County Host FAQ

MoGenWeb County Host FAQ


This document is an attempt to give a tutorial in page creation and uploading. It presumes a PC with Windows 3.1, 3.11, 95 or 98; 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. Larry Flesher has generously offered to assist Missouri Mac users with the process; feel free to contact him directly.

Another source of information on page creation is Cyndi Howell's tutorial page. The national level USGenWeb volunteers' page is another great resource.


Table of Contents
Basic Requirements
Software Needed
Creating the Page
Uploading the Page
What About My Graphics?
Updates
Now What?
Basic Requirements to be a MOGenWeb volunteer: Are you breathing?{grin} Seriously, the will to create the pages 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?"
You'll also want to subscribe to the Missouri County discussion list, mogen-l (yes, that's an L, not a one). To do so, send the message subscribe to mogen-l-request@rootsweb.com. Then send your posts to mogen-l@rootsweb.com.
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. There are a variety of html editors available as shareware at http://www.shareware.com; the software and version I use is no longer available, so I'm not much of a reference. But feel free to ask around.

The most commonly used software for the uploading process is WS-FTP. It can be downloaded at http://seach.shareware.com, which is a shareware site owned by the cable tv show C|NET Central (all software guaranteed virus-free).
Creating your page.There are actually three required and one optional pages involved in the MOGenWeb county "page." The three required pages are the home page, the query page, and the lookups page. An optional addition is a surname page. You have several options in creating the page: starting from scratch, starting from a sample page, or capturing an existing page and modifying it. There are sample pages available for capture at One, Two, Three, and Four if you prefer that method. You may also capture pages such as the ones created for Greene County by Megan Zurawicz. Megan gives free permission to copy her pages; if you want to copy someone else's, it's polite to ask first.
You will need to keep the USGenWeb logo near the top of your page as well as the MOGenWeb logo. You can capture either one off the main MOGenWeb page The use of the Missouri flag is optional.
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 MOGenWeb/USGenWeb/WorldGenWeb links are in place on the sample pages and are required, 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 MO, XXX County Missouri, XXX County Missouri Genealogy, and possibly even just XXX Missouri. If you have any large cities in your county, you may wish to search for them as well. A good search site that includes many search engines is search.com which is another part of the C|NET Central site.
Uploading Your Pages At this point, we'll assume that your pages are created. 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. (If you are on a server that requires you to telnet in to adjust your permissions, they should tell you that; if not, don't let the fact I mentioned it panic you. Rootsweb does not require telnetting; my college server does. If you do need to do this, private email to me will get you assistance if necessary.)
If you choose to put your pages at Rootsweb, you should have written to the accounts folks at RootsWeb at http://cgi.rootsweb.com/~help/help/websites.html#Q1 asking for the account while you were making your pages. If you're the sort that doesn't read ahead , don't worry, it's just going to put a small delay in the process; do it now. Send an email to ask for space for your pages. Anywhere from 24 hours to a week later, you'll get back the pertinent data via email.
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.
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 Query Options: Off the top of my head, I count four ways to get queries from your visitors; where there's four, there's likely six or more. Those are:

The Kentucky Query System was put together by the folks at KYGenWeb but is available to all. You'll find info on that at http://cgi.rootsweb.com/~usgwqury/. Other options require that you get more involved yourself. One is mailmerge, which you can find the "how-to" for at ; another is guestbooks--you'll want to ask around about that, I know absolutely nothing about it. The final and simplest (but perhaps most work intensive) method is email...just have folks email their queries to you. Whatever system you come up with, you need to be getting your queries updated on a weekly basis at least, except for exceptional circumstances.

Once you've added the new queries and saved, you need to reupload the page. The process is the same as the original upload. Some people have commented that they have problems with Rootsweb getting displays of the new page rather than the old; the simplest 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.
Another reason for not being able to find your new pages with your browser once they're uploaded is that you haven't cleared your cache. In Netscape, go to the Options at the top, then Network Preferences. You'll see two buttons: Clear MemoryCache and Clear Disk Cache. Press both, then OK...now your Netscape will be forced to load what is actually on the server rather than using a copy from its memory.
Another question you may have is how often should I do the updates? If at all possible, they should be done within 24-48 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.


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 or Missouri-Roots; 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 Missouri, but wherever your ancestors were, USGenWeb is there....
this page updated 02 August 2007 by Larry Flesher
lflesher@fidnet.com

Copyright 2000-2007 The MOGenweb Project