Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Social Networking and Genealogy

I've been on Facebook for about 2 years now having only joined on a friend request from a friend. It seems the whole world has been taken over by Facebook fever that doesn't seem to be stopping or slowing down. So if you can find long lost 'friends' from your past on Facebook surely you can find long lost relatives. I guess that's the concept behind genealogists or family historians using social networking sites as a tool for their research. Keeping in touch with family from Pakistan or overseas can be made easy via Facebook. You'll find many groups that have been created solely for the purpose of keeping in touch with family members from all over the world. Some are primarily focused on creating a group especially for popular surnames such as 'Mir', 'Bukhari', 'Minhas', 'Malik', 'Khan' etc. Some even merging two surnames under one group for instance, 'Butt and Dar' and 'Baig and Mirza'. The numbers are growing for each of the groups as more and more people want to declare their surname as most popular and 'cool'.

My own group called 'My Pakistani Ancestry' is specifically for people who have an interest in researching their family history. The discussion board and the 'Wall' are great for interacting with like-minded people where you can share information with each other. I'm hoping more Facebook members will join the group in order to share and promote our heritage to the world.

Additionally there are now a rising number of Facebook applications that have been created with genealogists in mind. Some examples include, 'My Heritage', 'We're Related' and 'Family Tree'. Most of these applications allow you to build a family tree by connecting you to Facebook 'friends' that may be possible relatives. So do check these out!

What have your experiences been of using social networking sites?

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