Frequently Asked Questions
While registration is not required to post, reply or search, it is required in order to use some special features of the boards.
First-time users should register to set up an account to use many features of the message boards. The free registration of account information enables you to make universal changes of account information including e-mail changes. It also protects your identity and greatly reduces the potential for abuse of the boards. If you register/login when posting, you do not have to enter your name and e-mail information for each message posted as the information is on file and will be entered automatically for you.
To register, click here. Complete all required items on the registration form and click "Submit" when finished. Once you are registered, remember to log in before posting to the boards using the username and password you establish for your account. Click here to login now.
How do I find a specific message board?
You can either search or browse (navigate). Message boards are housed within yellow file folders. These folders represent categories that are often divided into subcategory folders (in a nested hierarchy of folders), also represented by yellow file folder icons. An icon indicating sheets of paper represents the individual boards.
Message boards are divided into three main categories: Surnames, Localities, and Genealogical Research Topics. Surnames are further broken down alphabetically. Localities start at the highest level of geographical regions, move to a second level of countries, and subsequently to a third level for U.S. states or their equivalent. Genealogical Research Topics are categorized by topic (subject).
To search for a board, type the name of the board you wish to locate into the "Find a Message Board" box. Select the "Soundex" option (an advanced search option) if you are either unsure of the exact spelling of a name or if you are interested in variant spellings of a surname.
When you click on the category and subcategory folders, you can navigate through the boards until you reach the desired board. You can always identify where you are in the board hierarchy by looking at the yellow bar above the file folders, which will show you the path to the page you are presently viewing.
If you would like to return to the message board main page while you are searching, click on the words "Message Boards" above the search box in the upper-left portion of the page. You will be returned to the main page of the message boards
Clicking on the "Login" link in the upper-right corner allows you to login to use board features that require registration/logging in if you have not done so at that time.
The "Thread" and "Date" (Collapse/Expand) links allow you to view the messages on a board either in outline form (collapsed) or as full text messages (expanded). All messages are listed in groups of 25 at a time either in threads reversed by date (most recent first) or by date alone reversed (most recent first). Clicking on "Next" or "Previous" enables you to view the next or previous 25 messages on the board.
How do I search on the message boards?
You can search all boards, a specific category, or only one board by selecting the appropriate button depending upon your location within the board hierarchy.
To search all of the boards, you can perform a simple search by typing in a surname (last name), keyword or phrase, and click "GO!" In all searches, keywords, or phrases will be searched for the closest to the least exact match in that order.
For a more specific search, click on the "Advanced Search" link. This feature allows you to narrow your search by entering any or all of the items on the Advanced Search form.
Once the desired fields are entered, click "Search" to receive results.
Searches support trailing wildcards represented by an asterisk (*) following a minimum of the first three letters of the keyword or surname. A trailing wildcard means you cannot begin a search request surname/keyword with an asterisk you must start with at least three letters prior to the asterisk. A search for Joh* will find John, Johns, or Johnson.
How do I post a new message? How do I post a reply to a message?
To post a new message on any board, click on "Post Message." If you are viewing a message on a board, you can choose between posting a new message and posting a reply to the message you are viewing. If you elect to post a reply it will be threaded (grouped with the original message rather than standing alone) with the message to which you are replying. Posting a response, as opposed to an original (new) message, also means that if the previous posters in the thread have elected to receive e-mail notifications of responses they will be notified of your reply.
When choosing a subject, try to be as concise as possible while covering the basics of who, when, and where. For example, if you are posting a query about John Smith who was born in 1832 in Pittsburgh, PA, an informative subject line would be exactly that: "John SMITH, born 1832, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA." Avoid using all-purpose, non-informative, subject lines such as: "searching," "looking," "genealogy," or "family search." Remember all who are using these boards are searching and looking for their ancestors. Ask yourself if the subject you have posted will help others to understand the topic of your query. If the answer is "yes," then you have chosen an informative subject line. Be careful about abbreviations though. It is always best to spell out place names and include the country. Remember, these boards are used by researchers in many countries.
Only surnames (last names) mentioned in your message should be listed in the "Surname Box." When multiple surnames are included in the post, a comma is used to separate each name. The Surname Box also is used to index the surnames in your message and it should not be used for listing surnames that are interested in, but are not included in the message text.
Use the "Classifications" menu to select from a list of data types. Data classifications should be selected only when you are posting actual data not queries about data. For example, a query about a will is still a query.
What are the preview, edit and post options?
After you have composed your message and completed all required items, you have the option to post or previewing the message. If you are absolutely certain that the message is exactly as you wish to post it, click on the "Post Message" button. Your message will be posted to the board. If you would like to view the message as it will appear on the board BEFORE it is actually posted, click on the "Preview Message" button. The preview screen allows you to select from "Edit Message" or "Post Message" buttons. Use the "Edit Message" button rather than your browser's "back" button to edit the message, if necessary, prior to finally selecting the "Post Message."
How do I print a message?
While viewing a message, click on "Print Message" to see a printer-friendly text version of that message. Click on your browser's print icon or follow your usual print procedure to print the message. Use the "Return to Message" link to go back to the message in the normal display.
What does it mean when it says a board is "gatewayed" to a mailing list?
