This article shares ways to use different platforms of social media for your genealogical research in Germany. As social media and websites change constantly, I have included the steps you will need to find new items. We will discuss Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. (Author’s Edit: Now, as of 2023, you may want to check out TikTok as well!)
The advantages of using social media for genealogical research in Germany include:
- Being able to talk to people who live in the area
- Being able to access current information
- It’s free!
It would be nice if we could be members of all the genealogical societies where our families lived. Most of us, however, can not afford that.
Enter Facebook – the next best thing. These groups are available through the popular social media platform, which includes many pages which can help you in your German genealogy.
To find these groups:
- Click inside the search bar at the top left side of the Facebook page.
2. Type in German Genealogy.
A list of Facebook pages then appears, which includes three different categories:
- Lists of relevant groups
- Articles that mention your search items
- Facebook posts by those you are friends with who mentioned your search items
Below are a couple of descriptions of German genealogy groups:
“Join us and discover that family research is the most interesting and rewarding hobby that will enable you to discover your past and preserve your heritage for future generations. Be a part of the fastest growing hobby today!”
“The International German Genealogy Partnership’s mission is to facilitate German genealogy research globally as the internationally recognized federation of German genealogy organizations. Lists session on German genealogy”
Click on the + Join button to become part of a group, receive notifications of posts made in the group, and have the ability to add posts yourself. You will also be able to talk to others trying to research their family.
Many groups will ask you to answer two or three questions before they allow you to join their group. They want to make sure that you are actually interested in their topic. Do not be offended. This helps to keep the posts centered on the topic.
These Facebook articles link to a blog post for each group or person.
Click on an article not just to read the article, but to get to know the blog itself.
Follow the blog if you like the article(s) so you will get an email when new articles are posted.
This last search list shows Facebook pages that are open to everyone that you can like. Once you click like, their posts will appear on your newsfeed stream.
Add comments and ask questions to posts in groups or to the regular pages. Get to know these people. Help others and get help from throughout the entire world.
You can also search for the town your family is from in the Facebook search bar. Not only will genealogy groups appear, but history groups and chamber of commerce type pages will show up as well. Like these pages. They will help you with the family history part of your research. You might even find cousins who still live in your ancestral hometown!
Twitter allows you to chat with others all over the world. Follow fellow genealogists and those specifically researching or who know about the topics or areas of the world you want to research. Read the tweets. Many tweets will have links to their blogs with posts on the subject, such as German genealogy. The following list appeared today when I searched German genealogy.
If I wasn’t following these people already, then the “Following” button would say “Follow”. Click on the Follow button to have their tweets appear on your feed. Ask questions and make comments to engage with others in the genealogy field.
This genealogy chat meets together on Twitter for an hour on the second Wednesday of each month. Questions are asked on a specific German genealogy topics. Other questions can also be asked, and answers are given by anyone who wants to answer. You may contribute or ask questions on the topic or related items. Their twitter page is https://twitter.com/GenchatDe
To connect and see past tweets, search for the hashtag #GenChatDE.
Get to know people on Twitter from the areas of your ancestors. They could be a relative!
Pinterest is a platform where anyone can create “pins” related to any topic. Imagine it like a giant bulletin board where you save your favorite items. Effective pins have a link to a website or blog post where more information can be obtained.
To find pins on a specific topic, type the subject, such as German Genealogy, in the Pinterest search bar.
A list of pins appears. A different list appears if you type in German Genealogical Research and another list if you type in German Genealogy Research – so try out different searches and see what works best for you. If you are looking for maps of Germany, add that phrase to the search. If you want a specific city, add it to the search.
If there is a pin you like:
- Move your mouse over the pin
- Click on the Save
- Select a board to save it to.
This pin is now filed for you for later reference.
Go directly to website
- Move your mouse over a pin.
- Click on the black bar with the name of the person who posted the pin.
This opens the link in a new browser tab.
Click on the pin to open it. The following appears with the pin on the left and more information on the right. You can hit the Save from here if you would like.
The person who posted this pin was Legacy Tree Genealogists. There is a Follow bottom to the right of their name. If you click the follow button here, you will follow all of their posts from all of their boards – just make sure you check out their boards and like what they post before you follow.
To view all of their boards, click on their name instead of the Follow button. All of their boards will then appear, as shown below. Review their boards. If you like what you see, then click Follow at the top. If there are some boards you do not want to follow, the simply click Follow beside the boards that you like, and you will only follow those.
YouTube has videos on “how to’s” for everything and can be a great resource for genealogy. And not just for Germany – for all aspects of genealogical research.
At the top of the screen is a search bar.
In the search bar type in German Genealogical Research or German Genealogy Research.
Videos that meet that criteria will appear. Below is the list that I saw today. However, with more videos uploaded daily, this list will constantly change.
After searching for a topic, a list of videos will then appear. If these look like videos you would like to watch, and you want to make sure you don’t lose them, then mark them as Watch Later by taking the following steps:
- Move your mouse over the video.
A clock will appear in the top right corner.
- Click on the clock.
The clock changes to a checkmark.
The video is now on your Watch Later list.
The watch list appears on the left menu of your YouTube page, as shown below.
Check the bottom of videos that have content you like. Some videos have hashtags. If the hashtag matches a subject you find interesting, click on it. A list of videos with the same hashtag will appear (if there are any, otherwise it will just lists random videos).
Use these social media strategies to supplement your genealogy research, and you will be amazed at the doors opened for you. Do you have any more strategies? Let us know in the comments!
From microfilm and a list of names as a teenager to researching her paternal grandmother’s line back to the first white landowners of Canada, Lianne loves to share her knowledge, experience, and love for genealogy and technology. She has published articles and spoken at conferences in Ontario, England, Saskatchewan, multiple locations in Alberta, and Utah including RootsTech.
Follow Katherine Schober on the following social media platforms for more German genealogy tips!