If you’ve been researching your family history for say 10+ years, there’s a good chance you would have used the RootsWeb Mailing Lists as a way of communicating with others. You could put your query out there and others in the same group might be able to help with a response.

Ancestry has owned RootsWeb since June 2000, and it’s been a place to get help and help others on genealogy topics that interest you. Currently they list 32,740 genealogy mailing lists! And yes, I know not all are active, but certainly some are, and that’s what makes the following annoucement about RootsWeb mailing lists being discontinued rather sad.

The following is an annoucement from RootsWeb …

Beginning March 2nd, 2020 the Mailing Lists functionality on RootsWeb will be discontinued. Users will no longer be able to send outgoing emails or accept incoming emails.  Additionally, administration tools will no longer be available to list administrators and mailing lists will be put into an archival state.

Administrators may save the email addresses in their list prior to March 2nd. After that, mailing list archives will remain available and searchable on RootsWeb.
As an alternative to RootsWeb Mailing Lists, Ancestry message boards are a great option to network with others in the genealogy community. Message boards are available for free with an Ancestry registered account.

Thank you for being part of the RootsWeb family and contributing to this community.
Sincerely, The RootsWeb team

So yes, you’ll still be able to search all the old archives, which is good, because there’s a lot of useful queries and tips in those … but you won’t be able to post anything new.

From my own observation and experience over the past however many years … I was a subscriber to a lot of RootsWeb mailings lists … various country or regional specific ones, numerous surnames and others covering topics. Over the past maybe five years, there’s be a huge shift to Facebook Groups instead. I know there are still a lot of people not on Facebook, but there’s an awful lot that are, and that’s where I’ve seen the genealogy inquiry traffic go more recently.

So while we say goodbye to RootsWeb, the Ancestry Message Boards are staying, and there’s over 198,000 of those. So don’t forget you can use those to put your query out there and see if someone can help.

There’s also Groups.io as a place to check out. Dick Eastman has recommended those as a place for RootsWeb admins to reset up there. And from a quick look, I see that a number have already, and no doubt that list will grow. You can view the current list of groups here.