I am a huge proponent of technology when it can be used for furthering genealogy research. In fact, more and more research is being done using the Internet and social media. Not everything is online (and never will be) and what is online is not always accurate. However, I believe it would be a huge mistake to overlook using electronic tools when it can make the research so much easier.
Case in point: I have a printout from a civil marriage record in Germany from 1836 written in the old German script. I could make out the names of the bridal couple (it helped that their names were underlined!) and I had a good idea of how they were spelled from an index. But deciphering the rest of the narrative entry eluded me.
I turned to Katherine R. Willson’s fantastic listing of genealogy Facebook groups (available at http://socialmediagenealogy.com/). In the 118 page listing was an entry for a group called Genealogy Translations. It’s a “closed” group, meaning one must request membership. Following my approval to join, I carefully read the instructions for posting to the group. There was a good description for uploading a copy of what you want translated. The whole process was fairly simple and not overwhelming.
Thinking I’d give it a try, I posted my request (wanting to know if the names of the parents were included in the record). Within nine (yes, nine!) minutes I had an answer to my question as well as additional information on the groom. Unbelievable! You can bet my follow-up comment was a sincere thank you to the person who so generously answered my request.
No, not all genealogy queries are answered this quickly. Some are never answered … but this rapid response sets the record for my research problems!
And that, in a nutshell, is why I am a big fan of Facebook and social media for genealogy.