Thursday, March 5, 2009

Genealogy Message Boards & Connections

The power of genealogy message boards is unbelievable.
What you might not know..Read below.
1) Messages posted to a message board stay on the server as long as that server is in existence. Case in point Ancestry.com. I started doing my own research back in 1999. Every message I ever posted is still right there for the world to see ten years later.
2) One of the most important things about using a message board is to have a current email address. What do I mean by this? I know with the way the internet has changed over the years people change internet providers frequently. Maybe you upgraded to high speed and gave up your old email address. This can be a big mistake. Let me explain why.....
You posted a message trying to find a connection to your elusive KLEIN ancestor. You didn't have much info at the time except for a name, date of birth and a place of birth that your grandmother KLEIN had written down in a journal about her favorite aunt. Sometimes that's all the info anyone can hope to have. It's not a lot but it is something you can work with. Mind you KLEIN is probably one of the hardest surnames to have to work with. I know this first hand.
What with the spelling variations and the number of immigrates to enter the US in the 1800's with this name.
BUT 3 years after you posted that message along comes a second cousin once removed and she has her great grandma Klein's family bible. This cousin is trolling the message boards on Ancestry or Rootsweb and she comes across your message. She starts to tremble a little as she reads your info. Finally, after a couple of years of research on Ancestry she has found what she believes is one of her great grandma's relatives.
Quickly she looks at the date of the message. She then clicks on your username and hits send email to user and sends a quickly typed message telling you of the family connection. Woo Hoo Yea!! She is doing the happy dance.
Guess what happens when she refreshes her email program? The email she has sent off with such high hopes comes bouncing back from your old email address. No account found for that username.
This is why it is so important to keep your active email account. If you must change your email account go back to those messages that you posted and reply to it and leave a new email address in the reply. Ancestry and Rootsweb shows you in your account profile messages you have posted and replied to. If you can't find that simply do a search on your old email address.
I have had the same email address for over ten years and everyone once in awhile I do go back to old messages I've posted and update my info.
Two weeks ago I made a major connection because of a message I replied to over a year ago. But at that time I did not have some critical information to make a connection. More to come in my next post.
LaFleur laFleur Loffler Braun Connections made through the Ancestry message board.