Frequently Asked Questions

The following information has been put together to assist new coordinators in creating and maintaining WorldGenWeb Project websites. It covers all facets of our project including the history, organization and day-to-day operations.

General WorldGenWeb Questions

Policy, Procedures and Guidelines

Adopting a Country or County Website

Websites, Uploading and Other Technical Stuff

Creating Web Pages

Query Pages and Mail Lists


What is the WorldGenWeb?

The WorldGenWeb is a non-profit volunteer organization that is dedicated to the free use and access of public domain genealogical information. To further this goal, the WorldGenWeb uses internet websites to create "local repositories" of information that researchers worldwide can access. Each project website (generally) will contain local resource addresses of county/country public records offices, cemetery locations, maps, library addresses, archive addresses, and association addresses including Family History Centers or other genealogical or historical societies, and some history and culture of the region. Other resources include query pages or message boards, mail lists, historical data including census records, cemetery records, biographies, bibliographies, and family/surname registration websites.

Go Up


Who is the WorldGenWeb?

The WorldGenWeb Project is made up of dedicated volunteers from all parts of the world. Each project volunteer supports the mission of the project and works to create user-friendly websites that help researchers learn more about a specific region or area of the world. They do not get paid and often donate "countless" hours to creating and maintaining their websites.

Go Up


Who is the WorldGenWeb Advisory Board?

The WorldGenWeb Advisory Board was created in 1998 as a way to help organize the project. Currently, the advisory board consists of the chairperson, regional coordinators, archives coordinator and the webmaster.

Go Up


What does the WorldGenWeb Advisory Board Do?

The main function of the Advisory Board is to add stability to the project by providing a sense of organization. It is difficult managing a large, growing internet volunteer workforce and the Advisory Board helps to make sure that the basic needs of the project are being met. This includes but is not limited to: maintaining the project website, upholding policy and standards, maintaining communication via the country coordinator mail list, serving as arbitrators should the need arise, and generally being available to the public to answer questions about the project.

Go Up


Who is the WorldGenWeb Chairperson?

Nathan Zipfel is our current Chairperson. Nathan assumed responsibility as acting chairperson in 1998 and was elected as the Chairperson in August 2000. The term of service for chairperson is two years with option to renew. In December 2003 Nathan was re-elected to the position of Chairperson.

Go Up


What does the WorldGenWeb Chairperson Do?

The Chairperson serves as chief public relations officer for the project.

Go Up


Can I Contact The Board Members Directly?

Yes. Each board member's email address is located on the Advisory Board page. You may contact any or all them regarding a problem or for information on our project.

Go Up


What is a Regional Coordinator (RC)?

A Regional Coordinator (RC) is responsible for a specific region of the world. Currently we have regional coordinators who host more than one country within their areas. The RC is appointed by the WGW Advisory Board and serves as an Advisory Board member.

Go Up


What does a Regional Coordinator Do?

The primary responsibility of the Regional Coordinator is to recruit and train volunteers to host countries within their area. The RC maintains a regional index of countries and offers assistance to Country and county coordinators in website design, policy, etc. The RC also offers grievance and arbitration should a conflict arise within a project site.

Go Up


What is a Country Coordinator (CC)?

A Country Coordinator (CC) is responsible for creating and maintaining the country level project website. They recruit and train county/parish/state volunteers and usually manage a country-wide mail list for project volunteers. The country website offers general assistance to the researcher and usually has links to a general query message board or mail list that researchers can use. The CC is either appointed by the Regional Coordinator or is elected by the country project members.

Go Up


What does a Country Coordinator Do?

In addition to above, the country coordinator tries to establish working relationships with other national websites (archives, research, universities, etc.) and often coordinates transcription projects to benefit researchers in that country.

Go Up


What is a State or Provincial Coordinator (SC/PC)?

A State Coordinator (SC/PC) is responsible for creating and maintaining the state or provincial level project website. They recruit and train *county volunteers and usually manage a state or provincial-wide mail list for project volunteers. The state or provincial website offers general assistance to the researcher and usually has links to a general query message board or mail list that researchers can use. The SC/PC is either appointed by the CC or RC.

Go Up


What does a State or Provincial Coordinator Do?

In addition to above, the state or provincial coordinator tries to establish working relationships with other national websites (archives, research, universities, etc.) and often coordinates transcription projects to benefit researchers in that state or province.

Go Up


What is a County Coordinator (cc)?

The cc or County Coordinator is the real meat and potatoes of this project. The cc is the local link for the researcher worldwide. *Note: not all countries have counties. The term county is used in the general sense and refers to the most common political or administrative division of a country. Other names include: shire, parish, townlands, state, prefect, rajones, etc.

Go Up


What does a County Coordinator Do?

The cc's main job is to gather information pertinent to their county/parish or state. They create websites that help researchers gain access to public records, history, data, and other useful items and present it visually online. The cc interfaces with the public and answers email from researchers. They provide links to query message boards and often host a local mail list. The cc is appointed by the Country Coordinator.

Go Up


What is the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mail list?

The WorldGenWeb mail list is closed to the general public and is for country coordinators only. Policy changes, issues, and other important information is disseminated through this list so that the entire project can keep in communication with one another.

Go Up


Can "anyone" join the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. mail list?

No. Subscription is manual and country coordinators must contact list administrator directly to be added to the list. For information regarding this mail list page.

Go Up


What Is The Policy Within The WGW?

The WorldGenWeb Policy and Procedures page was first established in 1997. Since that time, the Advisory board has modified the policy page as the project has developed and changed. The current policy page was approved in 1998 by the WGW Advisory Board. Minor revisions have occurred in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2006, and 2007.

