Self Seekers Newsletter, Jan. 1999



Tim W. Seawolf Self    
Barbara Ann Peck
Volume 2, no. 1   January, 1999
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Welcome to the fifth issue of the quarterly online newsletter supplement to "Self Portraits: The Self Family NetLetter," the Website dedicated to Self family research at

You are receiving this newsletter because you were kind enough to join "Self Seekers: The Self Family Association." We appreciate all of your contributions, large and small, and we hope you will continue to support our page, our surname list, and this newsletter.



We would like to have your gedcom so that we can add your information to our database. With your permission, we will also list and distribute your gedcom on request (but only with your permission). Please send us gedcoms so that we can start a library that will help others. If you've already submitted one, kindly re-send so that we will have the latest information. We would appreciate being kept informed of new family members as well as other changes.

If you haven't joined our Self Surname Mailing List yet, please subscribe. Instructions will be found on the main page of our Website. Note that we also host the Swindle Surname List as well as listservs for Erath County, TX., King County, TX., Murray County, GA., Grayson County, TX., and Clay County, NC. In addition, we host the King County, TX, Murray County, GA, and Clay County, NC USGenWeb sites.

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas? We did! We received many good wishes and cheer from our cousins that truly reinforced our belief that we have the very best extended family in the world! Our most important New Year's Resolution is to continue to serve you in this last year of the century and, if possible, do an even better job! Perhaps your own resolutions might include telling us how we can enhance our offerings and providing us with some new photos and articles for our April newsletter.

Because this newsletter is available in Web page format, we hope that you will find it easy to send mail to us or to view material from our Website simply by clicking on the links.


Membership fees remain the same in 1999: Regular Member, $12 and Charter Member, $25. If you are a Patron Member, your initial contribution is gratefully acknowledged and good for the lifetime of the "Self Seekers" association.



by Barbara Peck and Tim Seawolf-Self

Most Self Seekers members are subscribed to the Self Surname ListServ, also known as the Self Surname Mailing List. It is one of many genealogy e-mail lists set up to facilitate discussion among those interested in a particular surname or geographical location.


The original Self Surname ListServ resided on the old MAISER network. It was hosted by Cousin Debbie Malec, one of the first people who contacted us when we began "Self Portraits." She told us about the possibilities of using the list as a means of meeting new cousins and obtaining information on various Self branches. However, there were several problems with the MAISER list. One was the lack of publicity. Another was the complexity of the listserv software: commands were difficult to use and remember and often did not work properly.

In 1997, MAISER was hit with a massive SPAM attack and the listservs were shut down. RootsWeb generously offered to provide a home for those that dealt with genealogy and related history topics, and most listservs were moved to its Servers. When Cousin Debbie chose to concentrate on other areas of research, we were approached as the most likely hosts for the Self Surname Listserv. The memory of the frustrations we encountered in our attempts to use the MAISER list was still fresh in our minds, so we initially declined. But we soon realized the value of providing an interactive service for our cousins. We became RootsWeb Sponsors and began hosting the first of what would soon become a family of seven listservs.


A successful listserv depends on five things: publicity; ease of use; the responsiveness of the listowners(s); subscriber participation; and the availability of past postings.

Good publicity is no longer a problem for listservs. To find out what lists live on the RootsWeb Server, go to and click on "MailLists." If you cannot find what you're looking for there, John Fuller maintains a site at which details genealogy listservs from all sources, even those accessed through telnet and ftp. "Self" is indexed at both of these sites. The availability and/or subscription instructions are usually listed on the surname or county page complemented by the listserv; and sometimes information about related listservs are included as well.

