US GenWeb & State Projects
One of the most helpful resources available to genealogist is the U.S. Genealogical Web Digital Library (US GenWeb for short). The digital archives began in June 1996 with the mission of providing free access to transcriptions of public records. These transcriptions include census records, marriage bonds, wills and other public documents. The US Gen Web Archives were compiled entirely by passionate volunteers. RootsWeb.com and MyFamily.com provide the server space for these projects, but GenWeb is not owned by any corporate entity.
The site contains some extremely useful information to researchers, but bear in mind that it is a bit complicated to navigate. You will need to be patient when you first start using the site.
The Organization of the Website
GenWeb contains multiple projects and categorizes them by state. Each state has its own project and its own project manager. The manager watches after the website and adds images and content as people donate them.
When you click on the individual state links, you are then directed to the state project website. From there, you can click on any number of options to continue your research. You can search by county or by specific research interest. For example, you can find church records, tombstones, obituaries, newspapers and pensions.
Some of the popular categories you will find on the various state project websites are:
- Tombstone projects
- Cemetery projects
- Military records
- Penny postcards
- Surname projects
- Newspaper projects
- Obituary records projects
- Federal lands projects
- Marital records projects
- Maps projects
In some states, you will find special records projects that include everything from class yearbooks to journals and letters to photo collections. These special records projects can be fascinating in terms of what they allow you to see and find out about your family's past. Click here to find out more.
Guidelines for Contributions
The GenWeb site accepts contributions of information, but only in specific formats. The files should be in ASCII text format, but can be converted if you send files of another type. The precise instructions to follow to contribute information are found here. Remember that all donated copies must abide by prevailing copyright laws.
In Genealogical Conclusion
Ultimately, the GenWeb site is a great place to do research. Though it can be somewhat complicated to navigate the site, with a little time and patience, you can master it fairly quickly. Just be sure to read each section carefully before you start clicking so that you are directed to the information you truly want.
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