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Tacoma-Pierce County
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Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society

PSRoots Mailing List

The PSRoots Mailing List is an e-mail list sponsored by the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society. Subscription to the list is free and it is available to all genealogical & historical societies and their membership in the greater Puget Sound region. It is also available to anyone who is doing genealogical research in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. We hope this list will become a regularly used forum for the exchange of information regarding anything related to genealogy and our area.

Topics for discussion on PSRoots:

Below is a copy of the "welcome" message for the PSRoots mailing list. This message is sent out automatically to all new subscribers to the list. If you subscribe, please be sure to keep a copy of this welcome message handy. It contain instructions for unsubscribing from the list as well as other helpful hints & tips.

Joining PSRoots is easy!



Revised March 15, 1998
Copyright © 1997, 1998 by Cyndi Howells.

**Please save a copy of this message for future reference.
The list owner is Cyndi Howells,, who maintains the list on behalf of the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society in Washington state. RootsWeb is the host for the mailing list.

    (i.e.) subscribe, unsubscribe, etc.



  1. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to:
      (for individual messages)
      (for a digest of multiple messages)
    In the body include only one word:      subscribe
    (Turn OFF your signature file when sending this command)

  2. To unsubscribe, send an e-mail message to:
      (for individual messages)
      (for a digest of multiple messages)
    In the body include only one word:      unsubscribe
    (Turn OFF your signature file when sending this command)

  3. To post messages to everyone on the list:



The PSRoots Mailing List is an e-mail list sponsored by the Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society. The list is available to all genealogical & historical societies and their membership in the greater Puget Sound region. It is also available to anyone who is doing genealogical research in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. We hope this list will become a regularly used forum for the exchange of information regarding anything related to genealogy and our area. This could include any of the following topics: genealogical & historical society classes, seminars, meetings and similar announcements for events; questions, queries and requests for assistance regarding genealogical research in the Puget Sound area; hints, tips and articles posted to aid & inform our fellow researchers; etc. Topics and conversations will be a free exchange of information to all subscribers of this list. While the list is not moderated, the list-owner does reserve the right to step in if the topic becomes unrelated to genealogy in the Puget Sound area or if any participant or discussion becomes unseemly in any manner.


PSRoots is for individual messages to be delivered to your e-mail address. As each subscriber to the list sends messages to the list address, you will receive a copy of the message. To subscribe send an e-mail message to: with one word in the body of the message: subscribe

PSRoots-D is for a digest of several accumulated messages to be delivered to your email address. As each subscriber to the list sends messages to the list address, they are put into a digest to be delivered later. The digest is generated approximately once a day and delivered to digest subscribers. This option is handy for people who don't want multiple messages to accumulate in their mail box. To subscribe send an email message to: with one word in the body of the message: subscribe



There are two separate e-mail addresses to use in order to participate in this list:

  1. To send MESSAGES to ALL subscribers on either version of the list use:

  2. To send COMMANDS to the computer & SmartList software that runs this list use:
      (for individual messages)
      (for a digest of multiple messages)


To subscribe, unsubscribe or make other changes to your mailing list subscription, you will send "commands" to the computer & the SmartList software on RootsWeb.      (for individual messages)      (for a digest of multiple messages)

  1. To manage your subscription, send an e-mail message to the address above and use any of the following commands, typed within the body of your e-mail message. Type ONLY one of the commands as it is shown below. Do not add any extra words or lines of text:

    get welcome.txt
              (**When using the "get" command, be sure to include one word in the subject line:     archive )

  2. Do NOT use a signature file attached to the e-mail message. The software reads your message and tries to answer each command it finds. When it runs across your signature file it gets a bit confused and will send you a message stating something like 'Do not recognize command 'Tacoma'. Do not recognize command 'Washington'', etc.



