Top 10 Social Media Sites for Family Historians – Revised 2014

I think that social media was made for family historians. We are different from other people – we actually enjoy finding distant relatives and keeping in touch with them! Social media helps us to find relatives and old friends in ways that were not possible in the days of mailing lists and message boards.

CarolesCanvasThe first time I said that was more than four years ago, in this post. Four years is a long time on the internet, and things have changed. Some of these sites have fallen off my radar so it’s time for a revision. The image shows the cover of the first edition of my book Social Media for Family Historians with screenshots of my blog Carole’s Canvas, Youtube and GenealogyWise, a network I never really found a use for. The second image is a more recent screenshot of Carole’s Canvas. The main difference is the emphasis on pictures, as well as the general simpler and cleaner look. Pictures are what make a blog, or any social media post, more engaging.

Here are 10 social media sites that are not directly related to family history (except one) but are nevertheless important for communicating, sharing and collaborating with other family historians, and family in general.

In alphabetic order:

Blogger is the best-known of the free blog hosting sites. Writing a blog about your family history and the discoveries you make is one of the best ways of getting young people interested, and attracting other asyet-unknown relatives. It is owned by Google so you can use your Google ID to log in and create as many blogs as you like.  The address of your blog will be You can choose from a large number of designs and options, and posting is quick and easy.

Delicious is a social bookmarking site. You can save bookmarks to sites as you find them and categorise them however you wish. You can also find sites that others have similarly categorised, which can save you a lot of time when researching a topic or place. I no longer Delicious, and imported all my bookmarks into Evernote.

Facebook is a social networking site used by 500 million people around the world to connect with friends and family. It is easy to find people and for them to find you, if you want them to. As long as you change the privacy settings as soon as you join, and don’t click on anything you don’t understand, you will be safe from harm.

FamilySearch Wiki is a collection of over 80,000 articles (up from 40,000 four years ago) on many aspects of genealogy research around the world. Articles can be added and changed by anyone, making it progressively more comprehensive. It’s the best place to start if you find you have to research a country you aren’t familiar with.

Flickr is a photo and video sharing website. You can share as many photos as you like (within reason) with as many or as few people as you like. Photos of ancestors and places of historic value can be made public to attract others interested in the same people and places, and uploaded to the National Library of Australia’s Picture Australia (now part of Trove).

Google Docs is a free office suite of applications that allows you to share documents and collaborate with others. Word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms are all available. They are accessible to you anywhere as long as you can connect to the internet. You can keep them private or make them available to others to view or edit.

Pinterest is a popular place to collect and share photos and ideas. It is wonderful for gathering ideas for projects such as crafts or home decorating. It is fabulous for drawing together images on topics of historical interest, on your own family or local history in general. Pinterest has come a long way in four years, and is a new addition to this list.

Skype is a free program that allows you to make secure voice and video calls to other Skype users anywhere in the world over the internet. You just need an internet connection and a computer with a microphone and speaker such as a laptop, or an inexpensive headset. You can also buy a Skype phone to use like a regular phone, and make calls to regular phones, although they charge for this service.

Twitter is a ‘microblog’, where you can make short posts of 140 characters or less to give links to photos, websites, blog posts, or just ask questions and hold conversations. Twitter posts, or tweets, are searchable so you can find people interested in the same things as you. So many people and organisations use Twitter to let us know what they are doing that you can always learn something useful. Twitter has proved itself as the first place to get breaking news about local or world events. It also now displays photos directly in your feed, making it more engaging and immediate.

YouTube is a video sharing site that allows you to upload videos and share them with a few people or with everyone. You can search for videos on family history and other topics from archives, libraries, genealogy record companies and many other organisations.

I use most of these sites on a day-to-day basis. Many of them are now part of my daily life. I talk to my immediate family; share documents and photos; save bookmarks; read blogs and check Twitter on a regular basis. Although my own blogs are not hosted by Blogger, prefering to use my own hosting, I recommend it highly for first-time bloggers.

