What is a Postem?
A Postem is a short message that is attached to any entry in
the FreeBMD database. The purpose of a Postem is to allow those searching
the database to leave information about an entry, for example to leave additional
details about the event. Postems are only for communication between those
searching the database; in particular, no-one in the FreeBMD project will be
reading the Postems so it is pointless putting comments or questions for the
project in a Postem.
Please bear in mind that the information in postems has not been
verified or checked by FreeBMD, in particular corrections in a Postem are
purely the opinion of the person who left the Postem.
How do I view a Postem?
When an entry has one or more Postems associated with it, the symbol
will appear beside the entry. Click on this
symbol or on the Info button to bring up the information about the
entry which will include the Postem or Postems associated with the entry.
How do I leave a Postem?
Click on the Info button next to the entry and when the information is displayed
click on the Add a postem link. This will take you to a page which will
allow you to type in your Postem. Type into the box below the picture the text
shown in the picture (this is necessary to detect the hundreds of spam Postems
we process every day). Please make sure you have the Postem correct
before you click on the Create button because once you have created the
Postem it cannot be cancelled or changed.
What is a Postem used for?
There are no restrictions on the uses of Postems (other than compliance
with the Terms and Conditions) but they are typically
used for the following:
Please note that the only effect of submitting a postem is to attach
the information you supply to the entry, in particular:
- Giving a correction to the information. Note that this can be used
to include corrections that cannot be submitted as a correction to the
database, for example where the entry in the index is in error.
- Giving addition information about an entry, for example giving the
spouse name (where this is not in the index) or information from a certificate.
- Indicating that you are researching a surname and inviting others to
contact you. In this case you need to leave your contact email address although
you should be aware that there is a remote possibility that this could be
"harvested" for spam (unsolicited emails).
- There is no point in leaving a request for information unless you also
leave a contact email address
- A postem will only be seen by people who search for and find the
entry concerned, not by the FreeBMD project
- It is very unlikely that the person who transcribed the record
will see a postem. To contact the transcriber (if they wish to be contacted)
go back to the Information page and
click on the transcriber name
- Feedback about the use of FreeBMD
should be directed to the
FreeBMD Advice mailing list
- If you have a correction to an entry, please click on
the button next to the entry and follow the
instructions for submitting a correction
- To report a problem with the website email
- Do not report that the wrong scan is associated with an entry, rather
use the facility to find the right scan and assign it to the entry -
see here for further information.
- Do not include copyright material in a postem
Can I search Postems?
Yes. If you go to the Postem page you
can search the Postems that have been left. You can do such searches on
the following criteria:
Click on the Find button to search according to the criteria
- The dates between which a Postem was left. Leaving Start date
blank shows from the earliest Postem and leaving End date blank
shows up to the latest postem. When you first open the page Postems left
during the last week are shown.
- Information contains
- Search on the data in the Information column, that is the text of the
Postem. This search will find the search string anywhere in the Information
and is case insensitive.
- Source contains
- Search on the data in the Source column, that is the information about
who left the Postem (often only an IP address). This search will find the
search string anywhere in the Source and is case insensitive.
- Record contains
- Search on the data in the Record column, that is the text of the
entry the Postem refers to. This search will find the search string
anywhere in the Record and is case insensitive. Note that the Event,
Year, Quarter (shown in the Record column) is not part of the record
and must not be included in the search criterion. If a field (e.g. the
district) contains a comma it must be enclosed in quotes; otherwise the
characters must match exactly (i.e. including spaces but excluding case).
- Click on the event (Births, Marriages or Deaths) to see only Postems
that refer to that event. To see Postems that refer to more than one event
hold down the Control key when clicking on the second and third events.
- Select a quarter and enter a year for the start and end dates of
entries you wish to see Postems for. Leaving the first year blank
shows from the earliest entry and leaving the second year blank
shows up to the latest entry.
- Show unlinked only
- We say that a Postem is unlinked if the content of the entry
has changed and we can no longer link the Postem to the entry. Such Postems
are shown in red. Checking this box shows only Postems that are unlinked.
(This facility is mainly of use for administration purposes.)
What can a Postem contain?
You can put whatever you like in a Postem, provided it conforms to the
Terms and Conditions below but you need to be aware that there is a limit
of 250 characters on the size of a Postem. You will be warned if you try to
create a Postem greater than this and you will be given the opportunity to
change it. Please be as a precise and to the point as possible.
How can I correct a Postem?
Basically you can't - the only thing you can do is to leave another Postem
that corrects the previous one. The best thing to do is to make sure that
the Postem is correct before you click on the Create button.
Terms and Conditions
When leaving a Postem you accept the following Terms and Conditions
- The FreeBMD project accepts no responsibility for the content of
- Postems must be decent
- Postems must not be used to comment on the person referred to in the
- Postems must not be used to comment on the transcription or the
- Postems must not be used for commercial purposes
Changes in entries
Postems are linked to an entry through the content of that entry. If the
entry changes, because it has been corrected, for example, any Postems that
have been left for that entry will no longer be linked to it. We will attempt
to re-link any such "orphaned" Postems but this may take some time.
The following errors may be reported:
- Postem duplicates existing Postem
- The Postem submitted exactly duplicates a Postem that has already been submitted.
This may be caused by re-submitting a Postem because it has not appeared in the
search results; there is a delay between submitting a Postem and the Postem appearing
attached to an entry.
- Not enough spaces or newlines in Postem
- In order that Postems can be correctly displayed it is important that the
system can insert new lines at word breaks (spaces or newlines) but there
are insufficient such word breaks in the Postem submitted to permit this.
Spaces or newlines need to be inserted into the Postem text in accordance
with normal English language conventions. In particular, you cannot maximise
your usage of the 250 character limit by leaving out all spaces.
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