Guest Article by Lisa Lisson, Genealogist & Family Historian
The popular photo and video hosting website, Flickr, is a tool that has been added to my “genealogy toolbox.” It has a wealth of possibilities for the genealogist. (Did I mention Flickr is free?!)
For instance, I specialize in North Carolina genealogy. The State Archives of North Carolina has a Flickr account in which they have shared over 6500 photographs pertaining to North Carolina history. Photographs of individuals (both identified and unidentified) from a variety of time periods and areas about the state can be found. Photographs of locations, historic areas and even maps can also be found and all add color to ancestors’ lives.
Top 3 Reasons Why Every Genealogist Should Use Flickr
Note: Before you get started on Flickr, you will need to sign up for a free Flickr account. All you need is your email address.
1.) Flickr is a valuable source of photographic information about your ancestors’ locations and occupations.
Examples of the photographs shared by the State Archives of North Carolina are NC Civil War images, vintage postcards, and descendants of the Speight and Darden families. Were your ancestors tobacco farmers? Find photographs of North Carolina tobacco farmers working the farm and attending the tobacco auctions. Were your ancestors living in coastal North Carolina? See images of what making a living from the sea was like. You may be fortunate enough to even find an ancestor’s photograph.
Search for other state archives and genealogy groups in the search bar on the top right. This is a small sampling of results for using “genealogy” in the search box.
Searching “archives” resulted in multiple results including the Cincinnati Archives, the State Library and Archives of Florida and the Texas State Archives.
2.) Flickr can help you easily organize your family photographs.
Use Flickr to easily organize your photographs. Create albums for different surnames or events or for anything you wish. Create a new album for your account by clicking the “Create new album” button on the top right of your Flickr page.
Inside, the album looks like this:
When you upload your photographs, be sure to tag each one. Your tag might be a person’s name, a location, or a family event. You can use more than one tag for a photograph.
For instance, in the photo above of the man with the banjo, I would tag the photo “Connie Howard,” “Howard,” “North Carolina,” “Lee County.” When I return at a later date and search for “Howard” family members, this photograph will be included in the search results.
If another Howard family researcher searches for the tag “Howard” or “Lee County,” this photo will be included in their search results. Note: A photograph will only appear in someone else’s search results if the privacy setting is set to “public.” You control the privacy settings on all of your photographs.
It really is that easy!
3.) Flickr allows you to share your photographs with a private group of family members.
Have you discovered “new” cousins through your genealogy research? Are you sharing photos of a recent family reunion? Would you prefer to keep your photographs private to the group only? That can be done by creating a private group on Flickr. Only those who are invited can view the photographs.
If you have not explored Flickr for genealogy purposes, I encourage you to do so!
Lisa Lisson is a genealogist, blogger and Etsy-preneur who writes about her never-ending pursuit of ancestors, the “how” of genealogy research and the importance of sharing genealogy research with our families. Specializing in North Carolina and southern Virginia research, she also provides genealogical research services to clients. In researching her own family history, Lisa discovered a passion for oral history and its role in genealogy research.
When not tracking ancestors through the records, Lisa enjoys spending time with her husband and two “almost” grown children.