Try some of these out; do some searching, and see what you can find. You might be surprised. And hooked!

Google Reader was removed from the original list, as it was discontinued by Google. I have much less time to read blogs than I did four years ago, and I find that the only time I read them is when I see a link that interests me from another network such as Facebook or Google+.

A first look at the new Facebook profile

I’ve bitten the bullet and had a play with the new profile in Facebook. You’ll be able to see it on 1st October. I will take you through the process of setting it up (once you’ve agreed to do so). At the moment it’s only open to developers.

When I said yes, I accepted the option to take the tour. First up you can select the cover (the large photo). It selected the most recent photo that had been tagged with my name. As you can see, this isn’t me – it’s my beautiful great-grand-nephew:

Timeline tour 1

When I clicked on ‘Choose Your Cover Now’ it gave me a selection of photos of me, and I chose one. Then I moved on to the next step:

Timeline tour 2

Yes, you can see everything in one place, including photos others have tagged you in and places you’ve checked into. I’ve only ever checked in to one place (in Geelong, VIC), so it looks like I’ve never been anywhere.

Next it shows me where my ‘activity’ is, ie, posts and comments and so on. Only I can see this list.

Then the timeline itself. I can go back in time and see my posts and stories as far back as I’ve been on Facebook.

I can go through my profile and see what’s there that I may not want others to see, and remove them from my profile. I can also highlight the ones I want a big deal made of.

Just to emphasis this removal business I’ll show the box again:

There was a lot I had to remove, and I found even more once I’d taken the tour and got stuck in.

I haven’t added any missing stories and events, but I can see how tempting it is to fill in those gaps.

I then went through all the photos of me, and clicked on the option to remove the photos tagged with my name that I didn’t want on my profile. This is the message I got for each of them:

I haven’t removed the tag (only the owner of the photo can do that) but it’s not on my profile for others to see there any more.

So here is my new profile:


It’s very pretty, I’ll say that. I do quite like the two-column arrangement of posts, and the bigger pictures look great. Pictures should be BIG, don’t you think?

What I’m not happy about is a growing list of things:

  • the photos others have tagged me in (mostly not of me) appear on my timeline. If you don’t change the main picture when Facebook roll it out to everyone you may end up with someone’s baby photo there, or a picture of a cow from Farmville.
  • if my friends have left their full dates of birth public then they appear on my timeline. This is appalling.
  • the date I first joined Facebook is now visible to everyone. I’m sure it used to be originally, but now it’s not, and soon it will be again.
  • To be safe I now have to go through each photo and each post and check who I shared it with. I have more friends now than I did when I started, and I may not be comfortable with all of them being able to see stuff I posted before I knew them.
  • The photos of me that I’ve shared (to family and friends) cover most of my life, but they appear on the timeline according to when I posted them. I can’t change this date, so my baby picture appears under 2008.
  • I also can’t change the place if it isn’t in a city. For example, the photo on my profile you can see was taken in Zaire in 1991, not Sydney in 2008.
  • I’m really not comfortable with how far back the timeline goes. Even if there are no posts or photos to show there, you can get an idea of when it starts; and by that I mean, when I was born. I can’t really get away with people thinking I was born in 1975 with a timeline like this!
  • The activity list is not in date/time order. It’s probably in order of last comment, but then it’s not my activity, is it?

There may be other things I will discover later, but that’s enough to go on with.

In short, I have privacy concerns. What appears on my profile is not entirely in my control. I have to check everything, and I mean everything, to see if it’s fit to be seen by my friends. I’ve been using lists in Facebook for a long time, but I rarely changed my setting and mostly posted to friends. Now it might be more appropriate to do this.

And that’s to say nothing of how it will work with other applications, like games. If these are going to post automatically without me needing to approve each time, as has been suggested by Ben Parr at Mashable, it will get very nasty.