There is a variety of listserv software in use today. Most of it is user-friendly, and all utilize similar procedures. Subscription to all RootsWeb lists, for instance, consists of sending a message to the Server in a prescribed format. To join the Self ListServ, you would send your message to (substite "D" for "L" if you want the "Digest Version"), leaving the subject line blank and placing just one word (SUBSCRIBE) in the body of the message. The signature would also be excluded. Posting to the list is easy, too. Send your message to if you are subscribed to the Digest Version. The only thing you need to remember is that the added word "REQUEST" is ONLY part of the address when you want to REQUEST an action from the Server, such as in the subscription example above. To unsubscribe, you would also include the word "REQUEST," but the word in the body of the message would now be UNSUBSCRIBE. Other Servers may have software packages that work in slightly different ways.

Hosting a listserv can involve as much or as little time and work as you care to invest. Some listowners simply deal with rejected mail and problems with subscribing and unsubscribing. On the Self List, we take a more personal approach. In addition to the machine-generated "welcome" from the Server, we also send out a personal greeting to new listmembers. We keep a master database of all subscribers as well as a column for subscribers in our Self Cousin Database. We make it a point to get to know you and the research you're doing. We want you to get to know us, too, and we're always here if you need to contact us directly.

One thing the listowners cannot do all by themSelfs is generate traffic. Roll calls and provocative questions can be overdone unless they are initiated by someone other than the listowner. The best way to keep things going is for subscribers to participate actively in the list. It is ALWAYS a good idea to post your Self ancestry frequently. Another good idea is to post other topics of interest to Self cousins--relate some family anecdotes, describe life in the county where your ancestors lived, or tell us your theories about the relationship of early Selfs.

RootsWeb has recently added a search engine that will allow you to search the Archives for past postings to any of their listservs. And if the list was previously part of the MAISER system, those older messages are archived and searchable, too.


There are a few things that can go wrong on a listserv. Here are some common problems and an explanation or solution to them:

1. If you cannot subscribe or unsubscribe from the list
a. Make sure that you have sent the command to the right address. For SELF it is always or
b. Do not use a signature or place anything but the word "subscribe" in the body of the message
c. Unsubscribe from the list if your e-mail address changes, and resubscribe under the new address

2. If you are inadvertently unsubscribed from the list
a. This usually indicates a problem with your mail. Possible causes:
i. You did not unsubscribe when you went on vacation and your mailbox is full
ii. Your Server is down or rejecting mail addressed to you If there is a problem with your mail, messages sent to you as part of a list posting will "bounce" back to us. You may not be aware of the problem, and the troubles may be transitory. When this happens, we cannot write to you. Unsubscribing you from the list may be our only way of notifying you that you cannot receive list mail.

3. If you are having problems posting a message to the list
a. Be sure you are subscribed. SELF is an example of a "closed" list. Only subscribers may post to it. This "closed" status is a precaution against SPAM. In December 1998, RootsWeb closed all its listservs.
b. Check to see that your message has been sent in "Plain Text" format. RootsWeb will not allow posting in "HTML" or "fancy" formats. This is because some e-mail programs cannot interpret graphic messages, and reproduce the message with lots of coding.
c. Do not send attachments to the list. Attachments may contain viruses, especially if they did not originate from your computer. Some e-mail programs will have a problem handling graphics and display rows of garbage on your screen.
d. Do not send long messages; break them up into several postings since messages "bounce" when a fixed length is reached.

4. If you are having a problem replying to a posted message
a. Many listowners ask that replies be sent directly to the one who posted the original message. Some listowners are so insistent about this that RootsWeb reflects this preference in a default: clicking on Reply will automatically place the name of the person who posted the original message in the TO line. We encourage you to post to the list, but to do so, you will have to remember to change the TO line to

5. If you are not receiving messages
a. Please do not assume that you have been unsubscribed. Do not try to resubscribe just because you've had no messages for awhile. If you are unsubscribed for any reason, you will receive a notification of this action and be invited to resubscribe if you'd like to do so
b. Post your ancestry to the list and see if you get a copy of your message returned to you--receiving this message will verify that you are still subscribed to the list
c. Check to see if your ISP is having/has had problems
d. Write to us to determine if RootsWeb has had problems


The listserv is a very versatile tool for communicating genealogical information. It can serve as a "bulletin board" where you can post queries, ask questions, and receive replies instantly or as a pleasant surprise in the future. While we can't provide the downloading of gedcoms or other files on our ISPs' Servers for security reasons, you can use the listserv to share your "family tree" with others as long as you place no more than the contents of one page at a time in any single message. And finally, the listserv can also become a chat room. There is nothing wrong with asking: "Is anyone on line now?" and beginning an interesting Self discussion on the list or with arranging a specific time for a group "chat" in real time much as you would set up a "conference call" at work. You will not be limited to time slots set by your hosts and can "meet" with others 24 hours a day.

