Friday, July 23, 2010

Genealogy Message Board Searcher

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Are you frustrated by the large number of matches that you receive when you us a search engine with an ancestor's name?

Many genealogy researchers do this to discover web pages, message board posts and family tree entries that might help us discover more information about our ancestral families, or to find distant cousins researching the same ancestral families. We are essentially mining the internet to find ancestral nuggets, aren't we?

One of the most "fertile" mines for finding distant cousins are the genealogy message board systems at http://boards.rootsweb.ancestry.com and http://genforum.genealogy.com. There are thousands of message boards, and millions of messages - they are the largest repository of genealogy messages online.

Back in 2007, someone (was it Chris Dunham?) created a "New Genealogy Message Searcher" that uses Google's "specific web site search" to display matches on those two sets of message boards.

For example, here is a search I made for "martin carringer" that resulted in some message board posts that I either missed or forgot about...

I used Google's main search engine to find matches for "martin carringer" (in quotes), and received 521 matches, with some message board posts on the first screen. I don't want to scroll through all of those matches to find each message board post. With the "New Genealogy Message Searcher" I can capture all of them in one search - including those on surname or locality or topic message boards.

The "New Genealogy Message Searcher" with "martin carringer" (in quotes) looks like this:




A click of "Search" and I was rewarded by a list of 5 message board posts:

Clicking on one of them takes me right to the message itself:



There are, of course, ways to search all of the message board posts for a specific name on the Rootsweb message board system, but not on the Genforum message board system. However, this "New Genealogy Message Searcher" is much easier to use and find all of the message board posts on both systems quickly.

The beauty of this system is that it finds other researchers that are interested in the same ancestral families that you are. In many cases, there are links to web pages that also contain information about your ancestral families.

The only complaint I have about this "New Genealogy Message Searcher" system is that it doesn't tell you how many total matches there are.

2 comments:

FamilyTwigs (Sheri Bush) said...

Another great tool for my box! You may be a genealogical wizard, Randy. Finding all these magical tools. I love the search. Sometimes I want to only search the boards and that was a long process. This one be busy.
Thanks!

Melissa said...

Thanks Randy for this great tool! I have always wondered why GenForm Message Boards did not have a search capability. If Genealogy Message Board Searcher can do it, why can't GenForm? Just a thought.

Melissa Barker
Professional Genealogist
Specializing in Tennessee and Kentucky Genealogy Research