Genealogy Site Builder

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Genealogy Site Builder

Summary

License & Use

FAQs

Examples

E-Mail

 


Instructions & Tips


Installing Genealogy Site Builder

Genealogy Site Builder uses an automated installation routine to make installation of the program easy. Simply double click on the icon "GSB-Install.exe" and you will be prompted through the installation with easy to follow instructions.


Removing Genealogy Site Builder

1. Click the "Start" button and choose "Settings" then "Control Panel". Then Double click "Add/Remove Programs".
2. Select "Genealogy Site Builder" in the Window and then click the "Add/Remove" button.
3. Follow the instructions to completely remove the program.


Overview 

Genealogy Site Builder is designed to automate the process of creating a web site from a GEDCOM file. The program makes extensive use of sources, facts, and notes to create a professional, completely documented site.

The process of creating a site consist of three simple steps. First, data is obtained by importing a GEDCOM file created with your genealogy software. This GEDCOM file provides the data from which the site will be built.

The second step involves designing your site. You are able to determine the background color, whether to include notes, sources and facts, and whether to provide gendex support. In addition you have the opportunity to create a message on each page, write an introduction to the site, and optionally create marriage and burial records by surname.

Finally, you create the web site pages automatically based on the data in the GEDCOM file and the design choices you make.

After the site is completed you will need to upload the web pages to a host site for your data. Often your internet service provider offers space and there are a number of places that offer free or low cost storage for your site. 


Importing GEDCOM Files 

All major genealogy programs provide support for import and export of GEDCOM files. There are minor differences in the features in programs that will cause differences in the types of pages available. For instance Family Tree Maker accepts sources for the names of individuals. Some programs only accept sources for events (birth, death, marriage, etc). Additionally, your program may offer choices for GEDCOM export formats. The most recent version is 5.5 with which this program is fully compatible. Earlier versions should work fine but certain features such as sources may not be available.

For your first run at using the program it is suggested that you start with a small file with no more than 200-300 people and experiment until you become comfortable using the program. This will give you a chance to try different options without waiting a long time for processing. This will also give you a chance to see how well notes, sources, and facts are handled.

GEDCOM files from Family Tree Maker, PAF, Family Origins and several others have been used with Genealogy Site Builder with excellent results. Some GEDCOM files may not fully be compatiable with advanced features. PAF is an excellent program and a free version is available from the Mormon Church website for download. If you have problems you might consider importing your file into PAF and then exporting a file to use with Genealogy Site Builder. The web address for obtaining PAF is: http://www.familysearch.org


Designing Your Web Site

To design your web site you have a number of options. You should use the introductory text area to enter a summary of your site. This summary should probably include the major surnames and geographical regions that your information focuses on. Of course this may include any information you desire. Keep in mind that the text you enter in the field will go straight into the HTML portion of the page. Web browsers ignore extra spaces and returns so you need to make a few adjustments. 

The first thing to do is name your web site. This may simply be "John Doe's Genealogy". Enter this text in the appropriate box. You also have the option to include notes, sources and facts. This is self-explanatory. If you check these options the item will appear on the web page. You should probably include all options if they are supported in your GEDCOM file and you have adequate web storage space. The option to create a gendex file is also provided. Please by all means register your site with gendex and take advantage of this option. Gendex is a concept created by Gene Starke and is one of the most valuable genealogy tools on the Internet. This service provides a centralized method of indexing all the individuals that are posted in genealogy records from all sources. The service is free. Instructions for indexing with gendex are provided on their site at www.gendex.com and you should refer to this site for further information.

When entering the introduction to your site keep the following in mind. To separate paragraphs enter "<BR>" [do not include the quotes] at the end of the paragraph. If you want to skip a line between paragraphs which is the usual method enter it twice as "<BR><BR>". If you want to make a word or sentence bold use "<B>" at the start of the bold area and "</B>" at the end. Be sure to use the "/" to close any formatting or you will effect the rest of the page. Some of the common codes that might be useful in the introduction section are presented below.


<BR> Line break - essentially the same as using the return key in a word processor. This tag does not need closing.

<B> & </B> Bold - text between the first <B> and the </B> is bold. Tags that change the format should be closed, if not they will have an adverse effect on the rest of the page.

<CENTER> & </CENTER> Centers the text, useful for a title or heading.

<HR> Horizontal Rule - basically a line across the page


This is just an example of some of the more common tags and enough to get you going with a decent genealogy home page. Keep in mind that the HTML tags "<" and ">" are not shown on the text of the page. There are many books and online references to help you go further with web site design. Those experienced in web design will probably want to completely rework the home page. This can easily be done as long as you have the links to the required other pages. Those experienced with creating web pages can add other pages, pictures, links to other sites, or just about anything you can imagine. Simply entering the appropriate tags in the setup text boxes can do most of this.


Importing GEDCOM Files

Genealogy Site Builder provides an option to create marriage and burial record pages by surname. This provides a valuable tool for others who are researching the same surnames. 

Both marriage and burial options work the same way. Enter the surnames you wish to include, separated by a comma, and check the button at the lower portion of the window to include a page for these records.

Keep in mind that the surname entries are case sensitive and you should use the same case as your GEDCOM file format. Some people prefer surnames in upper case and some not. This is a personal preference.


Building Your Web Site

The actual creation of the web pages is essentially automatic. Simply make the menu choice or press the third button on the main page and then click "Build Web Site", then sit back and wait. You will be presented with a progress bar and a counter to monitor the routine. Large files on computers with limited memory and older processors may take some time. You may consider starting the process when you can leave the computer running for a while if you have a large file and a slow processor. 

