version 1.2 June 25, 1998 SURNAMES archives at Rootsweb are now updated daily.
You can post to these newsgroups using your newsreader software, just as you would post to any other newsgroup. Or you can e-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. All articles posted to the groups are reviewed by the automoderator, a computer program, for correct format. The automoderator will crosspost your query to the relevant regional surnames groups according to the country codes you list in the subject of the query, and to soc.genealogy.surnames.global. The automoderator will send an acknowledgement after posting your article. If your article's subject line does not follow the standard format, the automoderator will notify you that your article was not posted, and make suggestions for rewriting the subject. Examples of the standard subject format and a brief description can be found below in section 3a - general surname queries. A fuller explanation of the subject format is available in the FAQ: subject format for soc.genealogy.surnames.* / SURNAMES-*.
Because these are moderated newsgroups, your article has to be transmitted from you to the automoderator, and then back to your news server. There may be more delay before your article is available than you are used to in posting to unmoderated groups.
newsgroup regions covered --------------------- ------------------------------------------- soc.genealogy.surnames.britain Great Britain, Channel Islands, Isle of Man soc.genealogy.surnames.canada Canada soc.genealogy.surnames.german German-speaking areas of Europe soc.genealogy.surnames.ireland Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland soc.genealogy.surnames.usa United States of America and territories soc.genealogy.surnames.misc other countries soc.genealogy.surnames.global all of the above - worldwideEach of the soc.genealogy.surnames.* newsgroups is linked to a mailing list hosted at rootsweb.com. Each mailing list gets all the queries posted to the associated newgroup, and vice-versa. The mailing lists have names of the form SURNAMES-
Subject: CLOVER John / CLARK Mary; Lincoln, LIN,ENG; m. 1839 Subject: LOUCKS George / SALS Anna Eva; Graevenwiesbach, NAS,DEU; 1650-1710 Subject: DELZELL / DALZELL; SCT > DOW,NIR > PA,USA; 1750-1830 Subject: MILLS Samuel D/HODGES; Williamsburg, Kings Co, NY,USA; 1796-1863 Subject: ZAHM/PICARD/STEIS; Obergailbach + Olsberg, LOT,FRA; 1680-1840 Subject: ZAHM; LOT,FRA > IN,USA > IL,USA > KS,USA; 1650- Subject: ZAHM; LOT,FRA>IN,USA>IL,USA>KS,USA; 1650-It's a good idea to include a spouse's surname in the subject line, along with the surname that mainly interests you. Putting both names together can help other researchers recognize the family. If you find you want to include queries about more families than can be summarized in the subject line, you may wish to post several queries.
Some of the abbreviations may seem unfamiliar at first. The advantage of using standard abbreviations for place names is that it makes searching the surname archives easier and more reliable. As an example, consider searching the archives for Coles families in New York. With standard abbreviations, you can look for subjects that contain both "COLES" and "NY,USA" and be sure that you are finding all the relevant archived queries. Without standardization, you'd have to search for "NY" and "New York", and might miss articles that said "Albany" or "Buffalo" but left out the state. Abbreviations also make subject lines shorter, for writers whose software limits subject length. The place abbreviations are the same as used for the Roots Surname List (RSL). They include United States and Canadian two-letter postal codes, Chapman codes, three-letter ISO codes for nations, some other standard codes, and a few codes invented for the RSL.
The complete list of codes is available on the world wide web at:
email@example.com, with a subject line of "archive", and the message saying only:
get family.abbrevThe computer will then e-mail you the list of abbreviations. The dates should indicate when you are interested in the family in the areas listed in the subject line. The dates could be the earliest birth and latest death dates for known ancestors, or periods for which you have information, or the time for which you want more information. The date range is approximate; there is no need to add "circa" or "?" if you are not sure of dates.
The computer automoderator is not very smart, and will only approve articles that have the Subject: line in exactly correct format. If you're having trouble getting the format just right, feel free to contact the human moderators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject: MILLS; address change Subject: MILLS Bill; address changeIn the text, include any contact information you wish. You may want to include a permanent address or stable address of a relative.
If you find an old query in the surname archives, and cannot contact the writer with the contact information given, you can search for an address change message from that writer.
Subject: ZAHM; anywhere; anytimeQueries with only "anywhere" listed in the places field will be posted only to soc.genealogy.surnames.global.
This format is not a substitute for giving specific place and time information. Please make sure to include, in the body of the message, a description of the countries and the time period for which you already have data on the surname. For example, "My database includes 6000 Zahm individuals from Germany, France, USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, and Israel." Telling us about the extent of your database is a way to encourage people to share their research with you. The basic philosophy of the group is that every article should give the reader enough information to decide whether it might be worthwhile to contact the writer.
If you are just starting out in researching your family, this option is not recommended. Instead, please describe what you do know about your family, and use a subject line format described above under general surname queries.
Subject: ZAHM Web Page; LOT,FRA / CHE / DEU / USA / CAN / AUS; 1650-
http://searches.rootsweb.com/sgsurnames.html for messages December 1994 to date (updated daily)email@example.com. You may also discuss the posting guidelines and policies in the unmoderated group soc.genealogy.computing.
http://apple.ease.lsoft.com/archives/gennam-l.html for messages December 1994 - August 15, 1997 (This site may close soon.)
http://dejanews.com for messages since spring 1996
For its first two years of existence, soc.genealogy.surnames / GENNAM-L was moderated by a team of human volunteers. This became too time consuming, so Tim Pierce wrote a program to review the incoming messages automatically. The automoderator allows you to post to the newsgroup with less delay, since articles do not have to wait for review by a person. You also now have complete control over the information included in the subject line, within the format guidelines recognized by the automoderator.
By early 1997, soc.genealogy.surnames was rather large, with a predominance of queries about ancestors in the USA. At the same time, soc.genealogy.uk+ireland and soc.genealogy.german had grown uncomfortably large, with a large number of surname queries in both groups. The reorganization of soc.genealogy.surnames into the current seven soc.genealogy.surnames.* groups was accomplished by a vote which ended in July 1997, setting the pattern for the creation of other regional surnames groups when there is sufficient interest.