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AfriGeneas Caribbean Research Forum

FAQ for Caribbean & West Indes


From: "Dean de Freitas"
To: CARIBBEAN-L@rootsweb.com

FAQ for the Caribbean-L Mailing List and soc.genealogy.west-indies

Summary

This document contains responses to frequently asked questions related to
genealogy in the Caribbean. Anyone wishing to post to the soc.genealogy.west-indies newsgroup or the associated mailing list,
Caribbean-L, should read this document. This information will be posted to the newsgroup / list on a periodic basis. The FAQ is also available on the World Wide Web at http://www.rootsweb.com/~caribgw/mailinglistfaq.htm

Suggestions are welcome and should be sent to Dean de Freitas at
deandef@bellsouth.net.

Chris Codrington and Margaret Olson contributed to the content of this document.

For general questions about Rootsweb Mailing Lists, check out the following FAQ's:

Mailing Lists - What are they?
(http://helpdesk.rootsweb.com/help/mail1.html)
Subscribing / Unsubscribing (http://helpdesk.rootsweb.com/help/mail2.htm)
Subscriber Questions (http://helpdesk.rootsweb.com/help/mail3.html)
Problem Solving (http://helpdesk.rootsweb.com/help/email.html)

For more information on USENET, try these links:

Usenet FAQ (http://www.ou.edu/research/electron/internet/use-faq.htm)
FAQ's by Newsgroup (http://www.faqs.org/faqs/)

Copyright 2002 by the CaribbeanGenWeb Project. All rights reserved.

This document may be freely distributed provided that the copyright notice is included. This document may NOT be included in any commercial publication without the express written consent of the CaribbeanGenWeb Project Coordinator.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the Caribbean-L Mailing List and the soc.genealogy.west-indies newsgroup? What is the the relationship between them?
2. How can I subscribe to the Caribbean-L List?
3. What are considered acceptable topics for discussion on this mail list/newsgroup?
4. I am a new user. What should I do to get started?
5. What is the "netiquette" for posting to this mail list / newsgroup?
6. What is the difference between a mailing list and a newsgroup?
7. Can I search old messages from the mail list or newsgroup?
8. Why doesn't the subject line contain a "prepend" indicating the name of the list like my other Rootsweb lists do?
9. I thought the list was moderated. Why does SPAM appear on the list sometimes?
10. Can I attach a file to the messages I post to the list?
11. Is there a surname index for this mailing list / newsgroup?
12. What is the difference between the Caribbean and the West Indies?

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1. What are the Caribbean-L Mailing List and the soc.genealogy.west-indies newsgroup? What is the relationship between them ?

The best way to answer this question is to provide a little history.
The soc.genealogy.west-indies newsgroup was created in 1996 as part of the
soc.genealogy.* heirarchy on USENET. A history of the soc.genealogy newsgroups can be found at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~socgen/index.htm.
The rationale behind its creation, and a copy of the newsgroup charter is located at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~socgen/Westind.htm.

The Caribbean-L mailing list was created at Rootsweb as a part of the CaribGenWeb Project. CaribGenWeb is one of many regions in the WorldGenWeb family and is an umbrella for sites dedicated to each of the countries in the region. The CaribGenWeb site is located at
http://www.rootsweb.com/~caribgw/.

In 1999 a vote was taken among the subscribers of the mailing list to determine if the list should be "gatewayed" with the
soc.genealogy.west-indies newsgroup to facilitate the flow of information and increase participation. The original post announcing the vote is at
http://searches2.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ifetch2?/u1/textindices/C/CARIBBEAN+19
98+20933358019+F, and the notification that the gateway had been implemented
is here:
http://searches2.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ifetch2?/u1/textindices/C/CARIBBEAN+19
99+21643360234+F.

For more on the gatewayed lists at Rootsweb, visit http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~socgen/Abtmail.htm.

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2. How can I subscribe to the Caribbean-L List?