I was expecting to like the changes, and I do, to a point. But unless some drastic changes are made before it rolls out to everyone, I may be leaving Facebook forever and using Google+, which I already love.

Can Google+ replace Facebook and Twitter?

GooglePlusI’ve been playing with Google+ for a few days now, and I’ve had some time to experiment and to see how others in my circles are reacting to it.

Most seem to be using it as a substitute for Facebook – posting to a limited audience in their own circles. Many of them like that you can more easily post about specific subjects to specific people, a capability that Facebook has but hides very well.

The more public figures – developers and power-bloggers, for example, are making everything public; it is part of their professional persona. A few of the power users are replacing their blogs altogether, because they are getting more engagement on Google+ than they ever did in their blogs.

Can it be used both ways at once? Does it have to be one or the other?

I use Facebook for sharing with friends and family, and with my broader genealogical circle of friends, many of whom I have never met personally. I use Twitter for the broader genealogical sharing and for the occasional rant during QandA and so on. Twitter is where I go to find out what is going on in the world.

I have been trying to decide how Google+ could replace both Facebook and Twitter, and I can’t make it work. I’ve been thinking a lot (probably too much, given everything I’m supposed to be doing), and here are some reasons I’ve come up with, in a random and possibly confusing order. I’m sure many, if not all, will change as Google+ matures and grows.

  • When I want to make public pronouncements, I go to Twitter, and when I want to make more personal ones, I go to Facebook. If I want to do both in Google+ I have to make a few decisions before each postGoogle+ defaults the circle you will post your message to depending on what you had last time. Most of us don’t think or check before we post; we just type the message and hit ‘send’. Maybe that will change over time, and maybe we will get more used to it, but as an IT developer I can see that if it’s not immediately obvious people won’t ‘get it’. And they’re not getting it yet.
  • There are not many people on Google+ yet, and most of the ones I know are genealogists or techos. (Or both). Mostly they post about genealogical subjects or about Google+, although some are starting to share their photos. There are not many posts, and so not much reason to visit multiple times in a day. Yet. Whereas I have Facebook open all day, and am more likely to comment on my day there. Google+ doesn’t seem like the place where anyone would be interested.
  • On that last topic – Google+ posts when someone comments on a photo in an existing Picasa Web album, so we are now seeing a lot of photos posted as though they are new. This is mildly annoying but the people at Google are tweaking this.
  • There is not enough integration with other sites. I have already seen many complaints about Google+ not integrating with Blogger, which is Google‘s own blog site. I would also like to be able to post in multiple sites at once, since I am an active member in multiple sites.  Again, I’m sure this will change with time, unless some of the sites lock the others out.
  • Facebook just feels more casual. I am more likely to use the Like button than the +1 button, because +1 feels like I am recommending something, whereas Like just feels like I like it. There’s a big difference in social terms.
  • I use Twitter in a more professional capacity, and that’s where I go when I want to be updated on what’s happening in the world in general and genealogy in particular. Google+ feels more like an expanded Twitter than a friendly sharing space for family and friends.
  • I do a lot of my public speaking explaining to people that Facebook is safe, and that it’s worth trying because that’s where their friends and family are likely to be. And they are. They are not in Google+.
  • Although it’s easy to put people into circles and post to particular circles, I don’t think the posting is intuitive, and I’m not sure what could be done to avoid problems when you don’t notice that your new message has defaulted to the last circle you posted to. Especially if it was Public.
  • I can get around this problem in Twitter by using third-party tools such as Tweetdeck, where I can categorise my contacts into columns and I can easily see which of my multiple Twitter accounts (and Facebook accounts and pages) is posting or replying to a particular message. Maybe something similar will come for Google+. There is already an option for multiple users in Google+ that comes with more warnings than I care to deal with at the moment.
  • Google wants us to bring everything we do on the web together in one place. Why leave Google when everything is there? I have not taken these concerns seriously before, but now even I am faintly uneasy. I don’t like that Google+ shows me the people in my Gmail address book to recommend I add them to a circle without me asking for it.

