Messages in the Mailing List Archives total 7.7 million e-mails from RootsWeb's 15,000+ archived mailing lists. Some of these messages date back to 1987. Many messages, even those a decade old, contain vital genealogical information.
There are currently two ways to search these messages.
The Mailing List Threaded Archives contains 2.2 million of the most
recent e-mail messages from all of RootsWeb's archived mailing lists. One
can search all of these messages with a single search at <http://archiver.rootsweb.com/search.html>
The Interactive Search of Mailing Lists provides access to all 7.7 million e-mail messages in the Mailing List Archives; however, the search process is more labor intensive. One must perform a separate search for each mailing list and for each year that such mailing list is archived. In addition, one must first know the name of the mailing list that one wishes to search. All genealogy-related mailing lists on RootsWeb are located at <http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/>. In addition to surname related lists there are regional, country, state, county, ethnic group, and topic-related lists. Once a list is located, the user can search it one year at a time at <http://searches.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/listsearch.pl>. Do not forget to search all the years for which the list has been archived.
When choosing a promising list to search, it pays to be creative and thorough. When looking for a particular ancestor, check out not only surname-related lists but also lists that relate to country of origin, places of habitation, migration routes, ethnic group, UseNet NewsGroup topics, and general interest topics (such as the Roots-L list at <http://searches.rootsweb.com/roots-l.html>). Wonderful gems turn up in the most unlikely places. Nevertheless, please remember that one must often mine a great deal of ore in order to find a diamond.
Good luck and good hunting!