Instructions for subscribing are located at
http://www.rootsweb.com/~caribgw/mailinglist.html

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3. What are considered acceptable topics for discussion on this mail list/newsgroup?

This group is for genealogical research related to the islands of the Caribbean. Posts about these topics must be relevant to Caribbean genealogy in some way. Acceptable topics include:

* Surname and family queries
* Historical information about the islands and their inhabitants
* Methods of research
* Sources of information
* Culture

Inappropriate topics or posts are:

* Posts that sell or advertise a product are not appropriate. Information
about the availabilty and price of a product or service related to the
topics above are acceptable.
* Personal attacks on individuals or groups or posts that are inflammatory
in nature will not be tolerated.

Violations of these policies may result in a report to the guilty party's Internet Service Provider (ISP).

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4. I am a new user. What should I do to get started?

The first thing that you should realize is that, for many reasons,genealogical research in the Caribbean is incredibly difficult when compared to resaerch in larger countries such as the U.S, Canada, or the U.K.
Archives are typically understaffed, underfunded, and disorganized. Stories
abound about invaluable historical documents piled in corners in old, non-climate controlled storage rooms. Vital records are also difficult to obtain, with Registrar's offices rarely responding to overseas requests for
documents. Professional researchers in the islands are also few and far between. The good news is that many records have been archived by the governments that once controlled the islands. The Public Record Office (PRO) in the U.K. is one such place.

That being said, the best thing to do is post a message on the list or newsgroup with as much information as you know about your ancestors and ask for guidance. There are regular contributors to the list with experience in many of the islands. Many times they can provide guidance on where to start.

Another tactic that increases your chances of discovering information is to post your interests in as many forums as possible. Surname lists and newsroups, bulletin boards, and regional groups dedicated to the "mother country" are just a few alternatives.

Most of all, be persistent. Many researchers have been contacted years after their original posts by new people just getting involved in their own research.

NOTE: If you are new to genealogy research online, please read "Getting Started" at http://www.woodgate.org/FAQs/new_user.html before posting to the list / newsgroup.

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5. What is the "netiquette" for posting to this mail list / newsgroup?

Netiquette guidelines for the soc.genealogy.* hierarchy will be followed in this group / list. Details are at
http://www.woodgate.org/FAQs/netiquette.html. A good source of information for general mailing list netiquette is
http://www.gweep.ca/~edmonds/usenet/ml-etiquette.html

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6. What is the difference between a mailing list and a newsgroup? Newsgroups
have been around a long time - way before Rootsweb - way before AOL and
Prodigy and the web. ROOTS-L and a newsgroup named soc.roots were formed
about the same time and were joined a bit later by a couple of pioneers into
a successful gateway which on very busy days got maybe 25 messages. It got
up to 100 a day by 1994.

To start with, newsgroups are not "on Rootsweb". They are on your ISP's
server or on servers at places like google.com. Newsgroups are anarchies
with nobody at all in charge. Messages are transferred around the net to be
picked up by servers in all kinds of places. Email is not involved.

I should say nobody is in charge of the unmoderated newsgroups, though the
mailing list does have a list manager who takes care of the RootsWeb
subscribers. Moderated newsgroups have moderators in charge - but they are
there because they were voted in when the group was formed.

Rootsweb has mailing list mirrors of all 25 of the soc.genealogy.*
newsgroups except for soc.genealogy.jewish and it has a mirror of
alt.genealogy. The mirror/gateway lists get all the messages which go to the
newsgroups and they post all their messages into the newsgroups. The very
reason for the existence of these mailing lists is to mirror those
newsgroups, so they live by newsgroups rules. Occasionally this causes a
problem. It is important that the mailing list readers understand that the
list manager cannot "do" anything about posts to the newsgroup.

Usually the gateways are invisible to the readers. Because of the anarchic
nature of newsgroups sometimes off topic messages get through which cannot
be controlled by a list manager.

