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  • Writer's pictureDevon Noel Lee

The Best Reasons to Use Pinterest For Genealogy

Genealogy pins on Pinterest

While researching for the best technology tools to use as a genealogist, I thought, “Why would anyone use Pinterest for family history?”

Genealogists need methods to organize their discoveries, research, and discoveries, so I read blog posts and watched YouTube videos.

What is Pinterest?

As a user of this platform, I learned that Pinterest organizes photos, quotes, tips, training from blog posts, YouTube videos, and direct uploads onto visual bulletin boards. As a result, family historians can quickly view and access the content they need to answer genealogy research questions or write family histories.

As you save pins, you will create a visual reference library.

In the past, perhaps you used a web browser to save links to articles about how to research land records, how to organize genealogy files, or how to write family histories.

Bookmarks in Chrome Browser
A messy list of genealogy bookmarks in a browser.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, bookmakers helped us access reference material and genealogy databases. However, without a visual clue about the topic, we often forgot what each bookmark linked to. Only by clicking on each link could we finally remember.

What a waste of time!

Pinterest screen capture of My Favorite Genealogy Research Tips

By contrast, Pinterest is bookmarking at its best. Whenever you find a website, record, or resource on the internet, you can save it to one of your organized Pinterest boards. Then, when you're ready to view your saved items, you can access a visual board to trigger your memories without having to click through to the article unless it is what you want.

While the social aspect of this platform is minimal, you can ask questions of content creators, such as the ones found on my list 10 Genealogy Educators You Should Follow on Pinterest,

The Benefits of Using Pinterest as a Family Historian

Users of all ages are pinning their future and hobby activities. However, these visual reminders' value lies beyond the bookmarked image that directs them to a blog post, database, storefront, or YouTube video.

Lisa Lisson, of Are You My Cousin, often states that people use Pinterest to be inspired or solve problems.

As a researcher, you are constantly looking for new records and more techniques to become a better genealogist. But, when you find something you want to save and refer to later, where can you put it?

With this visual idea board platform, you can do all of these things and more. Think of the acronym S.I.S.S. for the benefits of using this website as a genealogist.

  • Search

  • Inspire

  • Save

  • Share

Search for Genealogy

Much like Google, Pinterest is a search engine. But, unlike Google and its text-based results, Pinterest returns images. The images may feature photos of people, places, or artifacts. Or the image may reference blog posts and videos.

Type in your search terms into the search box indicated with a magnifying glass. For instance, you can search for "Findmypast."

You will see images with headlines below talking about topics ranging from building your tree on Findmypast, Children's Homes Websites, to Mastering Findmypast.

You can try another term, such as "genealogy organization." Finally, if you aren't finding what you had hoped for, try one of two things:

  • Scroll down and look for small word rectangles that might say something like "family history printables, genealogy printables free, free genealogy forms printables." Then, click on these suggestions to see if that helps.

  • Click on the search bar beside the words you keyed in. Then, with your cursor at the end of the words, do you see a drop-down menu with options of other related terms?

As you scroll through the feed, you may find something of interest. Sometimes you'll see an image. Often, you'll have a pin with a link to a video or blog post. Click through and learn something helpful.

Inspire Your Research Efforts

Organization leads to inspiration. While working through a genealogy research plan, you can save articles, web pages, or databases that you want to explore. Then, as you review each item in an attempt to resolve your genealogy research question, you can either add a comment below your pin or remove to pin from your board.

You can also share documents with this same project board. Lisa Louise Cooke wrote about this in the article The Secret to Pairing FamilySearch and Pinterest for Family History.

As you work through a research project, you may break through your brick wall or have a visual To-Do list to keep you motivated. Think of how much more you can accomplish by reducing your distraction while saving your great ideas.

In addition to creating a board to inspire your research efforts, you can make the following boards:

  • Time and Place Board: Save clothing, technology, transportation, maps, recipes, and other details to help you visualize and relate to a specific place and time relevant to your research.

  • Memorial Boards: Highlight an ancestor with images of the sites, sounds, and documents of their lives. You can include pictures of things they loved, used, or experienced.

  • Someday Heritage Travel: As you discover new places where your ancestors lived, worshiped, worked, and died, create a board featuring these locations. When you get ready to plan your next vacation, you can add family history to your travel plans.

↪️ Are you looking for more genealogy resources?

Grab your copy of this FREE Genealogy Research Guide:

Fingers typing on keyboard with title 10 Online Genealogy Resources You Have to Try

Save Articles for Future Use

Not every website, resource, or video you want to save will be on Pinterest. You can pin your favorite genealogy blog posts and videos that teach you how to research tax records, use FamilySearch browse only images, and work around newspaper scanning errors.

To save resources not already on Pinterest, you can use the Chrome extension or follow these instructions.

Pinners can click on these images and go directly to your blog posts and connect with you. As you save your pins, you'll want to organize them onto boards. Check out this post for a list of genealogy-related Pinterest board ideas.

A few quick board ideas include:

  • Genealogy Records: You can create boards with instruction and collections for record types like newspapers, city directories, census, and school records.

  • Family History Tools: Genealogy software, programs, timelines, mind maps, and pedigree charts.

  • Genealogy Wish List: Save books, home decor ideas, archival products, and conference registration pages to help you remember what you would like to spend money on in the coming year. (This serves as a great list when people want to buy you something.)

Genealogy Wish List on Pinterest

Check out this Genealogy Wish List!

Plus, if anyone ever wants to know what you want for a present, you can direct them to your Genealogy Wish List on Pinterest

Share Your Genealogy With Others

Using Pinterest, you can share anything you discover in your genealogy quest. You can share blogs you’ve written, photos you’ve taken, or records you have found.

Snapshot of Pinterest Memorabilia Photography board

Now I remember what each bookmark represents.

Your extended family can log on for free and can click on these images. They will go directly to your blog posts and connect with you. (Cousin bait at its finest!)

As a bonus, when people use Google Image search, as Lisa Louise Cook mentioned in this article. A relative may type in a phrase or use an image to search on Google.

When they do, Google will share images from Pinterest to make the relative's picture or phrase. They will then need to log into Pinterest to find your account, but they don't have to have a Pinterest account to find your images!

Bonus Reason To Use Pinterest

Do you ever wish you could support the genealogists who give their time and talent to help you learn how to climb your family tree?

Sharing blog posts and videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have a short 'shelf-life.' Meaning, when you share something with your friends and family on these platforms, they aren't searchable or available for someone else at a later date.

However, when you save content from helpful family historians, that pin can reach others for a very long time. One saved pin can support a writer in a dramatic way.

Are You Ready To Use Pinterest for Your Family History?

When you’re ready to use Pinterest to share and organize your discoveries, you’ll need to set up an account.

Check out this video about Pinterest Basics as it walks you through the process.

VIDEO: How to set up a personal account on Pinterest

You'll learn how to:

  • Set up your account

  • Adjust your initial topics to follow,

  • Save pins

  • Creating boards,

This is a must-watch video for Pinterest newbies or for those who want a quick refresher.ts.

Notebook and pencils with text: Pinterest for genealogy
Share this to Pinterest to support my work.

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