31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog Week 9: Online genealogy groups

This blog post is a response to the series “31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog,” at the Tonia’s Roots blog. This series is based on the Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) e-book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog.

This week, Tonia discusses the value of participation in online groups.

She notes three immediate benefits of active participation (not just lurking) in online genealogy groups:

  1. “Profile building.” The development of a recognizable reputation.
  2. “Driving traffic.”
  3. “Understanding the genealogy niche.” Education from others interested in the focus of the group, as well as ideas for potential blog posts.

She mentions Facebook groups, Ancestry message boards, and Rootsweb mailing lists, among others, as some of the groups you could join.

I am an active member of quite a few online genealogy groups, and would like to add my own thoughts concerning the benefits. In addition to those listed above, the more general term “Social networking” comes to mind. I have received many jobs from fellow participants in various groups. I have met quite a few of them offline at IGHR, at ProGen Study Group meetups (including one two weeks ago at the 2011 IAJGS Conference). I have even entered into collaborative efforts with several associates that I met in an online genealogy group. At least one of these collaborations stemmed directly from a discussion on an email list.

Among the groups that I participate in actively:

  • The Members-only mailing list of the Association of Professional Genealogists;
  • The Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list;
  • Geneabloggers [Note: This is not a formalized group, but instead consists of a large, but loose community of genealogy bloggers that communicate through blog posts and comments, the Geneabloggers Radio chat board, and in-person “meetups” at various genealogy events.]
  • Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I don’t really participate in any specific groups on these sites, but actively interact with other genealogists on these sites. I have several hundred “Friends,” “Followers,” and “Streams” (is that what they are called on Google+?).
  • A National Genealogical Society Quarterly study group that meets monthly to discuss case studies from that esteemed journal.
  • An informal genealogy writers’ group, that meets monthly to provide feedback on each other’s writing submissions.

Though there is much less interaction, I am also a member of the International Society for Family History Writers and Editors and the Genealogical Speakers Guild. This past spring I also graduated from the ProGen Study Group, an 18-month program that has monthly reading, practical assignments, and chats, focused on the book Professional Genealogy edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG. I am also involved with mentoring another developing formalized genealogy writers’ group.

In addition to these online groups, I would also recommend becoming involved with offline genealogy groups. I am a member of numerous local and ancestral genealogical and historical societies and an officer in my local APG chapter. These local groups can provide all of the same benefits identified above with online groups.

Do you participate in genealogy groups, online and offline?

2 thoughts on “31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog Week 9: Online genealogy groups

  1. I join you as a Genablogger (with infrequent posts), (as of this week) in APG, and at BlogTalk radio. I belong to my local genealogical society (gscm), to the state association (MoSGA), and to two other local societies (St. Louis Genealogical Society and Wabash County Genealogical Society [Indiana]). I am on FaceBook and Google+.

    I am also active in the genealogy area of Second Life, where I meet, study, and/or discuss genealogy with several active genealogist. (I first learned about the ProGen study group from those genealogists.)

    And yes, I am learning to a higher level of genealogy practice from this interaction. I have been actively pursuing my family’s stories for about 3-1/2 years. Probably I would still be a bumbling “name collector” were it not for the education I have been receiving through these connections.

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