All posts by Julia, Librarian

Power-Up SIG Notes: Using Facebook for Genealogy

Facebook Overview

  • Your profile
  • Your newsfeed
  • Groups and pages
    • Pages are largely run by one or two folks, using a more curated, broadcast model
    • Groups are moderated by a couple of people, but are more communal, with any member allowed to post.
    • Groups can be
      • Open, where anyone can join and jump right in immediately
      • Closed, where you have to ask to join and a moderator approves you (sometimes they ask questions to verify that you are not a machine and not trying to sell sunglasses). Closed doesn’t mean they don’t want you — most groups close just to keep out the spammers and pornographers, so go ahead and click the Join button
      • Secret, where the group doesn’t even show up in searches and you have to be invited to join

Straight Genealogy

  • Katherine Willson’s list of 11,000+ groups on Facebook:
  • Genealogy Master List of Facebook Groups: a group on Facebook,
  • Genealogy technique groups, i.e. Genetic Genealogy Techniques & Tips
  • Genealogy software and website groups, i.e. Family Tree Maker Users
  • Genealogy societies, i.e. MHGS
  • Museums, archives, libraries, i.e. Kansas Historical Society
  • Local history, i.e. Wichita History from my Perspective
  • Just search!  There’s probably a group for that!

Keeping in Touch With Family

  • Sharing stories and photos
  • A couple ways to structure it
    • Just post to your newsfeed
    • Post, but just to selected friends
    • Create a private group — you can make private (can still be found in public list of groups) or secret (findable only by current members)

Researching Living Relatives

  • Totally optional. Don’t do it if it makes you uncomfortable!
  • General steps:
    • Search name.  If too many names, search name and city or state
    • Look at About section.  May learn birthday, marital status, birthplace, current city, jobs, education.
    • Look at Family and Relationships, under About
    • Look at photos — especially read the comments on pictures with kids or family events, since it’s amazing how many relatives post things like “you’re looking great, mom” or “that’s my grandson!”  Also see who is tagged, since you might get names of relatives
    • Look at friends — search on surnames, especially maiden or grandparent surnames.
    • Last, skim the posts on the timeline to see if there are birthday or anniversary congratulations, or a conversation about a funeral or family memory
    • Send a Friend Request!

Keeping Yourself Safe (and Sane)

  • There is enormous tension between sharing and privacy.  You need to decide what suits you today, and you will need to revisit the subject regularly as Facebook is always changing.
  • There is a difference between what other Facebook users can learn about you and what Facebook sells to marketers about you.  You don’t have much control about what Facebook knows about you, other than to not use Facebook.
    • You can see what Facebook knows about you by going to Settings, General, Download a copy of your Facebook data.
  • You have a lot of control over what other Facebook users can learn about you.  Click on the little down arrow by the question mark at the top of the window, then select Settings.
    • You can see what the public (non-friends) can see under Settings, Public Posts, View your public timeline
  • You also have a lot of control over what you see from other Facebook users.
    • You can be “friends” with someone without letting them fill your newsfeed with junk.
      • To stop seeing everything they post, Unfollow them.  You are still friends, they see what you post, and you can go to their profile page to catch up.
      • To stop seeing all those sappy pictures and inspirational quotes, click on the three dots to the right of an annoying shared post and “Hide all from xxx”

New Books March 2018

New stuff in the library last month.  The Beard collection includes about 20 3-ring binders full of materials.

Call Number Date Author Title
G-K 043 2017 Kaess, Brian Paul Kaess / Ochiltree / Swartz Family History
R-150 024 V 36 2017 Coweta Courier
R-180 208 V 53 2017 Illiana Genealogist
R-180 234 V 47 2017 Theakiki (The A-KI-KI)
R-210 HP 08 V 22-23 2016-2017 Harper County Connections
R-210 JO 06 V 44-45 2016-2017 The Johnson County Kansas Genealogist
R-210 MC 06 V 34 2015 Waconda Roots & Branches
R-210 SG 216 First Methodist Church Records 1890-1900
R-410 333 V 38 2017-2018 Blair County Genealogical Society Newsletter
R-610 127 V 67 2001 The Mayflower quarterly.
VB Beard Elbert Beard Jr. Collection
Online – Link in Catalog House, John M. Wolfhounds and Polar Bears in Siberia: America’s Military Intervention 1918 – 1920
Online – Link in Catalog 1981 McDonald, Roderick A. “Goods and Chattels”: The Economy of Slaves on Sugar Plantations in Jamaica and Louisiana

Power-Up SIG Notes: Useful Research vs Chasing Squirrels

How do you decide which people to research and which to ignore?  Do you follow parents of people who married into your family?  How about the siblings of your direct ancestors?  Do you try to follow all the children down to the present?

During our discussion, we established some general questions to ask ourselves to help decide whether to follow a line or not:

What is the purpose of our project?  And what is our goal for today?

  • Are we trying to join a lineage society?  If so, following siblings and others is probably a distraction.
  • Are we planning to write a book about the descendants of a particular couple?  How many generations down?  If someone falls in that set, follow them!
  • It might help to establish a file folder or Word document where you can jot down the interesting clues you find and decide not to pursue.  It will make it easier to move on if you know you can come back and pick it up later.

Have we hit a brick wall?  Perhaps we should be researching our subject’s FAN club.  Elizabeth Shown Mills named this research technique — Friends, Associates, Neighbors — others have called it cluster research.  The general idea is that very few people live in a vacuum, and other individuals in their lives may have left records you can use.  For example, if your ancestor was from Virginia, but you don’t know where in Virginia, perhaps he moved with a group of folks who are now his neighbors.  Perhaps if you researched some of them, you can find a clue about where they all moved from.  Or, if you’re trying to find the maiden name of a woman, perhaps you should look at the people who witnessed wills, administered probates, and bought and sold land with, to see if any of those people might be her parents or siblings.

Are we using DNA?  Matching up with cousins is much easier if we have a reasonably complete tree for the most recent generations, which allows us to recognize married names for our second cousins.  It also increases the chances that we’ll recognize situations where we link up with a cousin in more than one way.