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Advisory Board Minutes - March 2008



MARCH 2008 MEETING OPEN (Mar 1, 2008) By the NC
March 2008 meeting opened and called to order


(Mar 13, 2008) By the NC

Please make any additions or corrections.

Old Business:

-- Continuing discussions with TGN - updates to project;
-- Speakers, Educational and Promotional Resources - discussion on AB-Chat [usgenweb-all];
-- TOS/Privacy/Copyright statement proposal - [brought by a member];
-- Election Committee Revised Policies - Election Committee;
-- Special Fact Finding Study Group - December/January/February Report


New Business:

-- February minutes - Linda Haas Davenport;
-- Election Committee appointees


(Mar 23, 2008) By the NC

The February Minutes have been posted for review to the national website at: If there is no objection or corrections the minutes will stand approved March 26, 2008, 8:00 am

(Mar 26, 2008) By the NC

Having heard no objections the minutes stand approved


(Mar 4, 2008) By the NC
Please forward to all USGenWeb Project lists.

"To All USGenWeb Project members who host sites on TGN/RW ("RootsWeb"):

TGN/RW ("RootsWeb") has implemented a policy change in which banners are to be placed on all TGN/RW hosted websites. The USGenWeb Advisory Board contacted RootsWeb in regard to their plan to install banners on their webspace and have negotiated a banner specific to The USGenWeb Project that will be placed on the national pages of The USGenWeb Project. While these negotiations were ongoing, TGN/RW postponed applying the banners to sites of the USGenWeb Project to work on the concept of USGenWeb having a custom banner.

The banner that we have negotiated identifies the USGenWeb Project as being hosted by RootsWeb and RootsWeb as a community of The Generation Network.

The banners are viewable here: [default one] [default two] [default three] [custom to USGenWeb Project]

RootsWeb intends to begin the placement of the banners beginning on or about March 15, 2008. The generic/freepages banner will be included on the server side [TGN/RW], and will not require any involvement from the webmasters. Any USGenWeb Project site that wishes to have the USGenWeb Project specific banner instead of the generic/freepages banner will be supplied with code to insert on their pages in order to cause that banner to show up when their pages are viewed. The line of code they will provide us is not a replacement banner. It will simply include a parameter on the page that the server can read when rendering the banner that will tell it to render the customized USGenWeb [Project] banner instead of the default one."

The Board has made it very clear to TGN/RW that they should be the ones to implement the custom banner on Project pages. TGN/RW understands how editing each individual page could be a concern for account holders with a large number of pages. Most solutions they have looked at for doing this involve significant initial or ongoing development or operations work, but they are still brainstorming to try and find a good solution. They will get back to the Advisory Board this week after they have been able to investigate further.

The Advisory Board has strived to maintain a balance of TGN/RW business needs as our host, while being mindful of the Project's paramount mission and goal to provide free genealogical data to our visitors and the USGenWeb Project community as stated in our bylaws.

As National Coordinator, I want to thank all involved for their patience and input as we have worked to achieve this balance.

In tandem with this, and perhaps more importantly, the Advisory Board is discussing a hosting agreement with TGN/RW. While that hosting agreement is confidential in nature, due to business concerns of our host, the Board is working to insure that the work of our many volunteers and contributors is protected.

We welcome any of your questions/concerns as we all work together to finalize this negotiation process.

(Mar 7, 2008) By the NC

Please forward to USGenWeb Project lists.

Forwarded with the permission of David Graham, Sr. Product Manager Further questions and concerns from USGenWeb Project members who host sites on TGN/RW are being gathered and will be communicated to David to address. Thank you all for continuing to share your questions and concerns with the Advisory Board.  - - -

"In terms of specific timeframes, we are still finalizing plans but I expect the masthead inclusion to happen later than the March 15th date we initially discussed. We want to make sure that there is appropriate time to clearly communicate with everyone and answer questions. We are also working to find a solution to allow web masters to change their masthead preference on multiple pages without having to edit each one. This is a convenience we'd really like to add before implementing the mastheads if we can. So again, based on this I expect the date to be later than March 15th. I hope to finalize plans in the next couple days so that we can communicate a more realistic date to you."


David Graham

(Mar 10, 2008) by the NC

Please forward to all USGenWeb Project lists with the permission of David Graham, Sr. Product Manager

Dear Tina,

As I mentioned previously, we are delaying the inclusion of the mastheads from the March 15th date we initially targeted. The goal is to make sure that there is appropriate time to clearly communicate with everyone and answer questions, as well as hopefully creating a solution to allow web masters to change their masthead preference on multiple pages without having to edit each one. To do this the best way possible, we are now targeting mid-April to update mastheads. As that gets closer we will follow up with a more specific date. Please let us know what we can do during this timeframe to make sure that the masthead inclusion is as positive as possible.


David Graham
Sr. Product Manager
Part of The Generations Network

(Mar 12, 2008) By the NC

*Please forward to Project Lists*

This is the latest response we have received from RootsWeb/TGN to the comments and questions from members.