As a Facebook substitute where people share personal stuff Google+ is not working for me, so I’m going to experiment with it as a Twitter substitute, and go Public. You won’t see YouTube videos I find cute, or pictures of my previous holidays (unless someone comments on one of them perhaps, since it’s linked to my personal Google account), but just what I think about things that matter to me as a genealogist and social media fan.

I don’t know if people who are not in Google+ can see public posts, but I guess I’ll find out soon enough. You can see my Google+ profile at At least I hope you can!

First look at Google+

GooglePlusGoogle+ is Google‘s new experiment in the world of social networks. I say ‘experiment’ because it is only in limited release; you have to wait for someone to be able to invite you, and then you have to accept the invitation during one of the brief, unpredictable periods when new members are being accepted. I also call it an ‘experiment’ because Google have tried something similar before. It was called Google Wave and it didn’t catch on. Google Wave was removed from circulation.

It is inevitable that Google+ will be compared to Facebook and Twitter, and I will be doing the same. I’ve been using both for some years now, and have watched them evolve and become more useful. Google+ is only a beginner, and will become more useful as it grows, adds more features and tweaks, and more people get into it.

I’ve been on Google+ for an hour or so now; long enough for some first impressions:


So far I like it. It looks clean and easy to understand. Perhaps that will change as new features are added and it gets more complicated, but for the time being I prefer being there than in Facebook.


In Google+ you add people to circles. The ability to do this, and to differentiate circles, is built into the product and is very friendly and intuitive. Circles are like lists in Facebook and Twitter. You can categorise people according to whether they are friends, family, acquaintances or people you follow; or you can add your own categories. I have already added ‘genealogists’ and ‘Australia’, as many of the people in my circles are genealogists and/or Australians and some of the things I post are only relevant to them. No point asking a Canadian genealogist about what was on ABCTV in Australian last night.

Google+ Circles


Google+ looks much like Facebook when you get into it. You get a feed of all the news from the people in your circles, in descending chronological order from the most recent down. Where Google+ is different is that it is very easy to filter the stream by circle, so that you see only the messages in your Family circle, or your Genealogists circle:

GooglePlus homepage

If I am displaying all circles and I want to post something, I am asked who I want to share it with:

GooglePlus postAnd it won’t let me post it without selecting someone. So if I’m going to make it public I can’t make a mistake. But if I then post again it assumes what I said last time – Public. So watch out for that.

I think the difference here is that people now use Facebook for their friends and Twitter for everyone. You know that if you use Twitter all the world can see it. So you make the decision before you go in. With Google+ you have to make the decision each time you post something. I think that could be confusing, and perhaps dangerous.

It’s new, though, and so am I, so I’ll withhold my final judgement for the time being.


Uploading photos is appallingly slow compared to Facebook. I upload photos to Facebook on a regular basis, often from my phone. It’s relatively quick and I can share them without worrying that they are too big for my blogging software. So I’ve tried to upload photos to Google+ of the HMB Endeavour from a recent trip to Cairns. I started it off and went to do some things. I wish I’d recorded when I started it, because it’s still only half way through. Maybe the quality is better, but who’s going to care?

Again, perhaps this is a startup thing, and it will improve as it gets bigger and more experienced. I haven’t uploaded photos to Picasa Web for a long time so I can’t really make that comparison.

When it eventually finished uploading I saw there was a photo I had selected by mistake, and I can’t work out how to remove it. Perhaps I have to go to Picasa Web to do that.

I’ve gone to Picasa Web and it’s changed now that I’m on Google+:

Picasa messageYou can see my Endeavour album here. It seems I can edit the album in Picasa Web but not in Google+. Perhaps that will change. I will leave the odd photo there so you can see it. Leave a comment if you pick the odd one!


