Shouting About Ancestors
by Ruby Coleman
Fortunately I began doing genealogical research before the Internet and fortunately I am now doing genealogical research with the benefit of using Internet. By not having the Internet at my fingertips I learned to communicate differently with others interested in my family genealogy, as well as with relatives.
Some of those old fashioned methods of communication still apply. While it is easier to locate people on the Internet who have the same surname interests, it is soon apparent that not everybody uses the Internet. It is possible, however, to locate people who do not use the Internet, through the Internet!
To locate addresses, there are many search sites on Internet that contain both white and yellow page telephone information. One such search area is http://www.whitepages.com. Locating an e-mail address can be more difficult, but help is available at the World E-Mail Directory at http://www.worldemail.com. Keep in mind that on-line directories can be six months to two years behind the current date. Our mobile society is difficult to track.
Not too many years ago genealogists were effectively leaving queries in newspapers. There are still many newspapers that have genealogical columns. Begin your research to locate those newspapers at the web page for the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) at http://www.rootsweb.com/~cgs/index.htm. Be sure to click on their list of members for information on newspapers, columns and policies for queries.
Genealogical and historical societies come in many locations and sizes. Many are still publishing newsletters or periodicals in which members and non-members can post queries. Both genealogical and historical societies can be located at the United States Historical Society Directory, http://www.daddezio.com/society/hill/index.html.
Another source to check is the Federation of Genealogical Societies - Society Hall at http://www.familyhistory.com/societyhall/main.asp. Once you have located a society that is in your research area, contact them for information on their publications, membership and policy regarding queries.
Research should also involve locating current newspapers in your research locations. Many United States newspapers have web pages which can be located at places such as NewsLink, http://newslink.org/news.html. Using the address and/or e-mail found on the web pages, inquire about their policy for classified advertisements and also if they have an editorial page that allows brief queries regarding people who lived in their area. Newspapers that do not have web pages can be located through yellow page searches, such as InfoSpace at http://www.infospace.com/.
There are many message boards, forums and mailing lists available on Internet. These are by surname, location and topic. While posting queries to these, be sure to use all of them. Web pages to get you started in these areas include:
- Ancestry.com Message Boards http://www.ancestry.com
(click on Message Boards)
- GenForum http://www.genforum.com
- RootsWeb Mailing Lists http://lists.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/findlist.pl
There are many other communication areas on Internet. All of the county locations found on the USGenWeb project, http://www.usgenweb.org have query sections.
The following are some tips for getting the most out of your Internet communications.
- keep e-mail communications brief and to the point
- queries should contain names, dates and locations
- supply sufficient details so your ancestor can be identified
- follow the rules for the mailing lists, message board and forums
- do not send personal information to everybody on a mailing list
- read your message before you click the send button
- reciprocate; offer to share; answer your e-mails
It is important to utilize all possibilities when posting and sharing genealogical information. Shouting about your ancestor can be fun and rewarding.
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