Welcome to The USGenWeb Project! You've just joined the premier free online genealogy organization . . . the best of the web! We're proud to say that we are the original, first, best-known, and largest free genealogy group on the internet. We are thousands of interconnected state, county, town, parish, and special project sites coordinated by thousands of dedicated volunteers . . . like yourself. What we've accomplished since we were founded in 1996 is amazing. We are grateful for all that our veteran coordinators have done, and we are excited to welcome new coordinators like you who will help us usher this great project into the future.
You've probably got quite a few questions, and this document will attempt to answer them for you. You may even see some information that you didn't even think to ask about! It will be a constantly evolving thing, as new questions I didn't think of at first are brought up :). Let's begin, shall we?
The "base unit" of The USGenWeb Project is the county (or other local entity) site. This is "where the rubber meets the road" . . . where the researchers who visit us find the bulk of information and resources in the quest for their family history. These local sites are maintained by Local Coordinators, which is a broad term for all the webmasters of local geographic and state-level special project or topical sites. There are County Coordinators, Parish Coordinators, Town Coordinators, and various state-level Project Coordinators (such as Native American, African-American, etc.). The wonderful diversity of these local-level sites is one of the coolest things about USGenWeb. Our Local Coordinators put tons of effort, experience, and even a bit of their personalities into their sites, and it shows.
These local web sites are overseen, supported and cheered on by the State Sites. We have 51 of these, for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Each is maintained by a State Coordinator, and most also have at least one Assistant State Coordinator. The state sites, of course, provide links to each local site, as well as state-specific general genealogical information as appropriate. The State Coordinator manages the state web site and oversees the state project. He or she (or a designated person within the state) will also periodically check your site to be sure that it is humming along smoothly and within project guidelines and standards.
The USGenWeb Project also has some fine Special Projects, which work closely with our state and local projects, but are independent of them. The largest of these are The USGenWeb Archives Project, and The USGenWeb Tombstone Transcription Project, both of which are repositories for massive amounts of transcribed data. There are also a number of smaller Special Projects, such as the Family Group Sheets Project, the African American Griots Project, the Genealogical Events Project, the Kidz Project, and the Lineage Project. Also, the USGenWeb Archives Project sponsors a plethora of sub-projects of their own - check 'em out.
The national level of the project is managed by an elected Advisory Board, whose job it is to address any problem issues as they arise, aid the state projects upon request, oversee elections, advise and mediate, if necessary, any grievances or appeals, and appoint a webmaster to maintain the national website. The National Coordinator, who acts as Advisory Board Chairperson, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of our project and serves as the public representative for the project. Our national web site is located at http://www.usgenweb.org, and in addition to links to all 51 state-level projects and all of the special projects, it is rich in general resources for genealogy researchers, as well as resources for our local, state, and special projects coordinators.
Tennnn-HUT! Listen up, recruits . . . there's some things you need to know! Now drop and give me twenty! (hehehe - just kidding about that part!)
Like most organizations, we do have a set of bylaws that can be perused at your leisure, if you can stand the excitement. They are supplemented by a set of fascinating standing procedures. Once you've experienced the exhilaration of these documents, be sure to take a look at the County Guidelines (if you are a CC/LC) and/or the State Guidelines (if you are an SC). Your state project may have additional guidelines that apply to sites within the state. Check with your State Coordinator. O! Rapture!
USGenWeb holds yearly elections to choose Advisory Board representatives and to vote on other project matters. As a member, you will be eligible to vote in these annual elections, as well as occasional special elections and polls. The USGenWeb Election Committee, a hard-working group of project members, does a great job of managing our national polls and elections for us. In order to receive your voting password when an election or poll comes up, it is necessary for you to register to vote. Visit the Election Committee site to learn more.
There are a number of ways you can stay on top of things here in USGenWeb, depending upon your desired level of "informed-ness". There are also a number of optional email lists you can join to listen in on project business, to communicate with your elected reps, and to interact and chat with your fellow members. USGenWeb members, as a group, are generally hip, happening, wild and crazy party animals (w00t!), so join the fun! Bring your own "lol" and "rofl". A listing of available mailing lists is located at the USGenWeb Mailing Lists page. When posting to a list, remember that not all mailing lists are set up so that replies go only to the individual you're replying to. Some are set up to reply back to the list, so be careful out there!
Oh yeah, we have resources, all right! We got your resources right here. And here are a few more . . . no extra charge. We here in USGenWeb are a generous lot . . .
In USGenWeb, we love abbreviations! You're bound to run into these:
USGW - USGenWeb
SC - State Coordinator
ASC - Assistant State Coordinator
CC - County Coordinator
ACC - Assistant County Coordinator
LC - Local Coordinator
ALC - Assistant Local Coordinator
XXGW - State Projects, where "XX" is the 2-letter state postal abbreviation
USGWA - USGenWeb Archives
AB - Advisory Board
SP - Special Project
SPC - Special Project Coordinator
CP - Census Project
TTP - Tombstone Transcription Project
FGSP - Family Group Sheets Project
I'm sure there are more, and I'll add them as I think of them or they are brought to my attention. (smile)
Well, that's about it for now. Get out there and do us proud. Just remember to have fun doing it!
Comments and administrative-type problems should be emailed to the National Coordinator. For suggestions, concerns or complaints regarding a specific web site within the USGenWeb Project, please email the National Coordinator.
Direct comments, technical difficulties or suggestions about this web site to the Webmaster.