Genealogy Research with Usenet Newsgroups

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. Usenet hosts a variety of newsgroups related to the topic of genealogy and extensive research by the newsgroup community has expanded genealogy research since 1995.

On Usenet, the basic objectives 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
  • Date and place of death

Historically, genealogy has been a very important fields as family connections between nobility were crucial to the idea of inheritance and the passing down of titles and ruler ship. As an example, if a king had no direct heir, the next closest heir would have to be found. Detailed genealogical records ensured that the passing down of titles would never have to rely on incomplete facts. Despite this, many differing genealogies would often crop up, allowing multiple people to lay claim to a title of ruler ship or inheritance.

With Usenet, genealogy is now much easier to research than at any other time in history. Despite the rather large amount of false information that pervade the online genealogical world, Usenet and corresponding Newsgroups cater to many legitimate and incredibly valuable resources available, allowing people who, fifty years ago, would have had to spend many years tracking down their family roots to do so in months, or even weeks. The affordability of genetic analysis has also opened new doors in the field of genealogy, letting normal people access hard evidence of a connection to another person or family branch. While genetic analysis isn ‘ t entirely accurate, it is so close that it is considered by most people to be certain evidence of a family connection.

Genealogy Newsgroups BasicsTop

Usenet has long been a great resource to connect to a newsgroup community that’s active and specific to your interests. The following guide will help you with the basics on getting started with your Usenet account.

Accessing the thousands of newsgroups Usenet has to offer have some essentials to consider

Usenet Account – In order to access newsgroups, you’ll need an account with a newsgroup server provider. They will supply you with a username, password and a server address. You’ll need these in order to set up your newsreader.

Newsreader – A newsreader is a software program that will act as your primary gateway between you and the Usenet community. With the supplied username, password and server address, you’ll be able to browse newsgroup categories and groups and download messages. We suggest Outlook Express to access these groups.

Using Outlook Express, please follow the directions below.

For Vista Users, you can set up Windows Mail for Usenet access

1) Open Windows Mail and go to ‘Tools’
2) Click on ‘Accounts’, and a new screen will appear
3) Click on ‘Add’ on the right side
4) Select ‘Newsgroup Account’ and click ‘Next’
5) Enter your name and then click ‘Next’
6) Enter your email address (this is a necessary step in the program in order to post to Usenet, but will not be displayed when browsing Newsgroups)
7) Enter the server address (NNTP). The address can be found below.
8) Click on ‘My news server requires me to log on’, then click on Next
9) Enter in the Username and Password found below, be sure to that ‘Remember password’ remains checked and click ‘Next’
10) Congratulations! You’ve set up your account. Press Close.

To access Newsgroups

1) Go back to ‘Tools’
2) Click on ‘Newsgroups’
3) Select the Newsdemon Server on the left. This will automatically download all groups of this server
4) Double click on each group you prefer. Once completed, Press ‘Go To’. This will automatically download all of the messages for each of the subscribed groups.
5) Click on each group on the left hand side to browse the contents of each group. This works similarly to your regular email, where the groups of messages for a newsgroup are shown in the middle, and clicking on a message will be displayed in the lower middle half of the screen.


For Mac Users, we suggest MT-NewsWatcher. Instructions on how to set up your newsreader can be found here.

Genealogy Sub-Topic NewsgroupsTop

Some time ago, during the infancy of Usenet, only one genealogy Usenet newsgroup existed: soc.roots. As more genealogy researchers began to participate, messages were posted to the extent the newsgroup became overwhelming with genealogy sub-topics . Since then, a variety of newsgroups dealing specifically with the sub-topics of genealogy were created and continue to bloom in Usenet today.

Soc.genealogy.computing is one of the most popular genealogy newsgroup that covers information about various genealogical programs and topics, mostly concerning software assisted genealogy research.

Accessing Genealogy on Usenet Top

In order to access these newsgroups, its required to have access to Usenet. NewsDemon provides a free public server for this purpose. Just use the nntp address, login, and password below. 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 (retention).

It is recommended that a premium Usenet providers is used, such as provides, in order to properly access the rich information available on genealogy that Usenet can provide. 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 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 can be found here. The video tutorial walks the user through installation and set-up of Newsrover.

Once you have your Usenet account and Newsreader set-up, you can search for Genealogy Newsgroups that meets your specific needs. There are a variety of active Genealogy Newsgroups on Usenet. Here is a list of specific topic Genealogy Newsgroups you may be interested in.

List of Genealogy Newsgroups Top

To access these newgsroups, you will need to have nntp server access.

Use the server info below to access Genealogy Newsgroups through the FREE public access news server:

News Server Address (nntp address):
NNTP Port: 119
News Server Login: genealogy
News Server Password: newsdemon


alt.adoption Dealing with adoption issues, including searches for brith parents.
soc.adoption.adoptees Adobtion related genealogy newsgroup
General Genealogy Newsgroups
alt.genealogy General genealogy discussion newsgroup. Topics vary Genealogy general discussion group
se.hobby.genealogi Genealogy as a hobby
soc.genealogy.marketplace Services and Products serving genealogy interests
Local and Etnic Group Genealogy Newsgroups
alt.culture.cajun Cajun history, genealogy, culture and events newsgroup
alt.hipclone.genealogy.african African genealogy group
alt.hipclone.genealogy.jewish Jewish Genealogy disussion Newsgroup
alt.scottish.clans Scotland genealogy newsgroup discussions and topics
de.sci.genealogie Denmark genealogy researched topics
england.genealogy.misc Genealogy focusing on the region of England
fido.belg.fra.genealogy Belgium and France genealogy newsgroup
fido.belg.genealogie Belgium genealogy group
fido.eur.genealogy European genealogy
fido.eur.genealogy European genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.african African related genalogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.australia+nz Australia and New Zealand genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.benelux Genealogy newsgroup covering Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg
soc.genealogy.britain Great Britain UK and the Islands genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.french French genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.german German related genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.hispanic Hispanics genealogy newsgroup in spanish
soc.genealogy.ireland North and South Ireland genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.italian Italian geneaology newsgroup
soc.genealogy.jewish Moderated jewish genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.nordic Genealogy newsgroup spanning Denmakr, Faeroe Islands, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden
soc.genealogy.slavic Slavic genealogy newsgoup
soc.genealogy.west-indies West Indies genealogy
south-wales.genealogy Genealogy dealing with South Wales region
soc.genealogy.medieval AD500-AD1600 Genealogy
alt.obitiuaries Genealogy newsgroup relating to obituaries
soc.genealogy.methods Methods and resources for genealogy available on newsgroups
soc.genealogy.misc General topics of genealogy newsgroup
Military Related Genealogy Newsgroups
alt.war.civil.usa Genealogy newsgroup covering the Civil war Civil War related genealogy newsgroup Genealogy newsgroup relating to the US Revolution
soc.history.moderated Military related genealogy group
soc.history.war.vietnam Genealogy research pertaining to the Vietnam war World War II genealogy group
Software and Computers
soc.genealogy.computing Computer and internet genealogy newsgroup Norwegian technical/computer related genealogy newsgroup
soc.genealogy.surnames.britain Great britain surnames
soc.genealogy.surnames.canada Canada surnames
soc.genealogy.surnames.german German surnames Surnames central database
soc.genealogy.surnames.ireland Ireland surnames
soc.genealogy.surnames.misc Other regions not covered
soc.genealogy.surnames.usa United States of America surnames
Family Names Discussion group on the history of sur-names