Online Message Boards were the genealogy social media networks in the 1990s and early 2000s to post queries, and to take part in helpful discussions and collaboration. They have not gone away, but the volume of posts has significantly reduced over time.
What are Message Boards? They are:
* an online collection of queries from genealogists and family historians, and responses to them from other genealogists.
* websites that registered users can freely participate in.
* Surname, Locality and Topic boards available online. Thousands of them.
* searchable in the whole collection, or on specific boards, or in a search engine like Google or Mocavo.
* an excellent way to find distant cousins that may have more data than you do, or you may be able to help them.
* a way to contact the submitter by email (assuming the email address is still valid).
The two largest Genealogy Message Boards systems are found at:
1) Rootsweb/Ancestry Message Boards -- http://boards.rootsweb.com/. There are over 198,000 message boards on this system with over 23 million messages. There is an online tutorial of how to use this message board system at www.LearnWebSkills.com.
You can put keywords into the Forum Finder field on the screen above, or look for surname, locality and topic boards using the links provided.
There are many other, smaller, Message Board systems. You can find a list of them on Cyndi's List at http://www.cyndislist.com/queries/general/.
In addition, check out:
* Cousin Connect -- www.CousinConnect.com. There is no count of boards and messages here.
* RootsChat -- www.rootschat.com. This is a United Kingdom based genealogy message board system. with over 4.5 million posts.
* The www.USGenWeb.org site had message boards attached to many county and state web pages. Some of them are still available to browse and search.
* Facebook and Google+ have many locality and topic group pages for queries and collaboration also. They deserve a separate Tuesday's Tip.
The point is that many other researchers may have plowed the same ancestral ground that you are scratching around in, and you may be able to find useful information, and distant cousins, by searching on Message Boards for your surnames and localities.
I make it a point every January to go into both large Message Board systems and check for posts from the past year (you can select the time frame using the Advanced Search link).
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/04/tuesdays-tip-use-genealogy-message.html
Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver