Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Using Online Genealogy Message Boards - Post 2 (Rootsweb 2)

Continuing from the post Using Online Genealogy Message Boards - Post 1, where I described how to find a surname or locality message board on Rootsweb (http://boards.rootsweb.com/), I want to demonstrate how to navigate within a specific message board.

I clicked on the message board for San Diego County, California, and saw the screen below:

There are 3,558 posts, as of today, on this message board since it started - most of them are queries for specific persons. That's way too many to sort through looking for one specific surname or topic. There is a Search box - "Names or Keywords" - above the list of messages in the screen above. I typed in the name "seaver" in the search box above, and clicked on the circle for "San Diego - Family History & Genealogy Message Board" so as to limit the search to this one message board - the other choice (and the default choice) is "All Boards."

I clicked on the "Search" button and received a list of matches:

There were three matches for my query of "seaver" on the San Diego message board. They are all mine! I clicked on the top one to see what was written and if it was responded to (two screens shown below):

As you can see, my message was a response to a message originally written asking for the names of the newspapers that publish obituaries in the county. It was the fifth, and last, message in the message thread. In "Thread View," the titles, dates and writers of the messages in the thread are listed.

I want to see what all of the messages in this thread, so I clicked on the link that says "Change to Flat View" and saw:

The "Flat View" of a thread shows the text of all of the messages in the thread so the reader doesn't have to click on all of the messages in the thread. I really like the "Flat View!"

Using the Search for names or keywords in a specific message board can help a researcher quickly determine if there are other researchers interested in their ancestral names in that place. On a surname message board, a researcher might use the first name of their ancestor with the surname, and the name of the person's spouse to narrow the search. On a locality message board, using the surname and perhaps the spouse's surname will usually result in matches that satisfy the researcher's curiosity.

In the next post, we will look at the "Advanced Search" features of these Rootsweb Message Boards.

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