Basically the policy and procedures page outlines agreed upon steps to ensure a smooth running organization. It covers such issues as arbitration, grievances, removal of coordinators, acceptable use, etc. It is recommended that all new coordinators read the policy and procedures page to familiarize themselves with our organization.

Go Up


Who Made The Policy For The WGW?

The current WorldGenWeb Policy and Procedures page was approved by the Advisory Board in 1998. The policy has been amended in recent years to keep up with issues that have grown out of the project.

Go Up


Must Everyone Abide By The Policy?

Yes. The Advisory Board has tried to establish a good working set of guidelines for our project. We are keenly aware of cultural diversity and as such have tried to keep the "rules" to a minimum. We are presently working on a multi-language page so that non-english speaking coordinators can read and understand the policy. The Policy and Procedure page is for your benefit and is there to protect your website and contributions. It offers you, the coordinator, non-biased representation and a method of grievance and dispute resolution should problems arise. We ask all coordinators to read and understand the policy page so that they know their rights. By agreeing to abide by the policy page we can ensure a smooth running organization and a successful project.

Go Up


How Do I Adopt A Country or County Website?

If you are interested in joining our project, contact the country or regional coordinator of your area of interest. Usually the country coordinator maintains an index and will identify which counties/parishes or states are "available for adoption". Each project will maintain their own set of rules and standards so make sure to read any pertinent information that the CC or RC may have online regarding their project sites.

Go Up


Do I Have To Live in the Country or County I host?

No. But it would be helpful. If you do not live in the country or county that is of interest to you -- you should know substantial information about it. This can be done through personal experience such as trips abroad or through your own years of research.

Go Up


Do I Have To Speak the Native Language of the Country or County I Host?

No. However, again, it would be helpful to be familiar with the customs of the area you are interested in. Some fluent volunteers offer websites in multiple languages (See FranceGenWeb and JapanGenWeb).

Go Up


Do I Have To Know Web Design (HTML)?

Yes. Web creation and maintenance is of prime importance to the success of our project. However, now you can create websites without much knowledge of html due in part to the new breed of HTML Editors that work just like a word processor. You should be familiar with html and know how to upload files to the internet. Additionally, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of internet forms, mail lists, and other tools.

Go Up


Do I Have To Use A Specific Software Program or a Special Computer?

No. You are free to choose how to create your web pages - whatever works best for you. There are several options in web design software (free, shareware, or commercial products) and many are available now through the internet. Check your computer software - Microsoft and Netscape include free easy composers with their browser software!

Go Up


How Do I Register My Site With The WGW?

Once your site is created and online you must notify your Country Coordinator or Regional Coordinator so that they can review your site and add it to their local indexes. The RC will let the WorldGenWeb webmaster know of any url changes and additions/corrections that need to be made to the WGW main country index.

Go Up


How Do I Register My Site With Other Search Engines?

There are many search engines and crawlers out on the web and you might want to have them index your site so that researchers can find it when they do a global Web search (through Google, Yahoo, etc..). The best way to do this is with META tags - hidden tags inserted at the very top of your file that give information to webcrawlers about your site (author, content, site description, etc.).

Go Up


Where Do I Store My Pages So Everyone Can See Them?

The best place is to host your website right here on the WorldGenWeb.org domain.

Go Up


Do I Have To Pay For My Own Space?

IHosting on the WorldGenWeb.org domain is free. If you locating hosting on another provider there may be costs associated which you'll want to check into.

Go Up


How Do I Upload Files To The Internet?

You will need some form of FTP - File Transfer Protocol software to upload your files to the internet.

Go Up


How Do I Make A Web Page?

See your computer owners manual to see if your system includes an html editor. If you are new to HTML you might want to purchase a book on simple web design.

Go Up


Are Any Page Restrictions, Number of Pages or Number of Pictures?

You may have as many pictures and pages as you deem necessary for your website. However, do remember that image files require extra time in downloading them to the browser screen and this may make researchers choose not to spend time waiting at your site.

As far as page restrictions, please read the Policy and Procedure and make sure you understand the requirement for each website. You should also check with your regional or country coordinator to see if there are any additional restrictions imposed by that project.

Go Up


Do I Have To Make My Own Page or Can I Have Someone Else Do It For Me?

No. If you have someone who would be willing to make your page and maintain it for you - then by all means do so. The goal is to have a page ready to go online as soon as possible after the country coordinator or regional coordinator approves your volunteer status. If you do choose to have someone else create and maintain your pages it is a good idea to make sure you have password access and other information just incase you need to make changes to your site and your webmaster is unavailable.

Go Up


What Is A Query Page?

A Query Page is just what it sounds like -- a web page for queries. Every project website is required to have a method for researchers to post a query. You can choose to create your own query page (email, mail merge, forms, or bulletin board system) or you may choose to link to existing query resources that pertain to your regional project.

Go Up


Can I Automate My Query Page?

If you choose to administer a query bulletin board, you may be interested administering a RootsWeb,Inc.com Message Board.

Note: You must agree to RootsWeb's AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) before you can administrate a mail list, web account or message board. The WorldGenWeb Project has no authority over any of RootsWeb,Inc.com's resource and system tools.

Go Up


Can I Have My Own County Mail List?

Yes. RootsWeb,Inc.com offers free mail lists to anyone associated with our project. You may also use one of the free mail list service providers on the internet (YahooGroups.com, etc.) if you wish.

Note: You must agree to RootsWeb's AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) before you can administrate a mail list, web account or message board. The WorldGenWeb Project has no authority over any of RootsWeb,Inc.com's resource and system tools.