Friday, August 3, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet – M is for … You've got Mail

When L was announced as the letter for last week's challenge I immediately knew what I would write about - it was going to be L is for Listserv but my memory failed me when I sat at the keyboard to type my entry and I wrote about Links instead.

But never fear, magician that I am, I can turn an L into an M for this week's post - You've got Mail. As my focus in this series of posts is technology I am not talking about Snail mail but Email - the sort of mail that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan's characters used as they fell in love over the internet in You've got Mail

For those who have been living under a rock this link will tell you all about Email.

This morning something unusual happened, I received a letter containing a genealogy report via snail mail. I don't know why as the person who sent it to me has previously sent me files by email. This person could have saved money by using email, I know they have internet and email so there would be no extra cost involved in emailing me, I also know they have access to a scanner so they could have attached the report to an email saving on the cost of ink and paper and they could have saved on postage. The first benefit of email for genealogists is that it allows for sharing of data quickly and economically.

Since the mid nineties genealogists have been able to use email to join mailing lists to communciate with others with similar interests. The first such lists that I used were Rootsweb Mailing Lists that "can help you find information about your ancestors and connect you with people who have research interests similar to yours". There are now over 30,000  genealogical mailing lists at Rootsweb. If you cannot find a list at Rootsweb that caters to your interests you can set one up. In spite of the emergence of social media the Rootsweb Mailing Lists are still going strong. I find a few messages in my emailbox each day from the various lists to which I belong. They are still a valuable resource for genealogists today.

The wonderful thing is that Google seems to index most of the posts to such Mailing lists so if you put an ancestor's name into a Google search you may be directed to a listserv post. What is frustrating is that some of the messages on a mailing list from 10 years ago or more are linked to dead email addresses so it is difficult to contact the original messenger.

For my tip for this week please read my blog post from 2008, Static Email Addresses.

If you are not a member of any Mailing Lists please browse the collection at  Rootsweb Mailing Lists  and join a few, then you'll be able to say:

"I've got mail."


Kristin said...

ah, those were the days when I had AOL and the little voice said "You've got mail!" So exciting.

GeniAus said...

Kristin, I thought that little voice was just for the movie

Kristin said...

No, that was just how the AOL voice announced your mail every time you signed on or when you were online and aol was open. It was pretty exciting. The voice still might do that on AOL, in fact.

Sharon said...

I also thought it was just the movie!

I agree that email is fantastic but it worries me that all the emails between family members will have been deleted and future generations wont be able to enjoy those lovely message (letters) that we adore and that give so much information :)

Kristin said...

I asked my sister, who still has aol, and she tells me they still have the "you've got mail!"

Alona Tester said...

Love those RootsWeb lists. They've been so helpful over the years, and I still get emails from some of the lists everyday.

Merron Riddiford said...

I still subscribe to various RootsWeb lists and find them useful. The Geelong and the Western Victorian lists are two of the most active Victorian lists, but not as much as earlier years. The English lists I follow are still very busy. You never know what you mind find and it is fun getting emails from them each day.


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