Enjoy our Self ListServ, and try subscribing to the listservs of counties where your ancestors lived. Be creative and contribute as much as you can by posting as often as possible. And as we always say: most of all, have fun!

(NEXT: USGenWeb Sites)



by Barbara Peck and Tim Seawolf-Self

This article is presented as a brief guideline for all of our cousins who are concerned and/or confused about the use and distribution of material on the World Wide Web. It is based only on common sense and courtesy. It is not intended to be a discussion of copyright law. A good site providing links to copyright law on the Web is [Now no longer a valid site] Or you can use your favorite search engine to locate others not included there.


Copyright is someone's sole right to publish or distribute intellectual property or to allow others the right to do so. Copyright is a way to protect material from misuse and to guarantee that any profits derived from the publication or distribution of this material accrues to the individual or corporation holding the copyright.

There are two kinds of copyright. One is a formal process that involves sending a copy of your work together with an application and registration fee to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In return, a certificate is issued that may be used as proof of copyright. The other is called "statutory copyright," an informal but natural right of the creator to his or her work. People sometimes place a copy of the work in a sealed envelope and mail it to themSelfs, leaving it unopened when it arrives. In case of a legal dispute, this sealed copy is supposed to serve as an inexpensive counterpart to the government certificate. In truth, though, statutory copyright exists the moment a work is created, even without supporting documentation other than the work itSelf. How statutory copyright would actually be considered in a court of law is a topic for discussion with your attorney.


Copyrighted material is sometimes referred to as "intellectual property," a "work," or a "creation." This material is the unique, original, creative "brainchild" of an individual or a group. Examples of such works would be short stories, novels, magazine or newspaper articles, songs, poems, paintings, artistic photographs, drawings, animations, and cartoons.


"Self Portraits" has a long "disclaimer" at the bottom of the main page, and one at the bottom of each issue of the Newsletter. Some of the wording is applicable to copyright. When reading these portions of the disclaimer, it is clear that some parts of our Website are protected by copyright, but these parts are not specifically identified for two reasons: 1) "intellectual property" will be added and deleted over time; and 2) there may be quite a few such items at any one upload. The paranoia surrounding copyright infringement is so great that many people are afraid to use anything from a Website for fear that they will be "stealing" something that belongs to someone else.

The "intellectual property" on "Self Portraits" and in our online "Self Seekers" Newsletter consists of anything that is our own creation or the creative work of someone else. Our creations are the actual format of the site and its subpages and any articles, free text, music, or original artwork featured there. The creative work of others is any article, poem, drawing, photograph, or other original piece. These items are not limited to pieces initially intended for our Website. They also include graphics or text republished with permission from other Websites or print resources.

The remainder of the information on our site is material which exists in the "public domain." There are three kinds of items in this category. The first is information collected at public expense such as Census records, Vital records (names and dates), and statistics. The second is any work which was once copyrighted but has now passed into the public domain. The length of time for protection has changed in recent years, so you need to know something about the history of a creative work before you can assume that it is now public property. The third is any work which is designated as being "free for use" by its creator. A good example would be a collection of computer graphic images included with a software package or on a Website featuring "freeware." In some cases, though, the use of such pieces is conditional, the most common limitation being confinement to non-commercial projects.


