How GenForum Works

By: Jonathan Atteberry

Millions of people are using Internet resources to research their roots.
Millions of people are using Internet resources to research their roots.

What do Jimmy Carter, William Wallace and Methuselah have in common? Hudson, Ohio resident Dorothy J. Click Lehman. The grandmother of 14 started tracing her roots 30 years ago, and in the process, she's uncovered thousands of relatives. The pages of names fill a book 200 pages long, following her family history back to a time before the Great Pyramid was built. While Dorothy has spent her fair share of time digging through records in courthouses and libraries, she admits that the Internet has allowed her to take her research farther than she ever thought possible. And while most people aren't as devoted to genealogy as Dorothy, there are millions of people using Internet resources (some are free, some are not) to research their roots. Combined with genealogy software, sites like and help users create family trees, access birth and death records and explore their roots in ways never before possible.

GenForum is one of the many resources available to both budding and seasoned genealogists alike, though unlike many other sites, it depends heavily on its users to function. That's because, where other sites link to huge databases of genealogy information, GenForum fosters community among Internet users, allowing them to ask and answer each others' questions about genealogy. The site is part of a much larger network of genealogy resources owned and operated by Operations, Inc., (formerly The Generations Network). Being part of such a large company is essential for GenForum to operate; the site can tap in to a huge user-base established by's other operations. Since the site connects users to one another, oftentimes, they can share information that would be impossible to find otherwise. Think of GenForum as the Internet's version of asking your grandmother what it was like growing up; the information you can find goes well beyond what census data could tell you. And while GenForum will never replace the hard work of digging through records, digital or otherwise, it represents yet another way the Internet has added a new dynamic to a very old pastime. But exactly how does GenForum work? Read on to find out.