Thank you all for your continued comments and questions, and to RootsWeb/TGN for their willingness to work with us and address them for you.  - - -


RootsWeb and Ancestry hyperlinked logos opening new windows: Our other masthead implementations do not trigger new windows, and I'm not sure users would necessarily expect that (as it does not look like a separate 3rd party advertisement where a new window would usually be used). If this is a point of concern, though, we should be able to set up the hyperlinked logos in the USGenWeb specific header to open new windows.

Manually adding the code to individual pages: We are working to come up with an easier solution for users with multiple pages. This is one of the main reasons we've decided to delay the masthead inclusion, because we really want to offer something user friendly around this. As we know more I'll make sure to update you.

Masthead colors: We are sensitive to our branding as we have been working very hard across the company to develop positive, consistent branding. That being said, our creative design group is working on the masthead to see if we can meet the branding goals of both sides. I will follow-up on this as we have something.


David Graham

Follow-up from David re: masthead:

(Mar 13, 2008) By the NC

RootsWeb Announcement

As you know, The Generations Network has hosted and funded the RootsWeb online community since June 2000, thereby maintaining RootsWeb as the world's oldest and largest free genealogy website. TGN remains committed to this mission and believes that RootsWeb is an absolutely invaluable and complementary resource to, our flagship commercial family history site. We believe in both services and want to see both communities prosper and grow.

As part of this goal, we have decided to "transplant" RootsWeb onto the domain beginning next week. This move will not change the RootsWeb experience or alter the ease of navigation to or within RootsWeb. RootsWeb will remain a free online experience. What will be different is that the Web address for all RootsWeb pages will change from to Again, the RootsWeb experience is not changing.

The decision to host RootsWeb on is being made for one primary reason: we believe that the users of each of our two main websites can be better served if they have access to the best services available on both. Simply stated, we want to introduce more users to RootsWeb and vice versa. Today, despite the fact that and are the two most frequently visited family history sites on the Web, only 25 percent of visitors to visited RootsWeb in January 2008, while only 20 percent of visitors to RootsWeb visited (according to Comscore Media Metrix). We think we will serve our users best by doing a better job of letting them know what is available on both and RootsWeb. Hosting RootsWeb on is the first step towards making this happen, but we will absolutely look for more and better ways down the road to advance this goal.

Hosting RootsWeb on Ancestry com will also make it easier for us to make changes and improvements to the RootsWeb experience in the future.

All old RootsWeb URLs will continue to work, whether they are bookmarks or favorites, links to or from a hosted page or URLs manually typed in your Internet browser. We will have a redirect in place so that all old URLs will automatically end up on the appropriate new RootsWeb URL.

You will never need to update your old favorites or links unless you want to. We have worked to make the transition as seamless as possible for our users, and this change should have a minimal impact on your experience with the site.
RootsWeb will remain a free online experience dedicated to providing you with a place where our community can find their roots together. If you have questions regarding this change please email them to


Tim Sullivan

The Generations Network, Inc.

(Mar 17, 2008)

Please forward to USGenWeb Project lists.

Forwarded from David Graham, Sr. Product Manager Further questions and concerns from USGenWeb Project members who host sites on TGN/RW are being gathered and will be communicated to David to address. Thank you all for continuing to share your questions and concerns with the Advisory Board. - - -


We have the following questions from across the Project. I am certain there will be more to follow:

1. Are you aware of how many states and counties have already moved off RootsWeb? Does Rootsweb and Ancestry understand the inevitable consequences of this latest announcement?

I don't have a specific count of state and county pages that have moved off of RootsWeb at this time. We do recognize that some may choose to be hosted elsewhere due to this announcement, but we are truly working to ensure that this change does not affect the RootsWeb online experience at all. It should not change the experience of being hosted on RootsWeb.

2. Does this mean Ancestry will include the Rootsweb sites in their Search on Ancestry, either by subscription free and/or both?

There is no change in what is surfaced in Ancestry's search due to this change. The pages and data on RootsWeb will continue to be part of the separate, free RootsWeb online experience. There is no plan to require a subscription to access user content from RootsWeb.

3. How will this effect search engines and counters, etc that are in use our existing URL's?
People should continue to be able to find your pages when using search engines. Right now the search engines will have listings for the old RootsWeb URLs, and it will take a while for the new URLs to show up in search engines. Since we will be redirecting members to the new URLs, though, they will still be able to access the pages regardless of what links come up through the search engines.

As far as impact on page counters, I don't think there will be an impact, but I will need to verify with our technical experts and get back to you on that.

4. Are the mailing lists affected by this? Either the mailing lists administered by the USGenWeb Project Advisory Board or the many county and other lists maintained coincidently by USGenWeb Project volunteers?

This change should not affect mailing lists in any way. If we find that this is not the case, we will make sure to let you know.


(Mar 8, 2008) By the NC

I have just learned of the passing of one our many wonderful volunteers, Chuck Knuthson.

I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck at the USGenWeb Project's track of lectures at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Boston in 2006. He, as a member of USGenWeb Project (CAGenWeb Project), gave the keynote address at the luncheon for the USGenWeb Project members and attendees which celebrated our 10 year anniversary. He represented the USGenWeb Project very well.

