There are so many groups now and that is a good thing, but as I stated in my previous blog, you just can not check out every one of them.
If I were new to GenealogyWise, after I set up my page with the surnames I am researching, etc, I would go to the groups main page. Then I would start researching all the surnames on my list. You will see in the results, not only the group which is about that surname, but the other groups where a comment has been left about that surname.
I would also search the groups for locations, and occupations. I will use North Dakota as an example of location. The search results for "North Dakota
" presented me with 18 results. There are 4 groups using North Dakota in their description with only 1 having that location in their group name, "Germans from North Dakota"
As an occupation, say your ancestor was a fireman, you would do a search for "fireman". There are no groups for firemen and only 1 comment
on a group. If your ancestor was a tailor, there are no groups for the occupation "Tailor" but there are 6 comments
in other groups.
I think you get the idea about searching groups. Like regular search engines, whatever string of search terms you can think of, you can search by in the groups.
This brings me to a side note for groups and the Discussion threads. Group Creators: When you form your groups, try to get your members to post their questions or entries in the Discussion Forum, which creates a thread. The RSS function, if you enable it, will only pick up the post in the Discussion Forums. You can enable this by going to "edit group" and clicking the "RSS Reader" box. Then to use this function, go to the home page of the group, see the "view all" on the right hand side, almost under the "edit" link on the Discussion Forum header. Click the "view all" and then click the little rss icon to the left. Looks like a little box with a dot and 2 curves. Also, make sure when you post to a discussion, you include the tags, such as surnames in the discussion or locations. You can go back and add these later. If you are adding tags with more than one word, such as North Dakota, you will want to put those words in quotation marks: "North Dakota".
Next, after I searched the groups, I would search the membership for surnames in common. I just created a group for Rodgers/Rogers in Texas as this is a major brickwall for me. (Note: before you create a group, always search for the surname or whatever title your group will have to make sure one does not already exist.
) After I created the group, I went to the membership and did a search for both spellings of the surname, and then invited the people who fit the criteria.
Remember, most people are just as confused as you are about how to get the most from their joining GW. They will appreciate your taking the first step by inviting them to your group or, if you aren't the group creator but you are a member, you can still invite people to your group. I think one member inviting another to a group is a strong "pat on the back" for that group.
This is one reason why, when you set up your profile, unless you are here simply to create a family member only presence, you will not want to make your profile private. That really defeats the success rate of your membership on GW.
I personally do not use the forums much nor the video section so I can not offer any advice or suggestions in that area. Perhaps another GW user who does can offer their suggestions as a follow up to this blog entry.
I hope this has helped someone a little bit in getting around GW. As with any membership, you will get out of it what you put into it. Become an active member in your group and you will find your experience here very worthwhile.