Modules

 



Main Page

      Prerequisites

      Objectives

      Instructional Style

      Technical Requirements

I - Getting Started

      Home Sources

      Charts

      Recording Information

      Citing Resources

II - Using Online Resources

      Online Databases

      Search Engines

      Directories

III - Gathering Key Records

      Vital Records

      Federal Census Records

IV - Exploring Further

      Probate Records

      Church Records

      Military Records

      Newspapers

 V - Sharing Information

      Discussion Lists

      Message Boards

      Software Programs

      Module V Activities

VI - Quiz


 
Links

 
RootsWeb's Discussion Lists

RootsWeb's Message Boards

 
Tools

 
Home Sources Checklist

5-Generation Ancestor Chart

4-Generation Ancestor Chart

Family Group Sheet

Birth Date Calculator

Town to County Database


 



Sharing Information




MODULE OBJECTIVES

After successfully completing this module, you will be able to:
  • Join discussion lists for sharing information about your ancestral surnames.

  • Search the archives of discussion lists for previous postings about your ancestors.
  • Post messages to message boards pertinent to your research interests.




INTRODUCTION

Other people familiar with your ancestral line can provide valuable information and documentation. The two most popular methods for finding people with similar ancestry and genealogical interests are Discussion Lists and Message Boards.

Genealogy-related discussion lists generally focus on specific surnames, localities, and topic areas. To participate in a discussion list, you must first send an email to the list's administrative address to "subscribe" to the list. This action adds your email address to the group. Then whenever anyone sends an email to the discussion list, you will automatically receive a copy of the email. If you need assistance in your research, you can send an email to the list. Everyone subscribed to the list will receive your request.

Message boards are somewhat similar to discussion lists. Like discussion lists, message boards focus on specific surnames and geographic areas. However, unlike discussion lists where messages are exchanged through email, sharing information at message boards involves reading and posting messages at a specific Web site. Anyone can read the messages posted at the site simply by visiting the site. No subscription process is required.

In either case, it is important to learn to write effective messages in order to increase your chances of receiving helpful responses. First, briefly summarize your query in the subject line of the email (discussion list) or form (message boards). Many people receive hundreds of junk emails every week. A specific subject line will make your email or message stand out.

In addition to a detailed subject line, it is also important to compose an informative message. Include names, dates, and places pertinent to your query. Refer to women by their maiden names, and include town, county, and state information. Below is an example of an effective subject line and message:

  • Subject:  Joshua HAMMOND, of Middlesex Co., CT (1859-1923)

  • Message:  I am trying to find the parents of my great-great grandfather Joshua Hammond. He was born in Killingworth, CT about 1859 and died in Chester, CT on 7 NOV 1923. He married Lydia Houle, daughter of Samuel and Eliza Houle, in Killingworth, CT on 14 AUG 1886. They had the following children: Daniel, Elizabeth, Sarah, and William. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Before posting a query to a discussion list or message board, you may want to create a separate email account. When you send an email to a discussion list or post a query to a message board, the contents of your message along with your email address becomes public.

If you want to keep your regular email address private, you can get a free email account at YAHOO! Mail.  If you decide to set up a separate email account, you must send an email to the discussion list's administrative address FROM THIS NEW ACCOUNT. If you send the email from your regular email account, all the list mail will go to your regular account.

If you set-up a new email account, be sure to check it regularly and delete unwanted messages. Like most free email services, Yahoo! Mail has space limitations. If your inbox gets filled up, your messages will bounce back to their senders.



DISCUSSION LISTS

ROOTSWEB'S LISTS

RootsWeb hosts thousands of discussion lists for genealogists. If you would like to participate in discussions with other researchers, you can subscribe to a list. If you would like to read the emails for a list without subscribing, you can search the list's archives.

DEMONSTRATION         PRACTICE




MESSAGE BOARDS


ROOTSWEB'S BOARDS

RootsWeb also hosts a large genealogy-related message board system.

DEMONSTRATION         PRACTICE




SOFTWARE PROGRAMS

At this point in your research, you may want to move from completing paper-based Ancestor Charts and Family Group Sheets to inputting your information into a computer program. There are dozens of genealogical applications, and each program has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. When selecting a program,
make sure it has the ability to read and save GEDCOM files. GEDCOM is the file format used by genealogists to exchange genealogical data electronically. A GEDCOM file ends with a *.ged extension.

If you would like to research some of the available programs, the following Web sites provide brief descriptions and product reviews.

            LOUIS KESSLER'S GENEALOGY SOFTWARE LINKS

            CYNDI'S LIST OF SOFTWARE & COMPUTERS




MODULE V ACTIVITIES

  1. Find and subscribe to a discussion list for a surname that you are researching. To subscribe to a list, remember that you must send an email to the list's administrative address from the email account that will receive the group's messages.

  2. Post a message to the list about your ancestors.

  3. Search message boards pertaining to a surname or locality of interest.

  4. Post a query to a message board.

  5. Research some of the available software programs for organizing genealogical information.


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