Chuck was a very personable and knowledgable USGenWeb Project volunteer and speaker for the genealogical community as a whole.

On behalf of the USGenWeb Project, I offer our most sincerest condolences to his family and to all those in the genealogical community that benefited from his knowledge, involvement and friendship.


(Mar 17, 2008) by the NC

-- Please forward to All USGenWeb Project Lists --

It has come to the Advisory Board's attention that there are some issues, that we feel need to be addressed Project-wide.

It is our very strong desire that volunteers, who have maintained sites hosted by RootsWeb but who have chosen new hosts be gracious and polite to RootsWeb.

If you choose to leave RootsWeb now, please remember that it has been gracious to and supportive of the USGenWeb Project. The Advisory Board strongly objects to any of our members leaving rude or inflammatory messages on vacated sites.

The Bylaws for USGenWeb state that volunteers have the right to choose the server on which their pages are placed. State Coordinators do not have the right to threaten delinking or any other penalty if their volunteers staywith or leave RootsWeb or any other server.


(Mar 9, 2008) By the NC

May I hear a motion to move our USGenWeb Project Pages off TGN/RW (The Generations Network/Rootsweb)?

Following the Advisory Board's announcement of the banners and subsequent discussions on many Project-wide lists, I believe that it paramount for the USGenWeb Project Advisory Board to place a motion on the table for discussion and resolution as to where our National Pages are hosted.

I make this request with full knowledge of on-going negotiations, and I am very mindful that our State, County and Special Projects may be hosted on the server of one's choice. I also make this request with full knowledge that it is our responsibility to protect the integrity and the mission of the USGenWeb Project.

(Mar 9, 2008)
Motion made by Jan Cortez, 2nd by Sherri Bradley
So moved
(By the NC) - Motion numbered: 2007/08-03
Motion opened for Discussion
After some discussion Sherri Bradley withdrew her 2nd and Jan Cortez withdrew her motion. Discussion was moved to ABChat by the NC.


(Mar 10, 2008) Motion by Bettie Wood, 2nd Scott Burow
I move that the EC conduct a poll of the USGenWeb membership that asks "Do you want the Advisory Board to move the USGenWeb national pages to a host/server independent of TGN/RW?"

Discussion opened by the NC

(Mar 12, 2008) Call to Vote By the NC
As there has been no further discussion offered on motion 2007/08-04, the Chair declares discussion closed.

Please vote on Motion 2007/08-04. If you agree with the motion please signify with Yes, if you disagree please signify with No. Voting will continue until Friday, March 14, 2008, 9:30 p.m. EST, unless concluded earlier.

(Mar 13-14, 2008)
Before vote was complete the motion withdrawn by Bettie Wood, 2nd withdrawn by Scott Burow  With 2/3 of the AB members responding "no objection" the motion was declared withdrawn.



(Mar 14, 2008) Motion by Bettie Wood, 2nd Sherri Bradley
Motion: "I move that the national web site be moved off the RootsWeb server as soon as possible."

Call for Discussion issued by the NC

Motion to Amend by Bettie Wood, 2nd Phyllis Rippee
I move that the national site move immediately to until the Project can acquire its own server.

(Mar 15, 2008) Bettie Wood withdrew her motion to amend, Phyllis Rippee withdrew her 2nd.

Bettie Wood withdrew her motion and Sherri Bradley withdrew her 2nd.

Both the motion to amend and the original motion were declared withdrawn.


(Mar 16, 2008) Motion by Bettie Wood, 2nd by Concetta Phillipps
I move that the National USGenWeb Project domains, and, be moved to another web hosting service.

Call for Discussion by NC

(Mar 17, 2008)
Call for Vote by the NC

(Mar 19, 2008) by the NC
Vote concluded. Motion 2007/08-06 passed.

Those voting yes: Alice Allen, Scott Burow, Sherri Bradley, Jan Cortez, Cyndie Enfinger, Larry Flesher, Gail Meyer Kilgore, Jason Mendenhall, Concetta Franco Phillipps, Suzanne Shephard, Phyllis Rippee, Greta Thompson and Bettie Wood

Those voting no: Linda Blum-Barton.

Please feel free to share with Project lists.

After a twelve-year association with Rootsweb, the USGenWeb Project has moved to an independent server donated by a member who wishes to remain anonymous. I have made the necessary updates to ensure that the domain is in the project's name and will be passed from one National Coordinator to the next. The USGenWeb Project's URL remains and has links to all USGenWeb Project National, State, Local and Special Project sites.

The Project owes an extraordinary debt of gratitude to all Rootsweb staff, past and present, for their support, skill and generosity in helping us achieve the mission and goal of providing free genealogical data online to our visitors. Our thanks and best wishes to Rootsweb.

ADJOURNMENT (Apr 1, 2008) By the NC

The full text of all BOARD-L messages can be viewed in the threaded list archives for this list, located at

Please remember that minutes are a record of actions proposed and taken at the meeting, NOT all the detail about what was said by members or guests. If you have any questions or comments about the minutes, please write to Linda Davenport, Secretary.

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