Join the Famicity Kickstarter Campaign and create your own family “legacy center.” It’s a private, social network designed for extended family members to tie their past, present, and future stories together into one!
Last year at the RootsTech 2016 Innovator Showdown, one of the semi-finalist entries really caught my eye. It was Famicity, a free, private website for families, where you can share pictures, videos, memories and family activities—what founder Guillaume Languereau describes as a “legacy center.” It’s for everyone, not just the few in the family who may be interested in genealogy, even though you can indeed build or import your tree and share it there.
Everyone wants to stay in touch with their family, but it can be difficult to do so on social networks sites that don’t offer the desired level of privacy, or want to take ownership of your precious photos, and other precious information. Famicity is trying to make it easier for you to share your cherished family memories–from the present to the distant past–simply and privately, with all the relatives who helped you create them.
What is Famicity?
Famicity is a social network designed for the collection of family memories, without the feed clogging ads of Facebook! It’s designed to protect, manage, and continue your family’s legacy, no matter where you are in the world. You can share photos, videos, and precious moments with your entire family with privacy and peace of mind.
Famicity is a beautiful private social network where your family can upload and share:
Your family tree;
old family photos (for free), videos, audio, and documents (requires subscription);
new photos (for free) and videos, audio, or documents of the latest family events (requires subscription);
and messages and stories.
You can even create sub-groups within your family network so family members can participate as they wish, and sensitive information can be controlled. These groups are also great for sharing daily errands, commitments, and goals. And yes, you can opt to share to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you wish.
How does Famicity work?
Every person has a profile. Each person can add pictures, stories, and videos to share their stories and add to the family legacy. But the best part is, it’s all about privacy, so it’s invitation-only for your relatives, with no advertising. It can’t be searched or accessed by the public – just your family.
Each invited person can see and comment on the content that has been shared to each of the profiles. And the site is designed to be easy-to-use for all ages. By creating your family tree on Famicity, you make a map of your family’s history, choose who can see your photos and videos, and only your invited family can comment on them. It’s the perfect tool for those who want to share and enjoy their history with one another, a next-generation family photo album and history book wrapped into one!
Becoming a Famicity Member
The company has been very successful in France where it was launched, and Guillaume Languereau is now working to bring the new English platform to the United States and Canada. I’ve been watching it progress over the past year, and now they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to support their U.S. launch. Kickstarter offers genealogists a way to become early adopters of Famicity, and help them reach their “legacy center” goals.
These genealogy sleuths used Facebook for family history when they responded to a plea to help return a family Bible to its family.
Back on March 21, Donna Whitten posted a video on her church Facebook page. Her post says, “How far would you go to get back something you’ve lost?”
She was talking about a 150 year-old family Bible she’d come across while antiquing one day in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her post says, “We want to find this family and return it to them! Can you help?” (Click here to see that post and video.)
That video post got 34,000 views, thanks in part to more than 600 people who shared it! Family history fans immediately stepped up to the challenge. They looked for names on Ancestry.com and reached out to tree owners. Within two days, several descendants were aware of the Bible and asking for copies. The bible eventually went to a woman in California named Carrie Robinson, who has been researching her tree for several years. It contained obituaries clipped from newspapers and handwritten vital family events. (Wouldn’t you love to receive that kind of family treasure?) Click here to watch the follow-up video about when Donna took the bible to the new owner.
Hats off to Donna and her team of sleuths who took the time to find Carrie’s family and return their past to them! I find a few take-home messages in this story:
Social media is a great way to cast your net wide, not just when you’re sharing family history, but when you’re looking for information. Click here to read more about gathering memories through Facebook.
You can watch for orphaned heirlooms in your path and return them to descendants. Click here to read tips on how to do that.
The video Donna created got attention on Facebook! Video is powerful. Use it to share your family history. (Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. I appreciate you using these links because that compensation helps make the Genealogy Gems blog possible. Thank you!)Click here to read about Animoto, a DIY-video making service I love that lets you produce your own professional-quality videos. Below is one quick video I created. Can you say shareable?!
A new documentary on Netflix tells the story of twins who were separated at birth–sent to different countries–who rediscovered each other through YouTube and Facebook. Become inspired and learn the remarkable story of how they were reunited by social media.
A new Netflix documentary on twins separated at birth is getting great reviews–and it’s a great story. We’ve all heard about twins being separated at birth before, but these were sent halfway across the world from each other. They only reconnected because a friend of one twin saw the other in a YouTube video.
I first read this story in the Irish Mirror. Anais, now a college student, grew up in France. She always knew she was adopted and that her biological mother was a single woman in Korea. One day, a friend sent her a YouTube comedy sketch performed by someone who looked just like her. She watched the video over and over. There was no contact information on it. Eventually, the same friend spotted the mystery girl again in a movie trailer. Suddenly, Anais was able to learn more about her from the IMBD database. Her name was Samantha and her birthday was the same as her own.
Anais reached out to Samantha on Facebook, saying she thought they were twins. Samantha replied with a copy of her adoption paperwork—from the same clinic. Three months later, they met in London where Anais lived. Each young woman took a DNA test and traveled to Korea to attend an adoptee conference together.
Throughout it all, Samantha had the video camera running. She’d already been on-screen in Memoirs of a Geisha and now she took a shot at directing herself and her sister as they were getting to know each other. The result is Twinsters and it’s on Netflix. The show is getting some awesome reviews from critics and audience members alike. If you’ve got Netflix, check it out!
This unlikely reunion started entirely on social media: YouTube, Facebook, and Skype. Just goes to show you the amazing power of these technologies to bring family members together!
More Stories Like This One: Reunited by Social Media
For a limited time, you can watch FREE genealogy webinars from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2014 Webinar Series. These are top-notch experts in their fields who have a lot to share. These three caught my eye:
“Discovering Local and State Militia Records” by J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA is available only until Sunday, April 27, 2014:
So is “Researching in the Post War Records of 1812” by Craig Scott, MA, CG:
Interested in social media? Don’t miss this webinar: “Capturing the Community: Using Twitter to Connect, Engage and Educate in Genealogy” by Jen Baldwin:
A long-lost brother and sister have cause to thank a seven-year old boy for helping to reunite them: through Facebook!
Recently the Waterloo-Cedar Falls (Iowa) Courier reported a story about a 66-year old Davenport man who had tried for years to find his sister. As an infant, Clifford Boyson was separated from his older sister Betty when they were placed in different foster homes in Chicago.
Then Boyson’s landlord’s 7-year-old son found out about the lost sister. Young Eddie Hanzelin searched his mom’s Facebook account for Betty. When her name popped up, he saw the family resemblance.
Clifford got in touch with Betty, now 70. She traveled from her home in Missouri to Davenport with her daughter and granddaughter for a tearful reunion with her brother. They look forward to getting to know each other after more than six decades apart.
Kudos to young Eddie for connecting these long-lost loved ones. And thanks to Genealogy Gems follower Steve Schell from Cedar Falls, Iowa for alerting us about this inspiring story! I love hearing how even a child can use social media to make meaningful family connections.