With social networks popping up everywhere catering to every imaginable interest group and, as you can well imagine, if there are sites for bird watchers there must be sites for genealogy. Out of the many sites, I’ve found several that are of interest to me and might also be of interest to you.
If you want to look beyond Facebook there are several interesting genealogy niche sites out there. Here’s my shortlist:
MyHeritage the Israeli-based site offers a free genealogy metasearch engine, and supports over 37 languages (that’s impressive). Apart from the gimmicky facial-recognition tool that brought it fame, this robust site offers the Family Tree Builder application, family calendars, and Smart Matching technology, which compares family trees for overlap. This site is definitely worth exploring.
Family Link Paul Allen (one of my favorite database developer success stories) left Ancestry.com in 2002 to try a different search approach at World Vital Records (which is rapidly gaining popularity}. The free online family tree component of the company is the social networking site FamilyLink, which connects genealogy researchers with other genealogy researchers.
Here’s a very important and not to be underestimated feature. It’s possible to browse by city or country to view uploaded photos of that city and the names of FamilyLink registered genealogists who are members with research experience in the area. If they happen to be online you can IM them or Skype them and if offline you can still send them a message to ask them a question.
Geni.com has attracted a lot of interest and has received almost $11.5 million in venture capital. The social network site’s primary objective is to connect family by helping you to create a family tree and invite other family members to join. Each individual in the tree has a profile and family members can work together to build profiles for common ancestors. Features include a Family Calendar, an editable Family Timeline and a Family News feature which highlights new additions and upcoming events from sites within a user’s Family Group. They’ll probably be adding innovative features in the future.
eFamily (formarly Famiva) another collaborative social networking site that claims to offer some features the others do not, such as, a map tool that shows where everyone is located and a family network diagram that shows how everyone links together. The emphasis here is on collaboration complete with profiles and photos and the site claims that privacy is not an issue.
Story of My Life If you want to leave a legacy for future generations, this site offers a different way to preserve your ancestors through writing, pictures, videos and voice recordings. Like Ancestry.com and some others, stories can be made private. You also have the option to share with others. It’s worthy of note that this is a non-profit foundation that promises to preserve your stories indefinitely. The permanent storage option does, however, come with a price tag. A basic free story service is, however, available with 250 MB space and will be accessible as long as you have an active account. This is a terrific site but make sure you understand how the paid storage and the free storage works.
Twitter Last but by no means least. It’s a great platform If you like to keep up with the genealogy world or want to share (short) pieces of information on your research. Genealogists use Twitter for sharing pieces of information such as presentations during conferences and other events.