Family Networking Websites: These are sites that allow you to maintain (or join) a website with a combination of features, including these listed below.
- a place to put a family tree
- a message center
- a place to post pictures
- the ability to restrict information on the site to only those people you invite or accept.
The one I use is MyFamily.com, which is free, but "upgradable". The upgrade eliminated advertising, which my family appreciated and provided more online space for pictures. This site lists upcoming birthdays and anniversarys at the top of the page. Members can arrange an online chat session, fill in profiles with information about themselves, post news,links to online information, pictures or documents. MyFamily.com is not a true social networking site because there is no opportunity for people to browse and find the site. Membership is by invitation only.
The following four websites are listed and reviewed in "Top Family Networking Websites" Internet Genealolgy January 2009 p.9-12. The author selected these 4 out of 18 like websites.
Wikis allow people to share information. Some sites are specific to genealogy and some genealogy wikis offer a place to share research on an individual or family.
- Familypedia is a Wiki you can use to create (or read) pages about your ancestors.
- We Relate is another.
- WikiTree is a place to link (and fine people in) family trees.
Too much technology? Too much interaction? Go back to the tried and true "bulletin boards" on which people post queries or information and others can post responses. These posts stay up for years (how many years hasn't yet been tested. So far, from the beginning of the posts). There are two sites that provide family name bulletin boards:
- Ancestry.com/Rootsweb (same boards): Use the message boards, either by surname or locality to find posts others have made and make your own.
- Genealogy.com: Search or post to their genforum message boards. You will have to register for each of these, but they are free.
Many family historians have put their own websites up. How can you find if there is one for your family?
- Google Directory of Surname Websites, organized by letter (use the alphabet, then click on the letter you want). The results page can be a little tricky. It is divided into three segments. The top segment appears to list all the names, with a number next to them to show how many sites there are for a given name. Following that is a listing of related links that takes you to other compilations of surnmae websites. Following that is a longer listing of names... not included in the list at top! This second list will first appear in order of Google page rank. Click "View in Alphabetical Order" on the green bar to sort alphabetically. This list is a human created directory and will not list every site that exists. In fact, at the bottom you have the ability to submit a site.
- This is created from the Open Directory Project listing of genealogy surname sites. -- click the letter to bring up listings of names starting with that letter. This has the same three tier structure of the Google directory, described above. There is clearly substantial overlap, but I'm not sure there aren't also some differences. This latter site appears to have more links.
- Cyndi's list
- Use a search engine to find it -- remember, Google isn't the only one in town! But start with Googling using the surname. Try it as a phrase, e.g. " Snow Family" or other likely word combinations, such as Rice Genealogy --note I wouldn't put those in quotation marks.