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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What you need to know about how to post messages, upload files, and just about everything else.

Using and Searching the Forums

Q. After posting in a forum I get a lots of emails - how do I turn off this option?
A. Click Unfollow discussion at the top right of the page to stop receiving notifications about a particular discussion.

Alternatively, if you don't want to receive emails relating to any of the discussions to which you have contributed you can change your personal settings. To do this click on your name (at the top right of the forum, in the dark blue bar) and select Preferences from the drop down menu. If you then remove the tick against and receive email notifications of replies you will no longer receive an email every time someone replies to a discussion in which you posted.

Q. How can I send a private message to another member of the forum?
A. Click on the person's name, below their picture and click start a conversation in the popup box that appears.

Q. Why does my photo appear at the bottom of every page?
A. When you scroll down to the bottom of every page you will see your photo on the left alongside a box where you can type a reply to the discussion (if you wish). Nothing will be posted on the forum unless you type a message and click Post Reply.

Q. I've seen something inappropriate on the forum how should I react?
Q. How do I report a post?
A. Please DO NOT try to act as judge and jury and point it out to the person who posted the content. Instead please use the Report button (which is shown in blue beneath every post) to notify the forum moderator - you'll be asked to briefly explain why you are reporting the post. If you can't see the Report button it is probably because you're not logged in.

Q. How does the Search work?
Q. I saw a forum post last week and now can't find it. How do I find it again?
A. The Search box can be found at the top right of every screen - look for the magnifying glass symbol. By default the search starts to work from where you are in a forum and any topics below, but you can search all the forums to which you have access by unticking search this forum only.

If you get too many results you can limit your search to the discussion titles only, or to posts by particular member(s) or to posts or after a certain date. The search will look for the exact word that you type into the box, so be careful with spellings whether you're searching or posting, and use wildcards to allow for plurals, for example if you search for  alert  it won't find  alert
s,  alerted, or alert! but searching for alert* will.

Note: short words (under 3 characters) and very common words aren't indexed.

Q. When I click on the title I'm sometimes taken to the first post in a discussion and sometimes to the first unread post - why?
A. It depends whether there are new posts in the discussion - if not you'll be taken to the start of the discussion.

Q. How do I tell if a forum or discussion has new posts in it?
A. The title of the discussion or forum is shown in a darker blue if there are new posts.

Q. I'm not interested in some of the forums - can I mark them as read after I've read all that I am interested in?
A. Whilst we would encourage you to explore other parts of the forum (because you never know when you might stumble on something interesting), if you look in the top left of the lighter blue bar at the top of the page you'll see the words Mark forums read. Clicking this will change all the forum titles to light blue as if you have read them.

Q. Can I see a list of the posts I haven't read?
Q. Where can I find a list of new discussions?
A. Click What's New in the light blue bar at the top of the page.

Q. Can I see a list of recent posts?
A. Click Members (in the dark blue menu bar) to display a list of members, then click Recent Activity to display the most recent posts (latest posts are shown first).

Q. How do I see who else is online just now?
Q. Can I tell what other members are looking at on the forum?
A. On the right hand side of the forum home page there's a panel which shows who is online and how many members are online in total. Clicking Members online now not only tells you who is online but where they are in the forum.

Note: If you don't want others to know that you are online, or what you are viewing, untick Show your online status in your Privacy settings.


Posting on the forum

Q. How can I include someone else's comments when I reply to a discussion?
A. Under each post you'll find a Reply with Quote button: when you click this it will copy the post into the blank box at the bottom of the page, and show it as a quote. Always edit the quote down so that you are only quoting the relevant parts as this will make it easier for others who are following the discussion to see which part of someone’s post you are replying to. To remove part of a quote, highlight the part you don't want and press the Delete key on your keyboard. Make sure that you don’t delete the [quote] and  [/quote] at the start and end as this is needed to format the quote correctly.

Tip: you can quote from multiple messages by clicking the  Post Reply  button under each one; you can also split up a quote by using  [quote] and  [/quote] at the start and end of each section (use the Return key to create new paragraphs breaks if you need to).

Q. How do I edit, modify, change or update my post?
A. It's a good idea to preview your post before clicking the Post Reply button. However there will be times when you don't notice an error or omission until it is too late. When this happens click the blue Edit button below your post - this will display a version of the post that you can edit. Remember to press the Save Changes button when you've finished!

Q. How do I edit, change or update the description of a discussion I’ve created?
A. Once a new discussion has been saved, it can’t be changed by the poster. To change the description, use the report button below the post, as described above.

Q. How do I preview my reply before I post it?
A. At the bottom right of the reply box is a button Preview Reply and other options. By pressing this a button appears called "Preview", and when you press this, a preview of your post appears at the top of your screen and the box to continue typing is at the bottom of the screen. Remember to Post your reply.

Q. How do I delete or remove a post?
A. You can only delete your own posts. To do this click the blue Delete button below the post, enter the reason for deletion (eg unintentional duplication), then click the Delete Post button.

Note: if you think a post made by someone else should be removed because it is against the rules of the forum please report it to a moderator (see above).

Q. How do I add a website or other link to my post?
A. The first step is to find the relevant page on the website you intend to link to - sometimes this will be the home page, but usually you can make your post more useful by linking to a page within the website, perhaps a Search page, or a page that describes the content. Remember that whilst you're only posting the link once, it could be used hundreds of times - so it's worth taking a little time to get it right.

Now type the title of the link - this could be the name of the website or the title of the records that you're linking to - then highlight the title and click the icon that looks like a chain (as the mouse hovers over it the words Insert/edit link are displayed). After a second or two a long thin box will appear - paste the web address of the page you're linking to into the box and click the Insert button. It doesn't matter if the link is longer than the box.

Tip: you can use Ctrl-C to copy text and Ctrl-V to paste it.

Q. How do I insert images into my post?
A. The first thing to consider whenever you're sharing images or other content is whether you might be breaching someone's copyright. This is quite a complex question that can't be dealt with in detail here,

but the general rule is - if in doubt, don't!

Even when something is out of copyright the terms on which you obtained it might prevent you from copying or publishing it (most genealogy websites restrict the use of their content, usually because they're required to by the record offices that provided it in the first place). 

If you're satisfied that posting the image won't infringe anyone else's rights the next step is to edit it down (if necessary) so that the image won't be too large. Modern cameras (and even phones) are capable of taking photos that won't fit on a computer screen; the same applies to scanned images. Peter recommends the free 
Irfanview program but there are also tools you could use in most versions of Windows.

Now click the Upload File button below the message box and navigate to the folder on your computer where the image is stored. Having uploaded the file go to the point in your text where you want the image to appear and click Thumbnail. Never click Full Image because this slows down the forum - anyone who wants to view the image at full size can click the thumbnail. For more details see this 

Note: never link to an image on the Internet (unless it is on your own website). If you want other members to see an image that you've found include a link to the page rather than a link to the image itself. Linking directly to an image on someone else's website is 'bandwidth theft' which this forum does not condone.

Q. I've read the banner message at the top of the screen - can I get rid of it?
A. Yes - click the X at the top right of the banner to 'dismiss' it.

Q.I saw a banner message at the top of the forum but I dismissed it, can I get it back?
A. If you go to your 
Preferences page, which is in the sub menu off your name, there is an option to Restore dismissed notices. 
Note that some messages are only displayed for a limited period of time - you can't get these back.


Managing Your Account

You can manage your account at any time after you’ve logged in. To access your account click on the little down arrow to the right of your name, this is found in the top right hand corner of the screen. The menu that appears has 2 columns, the left column is where options are maintained, and the right column are like mini reports. Click on one of the headings to access that area. Some of the details defined below can be found on more than one page. If you change any of the entries remember to press Save before you leave that page.

Profile page

Tabs to see information on Your Recent Activity, Postings and Information.


Personal Details

In this screen you can add a status message, add/change your Photo (see above for more details), custom title (currently not used), select your gender, decide whether you want to display your date of birth, add some locations details, an occupation, a home page web address and a small summary of names that you’re interested in or areas of interest.



Not currently used in posts.


Contact Details

Update your email address here, decide whether to receive site emails, whether to accept conversations and from whom, whether you want to receive an email every time someone sends you a new conversation and add links to other social networks if you wish to.



Show your online status, who can see your Profile page, your News feed, who can start conversations with you and who can see your identities on other social networks.



Set your local time zone, automatically watch discussions/threads (get an email message when someone posts in a discussion you’ve started or posted in), what style to use when entering your post (leave it ticked on Use Rich Text Editor to.. as it’s very user friendly), and whether to show your online status. Restore dismissed notices allows you to reinstate any active banners that you may have previously dismissed.


Alert Preferences

This is where you can turn on or off the type of alerts you wish to receive. With the boxes ticked you will receive an alert (could be an email if that’s what you selected) or a little red circle with a number will appear of the Alerts button in the top right of the screen. Hovering over the button will show you the latest alert(s); pressing the button will list all your alerts.



This is where you can change your main site password.



Q. How do I change my Photo?
A. Click on your name in the dark blue bar at the top right of the screen and select Photo, which will then allow you to choose a file stored on your computer. We recommend that you choose a black and white photo from your childhood, but if you prefer you could use a black and white photo of an ancestor.


Forum Terminology

Avatar : The picture that appears along with your name. Many members have adopted a childhood picture of theirs or a Victorian family photo in keeping with the theme of the forums. To make this forum less formidable for new members the word 'avatar' has been changed to 'photo'.

Thread : A topic of conversation that people can view and usually add their own reply to. We've changed the term 'thread' to 'discussion' in most places to make it simpler for new members, but you will probably find some of the more experienced members referring to threads.

Post : An individual reply within a thread or discussion.

Moderator : An individual volunteer to whom the owner Peter has granted special forum privileges. These allow a moderator to post special content, delete or edit inappropriate content, help out users and generally help keep the forum a useful and interesting place to be.

Sticky : This relates to a discussion that has been marked as important by the forum moderators. Making a discussion sticky means it sticks to the top of the list of discussions even if nothing new has been posted in it for a while. This makes it easier to find important (or sticky) discussions.

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