Among the many ways to doing research, there is the process of sharing information. Finding others who are researching the same surname or better yet, the same family, can easily be done by using Internet.
Before embarking on a shout-about mission, you need to determine the surnames, family units and locations that you will be researching. What information do you have and what information do you need? With this information, compose a query or message that is a virtual picture of your research. It is effective to create a synopsis that is precise, but includes names, dates or time periods and locations. Brief information about the research you have performed is also helpful.
The next step is to read and reread your message/query. The person who will read your message/query cannot read your mind. Do you understand it? Is the spelling and information correct? Have you included a statement regarding the information you need? This might be "...need Mary's place of burial."
Once the message/query has been prepared, begin looking at the queries, forums, message boards, news groups and mailing lists that are available on Internet. Your research in these areas should include locations as well as surnames. Forums, queries and message boards are areas where information, queries and ideas can be posted and exchanged. They are central locations that do post to your e-mail inbox. You must frequently check them for new messages. There are no requirements or fees to use them. Some of the more popular ones are:
Ancestry.com Message Boards http://boards.ancestry.com/mbexec/script/main/an
Before posting your message/query to any of these, check the format and site rules. Some have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) area that should be read before making any posts.
Mailing lists are usually by topic, areas of interest, locations and surname. These are subscription (free) groups whereby people can leave messages which are sent by 3-mail to every subscriber. As a subscriber, you can elect to receive the messages individually or in digest format. If there is a lot of activity, you may wish to receive them all at once in digest format. They can be read, saved and responded to if need be. Check out the following for mailing lists pertaining to genealogy:
RootsWeb Mailing Lists http://lists.rootsweb.com
RootsWeb Mailing Lists Interactive Search
Yahoo! Groups (Genealogy) http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=genealogy
Genealogy Resources on the Internet (John Fuller's Mailing Lists)
News groups are very similar to mailing lists. Some require plug-ins for usage, so be sure you read the instructions. Information on genealogy news groups can be found at Cyndi's List, http://www.CyndisList.com/newsgrps.htm. Be sure to check out Google Groups at http://groups.google.com. By searching simply for genealogy at this site, you will locate over two million news groups. You can narrow this down by doing an advanced search by surname, location and key words.
Keep a log of the queries or postings that you leave on Internet. Be sure to include the date and synopsis of your message/query. If you leave a message/query by surname, be sure to include it also in locations, such as country, state and/or county. If you do not receive a response to your message/query after several months, look at it, reword it and post it again.
It is fun to share some information in anticipation of receiving something in return. Usually two heads are better than one, so get on a shout-about mission and start posting those message/queries.
Source Information: Tracing Lines, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2005.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
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