Lithuanian Museum Review, Jan-Feb 2001, pp. 4-5.
If you are researching your family genealogy, one place to get some help is on the internet. There are numerous sites that serve Lithuanians and there is a wealth of information available. This issue we are going to narrowly focus on one aspect of internet research: The "Message Board" listings.
The Message Board is a forum where everyone who is researching a particular country puts a message on it for someone else to read, in hopes of attracting a favorable response. It is also used to share information and to help other people who ask questions. This is different from the "Surname" message board which we will cover in a future article.
Lithuanian Message board detail
If you are new to the computer and the internet, thereís no need to be afraid of learning some basic steps to get you to look at some sample Lithuania Message Boards, and view the exciting possibilities that await you. Letís now go through some basic steps together. First, after you have signed on the internet on your own particular computer, type in one of the following addresses at the top: either www.familyhistory.com OR www.genforum.genealogy.com. These are two very popular sites that have alot of activity on their Lithuania Message Boards. There are others of course but Iíve found that these especially attract a wide range of users.
If you chose www.familyhistory.com, youíll come to their main page that has numerous options to it. There are two unfilled boxes on the top that say "Find a Message Board," or "Search the Messages." You could type in "Lithuania," and get several options that appear. But instead of doing that, go the left of the page under "Message Boards," because I want you to view the large list of countries. Youíll see three options: surname, country/state, and topics. Move your computer mouse so the cursor is at the "country/state" option, and click that on. Youíll then get a list of countries at the top, and U.S. states on the bottom. Find and click on "Lithuania." Youíll then reach the Lithuanian Country Message Board. By the way, if your ancestor came from Lithuanian Minor, you might like to also choose the Germany, Ostprussen message board, too.
If you chose www.genforum.genealogy.com, youíll reach their main page. Scroll down the page to the "Regional" category, and under "United States," click on "Countries." Youíll then get the list of countries. Click on "Lithuania (no, Samogitia is not there!)," and youíll be at the "Lithuania Genealogy Forum" as they call it.
No matter which site you just chose, youíll now see a listing of message titles. Some have family surnames, the name of the person to send the message, and a date the message was sent. Itís fun to look these over and find out where peopleís ancestors were from. You may even discover someone from the same town your ancestor was from. Keep scrolling down the page and read whatís there. When the page ends, there should be an option that says "Next Page." Click that on and youíll get the next page of messages. These pages are always set up so the newer messages are at the front, while the older ones are later. Start clicking on titles that attract you and read the messages these persons have posted--they are very interesting and informative!
What type of message titles catch you eye? Itís the ones that have specific surnames or cities in their brief 40-character limit. If a message title/subject is "Baskevich family of Zagare & Cicero," you can bet that specific, narrow topic will be instantly seen by any descendants or by someone whose relatives were from Zagare. If on the other hand a topic title says, "looking for mother-in-law," that may not elicit too many responses. Remember that principle for when you start posting your own messages.
When you do find a message title that interests you, "click on" that title. You will then get the actual message the person wrote which will appear on your screen. A typical message might state something like, "Searching for my Baskevich ancestors from Zagare, Lithuania. Settled in Cicero, Illinois, some moved to Albion, Michigan. Names include: Joseph Baskevich (b. 18XX Zagare, d. 194X Cicero, IL) and wife Agnes (Vaisnora) (d. 1948, Cicero, IL), and children: Zygmut, Pauline, Ernest, Mary, and Olivia. Posted by John Smithinkas, E-mail: xxxxxxx@xxxxxx."
There are two ways to reply. If you want everyone on the forum/message board to see what you wrote, just click on the "Post Follow-up" or "Reply" option. The forum will have you type in your name, your E-mail addresss, the subject matter, and your message. Then click on either "post message," or "preview message." If you click on "preview," youíll have a chance to look at what you typed before it is entered onto the message board. The person whom you are replying to will be notified in their personal E-mail by the forum that they have reply to their message. If you donít want the whole forum to see what you reply to the inquiry, you just E-mail them separately if they have supplied their E-mail address.
You can also post your own message! First of all, get your material ready. Have your names, dates, and other information there at your computer so you can enter it at one sitting. In some communities if you let your computer alone for just a minute or so the server (the place you get your internet service from) will hang the internet up on you! That can be frustrating.
Next, click on the words "Post Message" or "Post Followup" near the top of the Lithuania message/forum board page. The procedure now is the same as when you make a reply. Just type in your name, your E-mail address, your subject matter, and your message. Again, make sure you are specific under your subject so it can be easily recognized and that people will be attracted to it. You can also help other people and reply to their own messages by answering questions for them they might ask, like "where is Vilnius?" There are all sorts of questions people ask about Lithuania when searching for their ancestors on these message boards. Feel free to help answer their questions. Some are new to genealogical research and need help to get started, while others are old pros and have their ancestors traced back to Adam and Eve.
When writing messages to people, be sure and let them know that the Balzekas Museum has an extensive genealogy collection, including thousands of obituaries, detailed maps, family genealogies, reference library, and other materials. Encourage them to join the Museum. Also remind them that the Museum is also looking for copies of obituaries of Lithuanians and their descendants no matter where they were from or what time period. Feel free to promote the Museum, and mention our address: 6500 S. Pulaski Rd., Chicago, IL 60629. (773) 582-6500, and our E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month practice getting on the Lithuania message/forum boards on the internet as discussed above. Letís see our Balzekas Museum membersí participation on these, and find out how it not only promotes individual family genealogical searches, but helps the Museum as well.
More articles about genealogy by Frank Passic.
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