Can Facebook Be a Research Tool?

I confess:  I don’t love Facebook.

There are things I like about it…it’s been great to reconnect with old friends, and it’s a nice way to stay in touch with people you don’t see very often.  But there’s also some inevitable drama, and lots of Farmville, and the whole privacy thing makes me crazy.

That said, I just discovered one tool that makes me soften just a bit:  you can find all kinds of people who will tell you what their small town used to be like, with photos and everything.

Take Glenbeulah, Wisconsin, for example.  This is my husband’s hometown, and only a few hundred people still live there.  When he was a kid, though, it was a bustling little town, and his family’s roots there appear to date back to the 1870s.  I just found out there’s a Facebook group for Glenbeulah where people are sharing photos, stories, and all kinds of information.  It’s a great resource if you’re researching people from a small town and want to get some insight into what things were like there back in the day.  You might even find people who knew your ancestors.  To find a group like this, just type in the name of the town you’re working on in the search box on Facebook.

I was so inspired by all the cool pictures and stories I found that I dug out my file on my husband’s family and scanned in my photo (see above) of his grandpa, Sam Scott, in front of W.D. Scott Company, the lumberyard that was in Glenbeulah for years.  I also realized I had a pamphlet from the St. Fridolin’s Catholic Church in Glenbeulah.  It’s from 1915, and it was a souvenir from their golden jubilee celebration.  It has all kinds of information on the history of the town and the church, including lots of names of founders (and a list of the congregation in 1915).  I scanned it in and posted a link (you can find it here).

Maybe Facebook doesn’t totally suck after all.

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3 Responses

  1. Susan Tiner 8 years ago
  2. Kerry Scott 8 years ago
  3. Lisa Roberts 7 years ago