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High-Definition Genealogy High-Definition Genealogy by Thomas MacEntee provides various services to the genealogy and family history community including market research, consulting, education, and more.

01 April 2010 ~ Comments Off

Do You Have a Facebook Vanity URL?

Facebook and Genealogy

As a result of yesterday’s post asking all genealogists to send in links to their favorite genealogy-related pages, groups and people on Facebook, I noticed a pattern:  not everyone is taking advantage of obtaining a vanity URL from Facebook.

What Is A Vanity URL?

When you create your profile page or a fan page or a group on Facebook, the page is assigned a long number.  Like this:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019772152

But when you create a vanity URL, the same link looks like this:

http://www.facebook.com/tmacentee

Vanity URLs make it easier to remember a link but it also is a good way to market yourself or your genealogy site – using a name is much better “branding” than a long number!

How Do I Get A Facebook Vanity URL?

  • You will be prompted to select a vanity URL name and check for availability.  Warning: once you select a name you cannot change it! Choose carefully!
  • If you have created a Facebook page for your business or organization, click Set username for pages and you can select a vanity URL for each page. Note: a Facebook page must have at least 25 fans before it is eligible for a vanity URL.

Conclusion

You can learn more about Facebook vanity URLs here.  Consider securing your vanity URLs now as part of your overall marketing and branding plan.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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31 March 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Calling All Facebook Genealogists!

Facebook and Genealogy

I am just putting my finishing touches on a Facebook “cheat sheet” to help new users navigate the many options and settings.  In one section, I’ll be linking to this page – Facebook and Genealogy – here at High-Definition Genealogy.  The purpose is to list people, groups, fan pages and more all related to genealogy.

If you would like to have yourself listed or have one of your groups or fan pages listed, please contact me and include the link to your Facebook pages.  (Note: listing yourself still requires you to approve someone as a Facebook friend).

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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24 March 2010 ~ 3 Comments

Sued For Genealogy Research – Could It Happen To You?

scales of justice

What if you could be sued for your genealogy research – even if it were true?  This is what happened to one of the authors of Weird Ohio which published a true story about one Ohio family’s history.  And a descendant brought a “false light” lawsuit against the authors.

A Genealogy Ghost Story

Making this long story short: a segment of the book recounted a mass murder by a family member and resulting ghost legends/stories at the location.  The plaintiff in the suit contended that such information caused visitors and “ghost hunters” to trespass on the properly and and bring “unreasonable publicity to one’s private life.”  You can read more about the lawsuit at the Oxford University Press USA website.  The Ohio Court of Appeals site has a recent opinion (opens in PDF) from 23 December 2009.

What isn’t clear even from my reading of the court papers is whether such a murder did in fact take place.  The issue seems to be the resulting “legend” and “stories” about the haunting of the location.

Could I Be Sued For Factually Correct Genealogy Research?

I don’t stay awake at night worrying about this but I guess it could happen if I were to add legends and mythology to a family history which can’t be proven through the Genealogical Proof Standard.  As a professional genealogist, I would want to – as Joe Friday would say – “just state the facts ma’am.”

It is one thing to make a conclusion as to relationships, offspring, etc.  It is another thing to try and validate local legends or family stories.  Care should be taken to document any “family stories” as to their source if they are used to “round out” research.  There are often living descendants who may not agree with the depiction of their ancestors.  Keeping to the facts – proven and properly sourced via citations – can help avoid any misunderstandings as to an interpretation of family history.

* * *

Thanks to Mike Brubaker of History by Brubaker for alerting me and other genealogy bloggers to the recent lawsuit.

©2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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