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[FAQ] Frequently Asked Questions

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Archive-name: genealogy/uk+ireland
Posting-Frequency: 21 days
Last-Modified: 1996/11/17
Version: 2.3

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Frequently Asked Questions For


This regular posting contains a list of Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQs) and their answers about Genealogy or Family History based in the
United Kingdom, Ireland and the off-shore islands. It should be read by
anyone who wishes to post to the newsgroup, or
to subscribe to the associated mailing list (GENUKI-L).

If you have any comments or changes, or any suggestions for new topics
to be included, or you would like to write a note for inclusion in the
archive, then please contact John Woodgate, (

Contributions by:
     Alan Stanier, Brian Randell, Robin Chappie, Don Olds, Doni Wright,
     Miles Abernathy, Margaret Olson
Changes For This Version (2.5 - 1997/04/21)
     Minor corrections to the text.
     Updated list of web browsers.
     Updated email address for surnames mailing list.

Copyright and Disclaimer

Copyright (c) 1996,1997 by John Woodgate. All rights reserved.

This document may be freely redistributed in its entirety without
modification provided that this copyright notice is not removed. It may
not be sold for profit or incorporated in commercial documents without
the prior written permission of the copyright holder. Permission is
expressly granted for this document to be made available for file
transfer from installations offering unrestricted anonymous file
transfer on the Internet.

This document is provided AS IS without any express or implied warranty.

The author may be contacted at 50 Great Meadow Road, Bradley Stoke,
Bristol, BS12 8DA.

Questions Discussed

General Interest

  1. What are and GENUKI-L for?
  2. Posting surname enquiries
  3. Where can I get on-line information and guidance on genealogy?
  4. What sources of general genealogical information are there?
  5. How do I get the latest version of the FAQ?

GENUKI-L Mailing List

  1. What is GENUKI-L?
  2. How do I subscribe to GENUKI-L?
  3. How do I unsubscribe to GENUKI-L?
  4. What is the full email address of GENUKI-L?
  5. How do I get copies of past messages?
  6. How do I conduct a search of the archived messages?
  7. What do I do if I have problems with the Listserv?
  8. I keep getting 'unknown address', what can I do?
  9. How do I get a digest of the messages?
 10. How do I get just an Index of the messages?
 11. How do I stop getting messages for a while?
 12. Other Options

General Interest

  1. What are and GENUKI-L for?
     The purpose of this newsgroup and mailing list is:
       1. The Usenet newsgroup and it's
          associated mailing list GENUKI-L are for genealogy and family
          history discussion among people researching ancestors, family
          members, or others who have a genealogical connection to any
          people in any part of the British Isles.
       2. The newsgroup is one of a set of related newsgroups (each with
          it's own associated mailing list) that form the
          soc.genealogy.* hierarchy. Details of each of these other
          newsgroups are posted each month.
       3. The group is open to anyone with an interest in genealogy in
          any of the populations in or from this area, including, but
          not limited to: people who live, lived, or may have lived
          there; emigrants; immigrants; colonists; residents of former
          colonies; and their descendants.
       4. The scope of the group reflects the language, history,
          migrations, and the realities of researching public records
          and genealogical data archives, and includes questions of
          local customs and history, or of regional or national history
          which affected the lives of these people and which are
          difficult to research in the present. Posts may be in any
          language but those seeking replies from a wide spectrum of
          readers (or at all) would be well advised to post in English.
       5. The focus of the group is on people: as individuals, as
          members of ethnic groups, and as part of migration patterns,
          but not as citizens of countries. Postings on topics unrelated
          to genealogy, especially relating to current political or
          religious topics are not welcome.
     All who have access to the Usenet
     newsgroup, or to the GENUKI-L mailing list, are welcome to join and
     take part. Since this newsgroup is not moderated, anything posted
     to the newsgroup will be seen by all the readers of the newsgroup
     and the mailing list, and vice versa. Remember, what you post, will
     be seen exactly as you post it.
     We therefore recommend "lurking" in the newsgroup or mailing list
     (i.e. reading messages, without posting anything) for a few days so
     as to get an idea of how people typically phrase their postings,
     and so learn how best to formulate any questions or comments,
     before you start posting messages to the newsgroup and mailing list
     Advertising or selling of a product or service is not in general
     regarded as acceptable. These should be placed in
     There are also two lists which give details of all the known
     genealogy related mailing lists. The first list, which is
     maintained by John Fuller and Chris Gaunt is available via ftp from as the file /pub/genealogy/text/guides/gresinet.txt
     and on the Web at the URL.

