How to get the most from Genealogy groups
- Please play nicely with others. Every group has its rules – read carefully and swear that you will abide by them.
- Use the SEARCH tool to see if your question has already been discussed. This is especially great if it’s a hot topic. (I’ll use my own group as an example here.)
- Use the Files section to see what goodies the group has collected.
This is just a taste of what’s available. If you’d like to check out the more than 1000 groups online, see Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy.
What if you can’t find your group anymore?
I should warn you that if you have more than a few groups like I do, not all of them will show up in the shortcuts. You’ll have to go to your Groups to see them.
Observant readers will notice I don’t have any US-based groups here. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve attempted to join groups from North Dakota to California – because that’s where the trail leads – but all my pleadings are of no avail. If you’ve managed to get through the gates, please tell me how you did it.