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.