I take a somewhat more expansive view toward what constitutes genealogical
evidence than the JewishGen policy or its moderators seem to recognize. It
may be that the genealogical utility of the unfamiliar or unconventional isn't
always appreciated by those who haven't yet used it--as in a recent post to a
list by as eminent a genealogist as Gary Mokotoff, who opined that he couldn't
see the relevance.of Sanborn insurance maps to genealogy--a source of data
I've found invaluable in determining the kind and quality of housing our urban
ancestors lived in, and the physical characteristics of the sweatshops where
many of them worked.
That said, I greatly appreciate the efforts of John Lowens and the other
moderators for the clutter they keep off these lists, making the archives a
valuable and useful permanent reference.
What I would suggest is allowing first-time posts of information
and inquiries relating to particular customs, folklore, religious
practices or other cultural manifestations, particularly when known
or suspected to have an association with a particular locale, group
Invite ***private e-mail responses*** to the sender
***with copies to the moderator, ***
and request the initial sender to summarize responses
and findings for the list.
This practice has been generally followed on this list, with benefits to all
The one modification I am suggesting in the past practice, with apologies to
John for any added burden it might involve, was suggested by his invitation on
the instant matter to copy him on the replies.
I can foresee replies that would provide valuable insights for everyone on
the list. That has certainly been my experience with discussions of
"non-genealogical" practices and customs that have been allowed through on
this list, or that I've found on other unmoderated lists (among all the chaff).
The reason for a copy to the moderator is that some insights could get overlooked
in a summary, particularly by someone with limited experience, but the moderator
would be in a position to identify and post to the entire list discussions of how
knowledge of these "non-genealogical" family traditions can help us establish
family and locality links.
If the administrative burden is not too heavy, this could give us members the
best of both worlds--on-topic moderation as found on jewishgen, and the
unlimited outpourings found elsewhere on the Web, which in spite of their
disorderliness can occasionally give us new insights that might otherwise
never have occurred.
Donn Devine Wilmington Delaware USA DonnDevine@aol.com