FamilySearch Communities: Administrator Responsibilities

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FamilySearch Community Administrators are responsible to help lead the creation of a vibrant, collaborative research community. FamilySearch Sponsors hope that you will be creative and explore great ways of doing this in the community and/or communities you administrate.


  1. Responing to questions and posts
    • Follow up as quickly as possible after a post with a comment (such as a thank-you) or clarifying question as the page name.
    • Building a sense of community is more important than solving every research question. If you don't know the answer, at least respond with a friendly comment. If people have a good experience and tell their friends, then others will join the community for a similar experience. So, even if you can't answer every question, your diligence will lead to helping more people with research.
  2. Sharing resources
    • Share news, events, resources, and information about genealogy research as relevant to the community you administer. (about once a day, using the page name)
    • Note: As a general rule, most social media users are not on between 9-5pm, but rather after work hours and on weekends. (See Nathan's report)
  3. Building community
    1. Help community members adhere to the following policies
      • Keep group discourse civil and polite at all times.
      • All posts should be genealogy-related; off-topic or blatant advertisement posts will be removed.
      • All discussions should be kept neutral and non-denominational. (LDS-specific discussions should not take place in these groups.)
    2. Build community among your fellow volunteers
      • Attend our semiweekly administrator meetings when possible
      • Interact with other administrators in the Genealogy Research Community Admins Facebook group and/or Skype group chat
      • Read and be familiar with the administrative guide (you're reading part of it now).

These are the basic responsibilities of a FamilySearch Community Administrator.

Specific responsibilities

If you are interested in becoming more or less involved in one of these three areas, you have the opportunity as a volunteer to set your own focus. The responsibilities of administrators are best handled through collaboration. This is one reason why it's great to have multiple administrators for each community. (Learn more about recruiting volunteers)

Responding to questions and posts

  • Ensure all questions are answered
    • Admins do not need to be the one to answer every question posted. Rather an admin's responsibility is to help develop a community of researchers who can work together to provide value to each other. However, while your community is growing, it will be necessary for you to respond to most posts.
    • Unexpected events occur, and sometimes posts are forgotten. Each month FamilySearch Sponsors will provide a list of unanswered questions from the previous month, and ask for volunteers to respond.

Sharing resources

  • Be aware of the FamilySearch resources for your area so that you can recommend them when appropriate. (These pages do not need to be all about FamilySearch, but should help the public be more aware of the ways that FamilySearch can help them with their research.)

Building community


  • Facebook allows community pages to "Like" other pages. Search for organizations on Facebook in your area or relevant topic that would be good to "Like" as the page name. These "likes" will show up on the right column of the Facebook page for the community you are administrating. Genealogical or historical societies, archives, and libraries are examples of pages you may want to search for and "Like." You are providing convenient links for your community members to find helpful resources. In addition, those other pages will be notified that the community paged "liked" them, which may result in more traffic to the community.
  • Now that you've connected your communities with the "Like" feature, you may want to send a message or post on the Facebook wall of the organization your community just "liked." As appropriate, ask them to feel free to come to the community page to publicize events and share what they know about research in the area. This will benefit your community members with additional resources, and it will provide free advertising for the organization you have invited to post. Encourage these organizations to use the pages if they have patrons with research questions and need additional assistance. (Be clear that you are not speaking in behalf of FamilySearch--but are a volunteer--as this may be misunderstood when you contact organizations as the page name.)
  • @[page name] tag the pages that you have "liked" when relevant to posts that you are posting on the genealogy research community's Facebook wall. When you tag other Facebook pages in a post they will be notified and the post will be copied to the "Recent Posts by Others" section of the page that you tagged. This could drive more traffic to the community page for which you are administrating.

See FamilySearch Communities: Administrator Best Practices for further suggestions.