The Forum was created in 1995 as a free service open to all MLFHS members. It exists:
Members can join or leave the Forum at any time during their membership.
The Forum is appropriate for:
The Forum is NOT appropriate for:
Please AVOID posting any message which is not related to MLFHS, genealogy, family history, local history or the use of computers to help with your research. If you do find it necessary to post on a non-genealogy topic, please prefix the subject of your message with "NON-GEN" to allow those who do not wish to receive such messages to diver them to a spam folder or at least ignore them. ALSO, please request that any replies should be addressed to your personal address and NOT to the Forum address.
To join the Forum:
Your application will be checked and approved by the Forum Moderator and you will receive an email when this is done. This may take up to 24 hours.
You are now a member of the Forum. You will be able to post messages and will receive messages from other Forum members.
No. To remove the risk of the membership list being used to distribute spam, it is not possible to view the details of the Forum members. If you need to find out if someone is a member you can post a message to the Forum asking if they are a member.
It should be noted that this Forum is principally concerned with historical family research. However, occasionally enquiries or responses to enquiries may touch upon living people (or people who might reasonably be assumed to be alive).
There are potential privacy and data protection issues surrpounding any open discussion of living persons on what is effectively a public platform and so care should be taken to avoid such issues.
Posting: Please bear in mind, if posting an enquiry which might relate to living persons, that information of a personal nature such as dates of birth or marriage or names and details of children should not be included in your posting.
Responding: If responding to an enquiry with information relating to living (or potentially living) persons, please do not post your reply to the Forum. Please reply DIRECT to the enquirer. You may, by all means, post a message to the Forum to say that you are replying personally.
You are strongly advised to format your messages as TEXT and NOT as HTML. All messages will be delivered in TEXT format regardless of how they were sent. Additionally, the Mailman software used to manage the Forum mailings may either corrupt HTML format messages or fail to deliver them at all.
To Change to Plain Text Format - Microsoft Outlook:
For full details CLICK HERE
To Change to Plain Text Format - Thunderbird
For full details CLICK HERE
Do not attach any files to your messages. They will be removed by the system as a measure to prevent the spreading of viruses, which are often concealed in attachments.
The Forum is there for members to share information, so please do not reply direct to an individual member unless there is a good reason to do so.
In principle, if a question is raised through the forum then the expectation is that it should be answered by through the forum rather than privately so tht all members can follow the discussion 'thread'.
On occasions it will be more appropriate to reply directly, for example if you are sending them a scanned image, which the forum system will not accept.
Unless the reply is either technically incompatible with a forum message as above, or contains information which might be of a sensitive nature and which you feel that the enquirer might not wish to be broadcast to such a wide audience, then the principle should be to post to the forum rather than privately.
However, where replying dirctly, it is considerate towards other forum members to post a forum message to say that you have responded directly and answered the query, so that other members do not waste their time following up a query which has been resolved.
How to reply to the Forum address may depend on your email software. Your software may offer a "Reply List" option or you may have to click 'Reply All' and delete all recipients other than the Forum address. If your reply goes to more than three addresses, it will be held by the forum server as suspected 'spam' until released by the Forum manager. This may lead to a 24 hour or longer delay in it appearing.
Help other Forum members! If you are replying to a message received as part of a digest mailing, please copy and paste the subject line for the item to which you are replying into the subject line for your reply.
Yes! There is a complete archive of all messages since the Forum began. To access this:
Log into the Member Interface. You will see the page below. Click on the menu symbol at the right to open the menu.
Select "View the archives". You will see the archive page below:
The messages are organised into "threads". Each thread contains all the messages sent under the same subject heading shown in the first column. The number of messages in the thread is shown in the second column. The threads are shown by default in descending order of the date and time of the most recent contribution. There is an option to list in order of the subjects on which there has been the most activity.
You can search for threads on any topic by entering the topic in the search box at the top of the page.
The "Active Members" column shows the initials or avatar (created using gravatar.com) of each of the contributors to the thread. Hovering over the initials/avatar shows the name of the member.
You can launch a new thread from the Archive listing by clicking the blue "Post new thread" button at the top of the page.
To view the contents of a thread click on the subject. The individual messages will be shown so that they can be read in chronological order.
You can reply to any message by clicking the "reply" link at the bottom of the message.
If you change your Internet Service Provider (ISP) it is likely your e-mail address will also change. Until you change the address registered with the system to your NEW address, Forum messages will continue to be mailed to your OLD address and messages sent from your new address be rejected.
