As of 1 January 2018, Pinterest has over 175 million users. Are you of them? Maybe you use Pinterest to save new recipes or to try DIY projects you want to tackle.
Do you use Pinterest to augment your genealogy research? To collaborate with other researchers? If not, you may be missing out on a valuable asset in your research.
Pinterest users go to Pinterest to:
- Be inspired.
- Solve a problem (and genealogists have lots of “problems” to solve!).
What is Pinterest?
Initially, Pinterest started out as more of a visual bookmarking site. It still is, but Pinterest now functions very much like a search engine.
Used creatively Pinterest can be one of the best tools in a genealogist’s toolbox. Virtual bulletin boards can be created on whatever subject the pinner chooses. Genealogy researchers can create themed boards based on their research interests.
- Location based research boards. Example: North Carolina Genealogy or Irish Genealogy
- Genealogy topic boards. Example: DNA & Genealogy or Tracing Female Ancestors
- Surname Boards. Example: Talbott Genealogy
Pins can then be pinned to the relevant board on the user’s page.
Think about Pinterest in an old school way. Remember the corkboard bulletin board you had in your bedroom as a teenager? You used thumbtacks to put up pictures, programs, corsages from a dance.
You pinned things on your bulletin board you wanted to remember for nostalgic reasons or for things you needed to remember coming up.
Pinterest can do the same thing. Only in Pinterest you can have as many bulletin boards as you like organized to fit your needs! Even better, you can share your bulletin boards and pins with others.
Pinterest as a Search Engine
Pinterest can be used as a search engine and this is where its power as a genealogy researcher’s tool really is. Just as you perform a search on Google, you can perform a search on Pinterest.
Type your search term(s) in the search box. Pins related to your search term or keywords are displayed. For example, if you are currently researching Irish ancestors, type “Irish genealogy” into the search bar at the top of the page.
Results for the Irish genealogy are displayed. Click on the pin to get more details.
At this point you want to do one of two things (or both):
- Click on the image (again) to go to be taken to the webpage for that information
- Save the pin to your board (ie.to a virtual bulletin board you have created) to review later.
Pinterest users can also search using hashtags such as #genealogy or #familyhistory.
Other Great Ways To Use Pinterest in Your Genealogy Research
As mentioned above, Pinterest can function as a visual bookmarking platform and a search engine. There are other ways Pinterest can benefit you as a genealogy researcher.
- Collaboration – Group boards can be created allowing you to collaborate with other genealogy researchers and pinners on a topic of mutual interest.
- Follow Your Favorite genealogy bloggers and genealogy industry leaders – In Pinterest you have the ability to “Follow” other pinners including your favorite bloggers and industry leaders.
- Wish Lists – Are you saving up for more genealogy reference books? Create a board centered around your wish list.
- Research travel plans – Pin links to lodging, research repositories and local historical sites to reference as you plan your genealogy research trip.
Now It’s Your Turn!
- Create your own Pinterest account. (It’s Free!)
- Use the search bar at the top and start exploring genealogy related pins.
Lisa Lisson is a genealogist, blogger and Etsy-prenuer who writes about her never-ending pursuit of ancestors, the “how” of genealogy research and the importance of sharing genealogy research with our families. Specializing in North Carolina and southern Virginia research, she also provides genealogical research services to clients. In researching her own family history, Lisa discovered a passion for oral history and its role in genealogy research. You can find Lisa online at Lisa Lisson.com.