The elements of a Website are often mixed together, making it difficult to tell whether they are protected by copyright. Here are some considerations:


Protected: Layout and design; Title/subtitle
Unprotected: Links
Conditional: Background--protected if created by the site owners

The format should be considered as a whole package. For instance, your search engine may turn up many sites entitled "Self Portraits," but they are clearly not our site, nor do the site owners wish to purposely confuse anyone. Spelling variations are usually acceptable ways of presenting similar titles--netletter, newsletter, Webletter, news, newspaper, and netnews are all unique words. Most genealogy sites have sections for queries, photos, and writings. The existence of these sections are not unique, but the placement within the layout and the leading text and creative content are protected when taken as a whole.


Protected: Text written by site owners belongs to them. Textual material submitted by cousins belong to those cousins. Textual material previously published belong to the original creators
Unprotected: Lists, charts, tables, of Census records, Vital records, or statistics

It is always wise to get permission to reprint a creative work, especially if it was published previously on another site or in a print source. While the names, dates, and other elements (i.e., dwelling number, age, occupation, etc.) contained in the lists, charts, and tables above fall into the realm of public domain, accompanying explanations, notes, and interpretations are the property of the person who wrote them.

Sound and Graphics

Protected: The guidelines for text apply here
Unprotected: Freeware

Again, get permission to use a unique sound or graphic. If you use freeware, find out if there are conditions attached.

Recently there was a discussion on a genealogy listserv involving professional photographs. It was determined that although the subject of these photographs (or their families) paid for them, the photographer was still technically the owner of the work he/she created. The old photos taken by professional photographers and featured on most genealogy websites have long since become part of the public domain, and publication simply depends on the permission of the person who now has possession of them. Studio portraits taken today may have other guidelines for use which should be researched and checked with an attorney when any doubt remains.

Genealogical Information

Protected: Writings containing genealogical information. Charts containing genealogical information. Gedcoms containing genealogical information
Unprotected: The names and dates contained in such writings, charts, and gedcoms

No one can copyright names and dates as they appear in public records. This information can be freely extracted from writings, charts, and gedcoms. No one owns this information exclusively--it belongs to all of us. However, reprinting or distributing those writings (or large portions thereof), charts, or entire gedcoms in their original format is not advisable without first getting permission since they constitute a unique, creative package for the author's research.

Always include a byline for all original material you did not create yourSelf. This is usually the sole requirement of the creator when permission for use is granted, as long as republishing does not involve the sale of this material.

Hopefully this short article has shed some light on the confusion surrounding copyright on the Web. Although the Internet is a medium distinct from traditional print sources, the same basic considerations apply.

(NEXT: A Tale of Three Websites)



by Barbara Peck

We all know a little bit about him--his name was Robert Selfe, and he was the progenitor of most of the Southern branch of the Self family in the United States. He appears to have been married twice to women named Mary and Jane, and he had at least six known children--sons--Francis, John, Stephen, Christian, William, and Robert (we all have our theories from there based on actual documents or "best evidence"). He paid passage to the New World for 6 unrelated people. And, finally, tradition says he came from the County of Wiltshire in England.

Even before genealogy became the popular hobby it is today, Self descendants have tried with little success to find out more about Robert Selfe's early life and ancestry. There were indeed Self(e)s in Wiltshire long before Robert Selfe came to America. In addition to hearing about parish records copied from Wiltshire archives and the rise and fall of false hopes, we ourSelfs viewed some material from the Collection of Col. Awdry (see our first Newsletter, v. 1, no. 1, Jan. 1998) which, though tiny, badly filmed and highly illegible, gave a chart of the Descendants of Edward Selfe. There was no mention of a Robert Selfe there. Correspondence that I have had with modern-day Wiltshire Selfs has shed no light on this mystery.

In the past few months, an increasing number of cousins have written to us, trying to find Robert Selfe and their English roots. We've seen quite a few gedcoms on the Web that purport to go way back in time, even to Roman days--and while we wonder how their compilers got this information, we also wonder why a man born in England in the mid-17th Century should be so difficult to find.

Perhaps we've been looking in the wrong place.

