At the moment, I am working on three different family histories, two of them for families in Boston, and one for a New York Dutch clan.
As part of the research process, each of these family histories will, at some point, generate a questionnaire for modern-day family members. With each book project, the question arises: How best to encourage family members to fill out yet another form, in this case running to several pages?
I don’t have an answer, sadly! One tool that has proved useful, though, is Facebook (and social media generally). I can reach out to members of a Facebook group, alerting them to the forthcoming genealogy, and this seems to bring results as a paper mailing is sent out.
In an earlier post, I spoke of my research on the Baltimore architect Edward Hughes Glidden. I have also been using Facebook as a resource as I collect images of Glidden buildings, creating Facebook albums to help organize my thoughts on Glidden’s career.
One aspect of social media, of course, is creating a sense of community. Families sometimes need a nudge when the family genealogist comes knocking (metaphorically) on the door, and starting with Facebook friends can help speed the process – a lengthy process in any case, as family historians know!