Saturday, September 01, 2007

Why participate in ROLL CALLS

Choice words can trigger responses

Have you thought about the useful purposes of ROLL CALLS on genealogy mailing lists? How about the fact that your detailed posting about an ancestor, the spouse, children, dates and places will:

  • Automatically place your posting in the list's archive so it can be found during a "browse" or "search" even months or years from now.
  • Let new list subscribers, who haven't figured out how to use the list's archives, discover your interests and email address.
  • Increase the likelihood of finding another researcher working the same lineage in the locality.
  • Increase the likelihood of finding someone perhaps more experienced with research in your ancestors’ specific locality.

Some folks join a genealogy mailing list, and don't realize that by making a roll call posting, they are "getting the word out" among a very receptive group of like-minded family history researchers. Usually the list administrators will send out a post requesting a roll call every few months. If not, you can create your own entry.

Create the subject line with helpful clues, by observing these fictitious entries:

  1. Our family's brick wall (very poor)
  2. Smith family tree (not much better)
  3. John Smith (minimal)
  4. John & Zelda Smith (try harder)
  5. John & Zelda Smith, 1850-1875 Clinton County, Missouri

If you were scanning a list of subject lines, which one looks most inviting? Yes, obviously that 5th proposed subject line is the most telling.

Create your posting with careful attention to detail including:

  • Genealogical problem to be solved
    o Looking to discover where John lived before 1850.
  • Information you’ve collected
    o The man’s occupation
    o What you know of the marriage
    o Names of children with birth dates, birth places
  • Brief summary of the source documents you’ve already searched.

This last point is very important in Ol' Myrt’s humble opinion. When I read a posting that includes a summary of research, I am more inclined to help that person, who has obviously done his/her homework.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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