MAGenWeb Volunteer Information

This page includes links to pages and information that cover FAQ, ways to FTP, and mailmerge, as well as other helpful information. You have to have basic knowledge of html or web design to be a county coordinator (CC). Town coordinators (TC) should know it as well, but the bulk of their responsibility will lie in the research and information for the town sites. There are several links below which will give you an idea of the requirements for a USGenWeb Project site and other help for starting and maintaining a MAGenweb Project site. If you are interested in being a coordinator for any of the counties listed below, please contact the State Coordinator, Michelle Wilkins Cook.

NOTE: Volunteering to adopt a county web site is taken as a commitment. Many of the people on this list are giving up their sites for various reasons that could include not enough time to work on them, sickness and personal tragedy. I would love to have you volunteer! However, please do not volunteer if you do not feel that you will be able to update the county within two weeks. Thank you!

Counties Available for Adoption

Please check the County page to see what counties are available for adoption.

There are many opportunities to help with towns sites. If you are interested in a specific town/city please email the current county coordinator and let them know of your interest. Most counties have a listing of the town/cities within and whether or not they have a coordinator.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Don't want to spend the time supporting a web site, but still want to help out? Consider volunteering for the Surfing Committee. We are starting a new program where we will need Regional Surfers and alternates in times of emergency and would love to have additional eyes with great ideas helping us out. You will only need to help out once a month every other month, it will take approximately 4 hours of your time. Please contact Michelle Wilkins Cook for more information.

The County Coordinator

To adopt a county in Massachusetts, check the list of counties or town list within each county to see if the county/town is available for adoption. If it is available, send a message to Michelle Wilkins Cook with the Subject: ADOPT and the name of the county. If the county you are interested in is not available for adoption at this time, you may email the current county coordinator to volunteer what time or data you have available.

  • County Coordinators are not required to live in the county they host.
  • CCs must comply with the current USGenWeb Bylaws. They must also comply with the current set of USGenWeb CC Guidelines
  • A knowledge or willingness to learn about the county and fulfill the basic requirements
  • A willingness and desire to assist researchers visiting your county website
  • Time to devote to your county page
  • A basic knowledge of HTML page coding and design, or access to a HTML Editor such as Dreamweaver, Coffee Cup, or MS Front Page
  • A basic knowledge of FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and the use of a FTP program such as FileZilla, Coffee Cup, or Core FTP
  • Ability to make initial changes to the county pages showing you as the new coordinator, to upload changed pages, and to officially take over the county within 15 days of acceptance. It really is not as difficult as it may appear at first. If all has gone well, congratulations!! Notify me and a link will be added to your county page - you're ready for your first visitor!!
  • Ability to respond to email messages from site visitors and from members of the state leadership team in a timely manner.

If you are having problems, please ask for help. There are many people on the mailing list to help you as you create your very own web content and format.

Once approved as a County Coordinator you will receive free web space. MAGenWeb has server space and will issue you an account with an email address. If something happens, and you are no longer interested or able to be a County Coordinator, notify the State Coordinator. A County Coordinator cannot relinquish their county to another person without first notifying the State Coordinator. The State Coordinator (& Assistants) must approve all new coordinators.

County Page and Volunteer Requirements

The main focus of your web site is to provide a place to post Genealogical Records, as well as Queries and Lookups, which have genealogical connections with your County. You can create your own Query submission forms which allow you to receive posted queries via e-mail, and in the format you prefer or use the RootsWeb message boards for your county/counties. County coordinators are responsible for overseeing the town coordinators within their county. All the same rules apply to town sites that apply to county sites. County coordinators will maintain a contact list of their TCs and will forward it to the SC when requested. 

Project Name and Logos

The proper name of the project and the way it should be written is "The MAGenWeb Project" and "The USGenWeb Project". The term "genweb" belongs to another group and should not be used to describe our project. The MAGenWeb Project & The USGenWeb Project logos are expected to be displayed on your main page. A variety of logos and other graphics may be obtained from the MAGenWeb logo page and the USGenWeb logo page. In the use of logos and wording, please make it clear to our visitors that you are affilitated with the MAGenWeb Project.

County Coordinator Name and Contact Information

The USGenWeb now requires that the main page of each county website display the County Coordinator's name and give their contact email address or a link to a contact us page.  The name and email address may also be placed on other pages, but it must be placed on the main page. All new CC's must give their name, address, phone number and personal email address to the SC. The addresses and phone numbers are to be retained privately and used by the SC only when necessary if communication has otherwise broken down.

