in 52 Weeks
Social Media for Genealogy
I will preface this post with the fact that I am NOT a fan of social media sites in general. When social media groups first came online, I did not participate for many years. But, several years ago a blog I was reading highlighted a genealogy group on Facebook. That got me curious enough that I created a FB account and joined the genealogy group I had read about. Now, I follow about 20 FB genealogy or historical groups and check their posts regularly. I have also posted queries and received helpful replies. And I plan to further my use as I work toward and breaking down my brick-walls.
Pages vs. Groups on Facebook
Not all genealogy groups on Facebook are created equal. That is to say, some groups are actually Pages and open to anyone to follow, they are similar to a business profile. Groups use the Page to make announcements and post content of interest to their followers. When a group is a Page, the administrators can restrict who can create posts but they do not restrict who can view posts. For example, I follow a Page called Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society.  They post about meetings, and share links and content. The information on their page led me to resources for researching my ancestor who lived on the Maryland eastern shore.
Groups that are a Facebook Group typically require submission of a request to join. Upon approval, you can post to the group and respond to the posts of other members. Facebook Groups are meant to allow discussion and content creation among members. These membership groups typically have several administrators to insure everyone stays on topic and to establish rules for the Group. For example, I belong to a group called Indiana Genealogy.  It currently has about 5700 members and 3 amazing group administrators. They host a surname exchange, links to local research resources, family histories and MUCH more. Members regularly post queries and receive help from other members.
Places and Topics
There is a huge array of Facebook Pages and Groups that should appeal to genealogists to follow or join. Groups that are specific to a place, such as my examples above, are plentiful. But, are you interested in a particular topic? There are genealogical groups for topics old and new; Mayflower to DNA. Are you already a member of a genealogical society? Most real world societies have a presence on Facebook and many have pages for their regional sub-groups. One I follow is Crawford County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Inc. 
Surnames and History
Besides groups that are place or topic focused, you can also find surname groups. These groups more often require submitting qualifying information. Such as, naming your ancestor with the particular surname. Many of the surname groups sponsor DNA studies. One surname group I belong to, James and Rachel Skaggs and James and Susannah Skaggs and Moredock Family, has used their DNA study to untangle a longstanding confusion between two ancestral couples.  (The clue is in the group name.) Lastly, don’t overlook pages or groups dedicated more to history than genealogy. These, too, can be valuable resources. I belong to the Irvington Historical Society Group on Facebook.  They post all sorts of interesting information and images.
Putting aside my views of what’s wrong with social media, I have found at least one thing that is right. Using social media to connect with those who share a passion for genealogy has been a good experience. Whether a Page or a Group, following or joining a genealogical group on Facebook can be beneficial to furthering your research. Also, I have been “friended” by a few childhood friends, former co-workers and family, and that has proven to be a nice, unexpected, benefit.
- Facebook Page, Lower Delmarva Genealogical Society, Accessed online:
- Facebook Group, Indiana Genealogy, Accessed online:
- Facebook Page, Crawford County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Inc., Accessed online: https://www.facebook.com/CrawfordGenealogy/
- Facebook Group, James and Rachel Skaggs and James and Susannah Skaggs and Moredock Family, Accessed online: https://www.facebook.com/groups/481013082234834
- Facebook Group, Irvington Historical Society Group, Accessed online:
Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.
While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.
Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.
A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.
I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.