Saturday, June 9, 2012

Message Boards

I have noticed that a majority of people do not utilize the message boards in their genealogy research any more. Many years ago this was one of the most used tools in our genealogical tool box. I couldn't keep up with the request for help added daily. Now I check the boards and see the same sad lonely message from a year or two ago sitting unanswered.

This leads me to wonder why? I know there are more people than ever out there searching, so why aren't they using the boards? If I had to guess, I would say it was due to the use of new technology, such as social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.  Where you would once post such questions as, "Could someone help me translate this record into English from German?" on a message board, now you see such posts on Ancestry's Facebook page. 

The only problem I see with posting your question's online in this format would be that the page often moves so quickly that there are many out there who may not see your question. I would suggest trying it this way as well as going to the boards and posting your question there as well.

I myself still use the message boards and will remain faithful to them as long as they are out there. I try to answer as many questions as I can that pertain to something I have knowledge in or have access to records regarding their question. The reason I do this is because I found some of my greatest genealogical treasures through  message board posts.

Many years ago, I was contacted by a  relative who told me about a message board post they had read that I may be interested in. There was a woman in Louisiana who had posted that she had an old photo and in that photo was Louise Delherbe and she was looking for the family of this person to give the photo to. I was ecstatic! I quickly replied and told her that this was my grandmother's first cousin and I would very much love a copy of the photo.

She replied back saying she would scan it and email it asap to me. She then told me the story of how her mother and Louise were friends as young girls. She said there were two photos, and one had three young girls acting silly for the camera. She did not know who the third girl was.

Imagine my great surprise when I receive this photo and discover the third girl was my grandmother's sister Edith Wiese whom we call DeDe.  One look and I knew it was her. Of course I made a copy and brought it to my great aunt so she could confirm that it was indeed her. This brought tears to her eyes and she said in her broad New Orleans accent, "Oh Yeah hun, that's me." My grandmother had passed away and my great aunt was now living with my aunt and uncle. She was well into her 90's when I showed her this photo from the 1920's. I will always treasure the woman who took the time to share this photo of her mother and two cousins enjoying a day at City Park.

Message board activity may have slowed down, but I still creep them occasionally just to see what may be waiting there for me. You just never know what you may find.

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