Guidelines for Volunteers and Coordinators of the WVGenWeb Project
Orphan Counties
Special Projects
Creating a Web Page
Rules for Look-ups
Space for Web Pages
Uploading Web Pages
Advertising Web Pages


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

WVGenWeb volunteers defined:

Transcriptionist: Types documents in text format for archival and special projects

Look-Up: Searches for information upon request in a book or books personally owned or accessible

Project Coordinator: Starts a special project or assists in administering an existing one

County Coordinator: Administers web pages for a given county.

For more information about volunteering for the USGenWeb, see

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Orphan Counties

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.


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Special Projects

West Virginia Coal Mines at

West Virginia Tombstone Transcription at, part of the National Tombstone Transcription project sponsored by USGenWeb.

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.


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Rules for Look-up Volunteers:

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 include e-mail);

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


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Overview of Requirements for WVGenWeb County and Special Project pages:

1. Name your page __ County WVGenWeb Project or display WVGenWeb Special Project. (ie: Jackson County WVGenWeb Project)

2. Display the USGenWeb Logo.

3. Provide a Query Page.

4. Display your Name, Title and E-mail Address.

5. Link all pages in your site to your index page and link your index page to the WVGenWeb state page.

6. Update your site often, particularly the Query Page.

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.

Page Name

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:

Jackson County WVGenWeb -or- Greenbrier Co. WVGenWeb

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:


West Virginia Coal Mines: WVGenWeb Special Project -or- WVGenWeb Census Project

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:

WV GenWeb

West Virginia GenWeb

West Virginia Gen Web

just plain GenWeb



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.

To obtain the logos displayed below for use on your 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 168x128

WVGenWeb Logo Size = 146x83.

* The USGenWeb logo is also available in different sizes at

Query Page

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

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.


Coordinator Name and E-mail Address

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 to the WVGenWeb Archives for your county. The URL is Locate your county in the table and copy it's URL.


Update Often

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.

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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. Search the net for new links to add to your county page.

7. Correct or eliminate broken links.

8. Create a "text-only" page for those visitors with slower or less powerful machines.

9. 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.

10. Check your pages in the more popular browsers to ensure it looks just the way you designed it in all of them.

11. Read the USGenWeb By-Laws at

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Copyright Infringement

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:

Anything dated 1923 and after is protected by copyright. There are no exceptions.

Only facts can be shared

Any use of a work that diminishes its market value constitutes copyright infringement.

Obtain written authorization from the copyright holder to avoid committing copyright infringement.

See for an in-depth overview of copyright laws, what is prohibited, what isn't and links to other sites dealing exclusively with copyright law.


For-profit logos, banners, individuals or businesses.

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:

Acknowledgement and a Hypertext Link to the server that hosts your website;

A link or links to researchers-for-hire on a page other than your index page with a disclaimer stating that the contents, expertise or quality of any product or service of any entity listed are neither endorsed nor guaranteed by the USGenWeb or the WVGenWeb.


Profanity, pornography, religious and political icons and statements.



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Creating a Web Page

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. 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.

2. 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.


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Space for Web Pages


All County and Special Projects Coordinators can have a free account space at If you're taking over a site already hosted on the domain you need only the account information 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 will have accounts using the naming format as in  for Jackson County.

Accounts for CC's at Send email to

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Uploading Web Pages


FTP: (File Transfer Protocol).

FTP is used to transfer your files (also known as pages or web site) to a server,  (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 accommodates your needs and is the easiest for you to use.


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Advertising Web Pages


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: (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.




Copyright © 1996-, WVGenWeb Project, All Rights Reserved
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