I avoided Facebook for many years. I just wasn’t interested. Then, following a conversation with one of my many cousins (28 at the last count, and that’s the ones I know about – rumour has it there are others!), it transpired that I was the only cousin on that side of the family who wasn’t on Facebook. So I joined it, just so that I could keep in touch with at least 8 of my cousins. My brother did the same. I’m now friends with just over 100 people, some of whom I’ve met in person and others whom I’ve met via other social media, but the majority are close and extended family. My preference is not to be included in the Facebook search and none of my posts are public, so you have to know how to find me!

I’m using Facebook as a way of getting the extended family involved with my main hobby – family history. My Mum has loads of old photos and every time I visit her, I scan some more and upload the best ones to Facebook. They usually generate a lot of discussion and help me gain valuable snippets of information that help me track down yet another elusive distant family member.

I have joined some really good groups on Facebook that are helping with my research. All are related to specific Irish counties, specific surnames and Irish DNA research. I don’t claim to understand much about DNA other than the basics, but people advertise their GEDmatch or FTDNA kit numbers and you can compare them to your own to see how much you have in common with them. I’ve yet to find anyone closer than 5 generations away. Five generations is quite a long way back and I haven’t found a single name in common with any of them. So the old-fashioned slog of research continues until I get the information needed to be able to make a definite connection.


Image: I’m usually pretty good at recording the source of an image but, on this occasion, I didn’t, so I have no idea if this is available for re-use or not. With apologies to the copyright holder if it isn’t. Just contact me and I’ll remove it. No copyright infringement intended.