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NEWSGROUP: news:alt.genealogy

Alt.genealogy is part of the Alternet, and not part of Usenet, the hierarchies which comprise the Big 8. It is very easy to start an alt group, and people looking for genealogy on the net started this newsgroup (and restarted it) when they could find no other newsgroup to feed their genealogical hunger.

Soc.roots and the mirrored mailing list, ROOTS-L, were the interesting place to be in the early days if you had access to newsgroups, but  the name soc.roots was not recognized by many as a genealogy list, and people would start using alt.genealogy until someone pointed them in the direction of the newsgroup where all the helpful people were sending a lot of messages to each other and where the Roots Surname List and the Roots Location List and some other tools were being used.  The posts to alt.genealogy would then dry up.

If you didn't have newsgroups access, you might very well have had access to a local BBS (Bulletin Board system) and there you you'd have found some very busy "echos", like newsgroups only quite different in the way they were transmitted and financed.

When the soc.genealogy groups were started, many who were upset at what had been done, went to alt.genealogy as a substitute for soc.roots.  Others used the soc.genealogy groups and hoped alt.genealogy would go away. It didn't, and today it is doing well as an all purpose list.

There is no history of votes and charters and mailing list gateways for alt.genealogy until 1987. At that time RootsWeb created a mailing list,, and Karen Isaacson became the list manager and RootsWeb provides its gateway to  netnews just as it provides those for the soc.genealogy newsgroups. Just as the soc.genealogy.* groups have had mailing list mirrors - and just as soc.roots has had ROOTS-L, alt.genealogy has ALT-GENEALOGY-L.

Although alt.genealogy has not been a part of the soc.genealogy saga, it is a newsgroup with a gateway to a mailing list and is a member of the online news community. There are other newsgroups, also and it may well be we'll see mirrors of those quite soon.

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The ALT-GENEALOGY-L mailing list was formed at RootsWeb sometime in 1997.


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The current list manager is Margaret Olson.

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