Monday, February 8, 2010

Using Online Genealogy Message Boards - Post 5 (GenForum 2)

In the previous post in this series, I described the Genforum Genealogy Message Boards from the standpoint of reading them to find other researchers with your family surname interests.

In this post, I will demonstrate thow to post a new message to one of these message boards. Here is the GenForum page for San Diego County, California:

To post a new message, click on the dark blue button below the header block that says "Post New Message." A new message form will open and you can type a message title and text:

I wrote a new message describing the activities for my local society, the Chula Vista Genealogical Society. When you're done typing your message, then you can click on the buttons "Preview Message" and "Post Message" below the text entry field. Use "Preview Message" to make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct, and click on "Post Message" when you're satisfied with it. That produces another screen after several seconds:

The screen above tells you that your message has been added to the message board. To see how your message looks in the message board format, click on the "Go to your message" link," and you'll see:

To go back to the Message Board itself, click on the "Return to Message Listings" blue button in the screen above and you'll see:

My newly added message is at the top of the list! Hopefully, many people will see it and come join CVGS!

The content of the messages on the GenForum message board system can be found by persons using search engines.

Unfortunately, use of the Rootsweb and GenForum message boards has dropped off significantly over the years. It may be because of:

* Researcher fatigue --meaning that people posted items before, had no response, and so they don't use it any longer.

* Unawareness by new researchers -- they may be using the online family trees and the free or subscription databases, but are unaware that these message boards exist or can be useful.

Other genealogy message board systems have been created - for instance, GenealogyWise and GenQueries were created in the last year. However, those message systems have nowhere near the number of queries that are on the two large message board systems. And they are not well organized into topics and sub-topics.

What do you think? What reasons are there for the dropoff in users of message board systems?

No comments: