North to the Future

The US GenWeb Project

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The USGenWeb Project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the USGenWeb Project?

The USGenWeb Project consists of a group of volunteers working together to provide Internet websites for genealogical research in every county/borough/parish and every state of the United States. The Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free access for everyone. You can visit the USGenWeb Project at www.USGenWeb.org for further information.

What is the AKGenWeb Project?

We are a section of the USGenWeb Project. We follow their guidelines but deal with Alaska only. The State Coordinator maintains a home page with a list of the Boroughs and Census Areas along with general information for historical and genealogical researchers in Alaska. The home page has a link to each adopted Borough/Census Area.

What is required to adopt a Borough/Census Area?

Nothing special! You should have an interest in history and genealogy and a willingness to learn more about your Borough/Census Area.

Do I need any special skills?

It is helpful to know a little about setting up a website, but not required. The State Coordinator can post your materials for you, but most volunteers like to learn a little about setting up a website. That's the fun part and its easy!

Do I need any special equipment?

You should have a computer and internet access.

Do I need any special computer programs?

There are several inexpensive web design programs available. Expression Web is the easiest and most intuitive web program that I have used and is free. Some die-hards actually hand-code their pages, but who needs the brain damage? The other program you need is an "FTP" program. This is just a mini-program that sends your webpage from your computer to the server on the internet. I like to think of FTP as the postman. There are many free or shareware FTP programs available. The State Coordinator can help!

Are there any other costs involved?

No. You can host your Borough site for free on the AKGenWeb.

Can I advertise on my site?

No. The AKGenWeb is a non-commercial site. In some instances you could provide a link to another site that does advertise. For example if there is someone in Washington DC who will research military records in Washington DC for a fee - you could provide a link to that person's site.

Are there any rules I must follow?

Very few!

So if I put lots of work into something (such as a cemetery transcription) - Who owns it?

You do. You created it and its yours. You can donate it to the Project. Remember though, facts are not copyrightable. So if you create a list of burials and dates, those are facts. If you take pictures of the gravesites, you own those pictures. If you leave the USGenWeb Project you can remove your pictures from the website.

Can I design my pages anyway I want?

Yes you can. "Skeleton" pages for each Borough/Census Area to make it easy for you. What you see on the current Borough Pages is the skeleton. It meets all the requirements and nothing more. Think of the skeleton as the framework for your new house. You can choose your colors, your Borough logo, your theme, your fonts, and how you want things organized. You decide on the material you put on the pages. You can add bells and whistles or keep your pages simple. Each Borough is different and you can treat them differently.

Can I adopt a Borough that someone else has?

Yes and no. We can only have one Borough site for each Borough. But all is not lost! Some Boroughs currently have Coordinators who are holding them until the right person raises their hand! Or perhaps you might want to become a "Co-Host" of the Borough and help out. This is a great way to get your tippy-toes wet without a big commitment. If you have a certain Borough in mind, ask your State Coordinator to check the status for you.

How much time does it take to handle a Borough?

Not a lot. You will get an occasional email from someone with a question. You will need to check-in monthly. The real time is spent when you decide to transcribe some new information and post it. You should expect, when you first take over a Borough, to put in a little extra time, because you will be gathering new information such as where deeds are recorded, what is the history of the Borough, and what cemeteries are within the Borough. You will be doing a bit of googling for this info. But you decide how much time, not us.

What kinds of things should I try to post on the website?

Gosh there are lots of goodies. Historical information, biographies of interesting people, census-availability for your Borough, cemeteries - where are they and are there any burial lists. Build a bibliography of books that are useful for researching the area. Land records, vital records, old photos can be posted. Old Church membership lists are useful. Photograph tombstones in an old cemetery. Scan your old Alaska yearbooks and post them. Post the indexes out of local history books. If they don't have an index you can create one. Create a list of old-timers and pioneers for your section.

On my site I try to do one thing that is just fun. For example, if whaling was important to my Borough I might want to post a list of old whaling terms or whaling ship info. Skagway could use something fun on the Chilkoot trail or trivia about Glaciers, the North Slope wouldn't be complete without info about oil drilling and/or Will Rogers and Wiley Post. The Aleutians might want a trivia section about the Japanese takeover in WWII. Nome and gold mining go together, Fairbanks and riverboats, Denali and mtn climbing feats. Somebody needs to do something on sourdough. Each Borough is different - treat it so and have fun!. If you aren't having fun - your site will reflect it.

So how do I get started?

Send the State Coordinator an email and the State Coordinator will get you started.

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