|Official WVGenWeb logo.||Lesley Shockey
Guidelines for Volunteers and Coordinators of the WVGenWeb Project
If you are not a prospective or current volunteer of the WVGenWeb Project, use the Back button of your browser or click WVGenWeb_Project to exit this page.
The WVGenWeb County Coordinator's Guide was prepared as a "headquarters" for all volunteers of the project. It addresses common concerns and provides instructional assistance to all volunteers, current and prospective. As new concerns arise, the Guide will expand. If you have a question that is not addressed here or by the USGenWeb, please contact the webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org
WVGenWeb volunteers defined:
For more information about volunteering for the USGenWeb, see http://www.usgenweb.org/volunteers/countypage.html
As of 12/23/08, there are no counties in West Virginia available for adoption.
If there is a particular county in WV that you would like to coordinate in the future, use the Volunteer Form to make your wishes known. Your profile will be placed on file so that you can be contacted if and when that county becomes available for adoption. In the meantime, we hope that you will volunteer your assistance in other areas of the project.
Special Projects are on-going and this is where the help of volunteers is really needed. If you have a few minutes each week during which you can transcribe documents or provide lookups, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Only through the help of volunteers are we able to provide more information free and fast.
If you have a pet project in mind, one that you would like to see online here and are willing to administer, let us know! Complete and submit the Volunteer Form with all pertinent information. All projects will be considered.
Volunteers may do unlimited lookups if:
1. The look-up volunteer holds the copyright to the source -or- has written permission
from the copyright holder to use the source for look-ups (written permission does not
2. The look-up volunteer uses public records from their own research.
Volunteers may do limited lookups if:
1. The request is for one full name (two for married couples only);
2. The information shared is paraphrased and the source is cited; and
3. The information shared is factual data and kept at a minimum.
Please review the section on Copyright Infringement under Prohibitions, outlined below and at http://www.usgenweb.org/volunteers/copyright.html
Overview of Requirements for WVGenWeb County and Special Project pages:
As a Coordinator, you should be courteous, quick to respond and assist your visitors to the best of your ability. You aren't required to do research for your visitors but you do need to point them in the direction of finding answers.
For consistency and uniformity, county pages must be named XX County WVGenWeb, where XX is the name of the county you administer. Proper page names for county sites are:
If you are creating a Special Projects page, you may name the page according to the type of project it is but you must prominently display the words "WVGenWeb Special Project." Proper page names for Special Projects are:
Note that there are no spaces between WV and GenWeb or between Gen and Web. Please go back through your pages to insure that your site adheres to the "no-spaces rule." The following are examples of prohibited uses of the name:
The USGenWeb logo must be displayed on the index page of every county site.
A WVGenWeb logo should be displayed on the index page of every county site.
IBM-compatibles only (non-Macintosh computers):
1- place your cursor over the logo
2- click the right mouse button and scroll to "Save picture as"
3- save the image to your hard drive or floppy disk
MAC users only:
1- hold cursor over the logo until a pop-up menu appears
2- click on "Save Image"
3- save to your hard drive or floppy disk
Size = 146x83.
* The USGenWeb logo is also available in different sizes at http://www.usgenweb.org
The query page is the crux of every WVGenWeb county and special project site. Posting queries is the means through which researchers connect with each other already armed with information such as surnames and locations. The elements of a good query are (a) name of the researcher (b) e-mail address of the researcher (c) surnames being researched and (d) the query itself which should contain a time-frame, first names of ancestors and the type of information sought, such as birth, death or marriage record.
There are several ways to set up your queries. Here are the two most common.
1. E-mail is the simplest way to receive queries from visitors yet it can be the most time consuming when posting them to your site. Thus the advent of the query programs mentioned above. Visitors to your query page are compelled to read through every query in order to locate surnames and other researchers of a particular person or line. On one hand, this is good. On the other, some visitors pay for internet service by the hour and they don't want to spend several minutes browsing through queries that do not apply to them. To help make your visitors' search quick and productive, you should place the surnames included in the query in all caps at the beginning of each query.