You CANNOT directly change your email address but must Unsubscribe your OLD address and re-join with your NEW address using the instructions described above.
If you wish temporarily to have both old and new addresses registered on the system, see 'Can I send messages from more than one email address' below. This can sometimes be useful if you are having teething troubles with a new ISP.
Although most members will find registering a single address adequate, it may sometimes be desirable to register two or more addresses. For example:
To register an additional address:
You will now be able to send mail from either address and you will also receive copies of each Forum message to BOTH addresses.
If you wish to only receive one copy of each Forum message:
IMPORTANT NOTE! If you were a member of the Forum before the new software was introduced on 11 March 2021, you will continue to be able to send and receive messages BUT you will NOT be able to access the Forum member interface to change your personal settings such as suspending mail delivery or viewing the archive using your old password.
To register your password (you do not have to use the old one) simply follow the instructions to JOIN the Forum (above). You will not be required to confirm your request or have it approved by the moderator. The process will simply set your new password so that you are able to access the member interface as described below.
You can control a number of aspects of your Forum membership by logging into the Forum member interface:
You may occasionally wish to change your password either for security reasons or to replace the password with something more memorable.
The following sections assume that you have signed into the member interface and selected "Update Profile".
You should ONLY unsubscribe if you wish to leave the Forum permanently.
If you wish to stop Forum messages arriving for a short period, for example when you are on holiday, you should suspend mail delivery as described below.
An e-mail will be sent to your registered address. This contains a link to the system. Click this link. Your browser will open with a confirmation message. You are now no longer a member of the Forum. Please note that you MUST do this within three days of the message arriving.
You may occasionally wish to stop Forum messages arriving, for example while you are away on holiday. The following method retains your membership of the Forum. If you wish to stop messages PERMANENTLY then Unsubscribe as described above.
When you first join the Forum, you will receive individual messages by default ("Regular" delivery). You have the option of receiving each message posted to the Forum bundled into 'digest' messages which contain several individual messages in a single e-mail. You will receive at least one digest mailing each day, depending on the number of messages that day.
The system default sets a new member as residing on the east coast of the USA. This does not affect the working of the Forum, but may result in messages being wrongly time-stamped. You can change this if you wish:
This is something which should not need to be mentioned, but members are expected to behave in a polite and courteous manner when emailing other society members. There are a large number of Forum members, all with different views on what should appear on the Forum and how they should interact with other members. A good guide is not to send a message which you would not like to receive yourself!
If you disagree with an opinion expressed, by all means feel free to express your own opinion on the substance, but please do not criticise the sender. They may not have your level of knowledge of the subject - help to educate them rather than make them feel belittled.
If you feel that a message from another forum member is disrespectful or unreasonably critical of you, please do not respond 'in kind' via the Forum. Please address your concerns by mailing the sender directly and resolve your differences (hopefully to mutual satisfaction) without involving other Forum members.
The Forum service is pretty reliable, but you may occasionally encounter problems with joining or message delivery.
If you receive no messages this could be due to a number of reasons. Here are some ideas:
Messages posted to the Forum address should be delivered to Forum members, including a copy to the sender) within a matter of minutes. If you post a message and you do not receive a copy (and you are receiving Forum messages from other members) there may be several possible causes:
No on both counts.
Viruses are contained in attachments to messages and all attachments are removed by the Forum server software. This does not apply, however, if you receive a COPY of a Forum message direct from a member whose PC is infected with a virus, so if what at first glance looks like a Forum message arrives with an attachment, be very suspicious! Needless to say, you should always be running up to date anti-virus software because of risks from other sources.
The Forum software will only allow mail onto the Forum which originates from the address of a registered member. The member address can, however, be 'spoofed' by malware and send a message to the Forum address. Spam generated by malware usually sends out messages addressed to numerous addresses, but the Forum service, if it detects a message addressed to more than three addresses, will hold the message for approval by the Forum Moderator, who will delete spam mailings to stop them being sent out. This will not guarantee that no spam is circulated, but as most spam is sent to very large numbers of addresses, it is very unlikely. No spam has appeared on the Forum for many years.
Once you have sent a message to the Forum, it is sent to all Forum members more or less immediately, so cannot be withdrawn. This may happen if you accidentally send a personal message to the Forum address. Such messages will be permanently available in the Forum Archive to be read by other Forum members. They can, however, be removed by the Forum Moderator.
The Forum Moderator exercises a number of functions: