GenWeb Projects and WebRings

by Barbara Renick

[email protected]

©Copyright 2001


GenWeb Projects



*  help researchers learn more about doing genealogical research in that area

*  “dedicated to the free use and access of public domain genealogical information”

*  create “local repositories of information that researchers world-wide can access”

*  this does not mean direct answers to questions about your personal research




*  USGenWeb Project began in June 1996

*  WorldGenWeb Project began in October 1996 (currently 400 Web sites)




*  non-commercial, non-profit, volunteer organizations

*  not the same as genwebs (which are searchable collections of GEDCOM files)

*  more structured than WebRings

*  more required elements for project Web sites than WebRings

*  more prohibited elements for project Web sites than WebRings

*  volunteers are researchers who either live in, or are familiar with, genealogical research in that area

*  volunteer coordinators decide content beyond the required and prohibited elements

*  content varies greatly from county to county and state to state




*  World GenWeb Project

Ш      eleven regions

§         currently, most large countries have GenWeb Project sites

·        divided by geopolitical subdivisions (such as powiats in Poland)


*  USGenWeb Project

Ш      State GenWeb Project Sites

§         County GenWeb Project Sites




                                            *  by maps

                                            *  by tables

                                            *  by text lists (fastest method)

*  by hyperlinks


Typical Content


(These items are not necessarily included on each Web site.)


*  links to or addresses of county/state/country public records offices

*  record availability and lists of published resources

*  links to maps and geographic resources

*  information about the history and culture of that county/state/country

*  library addresses and/or links

*  archives addresses and/or links

*  address of local Family History Center

*  information about pertinent historical and genealogical societies

*  information about e-mail mail list discussion groups

*  query pages (for posting and searching)

*  messages boards

*  surname registries

*  family reunion lists

*  cemetery locations

*  free, limited look-ups

*  migration databases


Queries posted at most county project sites are automatically indexed
into the Surname Helper, part of GenConnect at RootsWeb.
Surname Helper ( )
includes a search engine that allows researchers to search for a surname by country.


If you need help, the USGenWeb’s “Help for Researchers” Web page is located


USGenWeb Project Archives:


*  National USGenWeb Archives search engine

*  State USGenWeb Archives search engine

*  includes actual transcriptions of public domain records

*  types of records transcribed

Ш      census records

Ш      marriages bonds/licenses

Ш      wills and probate records

Ш      tombstone inscriptions

*  includes the USGenWeb Archives Census Project and online census images


USGenWeb Tombstone ProjectѕThis project encourages anyone to transcribe tombstones in cemeteries and donate copies of their cemetery surveys to this project. All it takes is a word processor file.


USGenWeb Digital Map LibraryѕThis project’s goal “is to make available to genealogists useful, readable, high quality maps.” These include historical maps as well as custom maps designed from the results of genealogical and historical research. As with all USGenWeb projects, these maps are freely accessible online.


USGenWeb Archives Pension ProjectѕThis project endeavors “to provide actual transcriptions of pension related materials for all wars prior to 1900.”


USGenWeb Special Collections ProjectѕThis project is for those materials that do not fit into the standard state/county archives division; in other words, they cover multiple states and counties.


USGenWeb Kidz ProjectѕThis project’s goal is to interest young people in genealogy.


USGenWeb Lineage ProjectѕThis project lists researchers interested in the descendants of one ancestor who lived in the U.S. and was born before 31 Dec 1850.


USGenWeb Genealogical Events ProjectѕThis is a calendar of genealogical events.


World GenWeb ProjectѕThis project is currently seeking volunteers to translate World GenWeb Web pages into many languages.






A WebRing is a group of Web sites that share a theme or topic. They use a small navigation utility program to add a navigation box to each member site. This links the WebRing sites together so that you can surf from site to site around the ring.




A high school student designed the first WebRing on the Internet in May 1995. Today there are tens of thousands of WebRings with millions of member sites. This is an interesting way to bring searchers to your genealogy Web site.




Anyone can start a WebRing. There are fewer requirements and prohibitions for member sites of WebRings than there are for GenWeb Project sites. Two Web sites that have directories of WebRings and help you create new ones are Yahoo!WebRing and RingSurf.

*  RingSurf ( )

*  Yahoo!WebRing ( )




*  forward using the NEXT link

*  back using the PREVIOUS link
*  jump forward five sites

*  jump backward five sites

*  random selection using the RANDOM link

*  see a ring directory and choose a site from the list


To Find WebRings


Yahoo! WebRing           




Cyndi’s List  (see her category “Web Rings for Genealogy”)



Search engines              Web Ring vs. Web ring vs. Webring vs. webring


Types of Genealogy WebRings


*  topical





*  geographical





*  surname