zieds1mazs2.gif (177 bytes)ROOTS=SAKNES zieds1mazs2.gif (177 bytes) Help






mazpuke3.GIF (425 bytes)  Discussion group ROOTS

Contacts of family history researchers are very useful, especially for beginners, though not only for them. Such contacts could be crucial if one has met a brick wall in the researches.

Enjoying the support of the academic network LATNET, I have launched the discussion group ROOTS. This group should become a place for the discussions mainly related to the general problems of family history research for the region of Latvia. Of course, the real problems of a particular family history to solve will be welcome, and the discussion on other matters touched in the Site ROOTS=SAKNES should be allowed as well. I hope that a number of researchers will join the ROOTS and the discussions in the group will be dynamic and to some extent even fruitful.


Moderation of the group
Languages of the group
What help is expected of the participants
How to compile a query to the group
How not to write the queries
How to subscribe, unsubscribe and mail

Other places where discussions are going on


Moderation of the group

The discussion group ROOTS will be moderated i.e. somebody will read each message to the group and will decide if it should be sent to the group members. The messages could be censored out which

  • are very far from any family history problems;

  • are too political; the current politics of any country is not discussed here;
  • are ordinary spam, commercial or non-commercial;
  • are offensive;
  • contain no information (facts);
  • are written in capital letters or in HTML;
  • seriously violate the general Principles of the Site.

The files attached to a message are not sent to the participants of the group but are displayed on the Site, if they correspond to the goals of the Site.

The moderation is needed mainly because spam should be excluded from the mail to the group. Unfortunately, any moderation slows down the exchange of messages so, please, allow some time for your messages to appear in the mailboxes of the participants.


Languages of the group

Restrictions on the languages used in the group ROOTS are not imposed. Anybody can freely write in any language, but, of course, if somebody choose a very exotic language, no discussion will arise and even the letter will not be published, because the moderator could suspect that the letter is very offensive. Of course, English is the preferred language and the answers to the queries will be mostly in this language, I think.

Also take into account that not all Internet users have the fonts of your best beloved language, so try to avoid special letters, including the Latvian letters with diacritical marks. To write in Latvian without diacritical marks seems to be a very bad practice, but, unfortunately, it should be accepted; some people double letters instead of supplying them with these marks. Please, use Latin letters, if writing in Russian, omit accents in French, write German without Umlauts etc.


What help is expected of the participants

I hope that the participants will ask questions to the discussion group, and I hope that the participants will answer the queries received. Do not fear to ask foolish questions, they are necessary for any discussion. Do not fear to give foolish answers, they are necessary for any discussion. Do not afraid to be not exhaustive, nobody will be; say what you know - your two cents are badly needed to gather a complete dollar. Remember that even a most advanced researcher with full access to all archives is not capable to discover the simplest facts you knew about your next door neighbors.

The participation in this group could cause more unwanted mail than you expected it should. Please, be tolerant, you never know which knowledge would help you in future.

In the real life the work with ROOTS=SAKNES is not my only occupation, I still have to participate in a lot of other activities to earn living, but I hope I could moderate the mails of the discussion group ROOTS by myself at the beginning and sometimes answer to the messages of the members. I hopefully predict that later some people would join the discussion group who would be ready to share the work in the moderating of the group. On the other hand, if nobody joins the group, no problems with moderating.

I will read each message to this discussion group no matter am I a moderator or not. If you wish to contact me, the author of the Site, send an e-mail to the discussion group. It is not supposed to write directly to another of my e-mail addresses, I am sorry. Take into account that the information received by the moderator can be send to the whole group, so deliver no secrets to him.


How to compile a query to the group

It is relatively easy to write a query concerning some history or other problems discussed in the Site ROOTS=SAKNES; you simply write what is the problem you are thinking about, obeying the general principles of the Site, however.

As the practice of other discussion groups shows, it is not very easy to compile a query concerning one's genealogy or family history. If you write this kind of query, provide all information you can - all names, all places, all information about emigration, marriage, religious affiliation etc. Do not forget to inform about the information sources you used and about what you have already tried to do in your investigations. Do not improve this information by you own decision, for example, there is no need to convert the old spelling of names into a more modern one, write the names down as they were in your sources, you will be forgiven for not being very modern, and, by the way, the old spelling of your name is a kind of culture heritage.

Be informed that you know about your ancestors much more than you think you do. All your information you may mail to the discussion group. Do not bother about being very concise, be informative. Make your problem clear - write what actually you wish to find.

It is a very common technical convention for family history discussion groups that the family names are written in capital letters. It is also highly desirable to write the names in the Subject line of your mail to make clear for anybody if your mail could be exceptionally interesting for them.

Please, sign your messages and mention your country. I think the country should be mentioned obligatory, the name could be missing, if you think you have reasons to hide it. It would be fine, if you could insert in your mail the information about your gender. Something like - I am a daughter/son of... or my husband/wife advised... etc. This is not obligatory, however; I just always try to imagine the person who wrote the message, and it is easier, if I know at least the gender, unfortunately some first names are not very informative in this sense.

Please, read your message before sending, and correct typing errors. Be careful with spelling of the names mentioned in the text. Funny, but sometimes people write even their own names with spelling errors. Never, never write Latavia for Latvia and Rega for Riga, if you wish to look serious.


How not to write queries

Avoid the texts like the following - I am researching my family history, any information about my grandmother would be highly appreciated. If the name of the grandmother had been added, the query would not become more fruitful.

Similarly, simple surname queries without any supporting information are strongly discouraged. They will not be censored out only in cases if the surname is really rare, but no success of such query could be foreseen. Nobody would like to spend time and efforts for digging up the facts you already knew though considered them unimportant, or preferred to keep secret, or were lazy to write on.

However, really challenging genealogical puzzles would be excellent, but in this case any smallest detail could turn to be awfully important, pay the greatest attention to them. Read the genealogical questionnaire in this Site or any other questionnaire you think is better; these questionnaires can help you to remember some details once heard and then forgotten.


How to subscribe, unsubscribe and mail

The ROOTS is managed by the computer program emzlm. The program finds managing commands in the addresses of received mails. To initiate the subscription to the discussion group ROOTS, one should send an e-mail to the address:


The text and the subject line of this e-mail have no influence on the further actions. The subscriber will be answered automatically and will be asked to accept the subscription once more. If the subscription is accepted, the address of the sender will be included in the mailing list. Further on the subscriber will receive all messages to the group ROOTS.

Mails for the discussion group should be addressed to:


When the time comes and the group should be left, send a message to


There is no difference in this case also what is written in the subject line and in the text area of this mail.


Other places where discussions are going on

The people interested in tracing their roots in the region of Latvia may use several Forums on the Internet:

- Latvia Page in the RootsWeb.
- Latvia Genealogy Forum
- Forum of the Latvians Online - Looking for Friends and Relatives

- Latvia Research List of the FEEHS (Federation of East European Family History Societies) (currently is not available)

- A forum of SIG Latvia maintained by Jewishgen for researchers of Jewish families of descent from Latvia.


© Bruno Martuzāns. 2003