Policy and Procedures

The following policies and procedures have been created for use by the WorldGenWeb Project. Questions about any of the following policies or procedures should be addressed with the WGW Chairperson or another member of the Advisory Board.

Section I: WorldGenWeb Project

The WorldGenWeb Project (WGW) is a non-profit volunteer organization that is dedicated to the free use and access of public domain resource and reference information.

Use of Name

The name "WorldGenWeb," "The WorldGenWeb Project," "WGW" and any other variation of the name, is a service mark of this organization and as such is reserved for use ONLY by us and may not be used by any other website or person or group without the expressed written permission from the Advisory Board. Additionally, the name, "CountryGenWeb," "The CountryGenWeb Project" (replacing the word 'country' with the actual name of the country or state or county/parish name), and any other variation, is hereby service marked for use ONLY by this organization and the participating members of this project (exclusions include The USGenWeb Project and The CanadaGenWeb Project). The Advisory Board reserves the right to decide who may use the service marked names and right of use may be refused at any time by the Advisory Board.

Domain Name

The domain names: worldgenweb.org and worldgenweb.info are registered to the WorldGenWeb Project and are administered by the WorldGenWeb Advisory Board.

Section II: Logo Copyright and Ownership

The WGW Logo was designed by Carol Hepburn for use by the WGW Project. Ownership of the logo is granted to the WGW Project for use on any and all web pages so long as the logo remains intact (no changes without authorization and permission from Carol Hepburn or her assignees, i.e., the advisory board or Chairperson).

Section III: WGW Organization

The WGW Project is generally organized along historical boundaries (in some cases regions are divided by more current political boundaries). The following structure has been established to assist researchers with ease of navigation and to facilitate consistency and cohesion between regional, country, state or province, and county* level project websites.


This structure provides a means of efficient communication for project volunteers. All volunteers are required to maintain open communication with their peers (same level) and with the project one level up or down.

Section IV: Advisory Board

The WGW Project is governed by the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is made up of a Chairperson, Secretary, Regional Coordinators, Archives Coordinator and the Webmaster. The main function of the Advisory Board is to add stability to the project by providing a sense of organization. This includes but is not limited to: maintaining the project website, upholding policy and standards, maintaining communication via the country coordinator mail list, serving as arbitrators should the need arise, and generally being available to the public to answer questions about the project.

Chairperson: The Chairperson is elected by the Advisory Board members and serves a two year term. At the end of that term, the Chairperson may ask for a renewal term of another two years. There is no limit to the number of terms that the Chairperson may serve. The election and renewal terms are subject to approval by the Advisory Board members.

Secretary:  The position of Secretary is appointed by the Chairperson and ratified by the Advisory Board. There is no term limit for this position.

Webmaster:  The position of Webmaster is appointed by the Chairperson and ratified by the Advisory Board. The Webmaster is a non-voting position and may be held by a board member or another project volunteer. There is no term limit for this position.

Archives Coordinator:  The position of Archives Coordinator is appointed by the Chairperson and ratified by the Advisory Board.  The Archives Coordinator is a non-voting position and may be held by a board member or another project volunteer.  There is no term limit for this position.

Section V: Responsibilities of Coordinators

Each level within the WGW Project is coordinated by one individual (in some cases, country and *county projects are co-hosted). The duties for each level are outlined below:

Regional Coordinator: A Regional Coordinator (RC) hosts one or more countries within their region. The RC is appointed by the WGW Advisory Board. In that position, the RC serves as a member of the WGW Advisory Board. The primary responsibility of the Regional Coordinator is to recruit and train volunteers to host countries within their region. The RC maintains a regional index of countries and offers assistance to Country and county coordinators in website design, policy, etc. The RC also offers grievance and arbitration should a conflict arise within a project site.

Country Coordinator: The Country Coordinator (CC) is responsible for creating and maintaining the country level project website. They recruit and train county/parish/state volunteers. The country website offers general assistance to the researcher and usually has links to a general query or message boards or mailing list(s) that researchers can use. In addition to the above, the country coordinator tries to establish working relationships with other national websites (archives, research, universities, etc.) and often coordinates transcription projects to benefit researchers in that country. The CC may be appointed by the RC responsible for that region or may be elected by the members of the country project.

Country Partners: In cases where there are no volunteers for Country Coordinators, the Regional Coordinator is authorized to engage one or more Country Partners on behalf for the WorldGenWeb.

A Country Partner is typically a genealogical or historical society active in (or for) that particular country. A Country Partner will presumably already have a website and does not have an obligation to maintain one specifically for the WorldGenWeb project.

The Regional Coordinator and the Country Partner are to sign a written agreement that will specify the requirements of the WGW and the Country Partner.  The agreement may be terminated by either party at any time with notice.

The Country Partner will clearly mark on their home page that they are a WorldGenWeb Country Partner for that country. The home page will contain a link to the WGW landing page and will include the WGW Logo with link to http://www.worldgenweb.org/.

The WorldGenWeb Project will set up a simple landing page for that country (e.g.countryGenWeb) with:

      • some basic links (eg. Wikipedia, Message Boards, etc.) some short disclaimers
      • links to any relevant WGW sites (states, provinces, counties, etc.) a prominent link to the Country Partner website


State or Provincial Coordinator: The State/Provincial Coordinator (SC/PC) is responsible for creating and maintaining the state/provincial level project website. They recruit and train *county volunteers. The state or province website offers general assistance to the researcher and usually has links to a general query or message boards or mailing lists that researchers can use. In addition to the above, the state or provincial coordinator tries to establish working relationships with other state or provincial websites (archives, research, universities, etc.) and often coordinates transcription projects to benefit researchers in that state. The SC is appointed by the CC or by the RC in the absence of a CC.

