Thursday, January 14, 2010

Volunteerism: Look to Your Local GenWeb

I don't want to "toot my horn". That is not the importance of giving a little time to a cause that you feel is worthwhile. My particular cause is the GenWebs. I adopted my county several years ago and have not regretted it. I love the work and have met so many wonderful people in the process of maintaining the site.

When I first started online research I discovered the GenWebs and knew immediately that I wanted to be a volunteer for that organization. I set out right away to learn html coding so that I would be able to adopt a county. Just so happens that my own county became available as I was learning and I quickly applied to adopt it. I was open about my lack of experience and that I was taking lessons still. I was sure that I would not be chosen because of my lacking knowledge and experience. Big surprise! I was chosen! I try to keep learning so that the site is coded up to date and is convenient for my users. I am grateful that the State Coordinator gave me a chance to work for the INGenWeb. It is very fullfilling.

I spend more time some months of the year on the site. Around the holidays it is quiet and very few submissions come in. In the busy times I will spend up to 3 or 4 hours a week on the site. There have been times I spent much more time working. Getting the site up and running took many hours of work a week, but now that I have it set, I only need to put the data on a page(template) and upload. The County Coordinator chooses how simple or complicated the site is. I also spend time transcribing data for the site. Some months I spend 8 to 10 hours doing that. Again, it is up to the CC how much time is spent there. I'm sure you have noticed that each county site is different. That is because each site reflects the personality of each Coordinator and the amount of time they have to put into the project. How much time spent on the project is up to the individual County Coordinator. I have taken my county from 50 pages to over 2500, and that is smallcompared to some counties. I have a lot of ideas and data I want to provide for my users, so much work is still to be done.

I recommend the GenWebs for anyone looking to volunteer time to providing data and information about genealogy research. I have found it to be a great challenge and a joy. Take a look at your county site. Please consider the GenWebs when looking to volunteer. If you don't feel you can handle a county, remember that the sites are waiting for submissions of data from their users too. You could volunteer data that you have collected over the years in your own research. Next time you go out to that little cemetery in your county, take a while and snap extra photos just to submitt. If you have a book for your county, become a "look-up". You can make your county site better even if you can not adopt it.

USGenWeb

Written for the 88th COG.
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