Listowners-L ArchivesArchiver > Listowners > 1999-10 > 0939441909
From: "George W. Durman" <>
Subject: RE: Combining Lists
Date: Sat, 09 Oct 1999 00:05:09 -0400
At 09:56 PM 10/8/99 , Peter Blades wrote:
>I do not understand the need to have every surname spelling
>represented as a separate List where a differant spelling can
>be proven by documentation to be an accepted variations.
>Surely a 'newbee' putting a surname into a search engine can
>be pointed to an existing List which services all the spelling
>variations. These variations often started with entries made
>in early documents by semi-illiterate scribes, and may then
>have been compounded if copied and adopted as the correct
>spelling by an illiterate person viewing this document.
Peter, I have made the same argument. I even suggested something similar to
what you proposed -- have ONE List that encompasses ALL of KNOWN variants of a
surname. Set up Rootsweb so that when a "newbie" types in a variant of a major
surname List, he/she is taken to a page where it is explained that, for
example, "The surname for which you are searching is a variant of the surname
BROYLES, and any email discussing that surname should be conducted on the
BROYLES Mailing List. Other variants of the BROYLES surname are BROILES,
BROYLE, BROYLS, BROILE, BRILES, BRILE, BRYLES, BRYLE, BREYHEL, BRUEL, BREUL,
You are 100% on target with your explanation of semi-illiterate scribes in
places where official documents are recorded. It was (maybe still is)
especially bad when the immigrants were German, for example, and the
English-speaking scribes had to transliterate the German name into English;
they usually wrote it down as they "heard" it, not necessarily as the German
himself pronounced it. In my example above, most descendants of the one
immigrant who is the progenitor of hundreds of thousands of Americans with some
variant of the name, use the name BROYLES, but..... all the rest are also
descendants. I think it ludicrous that I have to run two Lists, one for
BROYLES and one for BRILES. If enough people do a search for BRYLES or
BROILES, then I guess Rootsweb will insist on two new Lists to cover those
My problem with Rootsweb's approach is that we need to keep all descendants,
with various spellings of their surnames, on ONE List, so that they can get the
most benefit. For example, if some people, named BRILES, use ONLY the BRILES
List, they will certainly miss out on some VERY important discussions on the
"main" BROYLES List. As other's have suggested, many users post duplicate
emails to BOTH Lists, which creates redundant email for those who subscribe to
both Lists. It's just not sound logic to use the approach that Rootsweb has
chosen. Oh, I know, they did it originally to have as many Lists as possible,
so they could brag to prospective advertisers about how many umpteen tens of
thousand Mailing Lists are run by Rootsweb, thus gaining more revenues. Sad,
>I would not be able to subscribe to a multitude of surname
>variations (especially if each was very active) in addition
>to trying to follow several county Lists (which to date have
>not split into towns!). And a set of GenConnect Boards for
>each variation - you have to be joking! If it is too made
>complicated and researchers may not subscribe, rather they
>will just search the Archives from time to time.
Again, you are 100% on target!!!!! Rootsweb has not only made it difficult for
users, they have created a nightmare for those of us who maintain the Lists and
ESPECIALLY for those of us who maintain the GenConnect Boards.
>This practice of splitting surnames known to be recognised
>variations really has made things unnecessarily complicated
>for researchers and has apparently alienated many Listowners.
>There are obviously some cases where similar names have
>incorrectly been incorporated as a variation in the past
>"just in case it maybe one of ours." Previously requests were
>made to include (in GenConnect up to five?) variations in the
>List write-up and these were never challenged.
You used the keyword "recognized" above. That has always been my point. If
certain spellings are "recognized" as actual variants of a name, those minor
variants should be included in the "major" List and NOT spun off into separate
and distinct "minor" Lists. I took over the BRILES List and GenConnect Boards
since I wanted to "keep all the eggs in one basket". As each new subscriber to
BRILES joins up, he/she is advised of the "major" List and Boards and
eventually conducts his/her research on the "major" board. Therefore, the
BRILES List has very little participation. It's still there, but not used
>An experienced surname researcher would be aware of all of
>the spelling variations and surely this knowledge should be
>passed on to the 'newbees' as soon as possible. If several
>'Surname' books, or common-sense, told 'newbees' of agreed
>variations the RootsWeb Lists must surely confuse them again.
Amen!!!!! The Common Sense approach is thwarted and discouraged by Rootsweb,
leaving the "newbies" in confusion, at least until they find out that most of
the research dialogs are being conducted on the "major" List and Boards.
>I do not understand the reason for this duplication. Surely
>it is not to generate additional sponsorship fees from the
>same name? Surely the members of a given surname List could
>confirm valid variations.
You are arguing with logic, which seems to have no place here.
>Sorry to disagree with you Joan - still friends?
I, too, have disagreed before, and I "think" Joan and I are still
|RE: Combining Lists by "George W. Durman" <>|