Facebook for Family Storytelling

Facebook thumbs up via Wikimedia Commons

Facebook is a great tool for “getting the word out” to your people quickly. It’s not just where I go to post news to my family and friends, it’s also where I go to see what news they might have to share.

If you are going to use Facebook to share family history there are some things to consider. At the risk of overthinking this topic, I offer these reminders:


Public vs. all of your Friends vs. Private Group

There are a lot of tutorials already about creating groups on Facebook. Potential groups might include

  • Your immediate family
  • Everyone in your friend group who is related to you and/or in laws
  • Groups from “each side” of an extended family – for example, people related to my mother might not be interested in information I want to share with my father’s relatives

Public posts are searchable and will be readable by anyone on Facebook. I sometimes use this option if I am trying to “cousin bait” and locate people who are family members but might not be in my friend list (yet.)

To Tag or not to Tag

Tag (CC SA 3.0 via wikimedia commons)

You can tag family members when you write a Facebook post. If you do choose to tag someone in order to get their attention, keep in mind that the people in the person’s friend list might see the post. Perhaps think twice about posting childhood photos, photos with ex-boyfriends, etc. for living people. On the other hand, if the subject of the photo says to go ahead and post the material, post it! I had a close relative ask for photos like this so he could share them with his children and grandchildren.

Copyright (again)

Posting copyrighted material that belongs to someone else without permission is always a bad idea. Even if that person shared the material or photo publicly, it’s always nice to ask that person for permission before you put it in your Facebook feed.

Legacy Contact

Facebook has created a method by which your Facebook posts and photos can be preserved and accessed after you die. This is part of your digital legacy and you should give it some thought. The idea behind the feature is that someone you designate can become your legacy contact, and your Facebook page will no longer be accessible. Posts can still be made to your wall. Your legacy contact can change your profile and cover photos, and they can manage future friend requests. A nice feature is “see relationship” – your friends have the opportunity to see the timeline filtered down to the personal interaction between you and just that person.  The content can also be downloaded, which gives family and friends the opportunity to gather the important family information you shared.

Post Ideas

What should you post? Well, the things you normally post and share, for starters. As mentioned above, your Facebook feed is part of your digital legacy and will give a viewer a lot of insight into who you are and what is important to you. But if you want to share family history stories, consider posts like these:

  • “this day in history” or family anniversaries, especially if the family members are gone
  • Holiday memories – when every one else is re-posting the same meme, you could upload a photo from the family past and comment on the content
  • Photo sharing
  • Interesting family history discoveries
  • Relevant blog posts
  • Heritage vacation photos and anecdotes
  • And of course, if you publish a digital story somewhere else, such as YouTube or a blog, be sure to share it to your Facebook feed

Related links

Facebook Legacy

Group post privacy


Write a memory not a story



Moms, as babies

Happy Mothers Day 2017

I am experimenting with digital scrapbook pages in order to come up with something nice to use as Ancestry.com shares. I am just getting started and have found several “quick page” scrapbooking templates, mostly via Pinterest, that I used to make some embellished baby pictures. I thought I’d compile a few of them into this little video, but first the credits:

“25 pastel kit” via Granny Enchanted

“Memorykeepers mini” via Alexis Design Studio

“Pretty Shabby” and “So Madly Deeply” via Kim Brodelet/Kimb’s designs

“Histoirede free” via meldesigns

“No Reimer Reason” via Amber Reimer/No Reimer Reason designs

“Vintage Rose Elegance” via Creative Elegance Designs

Music is “Prelude No. 21” by  Chris Zabriskie, via Free Music Archive

A few moms as babies from Barbara Pahlow on Vimeo.

25 Interview questions for kids

12 March 2017

If you interview people to get material for your family stories, don’t forget to interview some of the kids in your life. They might find it interesting to look back at the interview someday and see how much they’ve grown and changed.

  1. What is your name, age, and where do you live?
  2. What was the best thing that happened this week?
  3. What songs are on your playlist right now?
  4. Tell me about a dream you’ve had.
  5. What is something you’re excited for?
  6. What story character would you most like to be?
  7. What is something you are proud of?
  8. Describe an imaginary party you’d have, and tell me who you would invite.
  9. What is your favorite subject in school? What is your least favorite subject in school?
  10. What do you like to do on the weekend?
  11. Do you have any hobbies?
  12. What are your favorite TV shows?
  13. Who is your favorite music artist?
  14. What is your favorite color?
  15. What one superpower would you like to have?
  16. What woudl be your superhero name?
  17. What is your favorite place to go out to eat?
  18. What do you like about your room?
  19. What do you hate about your room?
  20. What is the best day of the week and why?
  21. What would you do if you had a million dollars?
  22. Name something you have that makes you happy.
  23. Name three things you do well.
  24. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  25. How would you like people to describe you?