As social beings we don’t just deal with people as individuals; we deal with organisations as well. Facebook and Twitter both allow organisations to connect with us, sharing their news and new features.

Google+ isn’t yet at this stage, so it unfair to judge. When it is ready for organisations there will be a whole new layer of complexity. Or maybe not!

The default circles include one called ‘Following’. Following is what you do to organisations in Facebook and Twitter, so perhaps Google+ has already distinguished them for us. If the people/organisations we ‘follow’ are in separate circles from family, friends, and genealogists then perhaps the distinction will be enough to keep the separate functions of Google+ in our minds. When we want to ‘read the news’ we open the ‘Following’ circle, and when we want to chat to friends we open the Friends circle. If we want to interact with the organisation we can.

Well, those are my first impressions of Google+. What have yours been?

Family history societies using social media

Trees and cloudy skyI have written previously about how family history societies can use social media and why I think they should. Social media is a great way to connect with people and let them know what you offer, especially people you may not otherwise reach.

I would love to start a list of societies that use social media – Facebook, Twitter, a blog, Flickr, YouTube, and so on – and put it on this site somewhere. Currently the list is so small that it seems almost counter-productive, but I am willing to try it.

If your society uses social media in any way, or you know of a society that uses it, please let me know.

How did Facebook get my email address?

FacebookLast month I gave a talk to some ‘seniors’ about social media, particularly Facebook. Many of them are wary of using social media because of privacy concerns, and talking to them made me realise that there are a lot of misconceptions that make people more fearful than they need to be.

One that stands out involves requests from other people. Some of them had received friend requests from others, usually relatives, that arrived in the form of an email. These emails come from Facebook and so the recipients were automatically suspicious.

Facebook cannot get your email address. Only people that already know your email address can send you messages from Facebook. If you get an email from Facebook it is because someone who knows you used Facebook and has used the email address that they know is yours.

Finding Friends in Facebook

When your friend uses the Friend Finder in Facebook they are asked for temporary access to their email address book so that it can use the email addresses. It doesn’t keep them, so every time they use it they have to give permission and sign in with their email password all over again.

Facebook Friend Finder

They enter their email address and password, and Facebook looks through their email addresses and gives a list of all the addresses that have been used to join Facebook. They can select all of these, or just a few of them – it’s their choice – and then they can send them all a friend request, which the friends then have a choice about accepting.

Some of the people in their address books may not be friends. They may be acquaintances, tradespeople, teachers, or even relatives that you would not want to speak to on a day-to-day basis. The people in your address book are not necessarily people you would want to have a continuing social relationship with.

But if they left all of them selected then they will be sent a friend request.

Finding Friends who do not use Facebook

After they have dealt with the people in their address book that are already registered in Facebook they are then given the a list of the ones who are not. They can then send them those people an invitation to join Facebook, which sends each one of them an email.

I think it is these invitations that are causing concern for some people. They look like they have come from Facebook, which they have, but only because someone who knows you has chosen to send the invitation to you.

Again, they can choose to select only certain people, or leave everyone selected and send a message to everyone.

They can then use the address books in the other services listed, such as Skype and Windows Live Messenger, to find more friends, and the process starts all over again.

To preserve the privacy of my own friends I can’t show you what these screens look like. But there is nothing diabolical about this process.

If you receive an email from Facebook that asks you to be friends with someone, you can assume that it has come from that person directly, using Facebook. If the person is a friend or relative that you would like to stay in contact with then you have nothing to fear from joining Facebook as long as you immediately start off by changing some of the privacy settings. These are described in detail in my book Social Media for Family Historians.

You may find, after you join Facebook, that you have much more meaningful contact with these friends and relatives than you did before. That has been my experience. You can share news, photos and stories quickly and easily without having to print and post the photos.


Social Media for Family History Societies

DoorA lot of large companies and organisations are using social media to attract new customers and members, and to keep in touch with the ones they have. Those that don’t are learning how to do so.