2. The Rootsweb Message Boards provide an easy way for users to post their queries direct to the appropriate county. These Message Boards can be linked to the county email list. If you admin BOTH and they are identical in scope, write to: email@example.com and request that the gateway be turned on. Also, make sure you have checked off the box on your tools page for the list to allow message boards posts to come through the list. If different persons administer the Board and the Email list, then it is necessary for the two to work together. The Email list admin must ask the Message Board Admin to request that the gateway be turned on. You can find the various Message Boards for West Virginia counties at: http://boards.rootsweb.com/localities.northam.usa.states.westvirginia.counties/mb.ashx
The name and e-mail address of the County Coordinator, Co-coordinator, if any, or Special Project Coordinator must be prominently displayed on the index page of your web site. If you feel compelled to use an alias, then so be it, but you must provide a way for visitors to contact you with questions, suggestions, concerns or complaints.
You are not required to provide your street or post office box address. This is discouraged.
1. Provide a link on every page in your site back to your index page. Experience teaches that search engines often index every page in a site. Some visitors may begin their search at your Query page and without that "back to XX WVGenWeb" link, they'll have to struggle to locate other pages within your site.
2. Provide a link from your index page to the main WVGenWeb state page. That link broadens the research horizons of every visitor to your site. The URL is http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvgenweb
3. Provide a link to the WVGenWeb Archives for your county. The URL is http://www.rootsweb.com/usgenweb/wv/wvfiles.html. Locate your county in the table and copy it's URL.
Subscribe to the WVGEN-L mailing list. This list is for the exclusive use of the State Coordinator, Assistant State Coordinator and all County Coordinators. It is used for communicating updates, discussing web site administration and for seeking help as well as advice from fellow coordinators. It is not open to the general public.
Send and email to WVGenWeb State Coordinator
There are only two reasons why you should unsubscribe from the WVGEN-L mailing list: (1) you have changed e-mail addresses, or (2) you are no longer a county coordinator.
Click here and
Type only the word unsubscribe in the message area.
Leave the "subject" window blank and omit your signature.
Hit "Send." You'll get a message very soon confirming that you are no longer subscribed to the list.
Add new queries to your site frequently. Once a week may suffice but updates should occur at least once every five days. Folks who submit a query come back to see if it has been posted: They become anxious or even frustrated when it takes several days to finally find it.
1. Provide links to neighboring counties, especially parent counties.
2. Provide addresses and links, if available, for historical and genealogical societies, courthouse and libraries for your county.
3. Provide a Surname page or list of surname researchers, a county history page, a map of your county or outline location of your county within the state of West Virginia.
4. Provide basic county history such as the date of formation, parent counties, the county seat, courthouse information, cities and towns in your county and years that records are available.
5. Provide a list of Lookup Volunteers and their sources.
6. Subscribe to the WVxxxxxx-L mailing list for the county or counties for which you administer a web site. For example, if you are the CC for Fayette County, join the WVFAYETT-L mailing list. This enables you to know what's going on in your county, to assist and direct potential and frequent visitors to your site, and to recognize the need for certain elements in your web site, i.e. a Surname page, a history page, map, etc.
Visit http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/ for more information about regional mailing lists available at Rootsweb.
7. Search the net for new links to add to your county page.
8. Correct or eliminate broken links.
9. Create a "text-only" page for those visitors with slower or less powerful machines.
10. Place a copyright notice on your page. After all, its your creation. However, anything submitted by contributors remains their work. That includes queries, photographs, self-compiled data, etc., etc. You can't take it with you when you go.
11. Check your pages in the more popular browsers to ensure it looks just the way you designed it in all of them.
12. Read the USGenWeb By-Laws at http://www.usgenweb.org/official/bylaws.html
This is a major concern for the WVGenWeb and each of its volunteers. Our goal is to provide free information but we must do it legally. No matter how tempting it is to upload useful data to our county pages, we must avoid copyright infringement. Copyright is ownership of the author, creator or publisher of a given work, even if that work is an abstract of public records. Copyright gives the owner the right to benefit from his/her/it's labor.
To avoid copyright infringement, follow these four basic rules:
See http://www.usgenweb.org/volunteers/copyright.html for an in-depth overview of copyright laws, what is prohibited, what isn't and links to other sites dealing exclusively with copyright law.
The USGenWeb and WVGenWeb are non-profit projects and consist of volunteers, not profiteers. Displaying graphic images that advertise services in exchange for payment defeats our goal and misconstrues our mission. Link-Exchange banners and researchers-for-hire are just two examples. If you upload your site to servers such as GeoCities or Tripod, it is understood that the advertising done by those servers is beyond your control. It doesn't make the advertising any less annoying though.
