USGenWeb Archives Project


Page Two of the Guidelines

Development of the Project

The project began as the result of a group of people deciding that it was "time to do something" on the Internet about genealogical research. Something beyond making a connection with others working on the same surname. Beyond the thousands of homepages that list links, gedcoms, or an index for printed books or documents.

It is time to do something to get those valuable documents ONLINE...... accessible to anyone with a computer and modem.

The word went out. Volunteers were recruited to either donate their existing transcribed documents, or to actually commit to transcribing data, such as census records, marriage bonds, wills, etc. This project will also help preserve the information stored in musty old courthouse basements and attics on fading, crumbling paper.

Files are stored in the USGenWeb Archives in ascii text format. If you would like to help the archivists get the data uploaded faster, please visit the TIPS Page for instructions on converting various formats to text.

Specialized projects within the USGenWeb Archives include:

Other specialized projects, concentrating on particular data, are planned for the future.

The USGenWeb Archives were planned by:

Coordinator, Linda Russell Lewis
Assistant Coordintoor, Joy Fisher
Technical Advisors: Dale Schneider, Dr. Brian Leverich

Coordinators will retain write-access to all directories and sub-directories of the USGenWeb Archives.

An ftp site was located on RootsWeb to store the files, which have been sent in by people willing to share their information with other researchers. The site is organized in a DOS directory structure, starting with each state, with sub-directories for counties, followed by a particular subject, such as wills, cemeteries, etc.

Today, the Archives resides on it's own server and is totally independent.

This project is maintained entirely by volunteers and depends on the support of people like you that want to see Genealogy research take a step forward. We can use the technology of today, and make the Internet work for Genealogy!

If you have something you would like to contribute to the project, please read the guidelines below.

State ftp maintainers must follow the guidelines below.

If you would like to contribute a file, contact the appropriate file manager from the Archives Table of Contents Almost all states now accept files via our automated forms. We have two different web sites that accept your data:

These sites are owned and maintained by David and Debra Crosby (one of our file managers) and all submissions are uploaded to the Archives.

Access the USGenWeb Archives or the USGenWeb Archive Table of Contents

Types of files for the Archives include:

Federal Census (free, slave, mortality, agriculture, veterans... schedules)

     State Census

     Vital Records




        4.divorce (or under court?)

     Court records (county, federal, civil, circuit, probate....)

     Church records (members lists, baptisms...)

     Bible Records

     Newspapers (obits, marriage & birth announcements, local events...)

     Prison Records (got some proven moonshiners in my tree - the rest is just rumor )

     Military Records (rosters, muster rolls, service records, pension applications...)


        2.Civil War, 

        3.Indian Wars 



        6.War of 1812 




       10.Viet Nam 

       11.Persian Gulf

     Land Records (deeds, land transfers, federal land grants, surveyor's records...all belong in the /deeds/ folder)

     Tax Records (land, property, state, federal, local....)

     Local Histories

     Local Directories (phone books, old county and city directories....)

     Occupational (?) (Mining inspector's reports, Accident reports, railroad reports, company newsletters....)

     Educational (?) (school histories, newsletters, KY's school census, yearbooks?)



     Misc* (belongs in the /history/others/ folder)


     Ship Lists

     Tax lists 


Guidelines for File Submissions

Contact the person maintaining the state files, to contribute files.

USGenWeb Archives Notice

Place a notice on each text file to protect the submitter. A recommended notice:

Copyright.  All rights reserved.

File contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by:
Your name Your email address  Date
(Replace XX with state abreviation)

1. Only virus-checked files will be accepted.

2. Ascii text (.txt) files are preferred. Non-text will be converted to text before storing. If you have created a .doc, .wri, .xls, .dbf, etc. file, please save it "as text" in your software program, and assign a ".txt" extension to the filename. Hard "tabs" are not encouraged, as they do not translate the same on all browsers. Please use "5 hard spaces" in place of tabs. Large files may be split. We may, at our discretion, store the same data in several formats. Scanned documents will be considered, depending on their content.

