08 October 2017

Facebook Groups, a new way to ask for help.

As we come close to the end of 2017, it's safe to assume that everyone is familiar with Facebook. That is, they know the premise behind the ... "a social networking site that makes it easy for you to connect and share with your family and friends online."

Originally designed for college students, Facebook was created in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg while he was enrolled at Harvard University. On September 26, 2006, anyone who claims to be at least 13 years old has been allowed to become a registered user of Facebook. By 2007 Facebook users wanted more exclusivity with whom they shared 'posts'; thus the development of PAGES and ultimately GROUPS. The distinction between the two has been a never ending conversation: see FB Page or Group.

In today's social circles ... amongst friends, at church functions, in the workplace, etc. you will hear:
  • ... look on my Facebook page
  • ... I uploaded the pictures to Facebook
  • ... have you looked at their Facebook Page? 
  • Find US on Facebook
There are many people who have joined and have NEVER look back. Many who create a profile and then forget about it - or forget their password. There are even those that have been 'hacked' and close their Facebook account - never to return. I have a few friends in the latter category. And finally others who have NEVER 'joined' the Facebook community for their own personal reasons. In fact, neither of my two brothers nor several of my college friends are 'on Facebook'. 

THAT SAID, there are some of us that do venture into the world of Facebook. I joined on May 26, 2008. That same day, my youngest step-daughter wrote on my 'feed' "Hi Luci!!! wow! when did you get facebook??"  Since that time I've initiated Facebook profiles for my [then] employer; for civic groups I belong to, and most recently established I've created one specifically focused on genealogy. 

What I'd like to share with you all today, is the concept of
Facebook (closed) Groups.
A FaceBook (FB) Group is created by one individual (or a team of persons), called an Administrator. A group has a intended purpose, generally to exchange information on a particular subject. A 'closed' group is one where users must get approval, from the Administrator (Admin) to join. The Admin manages the group, approves applicants or invites others to join. Because of these privacy settings, Facebook's groups are analogous to clubs in the offline world. 
The challenge, sometimes, is to discover that there is a Group which piques your interest. You can do a search for groups on Facebook, but I thought I'd share a few here, with you, that are 'honed in' on Norwegian and/or Norwegian-American genealogy, history, reading, etc. At the end of this post you will find a list of 'things I've learned' while participating in these (or similar) FB Groups. 
The oldest one was started in April 2007 and the most recent one is one I established this past month. All of them are 'closed' groups. I've put a live-link to each of the groups; stated when they were launched / how many members; the stated purpose; the names of the Administrators; and a reference to various files that I've found useful (from a given FB Group). You will have to be a member of the group to access the file(s). Finally, when appropriate, I've loaded an image of the header. 
Norwegian Genealogy

  • Launched April 27, 2007 and currently has 9,100 members
  • Purpose: "to help one another learn how to research our Norwegian heritage and to find Norwegian ancestors as well as relatives using only printed sources."
  • Administrators: Vickie Hart, Missy Hammell, Robert N. Barbara Anderson, and Terry D. Romstad
  • Files: Bygdebøker (posted July 4, 2012 by Darin Flansburg); The oldest Church Registers in Norwegian parishes (posed by C.S. Schilbred); Former Norwegian Towns that are gone today (posted Feb 2017, by Nancy Stensland); Old Scan Script Syllabus 2016 version (posted December 2016 by Missy Hammell); Norwegian Census Abbreviations (posted by Terry D. Romstad)

Minnesota Norwegians – genealogy

  • Launched June 25, 2013 and currently has 3,506 members
  • Purpose: "This is a group for those researching Norwegian ancestors who settled in the great state of Minnesota!! Ask a question, share a story, post a picture, start a genealogy-related discussion, etc."
  • Administrators: Tom Standal and Vickie Hart
  • Files: A Handbook of Norwegian-American ancestry (posted April 2016 by Inger Gorgan)

