Using Facebook for Genealogy

(Handout from a class presented January 18, 2017 by Mary J. Lohr.)

Using Facebook for Genealogy

Communication Education Collaboration

Although you have to agree to terms and conditions as set forth by Facebook to use the service, you can determine your own privacy settings, who will see your posts, and what information you share. Use Facebook so it benefits you!

Some of the ways Facebook can be used for genealogy purposes:

*Post a message asking for assistance with a research problem or translation

*Respond to a request from another user and offer them help

*Send a message to your Facebook friends and relatives

*Connect and collaborate with distant cousins; share photos and other information

*Read and follow genealogy groups and pages to learn of new resources, databases, techniques, websites, books, conferences, and other educational opportunities

*Create a Facebook page or group for your own family or research

*Plan an event such as a family reunion

Posting to Facebook:

Read the rules and guidelines before posting to a group

Post only to appropriate subject Facebook groups

Do not hijack a thread; start your own topic for discussion

Include pertinent information in a request. Use proper punctuation and grammar. Ask only one question per posting. Do not post the same request simultaneously to different groups or pages.

Avoid spam and snarly comments. Be polite. Treat others as you want to be treated.

And, yes, your mother taught you this, but good manners never go out of style … please and thank you are the two most important phrases in your genealogy requests.

Other Reminders:

You can “unfollow” someone and still be their Facebook friend. You just won't see their postings in your newsfeed.

A message sent to a person who is not a Facebook friend goes "Message Request" folder.

You do NOT have to accept a friend request … the option is yours to decide.

You can block a user and also report abuse.

©Story County Genealogical Society

Finding Facebook Genealogy Groups and Pages

From Cyndi's List, a list of all Facebook groups with the term “genealogy” in the title:

Katherine R. Willson's categorized list of Facebook groups and pages:

(Highly recommended, over 10,000 genealogy-related links)

Suggested Facebook pages:

Ames Public Library (

Story County Genealogical Society (

Iowa Genealogical Society (

Organize Your Family History (

Suggested Facebook groups: Most are closed groups, go to the group page and click Join Group

Evernote Genealogists (

Genealogy and Newspapers (

Genealogy – Cite Your Sources (

Genealogy – Improving Your Searches (

(Click the Files tab in this group for a wealth of information)

The Organized Genealogist (

Technology for Genealogy (


Collier, Marsha. AARP Facebook: Tech to Connect. Waterville, Maine: Thorndike Press, 2013

Abram, Carolyn. Facebook for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2013

McFedries, Paul. Facebook Guide for People over 50. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010

Facebook help:

Facebook 101 Tutorial

©Story County Genealogical Society