Developing County Pages


A county page gives researchers relevant information about that particular county. This is usually presented in the form of a number of short paragraphs, each dealing with a different subject e.g. books of possible interest, family history societies, local archives etc. Note that a county page should not contain information related just to specific parishes. 

All of the following categories of information could appear on county (or parish) pages, or in more detail on a county or parish-level topic page:

  • Books about the county, its history, people etc. Modern guide books are particularly nice listed under "Description & Travel" since they are usually in print and are often well illustrated. Other books about the county can be placed under the appropriate headings, for example "Bibliography", "History", "Social Life and Culture" etc.
  • Information about the location of records e.g. old parish registers, court records, census returns etc. (under headings such as "Church Records", "Census Returns" etc.)
  • Bibliographic details of any published transcripts or indexes e.g. census indexes, monumental inscriptions, indexes to testamentary records, etc.
  • For out of copyright books and Journals, links to any full texts in Google Books, the Internet Archive or HathiTrust
  • Information about local family history societies and possibly details of their publications etc. Check the list of Family History Societies to see if your local society already has a home page. If it does then you can place a link to it under the heading "Societies". Otherwise you may like to contact the society and invite it to become involved in GENUKI. Under no circumstances whatsoever should you advertise addresses for societies without first receiving permission to do so.
  • Local History Societies - Local History Magazine have a list of societies arranged by county.
  • Details of county coverage in major subscription sites - FindMyPast, Ancestry and TheGenealogist.co.uk
  • Links to any online resources about the county, e.g. complementary resources to GENUKI which fill other niches e.g.

The list could go on and on, but hopefully this will be enough to get the ideas rolling.

When thinking about developing a county it is always worth bearing in mind how other volunteers could help you, perhaps splitting the task between two or more people (perhaps on geographical or topical lines), or having a single person co-ordinate the bulk of the pages, with others offering specialist knowledge in particular geographical areas or topics of interest. If you live outside the county could you find someone on the spot to help you find out information about unusual local records and other resources? It is also a good idea to think of all the things you would like to do for a county, even if you don't personally have the time to achieve them all. Then if someone contacts you asking how they can help you with the pages will have already thought about it. Make sure that you provide proper credit in all relevant pages to the person or people who have created or helped with the content of, these pages, such as the transcriber of a text, the compiler of an index, etc.

There are various ways of finding volunteers to help with pages, all of which could be tried:

  • Put a note on the county page inviting volunteers to help, or have a link to another page expanding on how people can help, and maybe also sketching out long-term plans. In the case of an ambitious plan to obtain lots of information for your pages, see if you can find someone to help manage a project to do this. (See for example the current set of projects listed near the head of the Devon page.)
  • Send regular email messages to an appropriate mailing list or newsgroup for the area concerned.
  • Write articles about your pages for the relevant family history society magazine. Explain their aims, current state of development, long-term plans, and how other people can help.

All of these are likely to be more successful if you have thought quite carefully about what you would like to see done to pages and how other people could help you achieve that. Have a brain-storming session, and look at other counties within GENUKI to get lots of ideas. Then when you send out a call for help (a page for volunteers, message to a mailing list, or an article for the family history society) mention these.