14 May 2009

Learn to use Genealogy Mailing Lists.

A genealogy mailing list is a very simple method for collaborating on the internet. You can network with other genealogists, share data, ask and answer questions, and share in the research process. Mailing lists are free and can help you learn more about genealogy, surnames, locations, types of records, research, and related software.

Join one or more lists
You can join any number of mailing lists depending on what you are interested in. Once you decide which one you want you can join the list by sending an email that automatically adds you to the subscriber list.

Decide on email mode
There are two modes of receiving email. The list mode will send you one email for every message that is posted to the list in real time. The digest mode sends one email per day with all the posts included. However, this mode can make it a little more difficult to follow a thread. (…not a spool of thread!...but rather, all the emails relating to a specific topic.)

As soon as you join a mailing list you will find a new world of help and support at your fingertips. Other people will be more than happy to answer your questions and, as you gain experience, you will be able to help others.

A few rules for success
1. It’s always best to enter a subject line that is specific. Some people won’t open an email unless the subject line is something they are interested in or feel confident about. So be specific and be brief. If someone using the digest mode doesn’t change the subject line, be sure to change it when you respond.

2. Be courteous in your request and don’t get upset with others for asking questions that don’t make sense or are not clear. Don’t write a message in all capital letters because this means you are SHOUTING!!

Old Message Archive
Most mailing lists maintain an archive of their old messages. This can also be a great resource because you can search old messages and look for answers to questions that have been asked previously. You can check out the archive before you subscribe to get an idea of how many emails are generated in a given month. Some only have a handful of posts each month and some can get 100 plus each day!

When you are finished reading the emails that come to your email box, just delete the ones you are not interested in.

Let’s take a look at a couple of lists that you might be interested in.

This is a list for the use of LDS family history consultants to exchange suggestions, guidelines, data, etc. related to their duties. You can discuss just about any topic that concerns the duties of a consultant, teaching Sunday School classes, and even how to get members of the ward involved in family history research and temple submissions.

To join this list you subscribe by sending the one word message “subscribe” (without the quotes) to LDS-WARD-Consultant-L-request@Rootsweb.com. Replace the “L” with a “D” if you want the Digest mode rather than the list mode.

You can search the LDS Ward Consultant archives for this list or browse the archives.

PAF-5 Software
There is a mailing list for users of PAF5 software.

Again, to join this list, send the one work message “subscribe” to paf-5-users-l-request@rootsweb.com. Search the PAF 5 archives or browse the archives.

RootsMagic Software
A terrific list for users of RootsMagic software is ROOTSMAGIC-USERS. If you have a question just send an email and you get a response, usually within minutes. Subscribe the same way at rootsmagic-users-l-request@rootsweb.com. Search the RootsMagic archives or browse the archives.

If you want to find other genealogy related mailing lists, or any mailing list for that matter, check out the following:

Here is a great list of Genealogy Resources on the Internet.

And here is the list of all Mailing Lists hosted on RootsWeb’s website.

Yahoo also hosts some mailing lists, but, they call them Groups rather than lists. You can reach their index at Yahoo Groups.