The gateway feature is designed to integrate a message board with the mailing list of the same subject (surname, locality, etc.). Many mailing list administrators elect to have a mailing list receive messages that are posted originally on a corresponding message board, which are called "gatewayed" messages. When the list and board administrators agree to use the gateway, the messages posted to the corresponding board are copied instantly, in full, to the allied (gateway) mailing list.
When you see "gatewayed" messages on a mailing list to which you subscribe, and you wish to reply to the message, be aware that the poster of the message is most likely not subscribed to the mailing list. Replies should be made on the message 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.
Boards with the notice (yellow line, below) are gatewayed to the corresponding mailing list.
Can I be notified about new board posts or responses to my post?
The message boards have two types of notifications "My Notifications" and "Send me an e-mail when anyone replies to this message."
To receive notifications of any replies to posts you have made, be sure that the box "Send me an e-mail when anyone replies to this message" is checked. Notification of replies is the default setting.
The e-mail notifications you receive will include Web links (URLs) taking you directly to the new message on the board. If you are an AOL user, your "Profile" should be set to send e-mails in AOL-compliant format. If you cannot click on URLs in e-mail notices, highlight the ENTIRE URL address of the response to your query or new message notification and copy and paste it into your browser window, then click "Go" or press Enter to access the message.
To delete your address from the notification list for a board, click on the word "Remove" beside the listing for that message board.
Send me an e-mail when anyone replies to this message
AOL users should set their "Profile" section to request AOL-compliant e-mails. If you cannot
click on URLs in e-mail notices, click here for additional information.
How do I change my e-mail address, name, or password under "My Profile"?
The "My Profile" link allows you to control the name and e-mail address associated with your login, name and e-mail address displayed on your posts, login password, as well as the format of e-mails you may receive.
To change the name and e-mail address associated with your login or the name and e-mail address that are displayed on your posts, you must update the "Change Profile" section. If you leave the Post Name or Post E-mail fields blank, the registered name and e-mail address attached to your login will be used. The Post Name and Post E-mail will be changed on ALL of your posted messages. If you wish to use different names and e-mail addresses when posting, you must create separate login accounts.
To change the password to your login account, update the "Change Password" section.
To choose the format of e-mail sent you, update the "Change E-mail Preferences" section. There are three formation options:
How do I report abuse?
While viewing a message that you deem to be inappropriate or in violation of message board or posting rules, click on the "Report Abuse" link and note your reason for objection: Spam, Obscenity, Impersonation, Personal Attacks, Other. Be sure to include any additional remarks in the "Comments" box, and click "Submit" when finished. The board administrator or someone on the message board staff will review the objection and take appropriate action.
To use the "Report Abuse" link, you must be logged in as a registered user. This box also can be used by an author to request that his or her own post(s) be removed.
Can I request a new board topic?
To request a new board topic, you must be a registered message board user. If you are not already registered, click here to do so.
Before requesting a new board, please search the existing boards and use them where appropriate. Once you have done this and logged in, click on the link at the bottom-left corner of each page to request that a new board be created. You will be given the option to check a box if you wish to be named the administrator of the new board if it is approved and created. New board creation requests can be submitted for Surnames (last names), Localities, and Genealogical Research Topics.
Surname requests must be for a single surname only; variant spellings require separate boards. Localities must be countries, states, provinces, departments, shires, counties/parishes or the equivalent. Genealogical Research Topics must be specific subjects that would be of interest to a sufficient number of researchers.
How do I become a board administrator? (adopting a board)
To become the administrator of an adoptable board you must be a registered message board user. Once registered, you must log in using the username and password you established for your account before requesting to adopt a board.
To determine if a board is adoptable, while on the board of interest look at the toolbar for a link that says, "Become an Admin." Click on this link if you wish to adopt the board and then click on the "submit" button to request adoption of the board. You will be notified by e-mail whether or not your request has been approved.
Where can I find help?
The mailing list BOARDS-USERS-L@rootsweb.com is designed specifically to assist message board users. This is a mailing list for board users helping other users with message board administration staff assisting, when needed.
The BOARDS-USERS message board is for queries covering the use of the message boards. The message board administration staff also answers question on this list, when needed.
What is "My Favorites"?
The "My Favorites" feature enables you to create a list of your most frequently visited boards, as well as a list of posts made by a specific author. You must be a registered user and logged in before adding a board/author to "My Favorites." In order for an author to be included in "My Favorites" he or she must also be a registered user. Use the username and password you established for your account to utilize this feature. Click here to login now.
To add a board to your favorites list, click on "Add To Favorites" while viewing a board. To add an author (who must be a registered user also), first click on the author's name to view a list of that author's posts. Then click on "Add To Favorites."
To delete a selection from "My Favorites," click on the "Remove" link beside that selection while you are viewing your "My Favorites" list.
Can my notices be sent in an AOL- compliant format?
AOL users can use the "My Profile" link to request that this e-mail be sent in AOL-compliant format. If you cannot click on URLs in e-mail notices, highlight the ENTIRE URL address included in the notice you receive. It is important NOT to include any other text that may surround the URL. Copy the URL to the clipboard and paste it into your browser window and click "GO" or press Enter to access the message. Click here to access the message boards main page.
What is the "Links & Announcements" link?
The "Links & Announcements" link takes you to a page created by the administrator of the board you currently are viewing. This page provides information on contacting the administrator for help and sometimes includes a welcome message prepared by the administrator, plus helpful links and suggestions, and any special instructions for posting messages on this specific board.