German Resource Spotlight: The German Genealogy Facebook Group

By Allison Dolan

Few can argue that reaching out to other genealogists on social media can be helpful to researchers. Guest writer and author of The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide and the upcoming Trace Your German Roots Online, James M. Beidler, talks about one particular Facebook group that sees a lot of activity from genealogists with German lineage, the German Genealogy group.

The group, classified as a “closed group” that users can ask to be accepted in, is a typical moderated social media thread. Those approved for the group can post relating to German genealogy—sometimes including historical photos and other times “just for fun” items they’ve found in their research.

The group, boasting more than 15,000 members, describes itself as a forum for “networking with those conducting German genealogical research, in order to provide help and resources to others researching German genealogy.”

Members also use the forum to request transcription and translation help for documents written in German. To do so, users can follow four quick steps provided by the group:

  1. Post your image with a translation request.
  2. See which members offer help.
  3. Contact those members privately and ask if they can assist you further. Give basic details of how much you need translated, etc.
  4. When you find someone who agrees, send images straight to them one at a time, either by email or by Facebook message.

From looking at the feed on German Genealogy, note that many people jump in when an image of a record is posted and the accuracy of their transcriptions and translations varies, often with an inverse relationship to how certain the individual claims to be. Many people think they’re an expert in the German Genealogy Facebook group, but not everyone’s right about that!

However, it’s an excellent way to crowd-source opinions on a record or document—you just need to be able to sift throughout the many responses you get!

Learn more about how to use social media in your research in James M. Beidler’s Trace Your German Roots Online, due out on April 1.