Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Genealogywise = Facebook for Genealogists

It was bound to happen, and FamilyLink.com has done it. They started a dedicated "Facebook for Genealogists." I received an email today describing it,
which included:

"FamilyLink has created a new genealogy social network named GenealogyWise.com. It's like Facebook for genealogy, with member profiles, video sharing, forums, member blogs, chat, surname groups and more."

Of course, I had to try it out. [Note: there was no request to embargo this information...]

I found the web page at www.GenealogyWise.com and signed up for an account. Then I added my genealogy information (which can be edited) to create my page, and I was on the site.

Here is the home page:

On the home page, the member can check on the Latest Activity, read Blog Posts (apparently any member can post?), and deal with your account. The tabs across the top are Main, Invite (use your email client's address book? Um, not me!), My Page, Members, forum, Groups, Blogs, Video, Genealogy Search, Chat, Store, and More.

I changed the default template for "My Page to look like (two screens):

On this page, I can see my Friends, my Text Box, My Photos, and my Comments Wall.

This website sure looks more friendly than Facebook does, and it loads much quicker. Of course, there are not 200 million people on it yet to sort through!

Will this site work for the genealogy community? Only if a critical mass of members sign up and submit content. To me, a "critical mass" means tens of thousands, not hundreds, of active members. It's possible, I think.

Members on the site need "Friends" to share with, and so I invite my readers to be my Friends. The only way I saw to ask someone to be a Friend, other than submitting your email address book, or inputting individual email addresses, is to go to the Members page, clicking on each person's image, and click on "Add As Friend." The person will have to approve you as a Friend. You can search for a Member also, and after becoming their Friend, you can ask their Friends to be your Friend too.

I'm sure that I, and other bloggers, will have a lot more to say about this website. At first glance, it looks promising.


Leslie Mehana said...

1) Facebook already IS genealogy central.
2) I joined Genealogywise totally on your say-so.
3) There is no three.

Anonymous said...

Ho-hum. AncestralSpace is a social network for genealogist too.
Both sites lack tree capabilities.

If FamilyLink wants to compete with Geni.com, they have to offer family tree and social networking in one.
Somehow, methinks they should have fixed We're Related's GEDCOM import.

Besides, I am so simple minded, I think FaceBook is FaceBook for genealogists ;-)

- $TamuraJones

arootdigger2 said...

Terms of service you agree to mentions fees and credit card. I hated to read all that, but does it mean you pay to join. Not free? I'd love to join if it were free.

Bill West said...

Looks interesting Randy, but I'm going to pass on it for now. I like FB not just for the genealogy
contacts but for the friends from work and school and my family.And they get so see what I'm up to on my genealogy blog from posts I import as notes.

There is the option of posting both at FB and at Genealogywise but heck, I have enough to do just keeping up with FB!

Caroline said...

I like the "Groups" in Genealogy Wise that are sorted by surname, or whatever the users want, but Ning only works if a LOT of people use it. I like Facebook O.K., but I'm new to it. I really don't like the search and don't really participate in games. I DO like the chat capabilities with my family. It's a wonderful genealogical resource, but it's only one resource. It'd be like joining one Message Board for let's say genealogists, and never signing up for any others like particular surnames. Message Board use is on the decline, so where are they going? Facebook? I don't think Facebook has the proper platform that is conducive to genealogically-focused [collaborative]research (in my opinion). Of course, I just started using it, and I'm probably missing something. If carefully cultivated, I think Genealogy Wise has the capabilities to be extremely resourceful in genealogy research and networking, we just have to decide, "How?"

If you search Ning's networks for "genealogy" "family tree" and individual surnames, you get a lot of social networks that have been created [public & private], which means this is another avenue for research.

GenWise has allowed the user to define the groups, which gives us lots of "power". Another idea might be to set-up a separate Ning network for each surname and having groups based on locality and possibly have forums where migration patterns and such could be discussed...just a thought that I haven't completely thought out. GenWise could be used for more overall genealogical topics...

The proper way to think of this is not as a replacement for Facebook, but an additional resource for researchers. I know this is hard to believe, but not everyone is on Facebook. I don't think that Facebook answers the need of communicating [i.e. chat, forums, blogs,etc.] for those researchers of all levels from beginner to professional. As mentioned before, this is like message boards meet Web 2.0. Why wouldn't you broadcast your names that you're researching on another platform? If you've lost your dog, would you put up a flier only on the street that you live on, or on the streets where all the possible people who could've seen your lost dog live? How badly do you want your dog back? How badly do you want to find your family? It's not a competition in my eyes.

For What It's Worth,

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing.

Stay connected with friends at global personal networking.

Janet Hovorka said...

I'm with TamuraJones. FaceBook is FaceBook for genealogists ;-)