Share Your Family History

The primary purpose and function of RootsWeb.com is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research. Most resources on RootsWeb.com are designed to facilitate such connections.

"But where do I begin?" That question is often asked by new users when faced with all the options available at RootsWeb.com. The best ways for you to connect to others on RootsWeb.com are to make it easy for others to find you, ask for help, and give others help. This page will give you a brief overview of the many resources available at RootsWeb.com; and areas where you will want to contribute as your own research progresses.

Share your Research:
The hundreds of gigabytes of data on RootsWeb.com are a by-product of millions of online genealogists sharing research.

  • Submit records you have transcribed for inclusion in our user-contributed databases. Only a small fraction of genealogy-related information is on the web. Most is in the form of books, documents (many handwritten), photographs, microfilm, and microfiche held by tens of thousands of libraries, genealogy societies, churches, local, state and national government archives, and other organizations. Much of the best information is located in the attics, file cabinets, bookshelves, and computers of millions of individual genealogists.

  • Upload your family tree to the WorldConnect Project, a database of family trees submitted by thousands of RootsWeb.com researchers. There are currently more than 712,839,000 ancestor names. With your family tree posted here, other researchers with common ancestors can find you.

  • Post your family surnames on the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL). The RSL is a registry of more than 1,243,415 surname entries that have been submitted by more than 317,427 online genealogists. Associated with each surname are dates, locations, and information about how to contact the person who submitted the surname. The RSL is one of the primary tools on RootsWeb.com that online genealogists use to contact each other and share information.

Communicate with Others:
The quickest way to make progress in genealogical research is to connect with someone who is further along or is more experienced than you are. Keep in mind that a large part of the fun of genealogy is the relationships you develop with people along the way. Be kind, courteous, helpful, slow to take offense, and quick to forgive, and you will be rewarded.

  • Join a mailing list. A mailing list is simply an e-mail party line: every message that a list subscriber sends to the list is distributed to all other list subscribers. There are more than 32,494 genealogy-related mailing lists on RootsWeb covering surnames, U.S. counties and states, other countries and regions, ethnic groups, and other topics. Subscribing to a mailing list is one of the best ways of connecting to people who share your interests. If you do not find a mailing list covering your topic of interest, start one.

  • Post a message to a message board. A message board is a computerized version of the old-fashioned bulletin board. There are more than 132,000 message boards on RootsWeb.com related to surnames, localities, and other topics. By posting a message to the appropriate message board, you create a record through which other researchers can find you. If you do not find a message board covering your topic of interest, start one.

  • Add Post-em Notes to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the WorldConnect Project, or to other databases. A Post-em is the electronic equivalent of a yellow sticky note. It allows you to attach your e-mail address, a link to another website address, or other information to the record of any individual. Search for your ancestors and leave your calling card attached to their names.

  • Build your own genealogy website on RootsWeb.com. Request free webspace. Building a basic website is not as difficult as you might imagine; millions of people have done it, and RootsWeb.com offers an online editor for those who wish to use one.

  • Add a link to your website using RootsLink. RootsLink is RootsWeb's website registry, where users can add and categorize a genealogy link from anywhere on the Internet.

  • Link your website to the relevant surname, county, state, and/or country resource cluster. Thereafter, a link to your website will appear at the top of whatever surname, county, and/or state resource cluster(s) you have chosen. Users specifically interested in the information on your website will see this link whenever they use the RootsWeb.com surname resources, U.S. county and state resources, or world resources. This feature is ONLY available for websites located at RootsWeb.com.

Volunteer:
RootsWeb hosts many of the largest volunteer genealogy projects on the Internet. Volunteers locate, transcribe, and publish genealogical data and help new users. Through this work they meet other genealogists with similar interests. You will find a listing of some volunteer efforts on RootsWeb's main page and in our website registry. Your own interests may lead you to others.