Message Boards in Genealogy

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This article originally appeared in The Official Guide to RootsWeb.com by Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG and Tana Pedersen Lord.


Message boards are an excellent way to find someone to help you with your research by sharing information or expertise. Millions of users post messages asking for specific information, offering advice, or providing that missing clue to a fellow user. Post a message in the appropriate forum, and it will be available to the millions who utilize message boards. Since message boards are universally searchable, they make an excellent place for you to post a query about your brick-wall ancestors, to archive data and photos, and to search for others who might be looking for your ancestors.

Currently Ancestry.com and RootsWeb has more than 160,000 message boards; they are divided into three main categories: surnames, localities, and genealogical research topics. Surnames are broken down alphabetically; localities are separated by continents, then countries, and subsequently to states, counties, and their equivalents; research topics include everything from adoptions and folklore to DNA and newspaper research.

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