Last night, I realized that I hadn’t posted to a genealogy message board in a long while. Message boards are valuable resources that should never be ignored. So, I found my three most difficult ancestors and posted some information/queries about each ancestor on their respective surname board on Genealogy.com
- Post your query to the surname board that it fits with. For example, my query dealt with an Adolph Doerflinger and so I posted the query to the Doerflinger board.
- Also post your query to state or regional boards. For example, my Adolph Doerflinger lived in Missouri, Iowa, and California. Therefore, I posted the query to each of those boards also.
- When writing your query, be clear about the facts versus your theories. It is good to post both what you know and what you think you know, but be sure to be very clear about it.
- Include in your query the places you have already searched. This will keep responders from suggesting sources that you have already checked.
- Be clear about what you are looking for. Never say that you “just want more information”. Always be specific about the type of information. Do you want to know when he got married? Want to know if he had any siblings? Want to know when he immigrated to the U.S.? Whatever it is – be clear about what you are looking for.
- Always use good grammar and writing skills. Make it easy for others to know what you are searching for.
- Make your title specific. Include the first and last name, date ranges, places, and maybe even what you want to know. The goal here is to get the message noticed so that someone (hopefully a distant cousin) will read it. If you just say “Looking for Doerflinger information”, someone else might not read it. Having the title say “Adolph Doerflinger 1859 – 1937, MO, IA, CA”, then people are going to notice. This is especially important for very active boards or boards for common surnames.
- Be polite. Always remember that the people who are responding to you are doing so out of kindness. So remember to say your pleases and thank yous. You might be making someone’s day.
I also want to discuss the issue of responding to message board posts. Lorine Massey of The Olive Tree Genealogy Blog recently wrote a great blog post about responding to message board posts – and it is such a great post that I just have to share it. There are some great tips and suggestions for anyone responding to a message board post.
Have you ever had great success with a message board post? Do you have a great tip for getting your query noticed? This is the place to share them!
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