3. All data is free to the public, and the USGenWeb Archives project will not pay royalties on any submissions.

4. Data is provided for downloading "as is" -- no guarantees of anything. The transcriptions in the USGenWeb Archives should be used as clues in your research, and we strongly recommend referring to the original documents.

5. Guidelines for Information Concerning Living Persons


Records which are currently posted in the USGenWeb Archives which contain information about
living persons should be reviewed by State File Managers to determine if they violate the
privacy of living persons. Such records may be removed at the discretion of the State File
Manager. If a complaint is received about such records, they MUST be removed immediately.

6. We will not accept gedcoms due to space considerations. Please submit your gedcoms to the WorldConnect Project at Rootsweb.

7. No executable files will be accepted.

8. Do not send copyrighted material, unless it is your own, and you include a statement of permission to use in the document.
Note: Public domain records cannot be copyrighted.

9. Image Files

We are now able to store images, but must be cautious about the size and quality, as well as the genealogical value of those images. Placing images in the Archives on a selective basis permits us to provide documents to researchers which can be deeply treasured. However, placing any and all images that are submitted for the Archives can quickly eat up our limited resources.

Acceptable images fall in five general categories:

a. Images of handwritten original source documents that have been transcribed for the Archives. In this case the image is used to verify the transcriber's translation of the original document. The image should be linked from the text transcription. There is very little value to be gained from an image of a modern typed or 'typed to fill in the blanks' source document that has been transcribed for the Archives.

b. Images of original documents that are awaiting transcription. A collection of images of a large document pending a transcription needs to be linked only from the Archives TOCs. One example of this category would be the images we have of the individual pages of the census microfilms.

c. Photographs of tombstones. The text description should include a transcription of the stone.

d. Non-copyrighted images with a genealogical value originally published as a part of a book or newspaper article that has also been transcribed for the Archives. These images need not have a separate text description if they are linked from the file with the text of the transcribed document.

e. Photographs of people including family groups and school classes. To insure that no living persons appear without their permission images in this category should be at least 70 years old. The text description should include the names of as many of the people photographed as possible.

All graphics are to be uploaded to the "archive_html" directory, the same one that holds your state or county tables of contents. All images must be linked from an Archive TOC. All graphics uploaded should also be accompanied by a text transcription/description uploaded to the "archive_ftp" directory unless it is already linked from a donated file or falls in the awaiting transcription category. The required text transcription of the images in collections can be as simple as a text conversion of the collection's HTML index as long as that index provides names for the Archives search engine.

Guidelines for editing and formatting Archives images:

Every effort should be made to post images in the smallest size possible consistent with readability. While saving file space is a major consideration, reducing the size of a document scan or tombstone photograph beyond the point that the printing is readable makes the image worthless for archival purposes.

Contributors should be asked to submit images which meet the following criteria:

We reserve the right to reject donated images lacking genealogical value and to return images to ask for donor cropping and resizing. Donated images may be reformatted to change the file type without notice to the donor.

File managers should maintain a list of volunteers able to provide image editing services and technical assistance to image donors who lack an image editing program or who seek advise.

10. We cannot guarantee permanency, in the event data is lost.

11. Any obviously false, malicious, libelous, or copyrighted data will be erased. We do not guarantee the validity of any files. Always check the original document.

12. These guidelines are subject to change.

13. Once submitted, the data can't be retracted by submitter. (This rule causes concern to many potential submitters. The reason for this rule is that the volunteer file managers spend many hours preparing the files in the proper format for viewing by all types of computers. We have to discourage submissions - retractions - submissions - retractions because of the volume of data that is submitted. The USGenWeb Archives are accessible FREE and will remain FREE, to researchers. The files within will not be used for any commercial purposes by the USGenWeb Project.) Copyright to data contributed to resides with the contributor, who agrees that the USGenWeb Archives, as a not-for-profit project, has permanent use of the data.

14. We retain the right to refuse any submission.

15. Files in the USGenWeb Archives may not be copied for selling in any format.

Page Two of the Guidelines

© 1996 - present, Joy Fisher