Project Report - Family Group Sheets

Speaker: Barb Hug for Greta Thompson

The Iowa Family Group Sheets SP was started in July 2003 as part of a proposed national special project. Before the end of the summer, however, the IAGenWeb Leadership Team decided not to be part of the national project. The primary reason was concern over who would own the data. We have continued to enjoy an informal relationship with the national project. The USGenWeb FGS Special Project did not form a competitive Iowa project, but links to ours, and our FGS site includes a link to the national site.

I'm the original and only coordinator to date, and if you look at the site's design you will easily believe that it was the first one I ever designed from scratch. :) By the end of the summer I will have completed a redesign, and I hope it'll prove that I've learned a few things in the past four years.

This is probably the easiest of our SPs to coordinate because most of the work is done by the volunteers who submit their family group sheets electronically They use one of two forms that Steve Williams designed. One is an online fill-in form; the other is a form that can be copied into an email. Both are sent to me for editing and uploading. My editing consists primarily of deleting technical headers and unused fields for children, but I do correct typos when I see them. I also make sure that the submissions follow our rules. The main ones are that they be about Iowa families and do not contain any information about living individuals. I assume that anyone under 100 years old is living unless there's information provided about death and/or burial.

I’ve encouraged submitters to update their email addresses and their family group sheets, and a number have done so, some of them more than once. I add the dates of the most recent changes on the index pages.

You can search the site by surname, county, or any other data item that might seem useful. In recent months the number of monthly searches has been between 800 and 900.

We have more than 2600 family group sheets online, which averages about 650 submissions a year or about 54 a month. Under the heading of trivia, the greatest number of surnames begin with the letter "H" followed by "B" and "S." There are none for X and only four each for Q and U.

There are links to all the IAGenWeb counties where I found FGS listings when I looked in April 2006. If your county should be on the list and isn't, please let me know.

Also please write to me if you have any questions or concerns about the site.

It's not as big as some of the others, it doesn't require as much work from the coordinator as most of the others, but I think it's a very useful addition to our group of special projects. :)