The exceptions are:
There are several ways to create a web page.
_Build one the good old fashioned way (write your own HTML)
_Use a commercial program (none of which we endorse)
_Pay someone to do it for you.
1. The best known comprehensive site for learning how to create a web site is Cyndi's Genealogy Home Page Construction Kit. Here you'll find a wealth of tips and links teaching HTML, offering web graphics and backgrounds, FTP programs and loads of other aids.
2. Unless you already own a web page generator or are in the market for one, it isn't feasible to part with cash for this project. The choice is yours but there are some things to consider. Not all of the "bells and whistles" featured in some of the well-known generators are accepted by Rootsweb or other commercial servers. Microsoft FrontPage is a good example. Some of the functions included with FrontPage require server-side includes which are not supported by Rootsweb and the others. The most common objection to FrontPage is the extra HTML code that it writes which nearly doubles the size of the pages and increases load time for visitors.
3. Again, it isn't feasible to pay out of pocket for this project but the choice is ultimately yours. The question is, if you don't know HTML and pay someone to design your site, how will you administer the site without perpetual assistance? The content of your site is what's important with less emphasis on it's appearance. Yes, appearance is important, too: Few people appreciate the strain on their eyesight caused by reading bright yellow text on a lime green background! Simple can be elegant as long as the content is exceptional.
All County and Special Projects Coordinators can have a free account space at http://www.wvgenweb.org. If you're taking over a site already hosted on the WVGenWeb.org domain or the RootswebAncestry.com domain, you need only the account infromation FTP address, username and the password from the former coordinator to begin removing/uploading new or revised pages.
All of the WVGenWeb accounts hosted on WVGenWeb.org will have accounts using the naming format http://www.wvgenweb.org/countyname/ as in http://www.wvgenweb.org/jackson/ for Jackson County.
Servers (not recommended) offering free web space and help for building home pages are:
Your internet service provider, AOL for example, may also offer free web space for your pages.
FTP: (File Transfer Protocol). See http://www.usgenweb.org/volunteers/upload.html for complete instructions on transferring files to Rootweb.
FTP is used to transfer your files (also known as pages or web site) to a server, whether your server is Rootsweb, GeoCities or your internet service provider (ISP). "Tucows" has a large selection of FTP software, all of which are available for brief trial periods, some that are freeware and some that are shareware. Although WVGenWeb does not promote any one brand over the other, we do advise that you choose one that accomodates your needs and is the easiest for you to use.
Servers such as GeoCities and Tripod offer their own FTP with no purchase necessary. If you own or are planning to use a commercial web page developer, it is likely that it includes a built-in FTP program such as Web Post.
Also, some browsers provide FTP for transferring and editing files (Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator versions 4.0 and AOL specifically). Check your browser software to see if FTP is included in your package or if you can download it free from the maker.
The final stage in the process of web site administration is advertising your site on the web.
1. Email your URL (Uniform Resource Locator), also known as your home page address, to the State Coordinator. You will also want to contact the coordinators of surrounding counties (if applicable) to introduce yourself and inform them of your URL in case they have links to your county. Your URL should look something like this: http://www.wvgenweb.org/xxxxxx or http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvxxxxxx. (This advertising step is mandatory).2. Add Meta Tags to your index page (optional). When you register your web site with the various search engines for indexing, the engines hunt for the title and any keywords in the <HEAD> section of your site. Adding keywords to your index page will help bring your site to the top of the search list. You may copy and paste the following code for insertion on the index page of your web site. Paste the code after </TITLE> and before </HEAD>. You can change the keywords and insert as many of your own as you want as long as they are separated by commas and fall between the quotes (" ") following CONTENT
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="genealogy, family heritage, ancestors, ancestry, surname, research, ___ County West Virginia, WVGenWeb, West Virginia, WV, West Virginia genealogy, history, West Virginia history">
3. Register your URL (optional) with the various search engines, i.e. Alta Vista, HotBot, Lycos, Yahoo, etc. You can do this manually by visiting each of the search engines' web sites or use the sites below:
More information on registering your web site is available at Cyndi's Genealogy Home Page Construction Kit and USGenWeb's Information for Volunteers.