Bones Collector

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Ancestor Searching Newsletter, Volume 1, # 11

Usenet Newsgroups are message groups set up for messages based on a particular subject matter. These are open forums that may or may not be moderated. As far as genealogy is concerned with the Usenet “hierarchy” system, the bulk of the newsgroups will be found in the soc.genealogy.* and* groups. (The asterisks indicate a specific topic such as soc. genealogy.ireland or Currently, there are more than 250 genealogy-related newsgroups, although, most of the surname groups have been moved into the RSL (Rootsweb Surname List) at

… and to actually search the RSL, you’ll want to go to

More than one (1) million surnames can be found on the RSL database.

If you subscribe to a newsgroup, you may want to remain in the background (a.k.a. lurking) to learn the ins and outs of the group. You should locate the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to gain information about the particular group, the rules, restrictions, etc.

All messages to the groups are archived so even without be subscribed, searches can be made for that ancestor, book name, location or any other text that may have been posted to the group. Rootsweb and Google Groups maintain the archives for the Usenet Newsgroups.

Here are some of the basic steps to adhere to for successful posting to a group.

·Use a descriptive subject line

  • Stay on-topic
  • Do not use ALL CAPS IN YOUR MESSAGE (This is considered ‘shouting’)
  • Quote a brief portion of a senders email to aid the continuity of a subject (a.k.a. ‘thread’) but DO quote
  • Keep your ‘signatures’ to a minimum
  • Don’t respond to off-topic messages, flames, abusive messages, commercial spam, etc. If a response is necessary, do so privately and not to the list.
  • Be prepared for ‘flaming’ if engaged in a controversial subject but remain calm. Again, if you do respond to someone, do so privately.

Genealogy Workshop

Fact: The Deja News Research Service was an archive of messages posted to Usenet discussion groups, started in 1995 by Steve Madere in Austin, Texas. By late 2000 the company, in financial distress, sold the service to eBay, who incorporated the technology into their service. By 2001 the search service was shut down. The archives were acquired by Google and reintroduced as Google Groups. Archive coverage was extended back to 1981 with the addition of collections from private sources. Longtime users sometimes refer to the resurrected archive as "Dejagoogle" or "Gooja."

Tip: To view a list of genealogy newsgroups, go to John Fuller’s site at

Genealogy News

Plans are underway for the annual spring seminar of the Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society. The date is Saturday, March 31 from 9 AM to 4:30 PM in the Auditorium of the Main Library. The cost is $35 which includes lunch. Shirley Wilson, former President of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society, will be the featured speaker. She has also authored several family history and county record books.

The Huntsville Genealogical Computing Society has the following programs coming up in the next few months. February 19th, Howard Blood will be presenting ‘Illnesses of our ancestors’; March 19th, Pat Kyzer with ‘Live on the Internet; April 16th, A members ‘Show and Tell’ of computer genealogy items and May 21, Pat Kyzer ‘Introduction to Power Point’. Their meetings are held on the third Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library, 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville, Alabama. All visitors welcome.

FGS/NEHGS Conference Recordings

From the New England Historic Genealogical Society's website "FGS/NEHGS Conference Recordings Now Available." Thousands of people attended the recent FGS/NEHGS conference in Boston and had the opportunity to see and hear first-rate presentations made by leading experts in the field from several countries. But with hundreds of sessions to choose from they weren’t able to hear every session in which they were interested. And many genealogists were unable to attend the conference and missed out on hearing these excellent presentations. Thanks to modern technology, genealogists everywhere can now hear most of the lectures presented at the conference.

Many of the sessions were digitally recorded and are now available from the Federation of Genealogical Societies. More than 220 sessions from expert genealogists, including staff members of the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Archives of England and Wales, Library and Archives Canada, the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston, and, of course, the staff genealogists at NEHGS. Family historians everywhere can now download these sessions and listen to them in their own homes.

Individual sessions can be downloaded for just $1.99. Special packages of 15 sessions are available for $25 – a discount of 17% off the usual price.

Once you download the sessions you can listen to them on your computer, iPod or other MP3 player. Visit to download your sessions now. If you have any problems or questions about downloading, please contact the FGS office at fgs-office [at]"

Tennessee Confederate Pension Applications

If you have Tennessee soldiers who received a Confederate pension, you'll want to check the State Archives site at Unlike Georgia, Tennessee has only the index of Soldiers and Widows Applications. However, you can order them from the Archives using their online form at

Richmond Newspaper Database, 1860-1865

From the website: "The Richmond Daily Dispatch is the result of a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and collaboration between the University of Richmond, Tufts University's Perseus Project, and the Virginia Center for Digital History. There are currently 1384 issues of the paper available online, ranging in date from November 1860 through December 1865." Take a look at

Fantastic research database!

General Record Office - English Database

The General Register Office (GRO) in England has announced that a contract has been signed to digitize the birth, marriage, and death certificates that start in July 1837. For more information see

These are crucial records for finding and documenting families. Indexes are available on film or fiche in select libraries. Searching is tedious because each year has four A-Z indexes, one for each quarter of the year. A recent online project, FreeBMD, is a quicker way to search an index but is not complete.

Certificates are not available to the public and have to be purchased through the General Register Office. A "green paper" - requesting that certificates be released to the public - was submitted to Parliament more than 15 years ago. It is good news to hear that the GRO will make them available.

NEHGS Journal on CD

The New England Historic Genealogical Society published its 150+ years of its journal in CD form, and has also added it to its website.

Marie E. Daly
Director of Research Library
New England Historic Genealogical Society
101 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116-3007
mdaly [at] nehgs [dot] org

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