Pinning Family History to Pinterest

By April Leigh Helm, Matthew L. Helm

Pinterest is both a social networking site (where you can connect with others with similar interests, such as genealogy) and an organizational site of sorts (where you can “pin” links to other web pages, articles, photos, ideas, pretty much anything online to review or reference again at a future date).

To use Pinterest, you must set up a free account. Here’s how:

  1. Open your browser and go to Pinterest.

    This results in the Welcome to Pinterest, the world’s catalog of ideas page. If you prefer to link your Pinterest account with an existing Facebook account, click the Continue with Facebook button instead and follow the instructions online. Otherwise, continue with the following steps.

  2. Enter your email address in the Email field.

  3. Type a password for your account in the Create a Password field.
  4. Click the Continue button.

    This brings up the Welcome to Pinterest window, where you can enter more information about yourself.
  5. Enter your first and last name in the Full Name field.
  6. Enter your age in the Age field.
  7. Select your gender by clicking the appropriate radio button next to Male, Female, or Custom.

    If you select Custom, a new pop-up box asks you to identify your Custom Gender, then click Save.

  8. Click the Sign Up button.
  9. In the Like 5 Topics box, scroll through the list to click on (like) five topics or type a topic in the Search For Any Topic field.

    For example, if you type “genealogy” in the Search field, and hit Enter, four topics appear — Genealogy, Genealogy Chart, Genealogy Organization, and Genealogy Humor. You can select all four, but you’ll still need to pick one more to get to five. Search for another topic of interest to select it.
  10. A window pops up asking if you want to Get the Pinterest Browser Button. Click Get It Now if you want the button on your browser page so you can easily click it to save information for Pinterest. Otherwise, click the Skip link.

    If you get a box asking if you want to Add Pinterest Save Button? Click Add Extension.

    A box appears indicating you are all set to start. A new tab within your browser opens with a tutorial on how to use Pinterest. We recommend you take a few minutes and go through the tutorial so you’ll be better prepared to use Pinterest.

  11. When you’re done with the tutorial, close the tab and return to the tab where your Pinterest account is displaying, with links to resources related to the five topics you selected.

Next to the Search field at the top of the page are three icons: a circle with a diamond in it takes you to an Explore Pinterest page; a person icon takes you to your Pinterest page; and a dialogue bubble opens chat functionality where you can communicate with people who follow you. To view things you’ve saved to your Pinterest account, click the person icon.

As you’re researching online and see something you want to remember or revisit, use the Pinterest button you authorized earlier (which now appears next to the URL field of your browser) to mark the item (photo or article) or page to “save” it to your Pinterest account. You can choose to save it to an existing board in your account, or to create a new board related to the item.

For example, if you find a treasure of photos for a county where several of your ancestors lived, you might want to save the site or the individual photos to your Pinterest, and to file them on a new board with the name of the county and state, or you might want to file them to an existing board with the surname of the family that lived there.

You can also visit and/or follow other peoples’ Pinterest pages. Use the Search functionality to locate others with similar interests, then browse through their boards or choose to follow the person. If you click on an item on their Pinterest page, it will give you more information — at a minimum, it will tell you who posted the item. Some items have descriptions as well.