Is there a good reason for NOT having surnames in signatures?

You dang tooting there is a special purpose.

I like to think it is self-preservation. <g> (Yourself???)

EVERY message that is posted to a mailing list hosted by RootsWeb is archived. You can search this message database for surnames you are interested in.

Let's say you are a regular user of GEN-NEWBIE and a couple of other mailing lists, to which you post an average of about 3 messages a day. And you insist on adding a half-dozen surnames to your messages, something you have been doing for the past year.

Let's further suppose one of those surnames is PENCE and I set out to search the RootsWeb archives for messages with the surname PENCE in them (not that I ever would, but many people do). After encountering the 865th message you have posted, all with the surname PENCE -- ** and not a darn bit of other information that gives me the slightest clue about the who, what, where and why of your PENCE research ** -- I might be inclined to head your way with fire in my eye! <g>

You may have noticed that one of the rules of this List is that you should not post surname lists in your signatures. Aside from the fact that a surname by itself is an almost worthless clue, the reason we are asked not to do that is out of consideration to other researchers. Don't burden them with 1,896 messages that include nothing more than a surname.

I "collect" Pences - that is, I track any all pence records - but I sure don't respond to anyone who includes that and nothing more in a surname search line. A fruitless effort.

So, for those of you who insist on putting a surname search list in each of your messages, do your fellow researchers a favor and disguise them up with spaces or other special characters so they don't mess up everyone else's search efforts.

Who knows. You may want to search the archives for one of your surnames some day. Would be a shame if you get only your our surname lists back! <g>

Contributed by: Richard A. Pence


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