Using EMail to Get Help

In the section "Query for One: Seeking Answers to Your Surname Questions" earlier in this chapter, we discuss a couple of ways to research surnames through e-mail by using queries. You can also use e-mail to directly contact other researchers of your surname. You just need to know where to find them.

Identifying potential e-mail pals by using online directories to find everyone with the surname you're researching, getting their e-mail addresses, and then mass e-mailing all of them about your research and questions is a bad idea. Although mass e-mailing everyone you can find with a particular surname generates return e-mail for you, we can almost guarantee that the responses will be hateful, not helpful. Sticking with genealogical sites (such as those we identify in a moment) when you're looking for other researchers interested in the same surnames is a better way to go about it.

One of the oldest of the Internet genealogy resources is the Roots Surname List at The Roots Surname List (RSL) is simply a list of surnames (and their associated dates and locations) accompanied by contact information for the person who placed the surname on the list. So if you want to contact other submitters about particular surnames, all you have to do is look at the contact information and send them e-mail messages or letters in the mail detailing your interest in the surnames.

You start by searching the RSL Database for messages about the surname(s) you're researching. Simply follow these steps:

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