Best Social Media Websites for Genealogy

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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To the savvy genealogist, social media websites aren’t just for keeping up with old high school friends and sharing pictures of your cat. Check out these top social media websites and explore how they can help you in your genealogy research.
Don’t think the king of all social media merits a place on a genealogy website list? Download the 118-page “Genealogy on Facebook” PDF file containing 3,800 links. Everybody from the Association of Professional Genealogists to the WorldCat library database to us here at your favorite genealogy magazine has a Facebook page these days. We’re beginning to think that Mark Zuckerberg fella might be onto something. 
What Facebook is to friends, Flickr is to photos, as evidenced by the photo streams here from sources including the National Archives, New York Public Library, Library of Congress and Smithsonian. If you haven’t dived into the “Genealogy Collection” pool, wake up and start uploading – you’ve got a free terabyte to fill.
Sort of like the love child of Facebook and Flicr, this picture-posting site resembles a giant collective scrapbook. The genealogy applications are obvious, with old family photos as just the beginning. Online images you pin -like that census page you want to share – retain links to their original online homes, so it’s easy for other to follow your lead.
The wiki-ization of genealogy research is led by this free site, sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy in partnership with the Allen County Public Library. Last we looked, WeRelate had user-created pages for more than 2.5 million individuals – maybe some that you’re related to.
The new automated “MatchBot” matches your kin with the 7 million-plus profiles from more than 167,000 “WikiTeers,” and the DNA Ancestor Confirmation Aid helps you plan genetic genealogy testing. When others post content related to your surnames, the Surname Following feature alerts you.


We hesitated before adding this video site to our best list, thinking of it as that place where you watch funny cat and baby videos. Then we tried a search for “genealogy” and got almost 100,000 hits, from sources ranging from Finding Your Roots host Henry Louis Gates, Jr., to to Family Tree Magazine contributor Lisa Louise Cooke.

Back to the 101 Best Websites of 2014 main page.

From the September 2014 issue of Family Tree Magazine