Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Using Online Genealogy Message Boards - Post 3 (Rootsweb 3)

Continuing from the posts Using Online Genealogy Message Boards - Post 1 (where I described how to find a surname or locality message board on Rootsweb) and Using Online Genealogy Message Boards - Post 2 (where I described reading messages on a given board) on the Rootsweb Message Boards (, I want to demonstrate how to used the Advanced Search feature to find posts on specific surnames or topics that might not be on the surname-specific board or the locality-specific board.

On any of the Message Board screens there is a link within the Search box for "Advanced Search." Clicking on that from the main Message Board screen brings up this screen:

The user can put in a choice of Name or a Keyword that appears in:

* the body of a message
* the Subject line of a message
* the Author of a message
* the Last Name (authors can tag surnames)
* Message classification (authors can tag a classification)
* Posted within (choice of Anytime, 1 Day, 3 Days, 1 Week, 1 Month, 6 Months, 1 Year)

I put "seaver" in the Name or Keyword box and found that there were 1,636 messages with "Seaver" in the body of all of the messages in the system. I decided to limit the matches to the past year (screen below):

There were only 48 matches for "Seaver" in the past year - that is certainly easier to manage than 1,636! If I do these types of searches across all message boards each year, I can keep up to speed.
I wondered how effective the classification system was - so I selected the "obituary" classification (screen below):

There were 0 messages in the last year with "Seaver" in the body text and classified as "obituary." Apparently, not every author of messages is putting a classification tag on messages.

How many messages have "obituary" in the title and "Seaver" in the body text in the last year? Only one.

How many messages have "Seaver" and "obituary" in the body text in the last year? Only two.

For the entire Rootsweb Message Board, there are 154 messages with the terms "Seaver" and "obituary" in the body text at any time.

This completes the brief look at the Rootsweb Message Boards. In the next post, we'll look at the GenForum set of Message Boards on the web site.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Randy, for highlighting these valuable resources. It blows my mind that their usage has decreased so much in the last couple of years; I'm not sure why?

Gobby said...

Thank you for pointing out resources like this. they will be a great help to the users of my forum especially our genealogy section at

I shall also link from our forum to you so others can see the great info you supply