I think small volunteer organisations like family history societies should do the same. It is even more important for societies to use low-cost ways of reaching people that cost little more than the time of a regular volunteer or two.

Most family history societies have at least a basic website so that people searching on Google can find them. Every society needs a website, a blog, and a Facebook presence at the very least, and perhaps a  Twitter presence if you’re up for it, although this is not essential. If you don’t already have a website you can build a combined website and blog all at once.

The website is where you get people to join your society. It is your window to the world. The website is the most important presence you have. The blog shows them why they should join and helps them feel part of a community of like-minded people. The blog points to the website and keeps the website interesting to existing and potential members, and to search engines like Google. The Facebook page points people both to the blog AND the website and keeps them in contact with you and each other on a daily basis.Your Twitter announces your posts on the blog and the Facebook page and leads people back to them.

Let’s look at each element in a bit more detail.


A blog is a specialised website that allows you to write short articles that are usually date-stamped. The articles, or posts, appear on the front page, or homepage, in reverse order, with the most recent one at the top. Posts are usually categorised and tagged so that they can be searched more easily. A blog can also contain pages, which are static web pages that are reached by links in a menu, like a normal website. This is where you might put things like contact details, membership benefits and so on.

You need a blog to publicise what the Society does and what information you have, and to help people get to know you and see why you are worth paying money to join. Blogs are searched by Google, and if you post regularly you will be higher in the search results, and you will get to more people who may never have heard of you before.

The person or people who create the posts should be the ones who know what is going on within the society. It’s no good appointing someone from outside who isn’t involved in the new things that are going on. If the organisation has staff they should be involved, and if not then one or two of the organising committee.

?BloggerA blog can be set up and hosted on a free site such as Blogger or WordPress very easily. Blogger is owned by Google and allows you to sign in with your Google ID. WordPress is open source and a bit more flexible. If you already have a website you may be able to install the WordPress software directly and link the website to it. My own websites and blogs are all WordPress installations on my own sites. You have much greater flexibility and range of templates because you can upload them, change them, even create your own. You can design your own logo and put it on the top of the pages.

It’s not necessary to do all that though. If all that sounds too hard go with a free site. You can always move all your posts into a new blog later if you change your mind.

The naming of the site is also a consideration. It is easier for people to understand if you have a domain name that reflects the name of the organisation. The domain name is the bit after the ‘www’ in a website name, so the domain name for this website is ‘’.

looks better than

A domain name is like a company name in that you can choose anything you like as long as no one has already claimed it. There are a lot of companies that will allow you to choose and pay for a domain name. The cost is only about $20 for two years, so there’s no excuse to not have one.

Your posts can be about many things, for example:

  • what is happening in the society
  • what new indexes or information you have (or what’s already there – a ‘featured’ database or collection)
  • profiles of members or volunteers
  • news in the wider genealogy world

You can become their source of information about new developments in the world of genealogy as well as in your more specialised area of interest. You can ask questions of your readers and members, and get them to engage with you by leaving comments. It really works!


Once you have a blog, you can give it, and the website, wider exposure by creating a Facebook page. If you are not on Facebook yourself it might be time to start, as it is easier to start the page when you already know your way around at least a little.

SAG Facebook pageA few societies in Australia and elsewhere have Facebook pages, such as the Society of Australian Genealogists, the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, and the Southern California Genealogical Society. You can post general news about the Society or the website at any time, as well as whenever you publish a new blog post. Asking questions gets them talking and keeps your society and its activities in their minds.

When you publish a new post on your blog you can set it up so that it is automatically posted to Facebook. It’s a good idea to do this, as a lot of people will see it first in Facebook instead of reading it in their blog reader.

In Facebook you are trying to attract followers – people to ‘like’ you. Once they are followers anything you post will appear in their feed, so your message is directly in front of them. I have found that by far the best way to build followers is to post often. I try to post something every couple of days at the very least – usually a link to an interesting site or blog post, or a question to get people engaged in answering or giving advice. More is better – the more you post, the more followers you will have. It is as simple as that.

