Social networks are online communities created as places for individuals with common interests to build new relationships. These online services provide simple tools to generate collaborative opportunities for finding, sharing, and interacting with like-minded people.
Many social networks are now available for genealogists. They help people connect with family members and other researchers. Each has its own features. The following is a list of some social networks geared towards family history:
1. Amiglia: http://www.amiglia.com/intro/
This site is more geared toward connecting living family members than researching your family history. Due to the high cost of hosting online photos and videos, Amiglia is a subscription-based site. Some features of the site include:
- Family trees and photo albums combine.
- Family calendar.
- Fun games for the little ones.
- Link your photo album to others in your family network.
2. Family Builder: http://www.familybuilder.com/
Family Builder does not host your online family tree. Rather, they provide you a list of several social networking websites that support their application. You can select one or more of those hosting social networks to place your family tree.
3. Famiva: http://famiva.com/
Famiva makes it easy for you and your family members to build a family tree together, complete with profiles and photos. The interface is simple, but the service is free with unlimited storage. You can:
- Upload, organize, and share family photos.
- Share family news, events, stories, and recipes.
- Create family maps.
4. Family Link: http://corporate.familylink.com/
WorldVitalRecords.com offers this free family 2.0 service for genealogists. FamilyLink focuses on connecting genealogy researchers with other genealogy researchers. You can browse by city or country to:
- View uploaded photos of that city
- Learn the names of FamilyLink registered genealogists who live in that country or city and have research experience in that location.
You can contact them by IM or Skype if they are online. If they are offline, you can send them a message. You can give them permission to view your uploaded family tree so they can offer help and suggestions.
5. Family Pursuit: http://www.familypursuit.com/
Family Pursuit focuses on coordinating, collecting, organizing, and sharing research efforts. This is accomplished by developing research projects. Within research projects, you can invite members of your family to help you in your research, create tasks for accomplishing your research project objectives, and assign those tasks to family members. Within each task, the family member assigned to the task can keep a research log of the entire research process. Research Projects management also includes a discussion board for communicating back and forth. Research projects can be organized around:
- Censuses or parishes
The possibilities are endless. You can continue to create an unlimited number of research projects, beginning new projects around new subjects. Research projects can either be private or public.
6. Geni.com: http://www.geni.com/
Geni’s primary focus is connecting family. It allows you to easily create a family tree and invite other family members to join you. Each individual in the tree has a profile. Family members can work together to build profiles for common ancestors. Other features include:
- A Family Calendar.
- An editable Family Timeline.
- Family News feature.
- Highlights of new additions.
- Upcoming events from sites within a user’s Family Group.
7. GeneTree: http://www.genetree.com/
The DNA-enabled family history sharing website integrates genetic genealogy and digital media software. Online software allows families to build and collaborate on family trees, as well as share digital videos, photos, and memories. The site also offers a Genealogy DNA testing service which notifies you of a DNA connection with others in the database, provides the opportunity to make a connection with that individual, and allows you to enter DNA test results obtained from another testing lab.
8. Kincafe: http://www.kincafe.com/
- Allows you to build a family tree and then collaborate with family to expand the tree.
- Gives you the opportunity to share family photos.
- Provides a way to keep you informed concerning family events and activities via the family calendar.
- Enables you to post the latest news in the family blog.
9. MyFamily 2.0: http://www.myfamily.com/welcome/
MyFamily was one of the first online family genealogy communities on the Web. The new MyFamily 2.0 version allows families to share photos, news, and events for free.
- Photos can be uploaded and then you can use them to create photo books, family photo calendars, and narrated slide shows.
- Family members can use a special toll-free phone number to record family stories and memories for sharing on your MyFamily site.
- The basic site has unlimited storage space (allowing 100MB per member per month of uploads) and content backup protection is free.
- Subscription options offer extra features such as customizable templates and themes, a custom domain, and up to 10GB per month of new photos and file uploads per member.
10. MyHeritage: http://www.myheritage.com/
This Israeli-based site offers a robust, free genealogy metasearch engine, and is available in 17 languages. The robust site gives you these features:
- Family tree building.
- Family calendars.
- Smart Matching technology which allows the service to compare family trees for overlap.
11. Story of My Life: http://www.storyofmylife.com/
Story of My Life is a unique way to preserve your life memories (or those of your relatives or ancestors) to create a legacy for future generations through writings, pictures, videos, and voice recordings. Stories can be made available only to designated people. This non-profit foundation vows to “keep your story forever,” although the permanent storage option comes with a reasonable price tag. A basic free story service is also available with 250MB space, which will remain accessible as long as your account is active.
12. We Relate: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Main_Page
This website is sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, Inc., in partnership with the Allen County Public Library. It is a free public-service wiki for genealogy. Allows you to easily create profile pages for your ancestors. Others can view these pages and add information, or add profiles for their own ancestors. Source citations and scanned images of original documents can be added to document the research. It also provides the ability for others to view and add to your information.