Updates to the JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGenUpdates

Avraham Groll

Dear JewishGen Community,


As you know, our current/old Lyris discussion list platform is woefully antiquated. Among its many challenges are that it is not secure, and is no longer supported.  In addition, the platform’s archiving capabilities are limited, it requires messages to be sent in Plain Text, it does not support accented characters or languages other than English, it cannot display links or images, and it is not mobile-friendly, among other challenges.


This past Fall, our main JewishGen discussion group was migrated to https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main and has permitted us to engage with new and current JewishGen members in more dynamic and engaging ways. Here are some of the exciting features on the JewishGen Discussion Group:


  • A simple, secure, and intuitive interface that is mobile friendly.

  • In addition to English, you can post messages in other languages 

  • Messages can have attachments, and display hyperlinks, photos, and images

  • You can include formatted (bold, italic, underlined, accented) characters


What happens now?

We are in the process of retiring all SIG/Topical Discussion Groups. Beginning today (Wednesday  03/25/2020), the JewishGen German (GerSIG), Rabbinic, YizkorBooks, and Early American Discussion Groups will be retired. All messages to these groups will be re-routed to the main JewishGen Discussion Group. We will schedule the retirements of the other SIG/Topical Discussion Groups shortly and will notify members of those groups when these Discussion Groups will be closed.


When my SIG/Topical Discussion Group is retired, will I need to join the Main Discussion Group?

No. If you are not already a member of the Main Discussion Group, your account will be automatically migrated.


Will I be able to search the archives of old SIG/Topical Discussion Group messages?

Yes. As you may know, the archives have been broken since the fall of 2018 and inaccessible to most people. With our new system, we have made all the messages available and easily searchable. 


That’s great! How far back do the archives go?

All messages are available since 1998.


How Do I Search The Archives?

There are a few ways:

  • Visit https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main, scroll down to the list of “top hashtags” and click the hashtag that applies, such as #Germany, #Rabbinic, #Belarus, #Ukraine, etc.

  • Visit https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main. On the left side of the page click “hashtags” and then click the hashtag that applies.

  • Visit https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main. On the left side of the page click “messages.” Use the search box to enter any text you would like to explore, and choose the hashtag that applies from the “Hashtags” drop-down menu. You can also scroll through messages by date, even without searching for a specific text.


How Do I Post Messages to the Main JewishGen Discussion Group and make sure they are categorized properly?

It’s easy! In the subject line of your message, simply add a hashtag for the relevant country or region at the end of your subject line, such as #Bessarabia, #Hungary, etc. For example, if your subject is: “Resources in Berlin”,  you should list it as: Resources in Berlin #Germany.


What if I forget to add the Hashtag?

Our moderators may add it for you!


I am still confused about Hashtags. Do you have any more information about how to use them?

Yes. We have created a brief guide to using Hashtags here: https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main/wiki/HASHTAG-GUIDE


I still have questions about the Main Discussion Group. Is there any more information about the New Discussion Group?

Yes. We have created a Member Guide which is accessible here: https://groups.jewishgen.org/g/main/wiki/The-New-JewishGen.org-Discussion-Group-Member-Guide 


We also prepared specific Guidelines for participating on the Main Discussion Group which are accessible here:



What if I still need help? Is there anyone available to help me get used to the new system?

Yes! A number of individuals have volunteers to help anyone in need. Please email support@... for additional information.


A final note about the JewishGen Research Divisions (formerly SIGs)

Although the mailing lists are being transformed, and the SIGs are being transitioned to Research Divisions, the resources of the various JewishGen SIGs are still available on their websites and through the JewishGen databases at:  https://www.jewishgen.org/databases


This change comes as a result of our strategic plan to modernize our systems and to make JewishGen more robust, sustainable, and easier to use, and we would like to thank everyone who has played such an integral role in getting us to this point. 


If you have any questions in the meantime, please email support@....


Avraham Groll                  

Executive Director             


Nancy Siegel

Director of Communications

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