Social Media and Genealogy

Back in the day – when you walked to school in 5 feet of snow, uphill (both ways), genealogy was researched on site, using such tools as a microfiche reader, microfilm reader, or just plan old books.

I was able to recently get together briefly with a cousin.  People asked me how we met/found each other as he is my 4th cousin.  We met through his aunt.  I had sent a query to a Welsh newspaper (in the US), stating that my 2nd great-grandfather was David Lloyd and that I was beginning to research the family.  I continued with all the information that I knew to date.

Now the waiting began.  I had no idea IF OR WHEN my query would even be added to the newspaper.  I waited.  The next edition – nothing.  I then saw it in the edition after that. Yay!  Now more waiting.  Will anyone even care about my David Lloyd?

Months went by…


I received a letter in the mail, several handwritten pages long, stating that this woman believed we were related – her grandfather was David Lloyd’s older brother, or so it seemed. After reading through her letter and calling her on the phone – BINGO!  We were able to connect and make a direct hit.


While I am a proponent of writing things down and I cherish handwritten letters, when it comes to connecting and waiting, I’m out.  I get energized from the almost instant gratification of posting something to social media and getting a response of some kind – before my next birthday!


There are Facebook genealogy groups, Pinterest Genealogy Boards, Genealogical and Historical societies websites, Instagram, etc.

What are you using to be connected?  What are some of your successes?  I will be following up this post with another on how I utilize some of these sites to aid my research.

I look forward to hearing how others are using these tools!

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That Wasn’t My Ancestor’s Name!

I see it time and time again.  Maybe I was more open to believing that records could be all screwed up, I don’t know.  I was helping someone research her family history.  However, the more that I brought to her attention for review, the more I heard, “That’s not how my ancestor spelled it”.Hello my name is

Anyone who has gone looking through Census records probably understands why her statement has a lot of entertainment value.  I wish she was right, but unfortunately, record keeping is only as good as the record keeper.  You need to be on the lookout for all sorts of discrepancies and alternate spellings.  There is also the ancestor’s accent, mother country, etc. that plays a part as well.

Case in point:

My husband’s 2nd Great Grandfather’s name was Peter Olaf Johnson…or was it?  It seems harmless enough.  I start researching this man.

Census Records:  Check.  Nothing unusual.  All show Peter Johnson, Peter O Johnson.  I’m feeling pretty lucky so far.

Now is this a signature?  “Olaf Petter Johanson”

For those that think this stuff is just a quick look up on Ancestry, some shaking leaves, and instant family, guess again!

My head hurts.  I decide to give old Olaf a rest for the moment.

I know – I’ll go after Peter’s son, my husband’s great grandfather.  He was born in Minnesota.  After a little sleuthing, I come across this index entry:

Jansen Birth Certificate


Birthdate.  25 Oct 1893. Check.

Father’s Name:  Pedder Jansen.  Ugh. Check? Really?  Another variation.

Mother’s Name: Raynhild Jansen.  At least her first name was unique enough – this is a pretty good bet. Check…for now.

Those are probably the right parent’s names, even if not spelled how they spelled them later on.


I have hardly done any research on this family and I already have several variations on the name.  This is going to take many deep dives to prove/disprove if I’m on the right track or not.  Peter’s Death Certificate states his father’s name as John Johnson.  Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

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