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Have you tried using internet message boards to help you with your research?

On a certificate there was an Irish birthplace for Thomas BIRMINGHAM which I read as Cavanbalusy. After an unsuccessful internet search l believed that the place did not exist and that I was at a dead end. So I posted my first message on a message board. I have no idea which one - there are so many out there.

Many months later out of the blue my problem was solved. I will be forever grateful to a Dolores Whittaker (I guess from the Ireland) who told me by email that the placename was Cavanballaghy, a Townland in the Parish of Eglish in Co Armagh. I know it is the correct place because Dolores also gave me a BIRMINGHAM entry from Griffith's Valuation and I found his wife's village was only a few miles away.

I could then go to the LDS FamilySearch at www.familysearch.org/ and use the IGI for British Isles - Ireland - Armagh. There I found the births and christenings of some siblings of Thomas BIRMINGHAM. This would not have happened without knowing the parish.

It is common knowledge that genealogical research in Ireland can be tricky because the records are so patchy. However, because many of the primary records were lost much work has been done to compensate for this and the oddest snippets of information are being collected. You never know your luck! Just put your query out there for the whole world to see.

Irish Genealogy Message Board
www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/
messages/genbbs.cgi/Irish

This one begins by displaying one or a few words to indicate the subject of 256 of the most recent of 2520 messages. That is rather too many messages to quickly scan so use your browser's menu of 'Edit', 'Find' for your keywords on a page of text.

Or you can skip all that and go straight to 'Post a new message'. This will bring you to a form with boxes to fill out for: Your Name, E-Mail Address, Subject and Message. To save yourself some online time and to make sure your message is succinct and spelt correctly prepare it beforehand in a Word document then copy and paste into the box.

Also, it is very important that you make sure that what you put in the 'Subject' is meaningful to visitors eg. 'BIRMINGHAM Cavanbalusy' (name and place is good, date would be even better). Useless subjects such as 'family tree' and 'tracing ancestors' will not attract people and will probably remain unread.
Finally, make sure you check the box for an email notification of a response.

RootsWeb claims to be 'the internet's oldest and largest free genealogical community'. Because it is the largest it can be a great time waster and is dominated by US information but you can use it to your advantage by searching for a specific message board eg. 'Armagh' and then use the drop down menu for 'View message type' for such categories as Birth, Cemetery, Death, Census, Lookup, Marriage etc.
Rather than stumbling along and getting hopelessly lost, with a little experience you will become familiar with the setup and feel in control.

Go to www.rootsweb.com/ and click on the 'Message Boards' button at the top, then click on the first letter of the surname you are interested in eg. 'B'. The next screen will break down the name categories to 'Bi', then even further to 'Bir'. At last you can click on Birmingham for which there are currently 284 messages. It would be best to glance through the first page of 'Re: ...' to see if there is anything of interest and if you are curious you can keep clicking on 'Next' for more pages, or you can search the 'Birmingham Board' by typing in a keyword and clicking on the 'Go' button. To let people know of your query click on 'Post new message' and off you go.

This may seem like a lengthy process but don't give up - there may be an angel like Dolores out there for you.

I like this one for Australia.
Australia Genealogy Forum
genforum.genealogy.com/australia/

Browse the messages. It is a good idea to have a Word document open so you can copy and paste messages of interest to save on your computer. You might find someone that you can help.

Jennifer Burrell: jburrell@ncable.net.au

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Created : 14 January 2004
Last Modified : 7 April 2006
Email : jburrell@ncable.net.au
URL : http://users.ncable.net.au/~jburrell/link/3mboards.htm