Facebook is more than people posting food, vacation and kids photos lately. It is pretty amazing by the amount of friendly people on Facebook who are willing to help strangers on their genealogy and family searches. I am starting to think that Facebook is the best tool for genealogy networking on the Internet.
Here are my top 13 tips for getting the best results from Facebook:
1. Search all possible keywords to find the best Facebook groups available. My list of best Facebook groups can be found here.
2. Respect the language of the groups you join. Use Google Translate if the common language isn’t English.
3. Before you post, search the group’s posts in the top right box that says “Search this group.” Maybe you will find someone researching the same family or looking for the same information.
4. Make sure your post fits the theme of the group or you’ll get a taste of Facebook’s instant flow of sarcasm.
5. Include all known information to attract the attention of the group’s members. Providing all the information you’ve collected shows you are serious about your search.
6. Don’t post an excessive amount of requests for help or information in one group nor post the same request in several groups. If you need help with several searches, spread your posts in various groups. Posting the same requests everywhere will get you ignored.
7. Try to be active in the groups you join. It is appreciated when people who post for help also help or show support to other members.
8. Keep track of responses to your posts so you don’t miss any great opportunities for help or new information.
9. Don’t ignore general genealogy groups. They can be just as helpful as Russian or Ukrainian specific genealogy groups. The general groups have many more members, which increases the number of people who could help you.
10. Don’t turn down information that doesn’t sound accurate at a quick glance. Surnames change, siblings are born in different villages, families change religions so anything is possible when researching the family. Families have been always complicated and confusing.
11. Be polite and always say thank you. It is easy to misunderstand intent and emotion on Facebook. You don’t want to turn off the eager helpers in these groups.
12. Be patient about getting the responses you were expecting from your posts. Sometimes posts don’t get good responses until they are noticed later.
13. Make sure your profile photo or image looks friendly. It sounds vain but a friendly or happy profile photo or image can be an advantage.
This blog has an active Facebook group page here.