County Coordinator(*): The County/district Coordinator is responsible for creating and maintaining a county specific website. The County Coordinator (cc) is the local link for the researcher worldwide. The cc's main job is to gather information pertinent to their county, parish, shire, rajones, or prefect, etc. They create and maintain a website that helps researchers gain access to public records, history, data, and other useful resources and present it visually online. The cc interfaces with the public and answers email from researchers. They provide links to localized query or message boards and often host a *county specific mail list. The cc is appointed by the Country Coordinator.

Section VI: Project Requirements

Links and Logos

Each WGW project site is required to display the WorldGenWeb Logo (see: Logo Page for logos of various sizes) on their index page and must include a return link to the WorldGenWeb Project (http://www.worldgenweb.org) home page.

Additionally, each WGW project site must include a return link to the project site that is one level up (ex. county pages return to the country pages, state pages return to the national page, national pages return to the regional pages, etc.)

Any other links (e.g. upwards to the region, sideways to neighboring counties, downwards to parishes, etc.) are encouraged but not required. Please see the Country and Regional policy pages for any additional logo and link requirements.

Page Layout and Contents

The WGW encourages the free expression of the webmaster in choosing appropriate themes, backgrounds and page graphics for their websites. The use of regional and ethnic cultural photos and images are encouraged. We ask that all websites refrain from using political statements and/or images. The use of inflammatory, derogatory statements made towards any person or groups of people will result in the immediate removal of a project website and project volunteer.

The page layout designed by the coordinator/designer/webmaster is the property of the coordinator/designer and not the WGW or any advisory board member or regional coordinator. All images and text remain the property of the webmaster and may not be reproduced or used in any manner without the expressed written consent of the webmaster and/or their assignee.

Copyright Policy

Any materials donated to the website, i.e., transcription of databases, etc., are property of the original submitter of such material. No copyrighted materials shall be used without the permission of the authors to post such information online.

Materials from any publication copyrighted within the past 95 years shall not be allowed into the archives without written permission of the author or person/persons who own the copyright. Project volunteers should refrain from copying or posting material that is copyrighted. If you are unsure of an item's copyright, it is best to err on the side of caution and not post this information online. The WGW will not pay royalties to any person or organization and will not mediate any copyright infringement issues.

Note:  Submissions made to third party Message Board systems are governed under the copyright policy by the administrators of said board systems.

Until further notice, the copyright law observed by the WGW shall be the Berne Treaty of 1978.

Query Pages

Each county, parish, shire or prefect coordinator (cc) shall be required to maintain a method for researchers to submit queries.  The coordinator may choose to administer a query page/message board system or they may choose to provide a link to an existing message board related to their region.

The coordinator is free to choose a system/method which works best for their project web site.

Website Contents

The contents of each WGW project website will vary depending on the volunteer coordinators knowledge and understanding of the region. The following elements are encouraged on all project websites:

      • History
      • Resource Addresses (Libraries, archives)
      • Society Addresses
      • Maps
      • Geography
      • Culture and Religious History
      • Links to Query Boards/Message Board systems
      • Mail List
      • Reference Materials (census, deeds, biographies, etc.)

WGW-L Mail List

The WorldGenWeb-L Mail list was created as a vehicle to disseminate information pertinent to all WorldGenWeb Country Coordinators. All Country Coordinators will be subscribed to this list. The list is an "announce only" list. The list is closed to self subscription (see the Mailing List page for subscription information).

Active Status

To fulfill the mission of the WorldGenWeb Project of providing quality genealogical data and information it is imperative that each WorldGenWeb Project website be kept current. At a minimum each regional, country, state or province, and county* level project shall be updated once every 12 months. This update should include a check for any broken links, a change to the copyright date and a check to ensure that contact information is current. Additional items may be required by Country or Regional Projects. Project websites that have not been updated for a period greater than 12 months may be declared abandoned and the coordinator may be removed from the WorldGenWeb Project in accordance with Section VII and Section VIII of these policies.

Section VII: Rights of Coordinators

No coordinator may be removed without due process. No one associated with the WGW Project can seize, copy and/or redistribute web pages from any other project website. Every project website is the sole property of the coordinator/webmaster except those pages that belong to the WGW itself (homepage, country index, policy page, faq, and archives).

No one shall be expelled from the project without due process. No corrective action shall be issued with less than 30 days notice given to a coordinator unless the situation is deemed serious (site is offline or unavailable for a prolonged period of time). The local coordinator shall have no less than 30 days notice to make any corrective actions deemed appropriate by the advisory board or other committees.

Any dispute between local coordinators shall be handled by the country coordinator. If resolution is not forthcoming, the regional coordinator shall intervene to help propose a workable solution to the problem. In the event that both attempts at arbitration fail, a neutral regional coordinator and two non-regional coordinators appointed by the WGW Board shall convene to settle the dispute (this should be the last resort and in all cases thorough documentation of the steps of arbitration prior to asking the board for assistance need to be presented to the WGW Chairperson).


Section VIII: Removal of Coordinators

Violation of any said policy (including those listed above but not limited to: use of inflammatory, derogatory materials or statements, political statements, pornographic materials or web links, site abandonment, refusal to abide by WGW policy, etc.) may result in the immediate removal of a coordinator and/or removal of regional, country, state, provincial, county, parish, prefect, shire, etc., links from this project.

The RC, CC may post a temporary page online redirecting visitors to the appropriate site until a replacement coordinator is found. All contents of the website belong to the coordinator and the country/regional coordinator may not use or copy any page contents without the permission of the author.

Replacement of country and/or county coordinators shall be determined solely by the regional or country coordinator or their assignee (advisory board if requested).

Replacement of a Regional Coordinator is at the sole discretion of the Advisory Board.


Last updated on April 11, 2017

August 24, 2007 versionAugust 24, 2007 version

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