Facebook is for more than keeping in touch with friends from grammar or high school and watching cute videos of animals. Facebook is a very important tool that should be part of every genealogist’s toolbox. If you are looking to find distant cousins, assistance or a bit of genealogy inspiration, Facebook is a great place to start.

Finding Distant Cousins

Researchers have spent countless hours on message boards leaving messages that they hope will be answered by someone else researching the same family. Sometimes people would wait years for a reply, other times they might have been lucky enough to receive an answer within the week.

Imagine doing a quick name search to see how many people are on Facebook with the name you are looking for. If by chance you are looking for an obscure surname, you can get lucky and actually find a relative pretty quick. For those with a more common surname, you might have to scroll through hundreds of people to find the one that connects to your family.

Also, consider joining a genealogy group. If you are in a location specific group, watch the posts for the surnames you are researching. Better yet, on the top right hand side, use the search box to search for a specific surname. Take the time to read all the posts and comments on them. Many distant cousins can be found in these groups. Reach out, introduce yourself and let the original poster know how you relate to the person they posted about.


Have you ever had a research based question that you needed an answer to right away? Facebook has a strong genealogy community and is a great place to post your questions. Usually you can get an answer right away. Not only one answer, but a whole list of answers, and if the person replying is feeling generous with their time, they might just explain why they are giving you the answer they have.

Facebook screen shot

No subject matter is taboo, ask away and be prepared to be educated by the community.

Genealogy Inspiration

As a blogger/writer sometimes finding a topic to write about is not the easiest thing to do. A simple post on Facebook brings out the community to try and assist you. They are more than happy to tell you what they want to read about. They will throw out ideas on the topics they know are near and dear to you, hoping to help you over the much dreaded hump of writers block.

For those of you still unsure of why Facebook is a great place to be, I hope this has helped you move forward in your decision to join.

A special thanks to the community that is there when I need a bit of assistance or just a nudge to move forward. I appreciate each of you.


About Terri O’Connell

Terri O’Connell is a professional genealogist in the Chicago area, focusing on Midwestern United States Genealogy, with a main focus in Illinois and a special interest in Irish research.

Terri is also the co-founder and Executive Director of The In-Depth Genealogist, www.theindepthgenealogist.com.

You can find Terri online on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


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