Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A message board is a place on the Internet where people who share a common interest can communicate. Sometimes called discussion boards, or in the early days of the Internet, bulletin boards, message boards can be found for virtually every topic imaginable and for every age group. As with all shared communities on the Internet, caution is advised. As a public forum, message boards can be viewed by anyone and anyone can participate. While efforts are made to monitor message board content, self-monitoring is the best preventive.
Message boards are a valuable resource in genealogy, and one of the most popular and longest running message boards is on http://www.rootsweb.com/. Message boards may be found for surnames, locations, and a variety of genealogy topics. Before today's social networks emerged, message boards were the primary resource for those wishing to communicate with others with the same or similar research objectives, and are responsible for reuniting many distant cousins. In addition to finding information and connecting with people, message boards can also be used to post queries and request brief checks, called lookups, for cemetery inscriptions, obituaries, etc. While one may wait a long time for an answer, message boards are a great place to place information on a genealogy brick wall.