15 March 2009

Newsgroups: A genealogy collection

Do you know how many genealogy newsgroups there are? If you don't, then newsgroup provider NewsDemon.com certainly does and provides free access to them.

Genealogy newsgroups tackle such categories as adoption, general genealogy, local and ethnic group genealogy, miscellaneous, obituaries, military, software and computers, surnames and families by country and by specific name.

Jewish resource newsgroups include soc.genealogy.jewish (moderated Jewish genealogy newsgroup).

Tracing the Tribe has received a press release from NewsDemon.com specifically pointing to an extensive collection of genealogy-related newsgroups, and making research easier with free access to a large offering of topics.

To use newsgroups, you need a Newsreader to download messages. NewsDemon.com offers Newsrover free with membership. See the set-up tutorial here. It also provides a free public server - use the nntp address, login and password found here.

UPDATE: I have attempted to download and install, but am running into problems. I have already heard from NewsDemon support and will inform readers of the solutions. I have also indicated to them that their current black background makes for very difficult reading for many people - me included.

Here's the press release - follow the links for more information.

Genealogy is the study of a family ’s lineage and ancestry. Genealogy covers everything from a family tree to when and how people lived almost a century ago. The word genealogy is derived from the Greek, and means the study of family history and descent.

On Usenet, the objective of genealogical research is to identify ancestors and their family relationships. At a basic level, identifying and recording the family tree by determining such things as date and place of birth, names of parents, date and place of marriage, names of children, and date and place of death.

NewsDemon.com also helps educate USENET users about newsgroups. The site provides a directory of topics and has collected thousands of pages of information about the newsgroups within the topics. When you click on a link, you can drill down deep into a topic until you eventually find the charter for the groups under that topic. A charter is the "set of rules and guidelines" which supposedly govern the users of that group.

Genealogy Research with Usenet Newsgroups With Usenet, genealogy is easier to research than at any other time in history. Despite the large amount of false information online, Usenet and corresponding Newsgroups cater to many legitimate and incredibly valuable genealogy resources available. This helps people who, fifty years ago, would have spent years tracking down family roots do so in months, or even weeks.

Accessing Genealogy on Usenet In order to access these newsgroups, it's required to have access to Usenet. NewsDemon provides a free public server for this purpose. Just use the nntp address, login, and password
found here. No strings attached. Although some internet service providers allow free access to these newsgroups, many times messages are incomplete or scrambled, or they only cover a very small timeframe.

It is recommended that a premium Usenet provider such as Newsdemon.com be used, in order to properly access the rich information available on genealogy that Usenet can provide.

Newsdemon.com provides free access to these genealogy newsgroups and paid access to 1000s of other newsgroups, completely uncensored. Additionally, text newsgroups range to about 800-1000 days old. These newsgroups allows members to access messages and follow forum-type conversations more than 2 years old, an important factor when following genealogy topics and conversations.

Secondly, you will need a Newsreader, a client that downloads the messages and organizes them accordingly, to access genealogy newsgroups. With Newsdemon.com Usenet access, Newsrover, an award winning Newsreader is available free with membership. A tutorial on how to set-up Newsrover for Usenet and Newsgroup access is also available. The video tutorial walks the user through installation and set-up of Newsrover.

For more information on the genealogy newsgroups, click on the press release link above and follow the additional links to learn how to access Newsgroups and set up the Newsreader for Outlook Express, Vista and Macs. A tutorial on how to set-up Newsrover for Usenet and Newsgroup access is here.


  1. Hi Schelly,

    When online text is hard to read because there is not enough contrast with the background color, I highlight the material (as if to cut or copy), and the text usually becomes much more legible.

  2. Schelly

    I may post in-depth as a "how to" article about using groups and Google Reader. I was just able to enter soc.genealogy.jewish in the Add A Subscription field in Google Reader. And voila! There seems to be an RSS feed for the group. This would allow me to read new postings to the group while I also read all my blog postings rather than install a new reader.

  3. Thomas, that's a great idea! Thank you for adding that information.

  4. Shoshana - I've done that for a few lines, but it is annoying for entire webpages. Website designers should balance a "cool" look with bottom-line practicality and take both demographics and disabilities into consideration. I certainly believe that a good designer can produce a sharp-looking site without using a hard-to-read black background.