Sharing is Caring: Introducing Your Ancestors on Social Media

If you’ve ever tried – and failed – to hook your family on family history, now is the time to introduce your ancestors on social media.

Whether it’s the vintage hues, ridiculous fashions, or subtle family resemblances, an old photograph of an ancestor can capture the attention of someone who would never give a pedigree chart a second glance. In fact, even if your family archive is short on old photographs, you might have come across an intriguing newspaper clipping about a great grandparent, or maybe you visited Google Maps and discovered the church where your ancestors married in the old country.

If your family is active on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, there are endless opportunities to connect and share these bite-sized pieces of family history:

Sharing is Caring Image

Celebrate a month. Although Family History Month rolls around only once a year, there are a number of months nationally dedicated to celebrating a wide range of histories and heritages, including African American History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, Women’s History Month, and LGBT History Month. Those of German, Irish, Italian, and Caribbean descent, to name a few, can also take pride in their heritage during designated months throughout the year.

Celebrate a day. Observe an ancestor’s birthday or wedding anniversary by sharing their photograph or story on social media, or get creative when it comes to holidays such as Siblings Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Grandparents Day. Take a good look at your family tree for relevant gems. Did your great grandmother raise a dozen children? Maybe she deserves a nod on Mother’s Day. For that matter, Siblings Day could be the perfect time to give your grandfather props for growing up with eleven brothers and sisters!

#Hashtag it. You’ve probably noticed the growing trend of sharing old family photographs on #throwbackthursday, but how about #waybackwednesday or #flashbackfriday? Go beyond photographs from your lifetime and take the opportunity to showcase your ancestors, while making sure to share responsibly. You can even go a step further during the holidays. Consider #honoringvets by sharing a highlight from a War of 1812 pension file on Veterans Day, and on Thanksgiving, are you #thankful for a particularly courageous ancestor?

Above all, know your family. Are there fashion divas, members of the military, or world travelers in their midst? How about new parents fascinated with their little bundle of joy? Maybe your cousin recently dressed up for a Roaring Twenties party and has no idea that her great grandmother was a flapper. Reach out with images that might pique their interest and allow them an unexpected connection with the past: an advertisement for women’s clothing at the turn of the last century, a grandfather’s draft card, a passenger manifest, or a photograph of grandma as a little girl, where, you swear, she looks just like your newest niece.

Take your love of family history to social media to allow your family a glimpse into the lives of their ancestors. And remember, #sharingiscaring.

Melanie Frick, MLS, holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research and is a member of the NextGen Genealogy Network’s Leadership Team. A genealogist, writer, librarian, antique photograph aficionado, and Midwestern native, Melanie lives in Southern California.

Faces of NextGen: Meet Ric Filho

Ric_FilhoRicardo “Ric” Aranha de Sousa Pinto Filho, 25, California

What five words would you use to describe yourself? Curious, Creative, Active, Friendly, International

Why genealogy? Curiosity made me do it!

What’s the coolest discovery you’ve made? That’s a tough one, every new discovery is cool! One cool discovery was that my great-grandmother was actually a somewhat famous poet in Brazil, and not only that but she was a feminist that financed feminine columns in famous news papers and also financed artists that in the beginning of the century weren’t famous in Brazil, but now they are. That made me quite proud!! Her name was Irene Ferreira de Sousa Pinto.

What are you working on this week? I just started a club at UCSD called the Genealogical Society of UCSD, so now I’m trying to find other students that are interested and polishing up our Facebook page, etc. Genealogy is a part of me, so I love to help people in their genealogy tree, not only because it’s a hobby that never ends, but because I love to see how people get excited when they learn things about their past that they wouldn’t know without genealogy research.

What’s the number one secret to your success in genealogy? Never give up! I’ve been mainly working on the Internet, because I’m an international student so most of my family history is abroad in Italy, Brazil and Lebanon, so I’m somewhat limited. Sometimes it can be a discouragement when your research is limited only to the Internet, but amazingly enough, by not giving up and exploring other ways to do research on the Internet, I’ve been able to, with perseverance, find many cool and interesting things about my genealogy.

What superpower would you want to help you uncover your family history? Teleportation.

What are we most likely to find you doing when you’re not researching family history? At the gym or studying at UCSD.

Anything else you’d like to share? Genealogy is addicting!

The NextGen Genealogy Network is made up of young genealogists with diverse backgrounds, interests, and experiences. Faces of NextGen will showcase a different member of our community each month. If you would like to be considered for an upcoming feature, simply complete our questionnaire and submit a selfie

All About Those Education Hangouts

Have you seen the NextGen Genealogy Network’s Education Hangouts?

If not, bookmark our YouTube Channel and listen in for fantastic, friendly advice on a variety of topics relevant to the young genealogist.

These informal videos are hosted by Shannon Combs Bennett, a member of the NextGen Genealogy Network’s Leadership Team. If you would like to take part in a discussion panel for this month’s topic, Finding Places to Lecture, let her know and she will be happy to coordinate with your schedule.

In the meantime, don’t miss the March Education Hangout, Conferences on a Budget, and be sure to let us know what you think:


It’s Time

Let’s start with a story.


It was two years ago that a group of young genealogists connected on Twitter and made the decision to create an organization in the genealogy community for other young professionals like themselves. A Facebook group doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled in size, and soon additional collaboration was needed to turn the vision of the NextGen Genealogy Network into a reality.



Today, the NextGen Genealogy Network remains true to its original mission.


Initially developed as a society for Millennials or Gen Y, NGGN continues to focus on building connections and fostering engagement among young professionals in the genealogy community – those between the ages of approximately twenty and forty. However, all are welcome to subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on social media, take part in our online discussions, and attend our social events, regardless of age.


With that in mind, we invite you to subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with the next generation of genealogists. We want you to submit an #iamnextgen selfie, respond to our questionnaire, and share our badge on social media. We would love to have you volunteer with us and become active in our community.


Follow our blog for fresh and engaging monthly articles and videos featuring content relevant to the young genealogist, and get to know the members of our worldwide community on a personal level through the Featured Face of NextGen.


It’s time for the next generation of genealogists to connect.