I and a small group of cousins founded the Zachariah Dutton genealogy mailing list in June 1998 as a way to correspond as a group with other genealogists researching the family of Zachariah Dutton. There were increasingly a lot of us, about fifteen cousins in the beginning, and we had a lot to talk about, and I felt like we would dominate the existing DUTTON mailing list on RootsWeb and make ourselves unwelcome. So, I decided to start a start our own. At first, it was a manual list we copied and pasted to the “to” line, without membership management; as you might expect, this quickly became a problem. We moved to our own listserve at RootsWeb in July 1999.
We’ve had a lot of useful and productive discussion over the years on DUTTON-ZACHARIAH. Sadly, mailing lists are not what they used to be. Traffic on DUTTON-ZACHARIAH, as well as on other lists I have managed and been a member of, has fallen to almost nothing. Listserves may be the tools of a bygone era (though I observe they are still in use in the software development community). Listserves have been largely replaced by online forums, especially on megasites like Ancestry.com. I will continue to post announcements on DUTTON-ZACHARIAH, but I think the future lies in forums.
Still, there is a lot of useful information archived in the DUTTON-ZACHARIAH postings of the past. RootsWeb (and now Ancestry, who bought it) have thankfully archived the list and it continues to be accessible and searchable.