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Create Your Own Genealogy Mailing List

Are you interested in creating your own mailing list? You might be if you are conducting detailed research on a specific surname, and are researching in a particular area of the world, have an interest in atopic of research, or would like to encourage discussion on a genealogically-related subject.

Mailing lists are topic-specific discussions which are conducted via e-mail. When you subscribe to a mailing list, you receive an e-mail copy of each message other subscribers send to that list. Mailing lists encourage conversation on a variety of topics; a comprehensive list of existing mailing lists can be found at the Genealogy Resources on the Internet page at http.//users.aol.com/johnf14248/genmail.html. Although you can create a mailing list through other sources, the most popular spot for genealogists to house their mailing lists is Rootsweb.

Mailing list volume varies from the grandaddy of all lists, Roots-L(which has 50,000+ messages per year) to smaller, highly specialized groups which may have a message or two per week. Mailing lists are managed by Listowners, who handle the maintenance duties, solve subscription problems, answer questions, and sometimes (depending on the list) pre-screen messages. While this may sound like a full-time job, listowners of moderate to small lists get away with a minimum of time required to maintain the list in good working order. Some mailing lists allow you to receive the messages in "digest" form, i.e., all the messages from a certain time period (once a day, three times a day, etc.) are gathered into one message, then sent to you. Alist of subjects from each enclosed message is often placed at the beginning of each digest message. Digests allow you to receive a great many messages in one convenient package and can be especially useful for people who have restrictions on the number of e-mails they receive.

Mailing Lists vs Newsgroups

How people prefer to access messages depends on many variables, but as a rule, information which comes directly to your mailbox gets a higher response rate than messages posted in a newsgroup. Some people have limited access to Internet and are not able to utilize Usenet Newsgroups-- the answer to their problem is to receive newsgroups in mailing list format. Most of the popular genealogy newsgroups are gated to a related mailing list, allowing people to participate in a medium they might otherwise miss.

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