Thursday, July 7, 2011

Heard on the Message Board

Chatted with anyone on a message board lately? Over the years I have searched for pertinent information, but never written queries. During a genealogy discussion group meeting one of our members shared tips on using this resource.

Here are a few of her recommendations to write an effective message.

*Make your query stand out to the people that have the information you need

*Capitalize surnames - include related names to place people in context

*Get to the point quickly

*Offer to share and exchange information

*Include places you have already checked

*Sign your name with something snappy

*Repost periodically, especially when you discover new information

*Post on related names boards, locality boards, sibling's married name boards, etc.

For many years I have researched my husband's Conley line from the eastern shore of Maryland. We had not been very successful in locating information for these ancestors. The main problem being various surname spellings in each generation. Early records had them listed as Conly, Connlley, and Conllay. At some points I believed I would never unravel this mystery.

Using these helpful hints I felt confident in creating a message for this vexing family line. Very shortly after posting we received an email with valuable information to connect all the dots. I have also had tremendous success locating cemeteries, finding vital records, and making family connections.

Here are several websites with and about message boards:

Message Board:

GenForum by

My Heritage

RootsWeb Message Boards

How to:

Queries & Message Boards - Cindi's List

Effective Use of Online Message Boards by Natalie Cottrill of

Tour the Boards: Finding Clues in Genealogy Forums & Message Boards by Kimberly Powell of Genealogy

Hope to see you on the boards!

*update - check out the newest post to learn how planting seeds on message boards bring a harvest of wonderful information!


  1. Deb, you brought up an excellent way to find relatives or info. about ancestors, and this is how I did it way back when...before google. The only suggestion I have, is to contact the site, should you ever change your email address.

  2. I love message boards and I post my message on many to make sure it hits many different people. We are creatures of habit and most like one board over another, so sometimes it pays to get it out there.
    I also find Genealogy Wise a good place to post a query. Sometimes I get a quicker answer there.


  3. I'm so glad for you that posting on a message board brought you tremendous success! We also have many, many spellings of our surname--definitely frustrating! I'm going to save your URLs of message boards -- thank you for this list, Deb! and thank you for the post!