Unclaimed Persons Solves 100th Case


Congratulations to Unclaimed Persons and all of its hard-working volunteers on solving their 100th case!

In case you are unfamiliar with Unclaimed Persons, this volunteer organization is comprised of genealogists, family historians and cyber-sleuths who use their research skills to help coroners and medical examiners located next of kin for unclaimed persons.

I highly recommend that if you have a some time or are looking for a volunteer project that you can do from the comfort of your own home, consider becoming a member.  Not only will you be assisting overburdened state and local agencies but you’ll also hone and sharpen your research skills.

Click here for more information on becoming a volunteer (this link will take you to a Facebook group page).

Congratulations to everyone at Unclaimed Persons!

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

GeneaBloggers Group on Facebook – A Face Lift


In case you haven’t seen or heard, Facebook has given a face lift to all of its Groups pages including GeneaBloggers Group on Facebook.  You can read more about Facebook’s decision over at Mashable.

The pages now look and feel more like Pages which most users are familiar with – many genealogy companies and even blogs have their own Fan Pages set up already on Facebook.

Check it out if you have a chance and leave your feedback in the comments on this post.  Remember that the GeneaBloggers Group on Facebook is a “closed” group and you must request permission to become a member.  There are no strict membership requirements – we have kept the group “closed” in order to keep out spammers and those who aren’t really interested in genealogy.

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee

Historic Huguenot Street Now On Facebook


We’ve just received an e-mail from a historical society – the Huguenot Historical Society in New Paltz, NY – informing us that it now has a fan page on Facebook:

Social media is changing the way we communicate and Historic Huguenot Street is part of the wave. You can now find and follow HHS on Facebook. In just a few short weeks, and without any public announcement, HHS already has over 275 fans on Facebook — so many that we now have our own Facebook URL, which makes us easy to find. Check us out and join us as a fan at http://www.facebook.com/huguenotstreet.

It’s great to see genealogical and historical societies embracing social media such as Facebook, Twitter and, of course, blogging.  One of the planned initiatives at GeneaBloggers is to introduce the various components of social media networking to genealogical and historical societies.

Many of us support and/or belong to one or more of these groups – some of us even do so from afar and interact with the society virtually, never having stepped foot on their premises!  And while so many libraries and archives seem to have embraced Facebook, blogs and especially Twitter very quickly, genealogical and historical societies: not so much.

Besides trying to identify someone among the membership with the skills to not only set up these account but to also administer them, there is a big hurdle to overcome: perception of board members as to what social media is and what it can (and can’t) do.

All too often, because these societies are staffed and administered by older genealogists  who also may have a lack of technical skills,  the information they hear, read and see about applications like Facebook is often pejorative and slanted towards the negative.

Keep in mind that there is a duty of board members of these societies to protect the reputation of the society – and they are often adverse to their group being associated with Facebook, Twitter or any method of marketing which is often in the news.

Remember when you first started using “The Internets” or as my older relatives say, “The Google?” Didn’t you encounter one or more persons who would shake their head and voiced concerned that you were on the path of damnation and no return by using AOL or Yahoo (or Lycos,  or GeoCities)? That you would have your identity stolen? That your reputation could be ruined?

And so it seems there is a peception hurdle to deal with before genealogical and historical societies are even ready to set up something as simple as a blog.

How does one go about change perceptions of  technology and specifically social media networking in the genealogy field and more pointedly, changing those perceptions held by genealogical and historical societies?

© 2009, copyright Thomas MacEntee