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How GenForum Works


Benefits of GenForum

We've already touched on the importance of a large and active community for a site like GenForum. Fortunately for GenForum, its ties with popular Web sites like Genealogy.com and Ancestry.com help the site establish just such a community. As a result, GenForum has more than 14,000 active message boards and around 30,000 visitors a month [source: Quantcast]. Add in a support staff that can help answer users' questions, and it's easy to see why GenForum has become a popular source of information. Additionally, GenForum has some unique features to make navigating the site more intuitive and efficient.

The first of these features is called My GenForum. As the name suggests, this feature lets you tailor the site to your own interests. Once you click on the My GenForum link on the site's home page, the Web site adds a customizable section to the page. From there, you can search for message boards that interest you, and then click a button to add the forum to your custom site. This way, you can create a list of the surnames and regions you want to follow, and the next time you visit the site, the list will be waiting for you. This feature functions through the use of cookies, however, so make sure your browser is set to accept them if you plan on using this feature.

In addition to MyGenForum, GenForum has a couple of other nice features for users. First, the site lets you connect with other users in chat rooms. Unfortunately, most users seem to overlook this feature, so it's not uncommon to log in to a chat room and be the only one there. Second, the site has a customizable search that lets you look for posts by date. For instance, you might be interested in seeing all posts about a particular name that were written the previous day. The feature is particularly helpful for popular last names, as forums related to those names have a higher amount of daily activity.

So how does GenForum ultimately stack up to other genealogy forums? The site is a little less polished than its competition, particularly when it comes to registering and searching. Additionally, there are much larger forums available for genealogy research, including sister-site RootsWeb.com, which boasts more than 161,000 message boards. Admittedly, other sites don't have features like My GenForum, but they make up for it with cleaner layouts that are easier to use. The good news is that there's no reason for people to have to choose between using one genealogy forum over another. All of the major forums are free to use, and since they all have different information, any one of them could hold the missing link you might be looking for.