     There is also a list maintained by Vicki Lindsay available on the
     Web at the URL:

  2. Posting surname enquiries
     The topic of posting or not posting surname enquiries to the group
     can generate a lot of heated discussion. The preferred option is to
     post surname enquiries to the newsgroup soc.genealogy.surnames that
     has been set up specifically for this purpose. This is an archived
     and moderated newsgroup (with an associated mailing list gennam-l).
     The chief role of the moderator is to ensure that each surname
     enquiry has an informative subject line in a standard style which
     is aimed at facilitating either manual or automated searches of the
     postings and the archives. This is so that users can readily
     identify messages of likely interest that they can then retrieve
     and read at their leisure.
     In contrast, is not moderated so there is
     no practical way to ensure that such surname searches (let alone
     all the many and varied more general postings) sent to it have well
     chosen subject lines - thus the posting of large numbers of surname
     searches to would greatly diminish the
     utility and practicability of the newsgroup for the discussion of
     more general issues and problems related to UK & Irish genealogy.
     If you must post surname queries to this group, then following
     these suggestions will help to reduce the irritation caused to
        + is archived by Apple Computer. It
          doesn't have the same search tools as soc.genealogy.surnames,
          but they are sufficient to allow a search for a surname or
          location. So there is no need for repeated posts.
        + Think about what you post before you post it. Simple enquiries
          of the form "I am looking for anybody called so and so" are
          better done by searching the GENUKI-L archives. This search
          can be repeated as often as you like without upsetting
        + Use the soc.genealogy.surnames format for ALL surname
          enquiries, and in fact, post the enquiry to the
          soc.genealogy.surnames group as well. This is the only way to
          increase the UK/Ireland content of the archive.
        + You can also post the surname enquiry via email by sending the
          message to
  3. Where can I get on-line information and guidance on Genealogy?
     There are three main online resources on the Internet which relate
     specifically to the United Kingdom & Ireland. One of these is the
     GENUKI-L archive machine. To access this machine send the following
          INDEX ROOTS-L
     This will return a list of files available on the GENUKI-L archive
     machine. The archive keeps a record of all the messages posted to
     the newsgroup and mailing list, and much data of relevance to the
     newsgroup and mailing list readership.
     The second such source is in fact the World Wide Web (access to
     which requires the use of a Web 'browser' program such as Internet
     Explorer or Netscape). A special Web server has been set up in
     support of and GENUKI-L, which already
     contains genealogical information about (i) the British Isles as a
     whole, (ii) the constituent parts, namely England, Wales, Ireland,
     Scotland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man, (iii) most of the
     constituent counties, and even (iv) some individual towns and
     parishes. You can reach the uk+ireland homepage at the URL:

     This server also contains quite a lot of tutorial advice, as well
     as factual information, on UK & Irish Genealogy, so readers with
     the means of accessing the World Wide Web will find that it is
     often better to look here for the answer to your question 'before'
     deciding whether it is appropriate to send it to the entire
     readership of and GENUKI-L.
     The third site is the LISTSERV at which
     contains a number of FAQs and tutorials relating to genealogy in
     the UK and Ireland. To obtain a list of what is there, send a
     message to
  4. What sources of general genealogical information are there?
     There is a very large amount of online genealogical information at To obtain a list of files available on
     this machine send the following message:
          INDEX GENUKI-L
     to This machine contains much general
     information, and information of relevance to the readership, though
     much of its content is specific to the U.S.
     But there are also many other sources, some very specialized,
     others quite general. Some of these sources of information are
     available by FTP, others use Gopher or the Web.
     There is a Web homepage which contains many useful pointers to
     resources on the Internet. This page has the URL

