If you are at a crossroads and don’t know what direction to go or even where to begin your journey of learning more about your family history you might want to try one of these family forums. Some are e-mail only and others are a combination of internet posting and email correspondence.
Message Boards/Mailing Lists and the Gateway
Q. What are the advantages of the message boards versus a mailing list?
A. Both mailing lists and boards are valuable research tools. A mailing list is an excellent place for in depth discussion among list subscribers who are usually serious researchers of the list subject. Discussion on a mailing list tends to cover a topic at length, and when that topic is exhausted a new discussion begins on another subject. The strength of a mailing list is the ability to include a large number of people and opinions in an ongoing, in depth, discussion benefiting list subscribers immediately.
By contrast, message boards like those at Ancestry.com and RootsWeb.com provide a resource to be used by anyone who chooses to post a message or search the boards, quite possibly involving a surname or topic only indirectly related to their research. There is no requirement to subscribe to a discussion group to make a contact through a search, or post a query or reply on a board. A board is often a great place to post a query about your “dead end” or “brick wall” ancestors. A far larger audience will search the boards over a period of time than will subscribe to any one mailing list.
Q. What is the gateway which links message boards and mailing lists?
A. This exciting feature was designed to integrate a message board with the mailing list for the same subject (surname, locality, etc.). Many mailing list administrators opt to have a mailing list receive “gatewayed” messages–messages which are originally posted on a corresponding message board. When the list and board administrators agree to use the gateway all messages posted to the corresponding board are instantly copied in full to the allied list.
When you see gatewayed messages on a mailing list to which you subscribe, and you wish to reply to the message, you should be aware that the poster of the message is most likely not subscribed to the list. Replies should be made on the board by going to the URL (address) in the gatewayed message. Your reply on the board will then be “gatewayed” back to the list as well.
If you can click on the URL to access the message you should do so, and others (mainly AOL users) who cannot should copy and paste the URL into the browser window. By replying on the board you ensure that the poster will see the reply to the message he posted and also that the thread of the message is preserved on the board for the benefit of future researchers who may find the messages in a search.
For additional information, see Message Board Help at Ancestry.com.
What is ROOTS-L? ROOTS-L is a discussion list where people who are interested in genealogy may communicate, requesting and sharing information, sources, and techniques, not only about our own family research but also about broader matters that possibly affect genealogical research in general. Subscribers to ROOTS-L form what is in effect an electronic community. We help each other out, we celebrate when one of us has a success, we bicker and quarrel (but hopefully not too much!). The membership of this community spans many different countries. Everyone is welcome.
To find out how to subscribe to the Tripp-L mailing list Click Here
To find out how to access the Tripp-L mailing list Archives Click Here
Tripp Surname Message Board at Ancestry.com. Messages posted to this board also appear in the “TRIPP-L@rootsweb.com” mailing list. As of July 10, 2003 there were 832 messages posted.
Tripp Family Genealogy Forum at Genealogy.com. The Tripp forum currently serves all variations that seem obvious — Tripp, Trip and Trippe. As of July 10, 2003 there were 1665 messages posted.