  • Launched January 24, 2014 and currently has 2,242 members
  • Purpose: "For anyone with an interest in North and South Dakota Norwegian Genealogy. If you have family that came to North or South Dakota from Norway and are searching for information, this is the place to be. If you need help in Norway you can ask away, there are many who love to help!"
  • Administrators: Tj Sutherland, Margit Nystvold Bakke, Becky Olson Wood
  • Files: Norwegian naming Practices by Olaf Kringhaug (posed January 2014 by Margit Nystvold Bakke); Nasjoalbibitoket Galleri NOR (posed May 2, 2017 by Tj Sutherland); Research Helps (compiled and posted by Margit Nysetvold Bakke); Scandinavian ND Map - Scandinavian Population in 1965 (posted December 2016 by Margit Nystvold Bakke); County Biographical Books and Norwegian Bygdeboker on File for Lookups (posted January 2014 by Margit Nystvold Bakke); and Research Helps for North and South Dakota Norwegian Genealogy (posted by Margit Nystvold Bakke)

  • Launched March 13, 2010 by Glen Olson and currently has 509 members
  • Purpose: "The Valdres Samband is the oldest and largest bygdelag in America, founded in 1899 - to become a member, check out our website: www.valdressamband.org."
  • Administrators: Tom Standal, Anne Sladky and Bruce Weaver II

  • Launched May 18, 2014 by Vickie Hart and currently has 503 members
  • Purpose: "Many Norwegian immigrants settled in Iowa (although they may have first lived in another state.) Join this group to share your Norwegian-Iowa connection, stories, photos, etc. Or post questions/brick walls about your Norwegian ancestors! I'm rounding up the "best of the best" Norwegian genealogy researchers to join this group!"
  • Administrators: Tom Standal and Vickie Hart

  • Launched April 4, 2009 by Karla Mattila and currently has 489 members
  • Purpose: "For members in good standing, past and present, of Norwaylist@rootsweb.com to share."
  • Administrators: Karla Mattila

  • Launched May 24, 2015 and currently has 489 members
  • Purpose "Have a favorite book about Norway? Read a good book about Norway or by a Norwegian recently? Looking for a book on Norway to borrow or buy? Have one to sell?"
  • Administrator: Roberta Morrow

  • Launched August 24, 2014 by Margit Nystevold Bakke and currently has 3,232 members
  • Purpose: Norwegian-American lags Facebook group has been started to help get information out about all the lags that can be joined from the various areas of Norway. There is a website online that can be checked for information: www.fellesraad.com.
  • Administrators: Tom Standal, Becky Olson Wood, and Margit Nystvold Bakke

  • Launched September 21, 2017 by Luci Baker Johnson and currently has 51 members
  • Purpose "Please keep posts related to the history of Norwegians in or from St. Paul, or at least Ramsey County. Leeway will be given for references to other Scandinavian groups and even Minneapolis, but the focus is really on St. Paul Norwegian-Americans. Include pictures whenever possible, and make sure to credit the source of all photos if they are not from your own personal collection."
  • Administrator: Luci Baker Johnson

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • 
Final Thoughts
I'm a member of each of these Facebook Groups, and several other groups. The last one was launched, partly,  because of personal experiences that I've had as a group member. I've also learned a few lessons along the way and want to share them with you. So, here they are, in no particular order.
  1. Look for and read carefully the notes from the Administrators. There are NO TWO FB Groups that are alike. Each group has it's own personality as well as what is allowed and what is prohibited. 
  2. Before you post something, use the search engine on the top left side of the page. Search to see if the topic has already been addressed. Once you've searched, you can filter the search by "posted by, tagged location, and date posted". 
  3. An overlooked feature is the tab on the left titled FILES. This is where Administrators and Group members have uploaded Word documents and PDF's. Some people have done a great job in 'naming' these files -- others, not so much. (There is no 'standard' way to post these, some are kind of funky.) The nice thing, is that you can find these easily. 
  4. The people in the Groups are often, very very helpful. Some live in the US, others in Norway and other places. Realize that they are helping because they enjoy doing so, don't take advantage of them. AND thank them. I've even seen some who have 'uploaded' scanned pages from bygdeboker
  5. I recommend that you copy and past discussions that you want to be able to refer back to. Same them as either a Word document or a PDF -- on your computer. I say this, because, I've gone back to look for something that posted and it's gone or been removed by the Admin. 

Good luck!  Share your thoughts, please.
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