     However, for the foreseeable future, it is likely that much of the
     information you will need will be found only in books, or on
     microfilm or microfiche in various libraries, archives, record
     offices and government archives. Do not expect to be able to
     restrict your research just to data that is available to you
     The pre-eminent source of genealogical information is the Family
     History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day
     Saints (the Mormons or LDS). There are no on-line access facilities
     to this immense library, but there are branches of this library in
     the Family History Centres (FHC) found in many towns and cities
     throughout the world where microfilm copies of most of the
     library's holdings can be viewed You would be well advised to seek
     out your nearest branch of this library, and pay it an early visit.
  5. How do I get the latest version of the FAQ?
     You can obtain the latest version of the FAQ from various sources:
        + via Anonymous FTP from
             o in the file /pub/genuki/socguki.txt
             o in the file
             o in the file
        + via the WWW at the following URLs
        + Via email from
             o by sending the following message
                    send usenet/news.answers/genealogy/genuki
             o by sending the following
                    get socguki

  1. What is GENUKI-L ?
     GENUKI-L is an Email based discussion list where those who have an
     interest in Genealogy may communicate via Email messages in hopes
     of finding more family history information. This discussion list is
     gatewayed to the Usenet newsgroup The
     intention being that all messages sent directly to GENUKI-L also
     appear in, and vice versa. The choice of
     which to follow depends mainly on what facilities are available to
     you, and, if you have the choice, which medium you prefer to use.
     The mailing list and archive is hosted by Apple Computer who can be
     contacted at the URL
     To participate in this discussion list, you have to explicitly join
     it (i.e. "subscribe"). Once you have done this, you will
     automatically be sent copies of all the messages that are submitted
     to the list.
  2. How do I subscribe to GENUKI-L ?
     To subscribe to the GENUKI-L mailing list send the following
     message as the body of the message to with
     no subject line:
     Do NOT include any other text such as a sig file. If you do, the
     listserv software will attempt to read it as a series of commands
     and probably send you a message or messages saying it cannot
     understand you.
     If your mail program will not let you send a blank subject line,
     then use something like "no subject". Do not use anything which
     might be considered to be a command.
  3. How do I unsubscribe to GENUKI-L ?
     You may leave the GENUKI-L mailing list at any time by sending the
     following message to :
  4. What is the full email address of GENUKI-L ?
     To send a message to all the people who read the GENUKI-L mailing
     list, send the message to:

     To send a message to the list processor, send the message to:

     Try not to get them round the wrong way or everybody will see your
     mistake when you post a listserv command to the entire mailing
  5. How do I get copies of past messages?
     If you think you have missed an important GENUKI-L message, you can
     get a copy of all the message digests stored in the archive. You
     can do this by sending an email message to
     with the following line as the body of the message:
          GET GENUKI-L LOGyymmw
          yy is the last two digits of the year
          mm is the number of the month
          w is the week letter (e.g. the first week is a, the second is
          b and so on)
  6. How do I conduct a search of the archived messages?
     With the current version of Listserv software, it is not possible
     to get to conduct a search of the archived messages. It is due in a
     later revision.
  7. What do I do if I have trouble with the Apple Listserv?
     Send email to This is the (human)
     administrator of the list, who will be able to help you.
  8. I keep getting 'unknown address', what can I do?
     From time to time, you may find that when you try to send a reply
     directly just to the originator of a message that you received via
     GENUKI-L, the message gets returned by your name server with the
     reason 'unknown address'. There is a good chance that the Apple
     Computer machine will know the address. To send your message via
     this machine (NOT VIA ), you will have to
     modify the address you are using.
     For example, if the 'bad' address was:

     To send this message via, change the '@' to a '%'
     and add the to the end:

     This means that you want to use the nameserver at Apple Computer
     instead of your local nameserver.
  9. How do I get a digest of the messages?
     To receive a digest (a single message containing all the messages
     posted during the current period), send the following message to
 10. Can I get just an Index of the messages?
     To receive an index of the digest (a single message containing all
     the messages posted during the current period), send the following
     message to
 11. How do I stop getting messages for a while?
     If you are going away for a while and don't want your mailbox to
     fill up with messages during your absence, send the following
     message to
     When you return, just send the message
     Messages will be delivered as before. It will not reset you back to
     individual messages unless that is what you were receiving before.
 12. Other Options
     More information of listserv commands can be found in the Listserv
     help file which you can retrieve by sending the message
------------------------------------------------------------------------- / V2.5 - 1997/04/21 /

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