Sunday, January 1, 2023

What About Twitter and Mastodon for Genealogy?

Having enjoyed the genealogy community on Twitter for 14 years, I'm tentatively keeping my account there despite the chaos that ensued after the new ownership began in October, 2022. For the record, I don't agree at all with the new policies and actions, nor do I like the changed atmosphere. UPDATE NOV 2023: Still don't like the atmosphere on Twitter, supposedly known as X these days. In fact, I had 100 bots a week follow me on Twitter, so I've taken my account there private. No more bots. 

But I very much like the genealogy people I've met on Twitter, and I get a lot out of participating in various genealogy chats. Every other Friday night is the US-based #GenChat (10 pm Eastern). Tuesday afternoon (Eastern time) is the UK-based #AncestryHour. UPDATE: #AncestryHour has been on hiatus since Twitter imposed limits on the number of posts that can be viewed without paying, mid-2023. However, #GenChat is alive and well.

Exploring Mastodon

As a possible Twitter alternative, I joined Mastodon late in 2022. With my interest in family history, I joined via a server (known as an "instance" in the platform's terminology) that is primarily focused on genealogy. It's called, and you can read more here.

My Mastodon account is: (see image at top--with me in one of the MyHeritage AI Time Machine portraits).  

I highly recommend Daniel Loftus's YouTube tutorial on how to use Mastodon. He was an early adopter and knows the ins and outs. TY to Daniel for the master class! The tutorial helped me get up and running while I gain experience. Still, Mastodon is not yet as interactive as Twitter, and other social media platforms may emerge that are even better alternatives.

I'm delighted that there is a list of genealogy and family-history #Geneadons as a pinned toot on Mish Holman's Mastodon account. TY to Mish for making this available on Mastodon, so I can find and follow my family history friends.

As of May, I haven't yet noticed a high volume of genealogy conversation on Mastodon, not anywhere near as much as used to be on Twitter prior to October, 2022. Happily, #GenChat is now on Mastodon, with a small but interested group.

UPDATE NOV 2023: Although Mastodon has not at all become a hotbed of genealogy conversations, #GenChat has definitely picked up steam and attracts a different crowd on Mastodon, especially participants from Europe and down under. It's been fun and worthwhile, though fewer are joining the conversation compared with what used to happen on Twitter.


  1. I’m uncertain about learning yet another platform so I’m going to just wait and watch what you do!!!

  2. I kept my twitter account, but don't visit. I set up accounts on Post and Mastoden and I am so confused, I don't visit either. I am in the "wait" phase too

  3. I came back to Twitter last year, purely for genealogy and family history. I really don't like the flood of "you may like" posts, many in languages I don't speak! I've looked at Mastodon, but like others I'm dubious about learning another platform, and splitting / diluting the wonderful info from others.

  4. I have yet to use Twitter or Mastoden. So far, I only use Facebook. I know that some genealogists use Twitter, but didn't know that there was a whole genealogy community on it. Mastoden is very new, and I've read up on it a bit, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. :)

  5. I was never particularly active on Twitter. I'd been sharing Instagram posts there the past few years (because Instagram made that so easy to do), but that's about it. I joined Mastodon a few weeks ago, but it's hard to say how active I'll be there (the holidays followed by my husband breaking his hip haven't helped). However, I did close my Twitter account yesterday as I stated I would, albeit a couple days late (see previous parenthetical remark).

  6. I am still reluctant to leave the wonderful Genealogy community that we have on Twitter. I am hoping that people will stay Paul Chiddicks