Just because Robert Selfe may have lived in Wiltshire previous to his departure for America doesn't necessarily mean he was born there or that his family came from there. We're all asked outright from time to time, "What is YOUR theory about this line or that line?," and most of us don't mind answering that type of question as long as we qualify that reply with the caveat that it is only a theory and needs proof to back it up. So, here is mine, for what it is worth...

Two summers ago, Tim and I spent a lot of time at our local LDS Family History Center in Hemet, California. We saved to diskette every Self descendant in the latest edition of the "Ancestral Search" database and incorporated these families into our own records. Then we turned to the IGI (International Genealogical Index) for the United States and the United Kingdom and saved everything there pertaining to Selfs as well. When I finally had a chance to look closely at the wealth of information from the UK IGI, I made three important generalizations: 1) it is very difficult to match up families and follow a logical line of descent; most are quite fragmented; 2) if all the claims of Scottish and Irish backgrounds are true, they are not reflected in the IGI; and 3) Self families in England liked to move around within that country as much as American Selfs later moved from state to state, making their trails difficult to follow. Considering this last observation, it is then possible that Robert Selfe's family did not come from Wiltshire originally; or that they came from Wiltshire, moved elsewhere, then returned, or that only Robert Selfe decided to live there for a short time before departing for America.

By now, anyone who writes to me on a regular basis knows that I place a lot of emphasis on given names--at least before the 19th century when most Selfs went by their middle names. While early families on both continents had an overabundance of Johns, Williams, and Henrys, the Selfs are especially confusing with their continual use of less common names such as Job, Presley, Elijah, Charnock, and Ezekial. But knowing that those will appear quite often, I really take notice when a much more unusual name shows up in two different places.

One of the English Self families listed in the IGI caught my attention because it contains given names used in early American Self families, too--but used sparingly--as well as other names found more often among our Robert Selfe's descendants. Here is the entry:


He m. ---.


1. John c. Dec. 9, 1582
2. Thomasyne c. Aug. 31, 1586
3. Christian c. July 17, 1588
4. Lucy c. Nov. 23, 1589
5. Henry c. Apr. 17, 1603 d. young?
6. Anne c. June 17, 1604
7. Robert c. Mar. 9, 1605
8. Henry c. May 17, 1607
9. Walter c. Mar. 19, 1608

The two names that stand out immediately are Christian and Walter. There are a few (but not many) Walters among the early Virginia Selfs; but only one Christian appears in Robert Selfe's own family, and likewise only this one appears in all the English families I have collected so far. Note also that there is a Robert, but since our forefather died about 1716, it seems doubtful that the Robert above could be the same person. However, if the estimates of our Robert Selfe's birth (1637) are correct, he could have been the son of any of the male children listed above...or, of course, the names could be misread, made up, misinterpreted, or just coincidence. Theories have no substance without concrete proof.

The English family of Walter Selfe lived in London. If you ever visit there or know someone who is going there on a genealogy trip, it would be interesting to investigate this family further and see if there are any more clues to suggest a link between the old world and the new.

(NEXT: Loose Ends)


What would you like to see here? This space is reserved for any topic of interest to Self cousins. Express YourSelf!!

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Some parts of this newsletter contain information contributed by individuals. The editors may not monitor or censor the information placed on these Pages. We do not invite reliance upon, nor accept responsibility for, the information posted here.

Each individual contributor is solely responsible for the content of their information, including any and all legal consequences of the postings. We are in no way, in whole or in part, responsible for any damages caused by the content in this newsletter or by the content contributed by any person.

We do not warrant, or guarantee any of the services, products, or information used for these pages. We do not make any warranty, expressed or implied, and do not assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any of the information disclosed in this publication, or represent in any way that the use would not infringe privately owned rights.

NOTICE: The information in this newsletter is Copyrighted, and must not be used for any commercial purposes or republished in any form without prior permission. This newsletter is copyrighted, except where previous copyright applies.

Copyright 1998-1999 Tim Seawolf-Self and Barbara A. Peck, All Rights Reserved

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