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 email@example.com
WVGenWeb volunteers defined:
Transcriptionist: Types documents in text format for archival
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
County Coordinator: Administers web pages for a given county.
For more information about volunteering for the USGenWeb, see
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.
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.
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
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
outlined below and at
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
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.
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:
West Virginia GenWeb
West Virginia Gen Web
just plain GenWeb
The USGenWeb logo must be displayed on the index page of every
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 = 146x83.
* The USGenWeb logo is also available in different sizes at
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.
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 http://www.usgwarchives.net/wv/wvfiles.html.
Locate your county in the table and copy it's URL.
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
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
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 http://usgenweb.org/about/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
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
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.
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.
All County and Special Projects Coordinators can have a free account space at http://www.wvgw.net.
If you're taking over a site already hosted on the wvgw.net 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 WVGenWeb.org will have accounts using the naming format
http://www.wvgw.net/countyname/ as in http://www.wvgw.net/jackson/ for Jackson County.
Accounts for CC's at WVGW.net:
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
The final stage in the process of web site administration is advertising your site on
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.