I’ve tried paid Facebook advertising and it is not worth the money. Perhaps genealogy is too specialised to work well in Facebook.

I have found that Facebook is better than a blog for engaging people to leave comments, but the blog is better for attracting newcomers. They are two different things and they work together. Ideally you will have both.


Twitter is like a blog except that you are limited to 140 characters. It is most often used to send out links to blog posts and websites, and for direct communication. Twitter is the best place to see what’s new, and to get quick answers and advice. It is far more useful for genealogy than most people realise.

Twitter works much the same as Facebook – you have followers, and they get your posts in their feed. Posts are called tweets. The more you post, the more people will follow you. Your followers may retweet your tweets to their followers, thus reaching more people. Twitter is different from Facebook in the level of privacy. Tweets are all public, unless you send a direct message to a specific person, whereas Facebook allows you to restrict your posts to followers, or specific people. As a society looking for members you wouldn’t restrict them, but it is useful to remember.

You can set up your Facebook page and your blog to tweet automatically, which is what I do.

I have 5 Twitter accounts, which I run from Tweetdeck, which is a 3rd-party application that allows me to show the different accounts in separate columns, and post from one or many accounts at once, all from the one place. It’s the only way I can manage all the different Twitter accounts without having to log on and log off each one in turn.

There are many, many more users of Facebook than Twitter. Twitter seems to me to be better for networking and communicating with other researchers, repositories and libraries quickly.

Unless you are already comfortable with Twitter I would leave it alone for now, and we can come back to it later.

Where do we start?

If nothing else, start with a blog. No question.

When you have a few posts under your belt you can expand into Facebook, or you can launch both at once. The website can have a link to show people how to follow you on Facebook.

Start a blog. Now!

Photo courtesy of  devonsun at Dreamstime


I am a recent convert to Facebook. It’s a web application that I thought was used by teenagers but it seems I was wrong because when I asked my teenage nieces they didn’t know what I was talking about. They use MySpace.

Facebook seems to be used by young adults and older adults. It’s a networking site for keeping in contact with people and letting them know how you are and what you are doing. Your contacts are called friends and they have to agree to be your friend, so it keeps the spam out.

It’s a lot of fun, there are so many applications that you and your friends can play with. For example I use an application called “Where I’ve Been” – I can click on the countries I’ve been to on a map of the world and they turn blue. I can turn the countries I want to visit green. Others can see where I’ve been if I let them and I can see where they’ve been. I thought I was well-travelled but seeing it laid on a map like that I can see I have a long way to go. I’m ready!

There are genealogy applications too. One has been written by FamilyLink, the people who give us World Vital Records, called “We’re Related”. This is what they say about it:

….share basic family information with anybody you choose.
With this app you can:
– Find your relatives on Facebook
– Keep up with your family
– Build your family tree
– Share news and photos with your family

In the future we hope to allow you to share memories about ancestors with your family, compare your family tree with your friends on Facebook to see if you are related, and to search for your ancestors through the application.

Some of my friends are now my relatives. I can upload a gedcom to share with my relatives but I haven’t managed to do this yet. It expects my name in the gedcom file to be the same as my name in Facebook and it isn’t because I didn’t use my middle name in Facebook.

There are others which I haven’t tried yet but I plan to. One is FamilyBuilder. To quote them directly:

Familybuilder is a free fun tool for:

* Finding your relatives.
* Building your family tree.
* Preserving your family history.
* Scrapbooking the lives of you and your family.
* Remembering loved ones.
* Staying in touch with your family.

I’ve installed this and I’ll see how it goes.

There are others but these two seem to be the most popular. They are not full family tree applications. That’s not what Facebook is about. They allow communication and sharing of information between relatives. News, baby photos, funerals, research discoveries – you can share them all at once.

Try it. It’s quite addictive, and many of the applications are worth playing with.