10 Tips for Mapping Your Family History

Get Social
Many family-name groups have a presence on Facebook and other social media sites for sharing information. © GEORGE FREY/Reuters/Corbis

Social media is good for more than sharing pictures of cute kiddies and kitties. In fact, the genealogy community has a thriving presence of pages and message boards dedicated to helping people of similar lineage connect and share information instantaneously.

"Facebook is a great place to look for genealogical pages, whether it's for a specific geographical area or for a specific family name," says avid genealogist Staci-Jill Burnley, who in the early days of her research hit a metaphorical brick wall while researching ancestors from early 1700s Virginia. Persistent digging revealed the existence of an entire genealogical and historical society dedicated to this branch of her family. "I searched for them on the Internet and learned they had a Facebook page," she says. "I joined that page and have met dozens of distant cousins. We all have different information on the various branches of the family and have really been able to fill in research gaps for each other."

Other popular channels include YouTube, Flickr and even Pinterest, all of which have excellent genealogical research potential [source: Family Tree Magazine].