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Are you researching family in Scotland, but stuck in Guam? One of the benefits of Internet genealogy is the ability to communicate with fellow researchers around the world; newsgroups and mailing lists are the tools that allow you to quickly and easily correspond with interested researchers. You may be asking, "Why not just use e-mail?" If you have a question, query, or a hot new genealogy source tip, you'll probably want to reach as many people as possible -- something that is difficult with e-mail. Newsgroups and mailing lists serve as a researcher's watering hole -- a spot where interested persons gather to share information. Whether you post a surname query, ask for research advice, or have questions about genealogy software, a kindred spirit is there to help you.

A Usenet Newsgroup (a.k.a. "newsgroup" or "group") is a topic-specific message conference. There are many flourishing genealogy newsgroups open to anyone with Internet access (some are available via BBSs to folk without Net access). The newsgroups reside in the Usenet portion of the Internet, and are freely accessible by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Your ISP "carries" specific newsgroups and allows you to "subscribe" to them. If you have not yet viewed newsgroups through your browser, you will need to know who your news server is (contact your ISP for help on getting your newsgroup function up and running). Once you have your browser ready to read newsgroups, you can select which groups you are interested in and subscribe to each one. Subscribing allows your ISP to remember which groups you are reading, to keep track of which messages you've read, and to display new messages.

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