Genealogy: SEO & Facebook
Hard to believe that it was approximately 16 year ago (late August 1996) that I started working on an on-line version of the Knecht family history that would eventual morph into the Knecht Family History website. The initial project wouldn't be completed for a few months being first published (now under a defunct URL) in December 1996.
This work took many of the stories of the family that my late father had told me plus the top levels (at that time) of the family tree that we was busy documenting and recording.
Since then the site has undergone very few technical updates with the last major overhaul of code taking place in 1998. A true testament to what sound HTML practices and clean code can do to the longevity of a website.
As a result of this effort, I was eventually able to expand research into the family when Facebook appeared by searching on some of the unique surnames in the tree and contacting people and pointing them to the on-line project. By having a website to point them to, it took away the suspicion many people have when contacted by genealogist as they can see the connection.
Despite these successes and further research successes up and across the tree (expanding the number of previously unknown branches and descendants) one of my goals of my late father which not obtained in his life-time was to find and establishing contact with the twin grand-daughters of his late great-uncle Jack "Knecht" Levy. Even when trying to document this branch no-one even knew the names of these girls and all research turned up dead ends. That was until last week.
One of these girls (now 65 years old) had hired a professional genealogist to find the family that she had become estranged from. I made the genealogist job extremely easy. With a simple search on the girls father's and grandfather's names (both common, but not in combination) both results turned up the Knecht Family Website.
We have now exchanged many emails and family stories plus have chatted on the phone.
The lesson here is, you can use the web and Facebook for more than just keeping up with the friends and family you know. You can use it to make new friends and find those long lost branches of your family that for various reasons became estranged and now crave that connection. We all talk about the Internet and social media as the great human connector, it's time now to put it use.