Because newsgroups provide the "feature" of being able to crosspost to other
newsgroups, the worst problems come from troublemakers from the newsgroups
side of the gateway who purposely crosspost to unrelated newsgroups and
cause a whole lot of crossposted replies from people who are not reading a
genealogy group and may just love to argue or be vulgar. This does not
happen often, but when it does, the mailing list readers tend to make it
worse by yelling for the LISTOWNER TO DO SOMETHING which, of course, is
impossible and which makes the vulgar people get more vulgar if they see it.
A mailing list message will NOT get crossposted to the other lists, at
least, but quotes of it may.

Many mailing list subscribers are surprised to find their messages are on
newsgroups and vice versa. The connection, though, is beneficial to all. A
mailing list with 1000 subscribers possibly has 10,000 readers on the
newsgroup side of the gateway - maybe more.

(This information is from a posting by Margaret Olson to the Listowners-L
mailing list dated November 29, 2000. Reprinted with permission.)

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7. Can I search old messages from the mail list or newsgroup?

The mailing list messages are archived from 1998 to the present. They can be
searched interactively, or read in a "threaded" format by month. The
interactive search page is
http://listsearches.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/listsearch.pl?list=CARIBBEAN. The
threaded archives are at http://archiver.rootsweb.com/CARIBBEAN-L.

Newsgroup postings from 1995 to the present can be found at Google Groups
http://groups.google.com/advanced_group_search).

Posts made after the gateway was activated in 1999 should appear in both
archives.

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8. Why doesn't the subject line contain a "prepend" indicating the name of
the list like my other Rootsweb lists do?

The "prepend" option has been disabled on Caribbean-L to avoid confusion for
readers who access the posts through soc.genealogy.west-indies. This is
typical of all gatewayed lists.

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9. I thought the list was moderated. Why does SPAM appear on the list
sometimes?

The list is NOT moderated. The list is "closed", which means only
subscribers may post. The list is also gatewayed with the USENET newsgroup,
which is "filtered". While these tools keep most SPAM out, some postings can
get through these controls. The List Administrator will take approriate
action against any subscriber that violates the SPAM policy, but there is
not much we can do to stop the occassional newsgroup post that makes it
through the filters, except ignore it. Responding to offensive or
commericial SPAM messages only perpetuates them, so please refrain from
doing so

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10. Can I attach a file to the messages I post to the list / newsgroup?

No, all attachments are stripped from posts before they are sent to
subscribers on the mailing list. Attachments to posts on the newsgroup are
subject to normal USENET limitations.

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11. Is there is surname index for this mailing list / newsgroup?

There is no "official" surname index for this group. One of our subscribers
maintains a free list called CARSURDEX (CARibbean SURname InDEX) at
http://www.candoo.com/surnames/index.html.

Another useful resource is the Surname Helper
(http://surhelp.rootsweb.com/srchall.html), which allows a user to search
the Message Boards and Websites at Rootsweb.

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12. What is the difference between the Caribbean and the West Indies?

The difference is a technical one, and of minor importance in usage today .
The term "West Indies" refers to the archipelago of islands stretching from
Florida to South America. It is comprised of the Bahamas, the Greater
Antilles, and the Lesser Antilles. The term "Caribbean" refers to the region
of the world where the West Indies is located. These terms are
interchangeable in common usage.

In historical terms, the West Indies is divided up by their respective
colonial rulers. For example, reference is made to the British West Indies,
French West Indies, Danish West Indies, etc. Within this context, some
countries on the South and Central American mainland were included in the
grouping due to their close economic and cultural ties. One common example
is that British Guiana (now Guyana) was considered a part of the British
West Indies


Messages In This Thread

FAQ for Caribbean & West Indes

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
Copyright © 2002-2008 by AfriGeneas. All rights reserved.
AfriGeneas ~ African Ancestored Genealogy