When sending replies to messages you see on the list, you have two options:

  1. You can hit the reply button on your e-mail program and reply to the entire mailing list which allows everyone to carry on in an ongoing conversation about the topic. This is a great way to make the exchange of information and ideas as easy as possible and uses the mailing list to its full potential!

  2. You can reply directly to the sender of the original message by opening a new e-mail message and typing in the e-mail address that was shown in their original post. This allows you to communicate privately with one another.


The following is from an article that I posted to ROOTS-L in the spring of 1996. These points can be applied to any mailing list you join.

~~ Always read the welcome message, the guidelines and the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that are written for each mailing list. Be sure that you adhere to the list's guidelines and rules in all of your postings. Certain mailing lists have very rigid structures. Save a copy of the welcome message for future reference.

~~ Always 'lurk' for a few days before you begin posting your own messages. Familiarizing yourself with the practices of a mailing list can help you learn about accepted participation and save you from being 'flamed'. See definitions for lurking & flames below.

~~ Be sure your messages are clear and concise. Follow a format such as the following and you will be successful in conveying your meaning:

  1. Clear, concise subject lines.
    example: ARIS, Albert, 1879 Norwich>1931 Seattle, WA
  2. Describe what you already know.
  3. Describe what you've already done.
  4. Describe what it is that you want to find out.
  5. Show surnames in all CAPITAL letters so they stand out.

~~ Be careful when composing your e-mail messages to be sure that your meaning is clear:

  1. Always use proper punctuation & capitalization.
  2. Be sure to proofread your message before you send it, to check for spelling and to be sure you have made your meaning clear.
  3. Don't abbreviate or use slang terminology. Remember that your audience may be in another city, state, region or country.
  4. The safest communication is to be sure not to assume anything about your audience.
  5. Always be courteous.

~~ When replying to an individual, always be sure that you have copied their e-mail address EXACTLY as it appeared in their original posting. Use your mouse to highlight the address then Edit, Copy & Edit, Paste into the new message for fool-proof e-mail addresses.

~~ To quickly search a posting from a mailing list, use your e-mail program's 'Find' feature. In most programs, it will be under Edit, Find. Type in a keyword or phrase and Enter. For example, you can use this technique for finding specific surnames, topics or localities. In the instance where you receive your subscription in digest format, the Find feature will first find a keyword in the index, then to find the specific message within the digest just choose Edit, Find, Find Again.

~~ If you are busy or in a hurry, read the subject lines of the messages first. If they don't interest you, you can always use the delete feature. This is why clear subject lines can be so important. If you receive your mailing list postings in digest form, scan the index at the top of the digest if there is one.

~~ When someone has sent you a reply to something that you posted on a mailing list, be sure to send them a thank you e-mail message. Even a short, one or two sentence reply is better than no reply at all. If you are busy and intend to reply in detail on a later date, just drop the person a quick e-mail telling them what your intentions are.

For more tips & information on additional mailing lists and how to participate in mailing lists visit these sites:

Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet - Mailing Lists




Frequently asked questions; pronounced 'fack'. There are often FAQ files available for most subjects and sites on the Internet, especially mailing lists and newsgroups. A FAQ is the best place to start to find answers to your basic questions.


Also 'flaming' or 'being flamed'. A slang term for e-mail messages sent to someone in order to express an opposing view or to criticize or reprimand another user for what might be considered inappropriate behavior. Being clear, concise, careful and courteous in your messages and postings should help you to avoid being flamed. However, there are always some people out there with differing opinions and outlooks. Many times these people are quick to judge and feel that they have to 'flame' someone else. The best defense is to remember not to take any messages like this personally and ignore the person doing the flaming.


Lurking refers to reading newsgroup or mailing list entries and learning the ins and outs of that group for a little while before you actually join in and begin posting messages yourself. By lurking, you can learn a lot about how newsgroups or mailing lists work, about netiquette and about what types of researchers are out in cyberspace with you.


Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions. The latest standard for e-mail message structures. Using the MIME standard allows for easier transmission of email messages and attachments. Be sure that the options in your email software program are set to send and receive MIME compliant email files.


Appropriate behavior expected of people who use the Internet. This can involve everything from using appropriate language in your communications, to being considerate of other people's needs and feelings.

Signature, Sig or Sig File:

A small text file that is automatically attached to the end of each outgoing e-mail message that you send. Many e-mail software programs have a function for you to use to create a signature file. Signature files should be simple and kept to about 5 or 6 lines. The length of each line should be no more than 70 characters wide in order to be easily read by a variety of e-mail reader software programs. Signature files can contain a person's name, e-mail address and a home or business address. Some people online even put in their favorite verses or quotes and some artwork. For genealogy research purposes, it is a good idea to use a signature file. Be sure to give your full mailing address in case the person reading the message doesn't have direct e-mail access and may want to contact you by "snail mail". List out the most important surnames you are currently researching, so that other researchers can read through them and make a connection with you. There is a helpful web site regarding signature rules and etiquette at:

HOWTO Use Signatures - Signature Etiquette


A string of ongoing discussions on a certain topic which takes place on a mailing list or in a newsgroup . A user will "follow a thread" when they read messages and continue to post inquiries or responses specific to some original posting on a mailing list or newsgroup.


Symbols & acronyms used to express an emotion or inflection of tone in e-mail messages. Visit the following web sites for more examples of emoticons:


The Unofficial Smiley Dictionary

AngelO:-)Crying:' (
Cutsie smile or clown:o)Devil}: >
Dunce<:-)Frown or sad:-(
Hug{ }Laughing or big grin: D or :-D
My lips are sealed:-X or :-#Raspberry:-P*
Rose@-->-->--Smile: ) or :-)
Smile with glasses8-)Sticking out tongue:-P
Wink; ) or ;-)Yell:-O

Acronyms Used In Everyday E-mail Messages:

AFAIKAs far as I knowBAKBack at the keyboard
BGBig grinBRBBe right back
BTWBy the wayFWIWFor what its worth
FYIFor your information<G>Grin
GBGGreat big grinGMTAGreat minds think alike
IMHOIn my humble opinionIMOIn my opinion
LOLLaughing out loudOTOHOn the other hand
ROFLRolling on the floor laughingRTMRead the manual
TIAThanks in advanceTL'Til later
TTFNTa-ta for now!TTYLTalk to you later
VBGVery big grin



Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society

PSRoots Mailing List Web Page

Puget Sound Genealogy Resources
A list of research libraries and institutions in the greater Puget Sound area.

Family Line Research
A terrific, inexpensive service from our experienced TPCGS historian, for anyone who needs help with records in Tacoma and in Pierce County, Washington.

National Archives Microfilm Collection in Seattle
A list of 549 microfilm publications available at the regional branch of the National Archives in Seattle, Washington. Take a look to see what else they have to offeron microfilm besides copies of the U.S. Federal Census!

Publications for Sale from TPCGS

Good Luck & Have Fun!

Cyndi Howells, PSRoots List Administrator

Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society


Tacoma-Pierce County Genealogical Society
PO Box 1952, Tacoma, Washington 98401, USA
Updated Tuesday, 20 January 2009, 12:21:23 PM MST
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Contact TPCGS

The Tacoma Pierce County Genealogical Society (TPCGS) is a registered nonprofit corporation recognized by the IRS under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code using EIN 91-1180097. In addition, the TPCGS is a registered nonprofit corporation in the state of Washington under WAC 458-20-169 using UBI 600444975. As such, your donations and contributions may be tax deductible and are greatly appreciated. Fundraising activities are occasionally held for the benefit of the TPCGS.

The purpose of the TPCGS is to stimulate popular interest in family history, to seek genealogical and historical knowledge, to preserve and perpetuate the records of our ancestors, to aid individual members in compiling their family histories, and to collect and publish genealogical source material.