Use pinterest for genealogy researchPinterest is a free social media tool with a twist, and it’s one that can be used for genealogy in some interesting ways.

Everybody’s Pinning these days, but if you’re not one of the 70 million people on board with Pinterest yet, know that it’s a visual discovery tool. You gather photos (with a link back to where they came from) and organize them in on themed “bulletin boards.” People who share your interest can find your board and see what you’ve pinned there. It’s a great way to organize and keep track of your finds and to discover other genealogists with similar interests.

Here are 8 ways Pinterest can enhance your genealogy research:

  1. Create a “place board,” a board that shows photos linking back to information about where your ancestors came from or lived, like these boards on 18th-century England and historic Philadelphia.
  2. Create a board for a particular ancestor or surname and keep your images there; not only will you have a visual record, but someone else might search that name and find you through your board.
  3. Follow other people’s Pinterest boards, such as this one that gathers up helpful genealogy tips like “what you can do with your genealogy research and the free Google Earth” or this pin with tips on decoding the 1841 UK census.
  4. For fun, peruse Pinterest boards full of genealogy quotes like Mark Twain’s “Why waste your money looking up your family tree? Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.” and “Only a genealogist regards a step backward as progress.”
  5. Check out Ancestry’s How-To board.
  6. Watch videos (such as, “How to find a grave,” “What’s new at Ancestry,” “Discovering your Quaker Ancestors”) at Ancestry’s videos board.
  7. Read about genealogy conferences, genealogy databases, genealogy methodology, and more.
  8. Check out this collection of Pinterest “pin it” buttons, which you can install on your browser to make it easy to pin something you find on the web, Pinterest widgets, and mobile versions.

– Leslie Lang
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