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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2004-02-29 06:43:44
Subject: The GENEALOGY.EUR echo


Family history and genealogy are hobbies that are growing in
popularity in many parts of the world. Genealogy proper is the
study of people's lines of descent - who their ancestors were.
Family history is a bit wider - it is concerned not only with who
one's ancestors were, but with what they did, and how they
related to the communities they lived in.

When BBSs started, family historians quickly discovered that they
were a good way to communicate with others. When BBS networks got
going, they found it was a good way to make contact with people
in other places who could help them with their research, or even
to discover relatives. At a time when most people calling BBSs
were interested only in the technical side of computing and
computer communications, family historians provided a growing
body of non-techie users.

Nowadays all the glamour in computer communications is attached
to "the Internet", and many people have been gloomily (or
joyously) predicting the death of the BBS and the BBS networks.
Family Historians have also found uses for the Internet. They
have created Web pages to show their family trees, and there are
several Usenet newsgroups and mailing lists for family history.
But for those in the know, the relatively humble BBS echo remains
one of the best methods of communication. For one thing, there is
now just too much material out there. The newsgroups are huge,
and because they don't have "TO" lines, it is very easy to miss
replies to messages one has posted. On BBSs, offline readers have
developed sophisticated keyword searching which are ideal for
genealogist, and make it easy to find messages with surnames one
is interested in.


The first genealogy echo on Fidonet was in Zone 1, and its echo
tag was GENEALOGY. In those days of 2400 bps modems, it was too
big to transport economically outside North America, and most of
the messages were only of interest to people within North Amer-
ica. That's when the International Genealogy Echo (GENEALOGY.EUR)

The International Genealogical Conference started humbly as a
local conference on Capital ComTech BBS in Pretoria, South Africa
in June 1988 when Steve Hayes persuaded the sysop, Geoff Dellow,
to open a genealogy message area. In May 1989 Capital ComTech
joined Fidonet, and the genealogy conference became a national
echo on Fidonet within South Africa.

Africa was then part of Fidonet Zone 2, and in August 1989 Niel
Uys, the South African Regional Echo Coordinator, began sending
it to Germany, and because the echo was reaching Europe and
became the Zone genealogy echo for Zone 2, it was called
GENEALOGY.EUR to distinguish it from GENEALOGY, the North
American genealogy echo. A little later the UK was added, and
soon afterwards the Europe-South Africa link went through the UK.
In about September 1990 Zone 1 (USA & Canada) was added, and Zone
3 (Australia & New Zealand) joined in about the same time, and
Africa split from Zone 2 and became Zone 5. This makes the
GENEALOGY.EUR echo tag something of a misnomer now, though the
echo tag is not meant for human beings but for electronic
mailers. It has, however, misled some sysops into labelling this
conference on their BBSs as "the European Genealogy Conference".
This is incorrect, and it would be better to call it the "Inter-
national Genealogy Conference", or the "Genealogy and Family His-
tory Conference" or something like that. In the USA it might be
wiser to label it the "Foreign Genealogical Conference".


At the moment GENEALOGY.EUR is distributed in Zones 1, 2, 3 & 5.
It would be good if it could be distributed in Zones 4 and 6 as
well. Such an echo should be quite popular in eastern Asia, as
many eastern Asian people, particularly the Chinese, have tradi-
tionally kept good records of their ancestors.

So I hope that Fidonet sysops in all countries, on all
continents, will consider making the GENEALOGY.EUR echo available
to their users.

Steve Hayes of 5:7106/20
Moderator of GENEALOGY.EUR
E-mail: hayesstw{at}

29 February 2004
Steve Hayes
  E-mail: hayesmstw{at} - If its full of spam, see webpage. 

--- WtrGate v0.93.p9 Unreg
 * Origin: Khanya BBS, Tshwane, South Africa [012] 333-0004 (5:7106/20)
SEEN-BY: 633/267 270
@PATH: 7106/20 22 140/1 106/2000 633/267

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