Monday, June 14, 2010

How to use message boards

Let me introduce you to a genealogy research tool: message boards

The one I'll be talking about today is:

The main page shows different message boards divided into surnames, regional and general topics. For instance, if I choose a surname to search for example, 'DIN', I am unable to find a message board. However, you can 'request' a forum for that surname by clicking on 'Add a Forum' at the bottom of the page:

If I want to search for a forum by country, e.g. Pakistan, I can click on 'Countries' which brings me to a page listed with various countries. I search for and click on 'Pakistan' where I can view previous posts that have been published on the forum.

How to write a post of your own ..

The first thing you have to note when writing a post on a forum is the title. Example of a bland and boring title would be 'Information required'. Most likely, people viewing the board will immediately glance away from this post as it doesn't seem that interesting (unless they are the types who have to view every post). Instead you should try to pack in information such as names, dates and regions. A good example of this is: 'Looking for Imam Bukhsh from Dargan village, Pakistan 1910'

Usually I have come across messages that offer no information but simply demand it. It's not good enough just to say you are searching for your family tree since most likely your family tree is not lurking on the Internet, waiting for you to find it. Your posts have to be clear and concise so don't waffle otherwise readers will be put off.
Also try looking for answers locally by asking family members, historians in the region you are researching and searching for books at your local library.
People with similar research interests will most often share their information with you so saying 'thankyou' and 'please' are some pleasantries that should not be forgotten.

Lastly, don't be despondent if you don't have the amount of feedback that you had hoped for. As genealogy becomes more popular within the Pakistani community, more people will look to the Internet as a means to do their research.

Please do give your comments below or even email me your thoughts at pakistani_g[at] - I'd love to hear from you.

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