With all the tools available today to do research, it is a wonder that the individuals who are just beginning could begin to feel a little overwhelmed and yet for others, each new tool being invented offers the hope of new found information.
Message boards were an integral part of Web 1.0, long before social networking, online videos and all one contends is now what the web has become and is today. A message board or a forum is an online discussion done through posting messages back and forth as if in a conversation. The actual conversation is known as a “thread” and one can follow that thread back to the very beginning and pick up all the clues and information along the thread to reach a conclusion or an answer to a problem.
Some message boards require a log-in and others can be done anonymously. One major advantage to these online discussions is that they are archived and can be searched long after the involved parties have moved onto other discussions and research problems. The archives alone have great genealogical value as many who responded to the original questions did so with factual data connected to an ancestor.
As message boards and forums have stemmed from the early 1990s, there could be a chance that someone who responded may no longer be here but was able to document important family historical facts and resources to help their descendants with ancestral research. There are as many types of message boards as there are ideas, but the ones that aid genealogy and family history are very active.
Family Search’s Help Center provides great genealogical research advice to all who come there with their questions. The whole Help Center is broken down by topics to assist all who are looking for help.
Message boards can also provide opportunities to connect with others who have similar research interests. Some of the well-known message boards for genealogical and/or family history are at Ancestry.com, Rootsweb.com, GenForum.com, and MyHeritage.com; however, one can view a lengthy list at Cyndi’s List. She has broken it down into a number of categories to choose from relating to genealogy and/or family history.
In closing, the use of message boards can be a big help to all who are researching their ancestors, one may just find a new cousin!