State Mail List

The state coordinator will subscribe you to the MAGenWeb mailing list for county coordinators and volunteers. The MAGEN mail list is where volunteers of the MAGenWeb Project share thoughts, and ask questions, receive messages of importance about the USGenWeb, etc. and it is required.

Query Page

Every county must provide a query page. This can be handled with an email link to you and posted manually, or if you have the resources, you can create an automatic mailmerge form page for receiving information. You may also use the RootsWeb message boards for your county/counties

County Resource Page and Lookups

You are responsible for soliciting volunteers who will perform lookups of genealogical and historical materials for your county, and who understand the USGenWeb's policy on Copyright.

Every county website should provide some basic research help for their county. For instance, many of the county coordinators have provided a list of names, addresses and phone numbers for the county court clerk, library, and genealogical and/or historical societies. Many have also provided a bibliography page showing the reference books available for their county. Lookups should be offered if you or your volunteers have received permission to do so from the book's author or publisher or the reference books you have available meet the copyright policies of The USGenWeb Project.

Updated Web Sites

Every home page needs to have a "last updated" time stamp somewhere on the page. Every county/town site must be updated* at least once every six (6) months. This lets the visitor know that the site is being maintained, is not abandoned, and is in good working order. If it hasn't been updated* at least once every six (6) months, then we will have to consider getting a new county coordinator. It is a must to keep a working email address and to notify the State Coordinator of any email changes that pertain to the county sites.   Newly submitted data is to be posted in a timely manner and broken links researched and repaired at least every 6 months. *Updated applies to many things, including but not limited to: changing a date, adding new info, changing the background, changing the format, etc.

Required Links

Every county must have a link on the main page to MAGenWeb Project. It must also have a link to the county selection page Every county needs to have a town list with links to town sites if they are available. If no site is available it should be listed as up for adoption.

Strongly Recommended Links

Quarterly Roll Calls

It is mandatory that every county coordinator answer roll call. These will be every 3 months, 1st through the end of the month (JAN, APR, JUL, & OCT). If you don't reply to roll call, or answer emails, it will be assumed that you are no longer available and the county will be placed for adoption or given to a new CC.

Respect The Ownership Of Donated Materials

Materials posted on MAGenWeb project sites are the property of the submitter and are considered a donation to the MAGenWeb project. (Note: Material submitted to the USGenWeb Archives or to mailing lists or boards owned by other organizations fall under the policies of the respective owner of that resource and are not subject to this policy.) Should the Coordinator relinquish or be removed from a county project, materials submitted by someone other than the Coordinator will remain with the MAGenWeb and will be turned over to the new county Coordinator and/or MAGenWeb. On a daily basis, material should be removed only upon the express request of the submitter. Materials submitted to the MAGenWeb project may also be placed into the proper county Archives upon request of the submitter, but should never be removed from the MAGenWeb county project to be placed into the Archives.

In the event a new CC should feel that there are some inappropriate, erroneous, or useless files on the county website, they must contact the State Coordinator for approval before removing the donated material.

Solicitation of Funds      (Art IX, Sec 2, USGenWeb Project Bylaws)

Solicitation of funds for personal gain is inappropriate. This is defined as the direct appeal on the home page of any of the websites comprising The USGenWeb Project for funding to do research, to pay for server space, to do look-ups, etc. A website may, however, acknowledge any entities who may host their website (i.e., provide server space at no cost) or may include a link to a coordinator's personal page on which they offer research services for reimbursement. The acknowledgement may include a link to the hosting entity's website. A website may list research materials and/or services which may be for sale/hire, either by the coordinator, a genealogy society, or others. Such a listing shall not be on the main web page for the site, but may be linked from the main web page. It may be appropriate to include a disclaimer that the coordinator and The USGenWeb Project do not guarantee the contents of such research materials and/or the expertise of any professional researchers.

Page Evaluations

As new county/town pages are put up on the web, they are checked by someone on the state evaluation committee for the required elements and to be sure your links work. Your evaluator will let you know when they have visited your page. If there are any problems with links or any required elements missing, they will let you know so you may make any changes or corrections.

Welcome to the project

Beyond these few "bare essentials", your page is yours to do with as you please. Should there be any changes made in the basic requirements, you will be notified by your state coordinator and this message will be updated.

We THANK YOU for your support of The MAGenWeb Project.