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Ancestors expert Cyndi Howells explains online mailing lists.
One of the most useful places on the Internet isn't actually a web site, but a mailing list . Mailing lists are a way for interested genealogists to meet each other, and as most genealogists know, networking is one of the most effective means of speeding up your research. Mailing lists allow people to exchange information via group e-mail with others who share an interest in a particular aspect of genealogy. For example, there are mailing lists on software packages, surnames, places, record types, and much more. If you're stuck on your Nelligan line that emigrated from Ireland, subscribing to a mailing list on Nelligans or Co. Kerry will put you in contact with others who are likely to have the very information you need to hurdle your brick wall.
The art of effectively using mailing lists comes from finding and subscribing to just the right ones, so that your mailbox doesn't become cluttered with messages of little or no interest to you. Generally, it's better to find as specific a list as possible. A list on your city of interest is probably more useful than a list on your state or country of interest. A list on your specific ethnic group may prove meatier than one on your continent of origin. But there are exceptions to this broad rule, and since it's easy to subscribe and unsubscribe (through the sending of an e-mail), it's worth trying different mailing lists on for size to see which help the most in your research objectives.
If you'd like to go on a virtual shopping trip for likely targets, here are a few sites to browse through:
User mailing lists hosted by Rootsweb:
Cyndi's List of mailing lists and online newsletters:
The Southern Oregon PAF Users Group's (SO-PAF-UG) list of mailing lists:
Genealogy.com's list of mailing lists:
Vicki Lindsay's list of genealogy listservers, newsgroups, and special homepages:
John Fuller's categorized list of mailing lists: