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Turning Twitter into a Learning Power Tool for English Genealogy Research

Turning Twitter into a Learning Power Tool for English Research

One of the reasons I use social media is to learn about records and repositories that will benefit my research. I love to read posts that describe record sets, finding aids, and tips for research. Social media allows us to access this information in short, succinct posts from libraries, archives, and services that you may forget about it if you aren’t currently researching that place or topic.

I have some favorite Twitter accounts that help me stay on top of what’s available and new-to-me in English genealogy. Some of my current Twitter favorites include:



The National Archives (@UkNatArchives): The official archive of the UK government is one of the must-have accounts you should be following. Like other repositories, @UkNatArchives posts include everything from videos to blog posts including the one shown above that they posted in June about the internment of enemy aliens during World War II. Make sure to click on the link for Media on their page to uncover tweets that include images, podcasts and videos.


NA 3


The British Newspaper Archive (@BNArchive): If you are researching your family history, searching newspapers is a must. One newspaper website I would recommend following is The British Newspaper Archive which includes “37 million historical, local and regional newspaper pages from across the UK and Ireland.” Their tweets include not only highlights of their collection but they retweet users and their newspaper finds providing you with even more ideas for your own research.

FreeUK Genealogy (@FreeUKGen ): There’s definitely must-have genealogy websites that are free and for English research the FreeUK Genealogy websites, FreeBMD, FreeREG, and FreeCen should be on your list. I know every time I hear a presentation on English research at least one of these websites is mentioned. You can follow the FreeUK Genealogy family of websites by following their Twitter account, @FreeUKGen.


WDYTYA? Magazine (@wdytyamagazine); Family Tree Magazine (@familytreemaguk) ; Discover Your Ancestors (@DYAncestors): I’m a big fan of magazines and I enjoy reading English genealogy magazines. Luckily these magazines have Twitter accounts which allow me to keep updated on their latest issues and the articles featured therein. You’ll want to follow WDYTYA? Magazine, the UK Family Tree Magazine (not to be confused with the US Family Tree Magazine which is also great), and Discover Your Ancestors. Obviously the Twitter accounts provide a sneak peak to magazine content but they also post tips and information for researchers on services, products, and events.


#AncestryHour (@AncestryHour): One of my favorite benefits of Twitter is the ability to access educational and networking opportunities. #AncestryHour is one of several genealogy chat opportunities you’ll find on Twitter. If you haven't experienced a Twitter chat, it's when users post at a designated time, allowing you to interact with other users in real time. Typically a genealogy chat will either focus on a special guest or a previously chosen topic. According to their website, #AncestryHour " is a Twitter base for everyone and anyone, professionals and amateurs alike, with an interest in Genealogy and Family History. Here you can meet, exchange tips, promote your services, ask questions etc., and engage with an international following within the ancestral community." You can learn more about #AncestryHour via their website which includes interviews with genealogists on Twitter as well as the team behind #AncestryHour.

There’s More

Are those all of the Twitter accounts you should follow? Of course not. Other accounts to consider include the War Graves Commission (@CWGC), the British Library (@britishlibrary), the British Museum (@britishmuseum), and the Imperial War Museums (@I_W_M). But don’t forget to also add accounts for subscription websites, libraries, archives, and Family History Societies in the place your ancestor lived. And of course UK based authors and genealogists are also important to follow to learn more about research.

Are you using Twitter to learn more about English genealogy? What must-have accounts do you follow? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.



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I follow @RegQualGenes, a professional genealogists' organisation that tweets regular suggestions for British genealogy, including county family history societies and record offices.

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