Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pinning Genealogy

Pinterest is a great resource for almost anything you can think of; nail polish, pies, scrap booking, paint colors, couches, fashion, food, and memes as far as the eye can see. So why not genealogy?

I've been using Pinterest fiendishly since a couple of years ago when I first tried it out. It's an addictive website, you could spend hours on it just perusing everything it has to offer. Then I thought, I wonder if they have any genealogy stuff here. Boy did they.

Pinterest search for "genealogy"
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One quick search for the word "genealogy" brings you miles and miles of pins from free resources, blog lists, old photos, census records, and even some genealogy humor.

You can find great articles and tips from the pros. You can find old photos of where your ancestors lived. You could even find a photo of your actual ancestor! There are tons of old family photos on Pinterest you can look through, usually tagged with the family name. I haven't had any luck finding one of my ancestors, but you never know.

Create your own genealogy-related board on Pinterest
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If you find something that interests you and you want to save it, you can pin it to your own board. You can make a board specifically for genealogy, like I did, and post all of your genealogy-related stuff on it.

People will be able to follow you and you can follow other genealogy boards to see what users pin to them on the main page.

This is just a great way to keep track of what you've found on Pinterest and you can go back and look at it whenever you want.

Add your own pin to Pinterest
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Write a description for your pin
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Instead of only searching for pins, you can add them too. If you're like me and have had no luck finding photos of your ancestors, why not add some? Who knows, you could have a cousin out there looking for a photo that you're lucky enough to have. Sharing is fundamental in genealogy. We've all benefitted from others' helpfulness, so let's pay it forward.

All you have to do is click the + on the top right and click "Upload a pin" to add a photo. You can also add one from a URL.

Once you've picked out your photo, try to add a description that will help your cousin find it. My example isn't the best, but you want to include their name, birth year, and death year if you know them. You should also include the place your ancestor lived. Choose the board you want to pin it to, and viola! Your ancestor is now on Pinterest.

You can add documents, stories, or photos of where your ancestors lived to your board. Pinterest is just another way to get your family's story out there.

Pinterest search for "1890s wedding dress"
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You can get a little creative with your search terms and find out things that maybe you didn't even know you were curious about. Like what did your ancestor wear at her wedding?

My 2nd great-grandparents got married in 1890 so I typed in "1890s wedding dress" and up popped all of these gorgeous 1890s era wedding dresses that may be about the same style that my ancestor wore. This can give your imagination fuel to dream up what your ancestors' lives might have looked like.

Pinterest search for "goteborg sweden"
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You can also search for where your ancestors lived to get a better idea of what their lives looked like, and to see the way their hometowns look now. It's a great little window into their world and even more fuel for your imagination.

Some of my ancestors came from Goteborg Sweden so I searched for it and came up with lots of images of both old Goteborg and new. It's fascinating to see different places throughout the world, even more so if your family lived there.

I hope I've inspired some of you to either try out Pinterest for the first time or just use it a little differently to help you in your research. Let me know in the comments how you've used Pinterest in your research or how you plan to use it now after reading this post, I'd love to hear your experiences!

Happy pinning!

Update 07/10 - In a weird coincidence, Jacqi Stevens blogged on this same subject (Even used the same title) on her A Family Tapestry blog yesterday morning! I read her post and it's a great companion piece to this one. She gives her own unique perspective on using Pinterest as a genealogy tool. She also links to several great genealogy-related boards on Pinterest. I highly suggest heading over and reading her post when you finish mine. You can check it out here. Enjoy!


  1. Danielle, we must really be on the same wavelength! I just posted the same topic to my blog this morning--same title, too--and here you are, tonight! Nice handling of the topic, especially the illustrations!

  2. What a coincidence! I just read your post and really enjoyed it. Our perspectives compliment each other pretty well on the subject. Thank you for your nice comments!

  3. Danielle,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/07/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-july-12-2013.html

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. I really loved reading this post about using Pinterest as a Genealogy tool, who knew! Anything that will help me find more about my past is good news, cant wait to try this!!

  5. Jacqi and Danielle, please post a link to you interest genealogy board! I love your bloo, Thanks

  6. Lillian - I am so glad my post inspired you to try out Pinterest for genealogy, that is what I was hoping for! Have fun! :)

    Margery - Here's my genealogy board: http://pinterest.com/danielleinma/climbing-the-family-tree/
    So glad you enjoyed the post, thank you!