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Adding Content to a Genealogy Web page

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Adding Additional Content to a Genealogy Web page

Once you have your surnames on-line by use of a genealogy program, the next step is to decide what additional content you would like to add to your web site.

As you are considering what to add to your personal web site, please think how helpful it would be if everyone who had a web site gave something to the genealogical community by devoting part of their web site to something helpful to all genealogists. If you do so, you will attract more visitors to your site which will give you a greater chance to find that cousin and make those connections you are hoping for.

True success story: I volunteer to do lookups on a CD I own. I found my previously unknown second cousin when she wrote asking for a look-up on her great-grandfather who, although she had no idea at the time, was also MY great-grandfather. It was a very exciting day when we found each other, and especially when I found that she had 13 (yes, 13) additional generations to add to my family tree. And I had information she had been seeking. Good deeds do return rewards!

Before putting any content on the web, be sure the documents are not copyrighted.

Things to include are probably things you have gathered during your own research. They may be the key to someone else's research. If you include something unique on your web sites, you will encourage visitors to your site.


Once you have decided what you want to include on your web site, how do you actually get it onto your page?

There are a number of editors available that can be used to create a home page. They vary in degree of how much HTML knowledge is required.

HTML is the coding used to create a web site. It is simply a tag you put around a word so that word appears as you tell it in a browser. HTML is not a true computer language because there is no logic involved. It is not difficult to learn - even for non-computer type people.

There is a wonderful HTML tutorials on the web - HTML Goodies

Even if you have decided not to add additional content to your page, you still may need to create an index page (the first page a web surfer sees when he visits your web site). This depends upon the genealogy program that you have chosen.

HTML Editors

Free WYSIWYG Editors (No HTML knowledge needed):
  • Nvu - Complete Web Authoring System
    Nvu is a free WYSIWYG editor that makes creating genealogy web sites as easy for novices as the popular commercial web editors FrontPage and DreamWeaver. No technical expertise or knowledge of HTML needed.

  • Trellian WebPAGE
    Trellian WebPAGE is a free WYSIWYG web editor. Trellian WebPage allows you to create your own web sites without having to learn complex scripting languages. WebPage's WYSIWYG interface makes editing pages as easy as using your favorite word processor.
Commercial WYSIWYG Editors


Try to organize your information so it will be displayed in a manner easy for the visitor to your page to navigate. Make sure you don't have any orphan pages - pages that you have forgotten to link from your index page.

There are a couple basic ways to lay out a web site. Most web sites are a combination of the following:
  • Sequential - One page leads to another like turning pages in a book.

  • Hierarchical - begins with the index page and has pages nested by category. This allows you to choose a topic and follow it to a sub-topic.

If you are still not sure how you want to organize your web site, take some time to visit other genealogy pages for ideas.

Your goal should be a web site which is easy to navigate, easy to look at, and available to the widest range of browsers. The Web Design Group gives excellent advice about how to make your site accessible to as many people as possible. After all, you don't want to exclude a possible cousin from visiting your web site because your web site in not accessible to all computers.

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