Thursday, March 15, 2007

Searching the Rootsweb/Ancestry Mailing List Archives

It has been very difficult to search the mailing list archives at Rootsweb/Ancestry in the past - you had to go year-by-year in a specific mailing list, or use Google to find archived mailing list posts.

Rootsweb has made the search much easier - see the Rootsweb Newsroom post at They have developed a specific search engine for the mailing lists at

Make sure that you click on the Advanced Search tab.

In the Advanced Search box, you can find words in the body of a message or in the title of a message, and limit the search to a specific author of a message (by inputting their email address), or on a specific mailing list, or on a certain date.

There are no wild card search capabilities, so you have to input specific words or phrases. It does accept a specific phrase in quote marks - like "cornelia bresee".

This is a major improvement to the search capability on Rootsweb, and is long overdue. Hopefully, they will improve it even more - I would love to have a search between specific post dates, before a specific post date, or after a specific post date.

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