Related Help Pages:
Updating Your E-mail Address
Updating Your Postal Address
Resolving Bad E-mail Addresses


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Resolving Bad E-Mail Addresses

Every researcher at some point will be frustrated because they find a lead that looks promising, but can't reach the author (of the query, Web page, family tree, mailing-list message, or database) because of a bad address. If your message is returned, or the person doesn't write back, what can you do?

RootsWeb does not maintain an index of alternate addresses. However, below are some helpful hints.

Be patient, try again.

Please allow for some lag in response time from the other researcher. They may be on vacation, ill, or away from their keyboard for some other reason, for an extended period of time. RootsWeb cannot control whether or not the submitter chooses to respond to you in a timely manner, or at all.

If your message was returned because of a full mailbox, or other temporary reasons, try again in a few days.

Check back periodically to see if they have updated their address. It may take a while for them to remember all the various places they have posted.

Leave a trail for them to find you.

If they posted to a mailing list or a message board, post a response. They may see it and connect with you. Or ask if others may know of a newer address.

If applicable, consider leaving a Post-em Note so they know you are researching the same line or individual. It can be a brief note saying only that you are working on this individual too, or very detailed.

Let others know what you are researching. Register your name in the RootsWeb Surname List (RSL), post your family tree in the WorldConnect Project, create a home page, join a mailing list, post to a message board, etc. Active researchers will find you, perhaps even the one you are searching for. Those that contact you may know of the other researcher and have a newer address.

Become a detective.

All genealogists are detectives at heart. If you do not have the patience to wait for an updated address, then now is the time to put those skills to work.

Is there a link to their homepage, or a link to their family tree in the WorldConnect Project? If so, go check it out; there may be an e-mail link that is different than the one you have. Do they have a guestbook? If so, consider leaving a note for them.

Think of where the other person may have posted while doing their research. What surnames were involved? What locations? Perhaps they posted to a message board or a mailing list. Search through the archives to see if you can find a more recent address:

Mailing Lists: Interactive Archives Search
Mailing Lists: Threaded Archives
Message Boards: Simple or Advanced Search

Think of other sites they may have left queries on, or posted to. Each county of the USGenWeb Project provides a place for queries. Perhaps they posted on one appropriate for their research.

Be creative. If they are working on the same lines you are, they are probably using the same resources. Where did you leave a trail?