Search billions of records on




In the pursuit of family history, we are constantly sharing information with other researchers through the internet, using email applications. Often, we receive unsolicited email from commercial sources, which most people refer to as SPAM. Spam is an unfortunate side-affect of having an email account. Once your address is discovered by spammers, you may become the recipient of dozens of unwanted messages every day.

Fortunately, the organizations that develop email technology have provided a solution for this problem. Built into most email applications is a message filtering system, that can be set up to prevent spam from being delivered to your email address, or to bypass your inbox and dump it directly into your email trash can.

The sad reality is that few people fully understand the configuration of these email message filtering systems, and the unintended consequences of setting the spam filter to intercept messages from unfamiliar sources. Doing so may prevent you from receiving legitimate email messages -- specifically, messages from someone who may have important family history to share. If your filter is set to block email from all unrecognized sources, you will never know of that person's attempt to contact you.

My advice is to use the message filter judiciously, or not at all. If you receive fewer than a dozen spam messages a day, disable the spam filter and delete them manually. If you are receiving so many spam messages in a day that you have no choice but to use the spam filter, be sure to set the filter so it will allow incoming messages from addresses in your address book. Then check your address book to see that you have included the addresses from all your genealogy contacts. New messages from individuals not in your address book may still be blocked, however.

If you have changed your email address lately, be a courteous genealogist and let everyone know about your new address.

© 2008 Joe Defazio, Uncle Joe's Genealogy

back to Tech Info page