As a benchmark for comparison, my computer a Pentium II (233) with 192 megs of memory takes about 12 minutes to process a site of 13,000 individuals and 5,000 families with extensive notes, facts and sources. The same file on a Pentium I (166) with 46 megs of memory takes about 30 minutes. 

When setting up your first file the easiest and quickest method is to create a small file with several hundred individuals and experiment with the various options until you are satisfied with the overall design. A small file will process in a minute or less and let you review your results and make revisions until you are completely satisfied. Try to make a small file that includes a representative sampling of sources, facts and notes. Since the design settings and text is saved you will not have to make any changes with your final file even if it is done at a later time.

Each time new web pages are created the previous pages are destroyed automatically. This way you do not have to worry about deleting the old files. However, if you want to save the files you need to move them to a new location on your hard drive. The process is simple, when you run the routine to build a web site the program looks for a folder called "Gen Web Site" in the same folder as the program. If the folder exist then all the files in it are deleted, if there is not a folder then a folder is created and all the new web pages are placed in the folder. The data files from the GEDCOM file are handled in the same manner.

When you are ready to upload the files to your internet site select all the files in the "Gen Web Site" folder with your FTP program. This folder is located in the same folder as the Genealogy Site Builder program, usually in the a folder called "Genealogy Site Builder" in the "Programs" folder on the C drive of your computer. If you choose another directory during the installation this will be different. If you cannot find the files use the find command under the "Start" button and search for "Gen Web Site".


Gendex Support 

Genealogy Site Builder produces a file to support the GENDEX indexing system. GENDEX is a wonderful and free service developed by Gene Stark that indexes individual genealogy sites to provide a common place to search for records. If you are not familiar with this service the web address is: www.gendex.com

The gendex file is normally loaded in the same directory as your web pages. The GENDEX server then updates its records by reading your file, usually every 24 hours. This way the GENDEX index stays up to date with the latest records, even if you update your site.

To index with GENDEX you simply do an on line sign up at their site. The signup is easy and usually your site will be indexed within 24 hours.

Complete and detailed instructions are included at the GENDEX site.


Technical Information 

Genealogy Site Builder is designed to operate under Windows 95/98 and has been tested on both environments. 

It has been tested on Pentium I, II, and III machines with varying memory from 48 megs to 256 megs. All machines tested have successfully completed building a web site with over 13,000 individuals and 5,000 web pages. The processing time has varied from under 10 minutes to 2.5 hours depending on the system and memory.

In addition, adequate disk space of up to 10 to 15 times your GEDCOM file size is required to hold the data and web site files.

This version has all the features of the final version. Registration will remove the "Unregistered" tags on the web pages.


Registration Information 

Genealogy Site Builder is shareware. You are asked to pay a $25.00 registration fee if you try the program and decide to keep it and use it to post your genealogy files to the Internet. 

The registration fee provides several benefits.

1. You will be given a registration number which will eliminate the "Unregistered" tags on your web pages.

2. Payment of the fee will enable you to obtain any updates free for a minimum of 12 months. After 12 months upgrades will either be free or at substantially reduced costs.

3. Payment of the registration fee encourages continued development to improve the program and offer new features. 

4. Registered users will be notified of upgrades and enhancements by e-mail.

Registration may be made by mailing a check for $25.00 (in US funds) to the following address.

Tommy Bargeron
721 West 12th Street
Tifton, Georgia 31794

Please include your e-mail address.


Advanced Tips 

Keep in mind that Genealogy Site Builder also is a great tool for archiving your genealogy records to a zip disk or CDR. With web browsers now installed on nearly every computer you have a good way to share files with others. 

Genealogy Site Builder assumes that all the pages to the web site are in the same directory. Links provided by the names of individuals are based on a simple rule. First choice is the first family the individual was a spouse in, the next choice is the family in which the individual is a child. These links are also found on the marriage and burial record pages.

If you have a complex web site you probably will want to place all the pages this program builds in one folder and then link to the index page from your main page. You may also rework the index page keeping the links for the index and marriage and burial records, but providing links back to your main home page.

The marriage and burial record pages could easily be modified to be included in other sites. The pages are not named for the surname, but you could easily rename the pages or links as they are from a different source. However, keep in mind that the names have "hot" links to the appropriate family group sheets. For this reason they should be in the same directory as the family group sheet pages.

 

If you have never created a web site, don't be afraid to try. The process is very simple and there are a number of resources available to help you.

One important point to remember is that you can proof your site either by using the built in browser in this program or by opening your files with your browser. Always test and proof your files on your computer before you upload them to a host site.

To get started be sure to look at the resources and links provided at Cyndi's List site (http://www.CyndisList.com/construc.htm). This site provides links to most every genealogy resource on the internet including sites that offer free web space, sites specializing in genealogy hosting, programs, utilities, as well as general instructions.

Another great reference, although it is now a couple of years old, is a paper written by Mark Howells located at: 

www.oz.net/~markhow/writing/gedcom.htm

You need to find a place to host your site. You probably will need to run a test file and see how much space you will need first. You can then look for a site that meets your needs. There are a number of free hosting services and many specializing in genealogy.

Then you will need an FTP program to upload the files to the site. Some sites have uploading utilities built into their utilities that work from web pages. Cyndi's List has a number listed as do many of the shareware and freeware sites on the internet.

Once you have the site uploaded and are comfortable that it is working properly and ready to go you will want to make some efforts to register it with gendex and some of the search engines. Good instructions are provided for this in the two sources mentioned previously.