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Archiver > XIMENES > 2006-05 > 1147103945

From: Dani Brown <>
Subject: Message Board Improvements
Date: Mon, 8 May 2006 08:59:05 -0700 (PDT)

USING ANCESTRY.COM: "Preparing for the Message Board
Improvements Launch,"
Juliana Smith
Last month, there were 28,127,757 page views on the
message boards and on April 30 there were more than
one million for that day
alone! That's a lot of people looking for ancestors
and sharing their

Message boards have long been popular, and even
before we took to the
Internet, genealogists had been posting their
interests in periodicals and
on cave walls long before that. (And you think we
have it tough entering our
data! One date entered wrong and you'd have to move
to a new cave and start

There will likely be another surge in popularity as
Ancestry.com and
RootsWeb.com will soon be updating and improving the
message boards, based
on the
recommendations of community members. Improvements
will allow users to
customized views of each thread and select how many
posts are displayed on a
Notifications of posts to your favorite boards will be
sent individually or
via a digest version. New tools will also help with
posts allowing you to
and spell check your messages.

There will also be some behind-the-scenes
improvements with more powerful
searches and spam blockers, that will hopefully spare
us from all those
pharmaceutical ads.

Besides the enhancements, there will be another boon
for those who use the
message boards regularly in the form of the increased
traffic that will come
with the launch. So if you're a message board user,
now is a good time to
sure your e-mail address is up-to-date and your posts
are current. If you
haven't posted to the message boards, it's a perfect
time to start.

So let's take a look at some ways we can leverage the
launch to improve our
chances of finding that long-lost cousin with the
information that could
down some of those brick walls.

If you've posted before, step one will be to locate
your old posts. In the
message board box on the main Community page
zTAE) click on Try Our Advanced Search. There, enter
your name in the box
that says Author of Message and click Find. You
should end up with a list of
your posts that you can review and update if

One of the great things about message boards is that
your message stays out
there for people who join the search much later. So if
Cousin Myrtis is
bitten by the genealogy bug years from now, she can
find you through your
post of today. The only hitch is that your e-mail
address needs to be
current or
she won't be able to send you all that info from the
family Bible.

As part of the overall updates to the boards, the
"Board Profile" will be
replaced by your Ancestry "My Public Profile." This
means that your member
and the e-mail associated with your Ancestry account
will replace the
"Post Name" and "Post E-mail" as the author and
contact for your posts. For
this reason it's important that you're e-mail address
is current in the "My
Accounts" section. Also, you may wish to update your
username and e-mail
address to
something that you don't mind being associated with
all of your message

Now say you put a query out there looking for info on
your great-grandpa
Smith. You knew his father's name at the time of the
post (he was another
John Smith), but not the mother and had no clue as to
his place of birth. It
would really help if you could provide some info that
would make him stand
from the other bazillion John Smiths, but back in
2003 when you posted it,
was all you had.

Now let's say you discovered his mother was named
Hildegard Hemperphistle
that he had been born in Posen, Cook County,
Illinois. (I think all
with common names should have been required to marry
spouses with unusual
given names and surnames to at least give us a fair
chance at identifying
How do we get that information into the post so that
when that nice wave of
searchers anxious to try out the updated message
boards comes through,
be able to find your post? You can do this by replying
to the original post
with your new information added. Not only will this
allow you to be found by
Smiths who know about the Hemperphistle-Smith
marriage, but Hemperphistle
cousins will also be able to find you through their
searches as well.

With the launch of the message boards you will be able
to go back and edit
live posts that have not been replied to, adding and
correcting information.

Posting effective messages is the key to your
success, and there are certain
elements that should be included in your post.

-- A good subject line. If you post to the Smith list
that you're "Looking
for Smiths," you're not going to stand out. After
all, presumably everyone
the list is "looking for Smiths." Give them as much
detail as possible to
reel in the right cousins. Something like this:
SMITH, Joseph Z., 1838-1864, Eng>NY>Iowa
If you're not certain of the dates, you can estimate
and use ca. (circa) to
note it.

-- Give them details upfront, listing who you are
looking for, where and
when, so they don't have to read on only to discover
they have the wrong
five paragraphs later. Then you can go into more
detail, explaining where
searched, sharing family stories you'd like to
verify, etc.

-- Re-read your post from another perspective. Pretend
you're the answer to
your genealogical prayers coming to respond to your
post. Re-read it and be
sure that you have included all the necessary
information. Since we all know
own ancestors so well, it's easy to forget that other
people don't and omit
crucial information.

Sit Back And Wait?
Now that your posts are all in order, you can sit back
and wait for people
find you. It's basically free advertising for you. But
I'm guessing that's
not what you'll be doing. If you're like me, you're
going to be off
for ancestors as soon as you're done. We family
historians typically aren't
the "sit and wait" variety!

You can learn more about the improved boards at:

Yahoo! Mail goes everywhere you do. Get it on your phone.

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