Using Facebook to Connect with Cousins

A while back, I was casting about for new ways to have group conversations with distant cousins, and I found one: Facebook Groups.

I created my first group by calling it “Descendants of Richard Pace and Isabella Smythe,” two of my Jamestown ancestors. I added my known family to it, then went on Ancestry.com.

On every photograph, story or other document I could find that I had already added to my family tree, I added a comment: “Please come join our Facebook group at [insert group URL here]. We share photos, compare notes, and solve mysteries together. See you there!”

I also sent the same message to everybody whose username I could find who had attached a Pace photo or document to his or her tree.

Sure enough, people started asking to join the group. There are now over 60 members, and we add a few a month. Some are less active, some more active. We share DNA data, compare notes on GEDmatch, tell family stories, post online documents and links, discuss possible solutions to various evidentiary problems, and figure out how closely or distantly we are related. It has turned out to be a LOT of fun.

I have since created about 15 of these descendants’ groups, and they all provide a place for Facebook users to help each other solve genealogical research problems.

If you use Ancestry, I recommend this highly. It’s a blast as well as a great service to other researchers.

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