JewishGen Discussion Group 

Guidelines and Instructions 

The JewishGen Discussion Group is a lively online forum for JewishGen researchers of all levels, whether beginners or experts, to share information, receive answers to questions, and participate in the JewishGen Community. Also, all postings back to 1998 have been archived and are searchable, creating an excellent resource for your research. If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to join!

Join the Discussion Group. 

Go to the Discussion Group’s Main Page by clicking the CONNECT button on the Homepage of JewishGen’s website or via this link:

  • Scroll down the page and click on the blue button labeled “Apply For Membership In This Group”. (If there is no blue “Apply” button, it means you have already joined the Discussion Group and simply need to log in by clicking the green “Log In” button. If there is no green “Log In” button, it means you are already logged in.)

  • When you join the Discussion Group, you will be asked to create a password. The Discussion Group and the JewishGen website are separate programs. You may, however, make the Discussion Group password the same as your JewishGen account password, if you choose to do so—making it easy to remember. Or, you may create a unique and different password for the Discussion Group. If you forget your Discussion Group password, you will be prompted to create a new one when you try to log in.

If you have questions or need assistance in using certain features of the Discussion Group, contact the JewishGen Support Desk at:

To ensure a productive Discussion Group, there are some simple rules and guidelines to follow:

     1. Topics and Moderation

Posts must relate to Jewish genealogy. We do not discuss religious or political issues. Experienced Moderators, who are JewishGen volunteers, review all submitted messages to ensure that posts are civil and related to Jewish genealogy, and are appropriate for the purposes of the Discussion Group. Moderators will not edit the text of your postings. Any typos or grammatical issues or misspelled words are the responsibility of the sender, but the Moderators may reject and return posts for correction.

     2. Message Delivery - Subscription Formats

There are several different modes of delivery for the Discussion Group postings. The messages are the same regardless of the delivery mode — only the formats and reply features differ. The Daily Summary, which is emailed to you once each day, is the default format, used by more than 80% of the Discussion Group participants. For instructions on how to view or change your subscription, click here.

      3. Logging In:

We urge all Discussion Group members to log in. While you can read messages and post email messages on the Discussion Group without being logged in, you must be logged in to access all of the Discussion Group’s features, such as the ability to reply to messages and to view full URL links and email addresses within a message. 

To log in, go to the Discussion Group Main Page by clicking the CONNECT button on the website’s homepage or via this link:  Scroll down and click the green “Log In” button. If there is no green “Log In” button, it means you are already logged in. For detailed instructions on how to log in, click here.

      4. Posting a New Message:

There are two ways to post a new message: 

  • Or post your message directly online via the Discussion Group Main Page. Click New Topic on the sidebar on the left side of the Main Page (or for mobile devices, click the “pen in the box” icon at the bottom of your screen) and create your message using the form provided. You must be logged in to access the New Topic feature. For log-in instructions, click here.

  • To review sample messages, click here.

Note: All new messages and replies require your “signature,” first and last name. See paragraph 8 below for more details. 

     5. Subject Line

Please use a descriptive subject line so that other subscribers can determine if your message will be of interest to them. Subject lines such as “Help” or “Travel plans” or “My grandfather” or “Translation needed” are not descriptive. Better would be “Help needed reading ship manifest” or “Seeking recommendations for Belarus tour guide”, or “My Grandfather STEIN from Warsaw” or “Translation needed - Russian”. 

Hashtags are used to classify messages. Please add the appropriate hashtags (see below) at the end of your descriptive subject line. Just inserting hashtags on their own, without a descriptive subject line, is not acceptable and won’t provide enough information for Discussion Group members to determine if a message is one they want to open.

Moderators may ask senders to modify vague subject lines to add clarity or they may make minor modifications to the subject lines themselves.

     6. Hashtags #:

Hashtags are required on all new postings. Hashtags help Discussion Group members determine if a message will be of interest to them and are also used for message classification, to make the postings more searchable. 

Please add the relevant hashtags at the end of your subject line on new postings, such as:

  • Translation Needed - Russian #russia #translation

  • Berlin Street Names #germany” 

Discussion Group Moderators may add missing hashtags as needed or may return to sender any messages lacking hashtags, asking the sender to add them. To maintain the usefulness of our hashtags, only authorized hashtags may be used.

Please include a descriptive subject line (see above) in addition to the hashtags. Just inserting hashtags on their own, without a descriptive subject line, is not acceptable and won’t provide enough information for Discussion Group members to determine if a message is one they want to open.

Hashtags can also be used to search for archived messages that use the same hashtag or to block/mute topics in which you are not interested.

For more detailed instructions regarding hashtags, click here. A list of authorized hashtags can be found on the Discussion Group Main Page.

     7. Replies:

Before replying to a posting, consider whether your reply will be of interest to the entire group or only to the sender of the original message. If you subscribe to the “Daily Summary”, you can reply to the sender of a message rather than to the entire group by clicking “Private” at the bottom right side of your reply text box. When replying to a message, please refer to the original message in your reply so that your reply has context and is more meaningful. One or two word replies to the Group, such as “Yes”, “No”, or “Thank you”, will be rejected by the Moderators. For further information on how to reply, click here.

       8. Signature

New messages and replies require your “signature”. Messages that lack a signature will be rejected. Please insert your first and last name at the end of your new message or reply. It’s helpful, but optional, to include your email address and city of residence under your name, but do not include street address or phone number. 

To avoid having to remember to do this each time, you can create an automatic signature. For instructions, click here.

You may occasionally include under your name some of the surnames and towns you are researching, not to exceed four lines. We encourage you, however, to use JewishGen’s Family Finder for this purpose, instead.

      9. Surname Format

It’s helpful, but optional, to use UPPER CASE when typing any of the surnames you are researching. Please do not use upper case for other words.

      10. Archived Messages

All messages since 1998 are archived and can be searched via the Discussion Group Main Page, providing an amazing research tool. You can search more than 650,000 messages by hashtags, dates, names, countries, topics, etc.  For detailed search instructions, click here.

      11. Commercial Posts

We welcome other organizations to share commercial offers as long as they are related to Jewish genealogy, and that those posting them do not abuse the privilege. Commercial posts should not repeat more than once every three months.

      12. No Fundraising Posts

Please do not post fundraising requests for other organizations. They will be rejected by our moderators.

      13. Images/Files

You may attach images and files to your messages (if a file is too large, we might resize it, or ask you to upload it somewhere else, and provide a link).

      14. Languages:

The official language of the group is English, but we can accept messages and content in most languages. If posting something in a language other than English, please provide a sentence in English describing the content.

      15. Links

If posting a link to a website not in English, please provide a description of the content. In order to see a full link or email address listed by someone else, you must be logged in to the Discussion Group. If you are not logged in, links will appear truncated. See the Logging In section above.

      16. Disclaimer:

Please note that JewishGen does not independently check the accuracy of information that is contributed/posted. Each member of the JewishGen Discussion Group, as a condition to be a Member, hereby disclaims and releases JewishGen from any liability based on the use and posting of any information on this Discussion Group. 

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact:

Thank you in advance for contributing to this amazing online community! 

[Updated 10/10/21]

Last updated: