How to use Social Networking to connect with relatives

I have had alot of success connecting with relatives via social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Geni, WikiTree, and I can even see MyHeritage as a social platform as the tree's can be connected via smart matching allowing users to contact each other based off of a match.

The original  intent of this post was to show how to use the internet to connect to relatives but after thinking it through it is mostly through a majority of the social networking that I have made connections.  A few of my connections have been through message boards, and I have even had one or two relatives contact me based off a post on my blog.

With Facebook I have not been directly contacted by a new relative but I an able to get status updates from my posts that provide additional information that I might not have known previously.  I believe we all use it to expand our viewer base beyond who is following us via a RSS feed or our regular readers.  We do this by connecting our blog posts to our Facebook wall.  There are many ways that this can be accomplished, for example I use FriendFeed to post to my Facebook page.  I know that you can also use Twitter as an intermediate between Blogger and Facebook to have posts appear.  Another service that bloggers might use is NetworkedBlogs to have their blog post auto shared on Facebook.   I am sure that there are more services out there that provide auto-posting of blog posts to Facebook, please leave a comment if you know of others.

I also use Twitter to connect with my relatives and my readers.  I have been contacted by one relative by a tweet about a distant relative in the First Special Services Force (FSSF).  Another benefit of using Twitter is by using #hashtags it is available to anyone that watches for specific #hashtags (like #genealogy, #ancestry, ect).  Like above Twitter is also a middle man for Blogger to Facebook posts for some bloggers.

Geni promotes its site as the social network for genealogy, and thats how I use it also.   I created a Gedcom a while back and posted my tree to their site.  When I make an update on my offline database I make sure and update my Tree.  With these additions I have made contacts with many relatives who have provided my with pictures, documents, dates, ect.  It is a great site for the building of your tree as it gives the ability for multiple people to work on one person.  I may find the death certificate for a user and post it for others only to see that a picture and maybe a marriage certifiable was posted by another user.  Through Geni I was able to find additional resources to search for my Austrian roots which provided about 50 obituaries and counting.

I have not had any connections on WikiTree because my tree is only a few weeks old.  I just recently uploaded my Gedcom to the site after hearing from the genealogy community about the site.  I believe it will have the same social connections as Geni and MyHeritage as another source to connect to our relatives.

MyHeritage is not a social networking site in the technical terms, but it has its base in sharing and social connecting in building your tree.  With MyHeritage you can use Family Tree Builder or post a Gedcom to the site.  MyHeritage's Smart Matching provides me with emails whenever their is a possible match in my tree to another tree.  Recently I had a post about a connection with someone with the surname Hopfengartner, and just today I recieved another request to connect with a relative on my Decker surname.    I have made connections with Hailstone surname on MyHeritage and others.

What are some other social networking sites that you think help you connect to your relatives?  Do you consider a message board to be a social network site?   I wouldn't consider to be a social site, but maybe the OneWorldTree might be considered one?

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