Facebook for Australian & New Zealand History and Genealogy

Since releasing my first big list of Australian history and genealogy links on Facebook in September 2016, I’ve continued to find more, and more, and periodically do updates.

So what started out as a list of a few hundred links, has grown to large list of 2085 links (as at 26 January 2023). That’s 77 pages worth of Australian and New Zealand history and genealogy links … just on Facebook.

I haven’t added any new categories with this update, but there are additions to nearly every category that’s listed.


This is an ongoing project which will be updated periodically, so if you have any links you’d like added, please either send an email to  alona @ lonetester.com (without the spaces), or message me on my Lonetester Facebook page.


And I can’t mention genealogy on Facebook without making reference to two other incredible lists:
– Katherine Willson’s worldwide Genealogy on Facebook list is enormous, and now has over 16,700 links.
– Gail Dever’s Facebook for Canadian Genealogy list of over 1000 links is a must for everyone with Canadian connections.

Facebook vs Blogging: The Pros and Cons

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve seen a few geneabloggers writing about the topic of “is genealogy blogging dying” (see the links at the end), which are suggesting that there are far less active genealogy blogs and/or bloggers, now than there were a few years ago, and that people are turning to social media (namely Facebook) instead. They may well be, but I’m not going into that.

Personally I can see that there is a case for both, but it purely depends on what the reason behind you doing it is. So I thought I’d just run through a few of the key features of both a blog and Facebook for you, to highlight the differences.


Let me start of by saying that there are different types of Facebook accounts. There is your own personal account, there are pages, and there are groups, and all of them have a different purpose.

The Pros
– it’s free
– the amount of people there … Facebook states that they have over one billion active Facebook users
– you can have a private group on Facebook (so you can have your own non-public family group, so you can get your cousins, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces together on Facebook to chat and share family memories and/or photos)
– you can have a group for Descendants of … to keep in touch with the wider family

The Cons
– not everyone is (or wants to be) on Facebook
– it’s not indexed by Google
– a photo or story that is put up, is essentially seen once, then lost in the feed
– not everything shows up in Facebook, so many posts simply don’t get seen


Please note some blogs cost money to set up, and others are free. For this purpose I’m simply referring to the free blogs like WordPress.com and Blogger.

The Pros
– it’s free (unless you get the paid version).
– cousin-bait. Everything written on your blog is indexed by Google, Internet Archive, the NLA’s Pandora site and other search engines. So if you write about your missing ancestor from Somerset in 1823 (or wherever) … someone could well Google that person’s name, and up comes your blog post! Ta da … you have a new cousin. And hopefully you have easy-to-find contact details on your blog, and they will get in touch. It happens.
– share the family stories, as then they are being preserved, and not just a memory in your head.
– finding and sharing the stories will get the wider family interested, which is a good thing.
– sharing your research journey (both your finds and frustrations), helps educate others.

The Cons
– you need to learn “how” to set up a blog and get started, which is where a number of people get stuck. Google and YouTube a great for this, and can give you step-by-step instructions.
– time to write can be a factor
– some people don’t want to write something until they feel it’s 100% right, which is admirable, but obviously takes time. My comment is just put up what you have, with qualifications saying it’s a work in progress.
– people are likely to copy/steal your info and photos without contacting you, or reference back to you. Sadly it happens. Too often no attribution is given.
– lack of inspiration on what to write about. Personally I don’t have this problem, but my blog genre although it is genealogy-related, is wide ranging. But others have chosen to blog about a very narrow topic, be it a family or a place, a person, a military battalion, a voyage, someone’s diary and so on. Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers has a list of daily blog prompts which you can use if you need something to give your blog a boost.


I run both blogs and Facebook pages, and am a member of many Facebook groups. My blogs work fine for me, in that I use them to record my family stories and get them out there, but one of my Facebook pages, which is about the history of a small town, I’m still not convinced is the best place for it. For discussion it is good, but for longevity, I’m not sure that’s where I want to put all my effort in – simply because you see it on Facebook, then it’s gone, and not easily findable again.

So in my opinion a website, or even better, a wiki would serve this purpose better. But that will take time, so we’ll see what eventuates.

So as you can see both are useful. But if it’s longevity that you’re after for your history and stories, you can’t beat a blog. But for interaction, a Facebook group or page can work well. And there’s no reason why you can’t do both.



Julie Cahill Tarr started the whole conversation by asking “What happened to genealogy blogging?”, so have a read of her post, as well as those following, who have responded with their take on it.

Julie Cahill Tarr – What Happened to Genealogy Blogging?
James Tanner – Are We Nearing the End of Genealogy Blogging?
Thomas MacEntee – Major Changes at GeneaBloggers.com
Amy Johnson Crow – Is Genealogy Blogging Dead?

Facebook vs Mailing Lists

This is one of those posts that I want to write. But it’s been rewritten about so many times already (both on the computer and in my head), and renamed about twice that number. So maybe I should give up figuring that it’s just never meant to be. But I’m stubborn, and I want to have my say on this, so I shall persevere, and see if I ever get to hit the “publish” button.

So here goes … Facebook vs Mailing Lists!  Or more to the point the usefulness of Facebook groups verses mailing lists. Have I got your attention?

Now I’ve been an advocate of genealogy and Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I still am, as there’s heaps of useful groups and pages that you can follow. Just type Facebook in my search box, and you’ll find a bunch of articles I’ve written about it. So there’s no doubt about that. But … yes there’s a BUT, I have two big beefs with them.

Discover Local History Using Facebook

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like sitting down with an old photo album and flipping through the pages, wondering about people, the places, and life as it was back then … reminiscing. And any historian and/or genealogist know that learning about the history of a region where your family (be it YOUR own family, or the generations before you), is such an important aspect of it research. But just how do you find out the history and people of a town or area?

Well until relatively recently there’s been two options. Firstly look around to see what books have been produced on the area and try to track them down, either through libraries, or secondhand bookstores), or secondly visit (or write if you’re not local) the genealogy or historical groups that are in the region.