Using Genealogy Mailing Lists


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Get in touch with others who share your particular family history issues, they may already have the answers you are seeking!

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Using Genealogy Mailing Lists

  1. 1. Where do you come from? Mailing Lists
  3. 3. Using Mailing Lists to further your research <ul><li>It's like having your own virtual research community. An easy way to network with other genealogists to share distant ancestors, get answers to questions, request lookups and swap research stories. Genealogy mailing lists are free, fun and are often one of the best online possibilities for filling in some of the blanks in your family tree. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Can Lists help? <ul><li>Literally tens of thousands of genealogy mailing lists are available, covering just about every conceivable topic. If you're new to genealogy mailing lists, they function much like genealogy forums and message boards, with posts, queries, and responses by researchers. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Do they work? <ul><li>But instead of being posted to the Internet, mailing list messages come directly to your email box </li></ul><ul><li>Because they arrive daily in subscriber mailboxes, mailing lists better promote &quot;real-time discussion,&quot; with faster responses than you'll generally receive with a message board post. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Do they work? <ul><li>Also, because individuals have to subscribe to post or receive messages, mailing lists generally encourage &quot;serious&quot; researchers and more in-depth discussions and exchange of data. Thus, a genealogy mailing list can often be an excellent way to locate fellow researchers or data that correspond with your subjects or areas of interest. </li></ul>
  7. 7. How Mailing Lists Work <ul><li>Once you find a relevant genealogy mailing list, you can usually join by sending an email that automatically adds you to a list of subscribers. Most genealogy mailing lists also offer two subscription modes: </li></ul>
  8. 8. List or Mail Mode <ul><li>You'll receive each message posted to the mailing list individually, as they are sent. These can sometimes be hard to distinguish from your regular email. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Digest Mode <ul><li>You'll receive periodic emails with several mailing list messages bundled together. Each digest email will usually include a table of contents at the top with links to each of the individual email messages listed further down in the email. Digest mode is a great way to reduce clutter in your inbox, but it can sometimes be harder to follow the thread of a conversation. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Joining a List <ul><li>The instructions for joining a particular list should be posted on the Web page which introduces the mailing list, but usually it is just a matter of sending an email to the administration address with the word subscribe in the subject line. These emails are usually processed by a computer, so there is no need to include anything else. You will then receive a welcome letter, usually within a few hours. Be sure to save this email as it will contain important information concerning list rules and -- this is very important -- how to unsubscribe. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Network your Names <ul><li>Unless you are researching a very unusual surname, there is probably a mailing list with your name on it. Surname lists are a great way to connect with other genealogists who are researching the same name to share family connections, ask questions and swap tips and resources. I subscribe to mailing lists which deal with FOX, NICHOLSON surnames, as well as several others </li></ul>
  12. 12. Location, Location <ul><li>If you've traced your ancestors to a specific locality, then there is most likely a mailing list to help you in your quest for location-specific clues. Consider subscribing to a genealogy mailing list that covers the county (e.g. Somerset for me), town or parish of the family line which is giving you the most trouble. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Location, Location <ul><li>Once you've joined, you'll find your fellow list-members a great resource when you're stuck for ideas for where to look next. Location-specific lists are also a good place to find researchers who have access to books or records that would help you in your search. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Need a Helping hand? <ul><li>Whether you are new to genealogy, or feel like you've been researching your family tree for most of your life, there are mailing lists geared toward helping people find answers to questions and exchange tips and ideas. There are plenty of mailing lists geared toward helping genealogists improve their research skills. </li></ul>
  15. 15. What's Your Interest? <ul><li>Genealogists have set up mailing lists on just about every topic imaginable. There are mailing lists for specific record types [census, military, immigration]; for specific places [Ellis Island, Somerset Coalfields, Black Country, ] and for a wide variety of special interests [witch hunting, railway workers, mariners]. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Tip! <ul><li>If the mailing list you're interested in has archives online, this can give you an idea of how busy the list will be. Some receive only a few messages per month, while others average over 100 new messages each day. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Are there a lot of mailing Lists? <ul><li>Thousands of genealogy mailing lists are available. From the over 28,000 mailing lists hosted by RootsWeb, to individual mailing lists sponsored by genealogical societies, genealogy software publishers, etc., </li></ul>
  18. 18. Getting to know your List <ul><li>Genealogy mailing lists are similar to a community or neighbourhood in that they reflect the personalities of their subscribers. Some lists are friendly with a number of off-topic &quot;chatty&quot; posts, while others are strictly run with no off-topic discussion allowed. When you first join a mailing list, it is best to &quot;lurk&quot; for a few days. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Getting to know your List <ul><li>Read the messages from others and get the feel for the list's community and rules before posting your first message. After a week or so, however, it's time to introduce yourself. Let the list members know who you are and what research problem you are tackling that is related to the topic of the mailing list. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Rules for Success <ul><li>Format your questions in an efficient and effective manner. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep the message as brief as possible, while still providing all pertinent information (being too vague will discourage responses as well as waste the time of list members who suggest things that you've already tried). </li></ul>
  21. 21. Rules for Success <ul><li>Be specific in your subject line. </li></ul><ul><li>People just don't have time to open and respond to emails titled &quot;need help.&quot; Be sure to include the primary topic of your query in the subject line of your email - whether it be a surname, place, or time period. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Rules for Success <ul><li>Be courteous. </li></ul><ul><li>The mantra &quot;you only get one chance to make a first impression&quot; holds true on the Internet as well as in person. Be polite in all postings, use good grammar and punctuation and don't type messages in all capital letters (this is the equivalent of shouting at the reader). </li></ul>
  23. 23. Query Tips <ul><li>Include surnames in CAPITAL LETTERS in the Subject line and the first time you use it in the query. </li></ul><ul><li>Be specific. People do not often respond to queries such as &quot;Send me all information about the POWELL family&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Check online sources for answers to general research questions before posting to a list. Genealogists love to help those who help themselves. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Query Tips <ul><li>Try to stay away from too using too many abbreviations unless your space is limited. Many researchers may not recognize the abbreviations you are using. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to use an email address you will be sticking with. There are thousands of queries on the Internet with no way to reach the posters because the email address is invalid. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Where do you come from?