Minnesota Genealogy
Help for County Coordinators

This document is an attempt to give a tutorial in page creation and uploading. It presumes a PC with Windows 3.1, 3.11, or 95; Netscape; WS-FTP; and Rootsweb as server. If your setup differs from these, the instructions may vary as well, but these are the system components I'm familiar with.

Table of Contents
Basic Requirements
Software Needed
Creating the Page
Uploading the Page
What About My Graphics?
Now What?
Basic Requirements to be a MNGenWeb volunteer: Are you breathing? [grin] Seriously, the will to participate is the most important ingredient. The available free software caters to everyone from the HTML veteran to folks who don't know HTML and don't want to. If your provider does not give you free webpage space, or you want to save it for another use, space is available at a number of sites on the web at no charge. Rootsweb offers free space for this project specifically. And there are always folks available to help and advise....but if you ask for the advice, please be as specific about the problem as you possibly can. Because of the need for more back-and-forth in the mail, eliciting detail, help is much slower in coming if you start off with "it doesn't work, how do I fix it" than if you say "when I do this specific thing, this other thing happens--how do I make it do thing X instead?"

Please read the USGenWeb General Help, FAQ and Page Requirements (links below) for details about software, mailing lists, etc. You should also review the USGenWeb policy on copyrights.  

Subscribe to the mngen-l mailing list so your state coordinator can communicate with all CCs without having to write to some individually. Just send the command "subscribe" to MNGEN-L-request@rootsweb.com.  Be sure to turn off your auto signature when doing so.

The software you will need to do this is of two sorts: an HTML editor and FTP software. The HTML editor is for creating the pages themselves, and for later additions or modifications. The FTP software is to upload your created pages to the server. The most commonly used software for the uploading process is WS-FTP. Visit the USGenWeb software help site for software selections, download info and sites.

Creating your page. There are bare-bones, minimum pages for all the Minnesota counties so you don't even need to start from scratch. Your first priority is to arrange for server space for your county pages, then all you need to do is download the temp pages to your computer, add your name as county host and upload them to your web site (at Rootsweb or elsewhere) and you will be in business. Your next priority is to set up all the required pages if they aren't already created. You can then modify, edit and add to your pages as you see fit. Keep the USGenWeb Logo and the MNGenWeb logo near the top of your page.

You will want to compile all the useful snail mail resources to list that you can find; if you don't live in or near the county you are hosting, and your local public library doesn't have a phone book for it, you may wish to write to the local genealogical society and ask them what addresses they recommend you list for folks researching in that county.

For links, the MNGenWeb/USGenWeb links are in place on some of the orphan pages, although you should feel free to change format, location on page, that sort of stuff. You'll want to do a search on the net for possible pertinent links for your county; try searching as XXX County MN, XXX County Minnesota, XXX County Minnesota Genealogy, and possibly even just XXX Minnesota. If you have any large cities in your county, you may wish to search for them as well.

Uploading Your Pages This is the time when the FTP software comes into use. The instructions below will cover some fairly generic instructions as well as the Rootsweb specific instructions. First assumption, of course, is that by now your webpage space is ready. If you choose to put it on your own server, you have to contact them to ask how to set up the account; when you do that you should also ask what information you will need for the FTP.

Now that we have our account and our pages, we want to put them on the web. Start your WS-FTP. You will see a number of blanks.

In profile name, put what you want to call this account; this one's for your own use.
For host name, put the FTP host that you're uploading to: (for Rootsweb, users.rootsweb.com)
For type, put the type of server: (for Rootsweb, UNIX(standard))
For userid, put whatever the server gave you to put there:(for Rootsweb, the userid Brian gave you; usually that's the two letter code for the state followed by the first six letters of the name of the county.)
For password, whatever password your server gave you.
For account, your account number if you have one. For Rootsweb, either reuse your userid, or leave it blank, it'll work either way.
For remote host, whatever your server gives you; for Rootsweb, that's public_html.
For local pc, you want to put the pathway to the directory you keep your pages in. For example, in my case, that's a directory called c:\htmlstuf ....in this blank I put \htmlstuf. WS-FTP assumes the c: part, and you only have to enter the drive and colon if it is other than c.
You will want to click "auto save configuration" so that you don't have to enter this again; and if you click "save password", you won't have to enter that again, either.
Once you have all the blanks filled in, click the box that says OPEN. (you have to be online at the time.) WS-FTP will make the connection and you will see your directory on the left side and the directory of your area on your server on the right side.

To upload something from the left to the right, either double click on the name of the file to be moved, or single click and then click the arrow pointing to the other page. When it's done, it will come back with a Transfer Complete message in the information box.

Your HTML pages should be loaded as ascii format; your graphics as binary. When you have uploaded everything you need to, click the close box and then the exit box. You can now go to your browser (Netscape or whatever) and enter the URL of your page; it should be visible.  (If your county web site is on the Rootsweb server, your address should be http://www.rootsweb.com/~mnxxxxxx where xxxxxx is the first six (or fewer) letters of your county's name).

What About My Graphics? Even though your graphics are in place on your page, you still have to upload each graphic to your server before it can be seen on the net. The process is the same as uploading text pages, except that you upload text as ascii and graphics as binary.
Updates Your query page will have an email link to you so researchers are able to send you their queries.  When you receive a query, copy and paste into your query page. Once you've added the new queries and saved, you need to re-upload the page. The process is the same as the original upload. One way to ensure smooth operation is to rename the old file ("oldquery" for example) before uploading the new. Once you are sure the new file is up and working fine, you can delete the old one.  

How often should I do the updates? If at all possible, they should be done within 48 hours of receiving the queries. At the very latest, if there is anything at all to upload or change, you should be doing updates weekly. If there comes a point in time when it appears your county is not being maintained appropriately and in a timely fashion, the state coordinator will contact you regarding the situation. If you fail to respond, you may be relieved of your county coordinator responsibilities and priviledges, and a new coordinator sought to take your place. We are all volunteers with personal lives and sometimes run out of time for volunteer projects, no matter how good our intentions. However, this project is far too important to let county web sites go unattended for any length of time. When you agree to participate in this project, please understand that you are agreeing to update and maintain the county web sites in a timely fashion.

Now What? I've got my page up, I'm doing my updates, what else? Well, as you have time, periodically doing searching for new links is a good thing; the Net changes every day. You'll probably want to subscribe to one or more of the genealogy lists like Roots-L, Mid-Plains-Roots, or the NDSDMN mailing list; ask there at least once if anyone has any lookup resources for your county and would be willing to be posted to do lookups on your page. And if you're absolutely hooked, feel free to volunteer to take on another county! Obviously, I'd prefer you do it in Minnesota, but wherever your ancestors were, USGenWeb is there....

Please see USGenWeb FAQ and read the Basic County Page Requirements and General Help for the USGenWeb Project. These sites will answer just about every question you have about being a county coordinator.

Everton Publishers Review of the Kentucky Project

Original page written by Megan Zurawicz - Thanks Megan!!

This page updated for Minnesota on 22 October 1996 by  Pat Cotter
and on 26 Oct 1997 by Marge Utley

You are the visitor to this page since October 24, 1996.

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