The following was written by Paula Hinkel of the Southern California Genealogical Society:
We are very pleased to announce the roll-out of the searchable Virtual Surname Wall database, sponsored by the Southern California Genealogical Society. The Virtual Surname Wall is free and open for use by all family historians and genealogists. You need not be a member of SCGS to participate.
Although it took a little longer than we anticipated or wished, entries from over a thousand genealogists from around the world are now searchable by family name, by geographic region, and by each participant's Submitter ID.
Access the Virtual Surname Wall at www.SCGSGenealogy.com.
To see if any of your surnames are listed:
1. Click on the link to "Search the Virtual Surname Wall."
2. Search by surname, location, or Submitter ID or any combination of the three. It is a "begins with" search. For example, if you search for the last name Mill, it will return the names beginning with the letters Mill. (i.e. Millan, Millard, Miller).
3. Be sure to read the search tips that are listed on the search page.
If you haven't yet added your names to the database, or if you want to add more:
1. Have your family information available for reference.
2. Click on the link to "Add Your Surnames"
3. Enter the following information for each surname you are reporting:
Surnames (including spelling variations).
Geographic area in which they lived, or the migration path.
List your geographic information in order by city, county,
state and country. To avoid confusion, please do not use
two-letter state abbreviations.
Time Frame. Use abbreviations (approx., or abt., or ca.) to indicate approximate time frames.
4. Submit as many names as you want. Each entry screen will accept up to 10 surnames but you can enter multiple screens. If you get a message that the survey has already been completed, just click "Take the survey again" and continue adding names. You may add ancestors from any geographic location worldwide.
As entries are added to the database, the Virtual Surname Wall will become an even more valuable resource for family historians and genealogy researchers. You will not immediately see new entries but will be notified when they have been added to the Virtual Surname Wall. Check back often to look for a match.
Your participation in the Virtual Surname Wall project is completely voluntary. Your contact information is not displayed online. You have the option of asking SCGS to serve as intermediary, or authorizing SCGS to release your contact information in the event that we receive an inquiry regarding a possible family connection.
Please feel free to forward this email to your cousins, friends, fellow genealogists or others who would be interested in the Virtual Surname Wall project. Genealogy and historical societies are welcome to post this announcement in newsletters or journals. Reprint permission is granted but please include contact information (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We thank you for your contributions to the Virtual Surname Wall. Here's to making lots of connections!
Southern California Genealogical Society
P.S. - and while you're at the website, check out the program for the 2008 Genealogy Jamboree, which will be held June 27-29 in Burbank, California!