Monday, November 19, 2007

Message Boards -

Message Boards -

"The world's largest online genealogy community with over 17 Million posts on more than 161,000 boards."

Using RootsWeb:

Posting Data on RootsWeb Message Boards and Mailing Lists
By Joan Young

Are you aware that in addition to being great places for posting
queries, RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards are the perfect
places to post data? This data can be easily located in the future
through the mailing list archives or through conducting a global
search of the message boards. Let's examine when and where we should
consider posting data to the RootsWeb mailing lists and message

When you read a query and have access to a book or other resource that
includes the information the poster is seeking, consider taking the
time to post the data.

For instance, the answer to a question about an ancestor's date of
birth might be contained in a book you own listing baptismal records.
Death information might be found in cemetery listings in your

Take inventory of your available publications and research materials
and have them at the ready to answer queries.

However, you don't need to wait until someone asks a question to post
data you have collected.

My second great-grandfather, Joseph ROBINSON, bought and sold land in
Salem County, New Jersey, on numerous occasions during his lifetime.
Since I have not learned Joseph's mother's maiden name, I decided that
obtaining copies of all of the deeds, transcribing them, studying the
names of the people listed in the transactions, and posting the data
might be productive.

I posted the deeds on the Salem County Message Board, which is
gatewayed to a corresponding mailing list. Therefore, each deed was
copied onto the mailing list and into the mailing list archives as

If posting the deeds helps other researchers looking for the ROBINSONs
or other people listed in the deeds now or in the future, that is
wonderful. I receive a feeling of accomplishment when I provide
information needed by others. But, I wasn't being entirely altruistic
when I posted the deeds. Researchers who find the data in the future
may be able to add to my knowledge.

In addition, transcribing the documents meant carefully examining
every word and noticing details that had previously escaped my
attention. And, I can now refer to the deeds on the board even if I'm
accessing the Internet from a library or on a trip away from home and
I do not have my personal research materials with me.

So, posting data without anyone asking for the information is
beneficial to all concerned.

Most types of data, such as wills, deeds, marriage records, family
Bible entries, birth/baptismal records, tombstone transcriptions,
obituaries from older newspapers, and pension information are in the
public domain. These may be freely posted by anyone. While you may
post data in the public domain without attributing a source to it, I
advise you to list your source to explain where you obtained the

And remember, not all data is in the public domain. Be careful to post
only information that is in the public domain, or copyrighted
information that you created yourself or have permission to post. In
the latter situation, include the fact that you have obtained
permission from the copyright holder.

Generally, anything published before 1923 is in the public domain;
however, recent obituaries or biographies, newspaper clippings, or
even scanned images could be under copyright. A helpful website for
determining when a copyrighted work from the U.S. enters the public
domain can be found here:

If in doubt, you can always abstract the factual data instead of
copying something from a work verbatim. An obituary or a biography
contains names, dates, and places that you may freely use in your
post. Facts are not copyrightable.

You can used the Advanced Search feature on the message boards to
search the boards by classification (categories include "Bible,"
"Biography," "Birth," "Cemetery," "Census," "Death," "Deed," etc.). If
you are posting data, remember to select the proper classification to
help future researchers locate it.

You cannot search a RootsWeb mailing list by classification, but the
mailing list archive is globally searchable. In other words, you can
search the entire content of all archived messages.

Remember that no snippet of data is so small or so insignificant that
it might not be of importance to another genealogist researching his
or her family history. By posting a single obituary or family Bible
entry, you might be providing just the puzzle piece someone out there
has long been seeking.

[RootsWeb Review Editor's Note: Although posting unsolicited data to a message board
or a mailing list is acceptable, use discretion in the type and amount
of material you post. Excess information posted at random can clutter
boards and lists, irritate readers, and take up valuable server space.
Make sure the data you post is relevant and useful. Individual message
board and mailing list administrators may also choose to filter
material they deem irrelevant.]
RootsWeb Review: RootsWeb's Weekly E-zine
7 November 2007, Vol. 10, No. 45

Each issue of the RootsWeb Review newsletter includes information about additions and/or changes to (such as new databases, mailing lists, and websites), plus tips on using, genealogical research, humor, readers' stories and tips, and other articles of interest to family historians around the world.


Post a Comment

<< Home