If not, don’t despair. So many people are not there yet, and others don’t even want to join that fast lane to technology. I call it a “fast lane,’ but it’s more like a thoroughfare that rearranges itself and creates constant interchanges at the most unexpected places. It’s hard to keep up!
Most of you have probably already joined that fast lane and have developed skills for certain online sites that you use to research your ancestors. Nonetheless, if you haven’t taken advantage of that part of technology known as “social media,” you are missing out on a wealth of resources available that will further enhance your genealogical quests.
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, genealogist Tina Sansone presented a workshop on “Social Networking for Genealogists” for the Tennessee Genealogical Society (TNGS). Tina, a long-time TNGS member and former Board Member, provided an extensive explanation of social media, giving the benefits of its use for genealogy. Her handout was wide-ranging and included numerous examples of social media and how to use each.
TNGS has enthusiastically entered the 21st century in regards to social media and has a number of social media sites that are used to promote the society, cultivate conversations about family surnames, publicize particular events, sell books that the Society has to offer, and impart important genealogical research information. It’s our hope that each TNGS member will take full advantage of the sites offered by the Society in order to connect with others who have similar research interests.
Wendy Kennedy Davison, Director of Media Relations for TNGS, is the main administrator of these groups, and is ably assisted by TNGS members Tina Sansone, Wanda Hunter Day, and various others.
TNGS set up a Facebook Group a few years ago and currently has nearly 4,000 members that include people from all over the state of Tennessee, as well as those who live elsewhere but have Tennessee roots to research. These members are able to post on the site in hopes of linking up with others who are researching the same family or families. So many connections have been made on this site. Cousins have “found” each other, and the Facebook Group has ultimately been a great success.
In addition, Wendy posts an abundance of research articles and sites to help members further their research skills. The TNGS Facebook Group can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/TNGen/..
Twitter is an online networking site that allows members to “tweet” out posts using a limited amount of letters. These tweets can be about any topic, and a number of Twitter members use the site to promote their genealogy blogs, their genealogical societies, and often their genealogy research. TNGS has a Twitter Account that can be accessed at https://twitter.com/TnGenSoc.
With over 1200 members, TNGS posts often get “re-tweeted” by others and have helped a number of people connect to “new” family members.
Pinterest is referred to as “the world’s catalog of ideas.” It’s basically a huge bulletin board that allows members to “pin” photos, videos, links, and other things to their chosen “board.” TNGS now has a board through the Let's Discuss It Group. This group “meets monthly to discuss genealogy and technology topics.” A list of meeting dates can be seen on the main TNGS website.
This monthly workshop is run by TNGS members, Deb Atchley and PZ Horton. Because of the emphasis on technology, Deb elected to set up a special Pinterest Board for the group that you can visit at:https://www.pinterest.com/letsdiscussit//.
Deb has developed 91 boards, ranging from various state sites to a multitude of special topics, such as military records, genealogy links, genealogy software – and much more! Boards on a number of other countries are also included.
LinkedIn is mainly a professional networking site that connects people with similar interests, whether it is a particular business or perhaps a specific concentration, such as genealogy or history. TNGS has nearly 100 members. The TNGS group is located at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4431840.
TNGS WEBSITE AND BLOG
The main website of TNGS (www.tngs.org) is an essential source of information for members and visitors. It is also an interactive site that would classify it as a “social media” site.
Aside from the main menu of events on the home page, there is a list of specific sites on the left-hand side of the page that will take you to a number of valuable resources. Everything from back issues of the Society’s magazine, Ansearchin’ News, to articles on the basics of genealogy, to a ‘Member’s Only’ site are listed there. Also located there is a link to the Blog, where you can read back posts, look through current ones, and even make comments. The Blog site has a number of photos from past activities that reflect the variety of opportunities that have been offered to members and friends over the past few years.
On the Bookstore link, you can purchase books, join the Society (or renew your membership), sign up for an upcoming Seminar, learn how to obtain research help, and find out how to contact the Society.
I heard “through the grapevine” that there may be a TNGS Instagram site looming in the future. Details will come soon, I’m sure!
So are you ready for the 21st Century? I’ll have to admit that there is at least one of the sites listed above (Instagram) that I’ve not joined. Maybe I still have a little toe left in that last century. Maybe I need to jump out completely?
Come join me!
Carla Love Maitland