Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world with millions of people researching their family history. Since there are millions of people in the world researching family history, the odds are very good that one or more of these people are working on some branch of your family. There are several different ways to connect with these other genealogists.
Message boards (which can also be referred to as query boards or bulletin boards) are public Web sites where messages are posted. The messages can be read and responded to by anyone. Most genealogy message boards have a theme such as a surname or location. When posting a query, include the name, dates and location for your ancestor. Do not post personal information on a message board.
Mailing lists are also messages, usually on a particular subject, that are distributed through e-mail to subscribers on the mailing list. Once you subscribe to the list, messages are sent to your e-mail automatically. The messages can be read and a reply can be sent. When a reply is sent, the reply is distributed to everyone on the list. That means that hundreds or even thousands of people will be receiving your message.
Cyndi’s List (http://www.cyndislist.com) has a list of genealogy message boards and mailing lists on her site.
Consider building a genealogy Web site. Or if you already have a Web site, add a genealogy page to it. Many Internet service providers include Web site space with an account. There are numerous programs that can help you create your own site even if you have no experience. Cyndi’s List Homepage Construction Kit has many tips that can help you create your own Web site.
Lots of genealogical and historical societies publish queries in their newsletters and periodicals. The query should clearly identify your ancestor with names, dates, and locations. Look for a society in the geographic area where your ancestors lived. Join the genealogical society so that you receive the society publications and can check for other queries about your ancestors. If you need help writing a query, go to Cyndi’s List, “Queries and Message Boards” and select “How to.”
Yes, I know this is old fashion but I have used it on numerous occasions with success. To find addresses, Internet Directories are a useful tool. An Internet Directory is basically an online phone book and is used like any phone book. There are many on-line directories including anywho.com, switchboard.com and infospace.com.
If there is a family association with your ancestors surname, join it. Family associations have tons of genealogical information and they generously share it with members. You will need to send your ancestry to the association’s registrar which will be compared to the ancestry of other association members. You will then be informed of any connections they have found.
I have used all of the methods listed and have had success with each. None is better than the others. They each have strengths and are useful in different circumstances.
Announce your genealogy hobby to the world. I bet it won’t be long before you find someone working on a branch of your family. After all, sharing our family is the best part of genealogy.