We're very happy you have an interest in volunteering to help researchers in the Great State of Illinois!  We would like give you an idea of what Illinois is all about. Then we'll answer some frequently asked questions and tell you what you need to do to help with this project.  PLEASE...read this page carefully!

Here in Illinois, we combine History and Genealogy by bringing raw data to the online community.  By making Census, Marriages, Cemeteries and other raw data available to you, you will be able to locate your ancestors, without cost.  At the same time, historical data of the State and Time Periods, will help you understand your ancestors more fully.


How do I participate, without having to host a County?

You can participate in many ways here in Illinois.

By submitting the data you have collected in your research, or placing it online for linking, you can be a huge help to others who may be researching the same families or the same areas.  You can submit information to Susan or your County host.  If you need help learning to make a web page, please visit
HTML Goodies.

If you live near a Genealogical Library, in Illinois or nearby, you can transcribe data for the project. You can also order microfilm for your county or counties of interest, and transcribe the material from the film. Your local library, LDS library, the Illinois State Archives and other resources do have microfilmed records of all kinds.  We follow copyright laws strictly, however, so if you have any questions about certain material, email
Susan. See this site for more information about copyright laws.

Who owns this data? ***IMPORTANT CHANGES***

Because of the recent events at Illinois Trails, all donated material will remain with Illinois Trails History and Genealogy.   Your personal work is still your own and at your request, it will be removed...however, if you donate to another County or a State database at Illinois Trails, that data will remain online.  It is far too confusing and frustrating to our researchers when data is placed online, then removed.  Volunteers must take the extra time to locate and transcribe data that has been removed and this takes time away from transcribing "new" material for their County.  Once material is submitted and copy written to Illinois Trails History and Genealogy, http://www.iltrails.org, it will remain online.


We will always remain a .ORG (NOT FOR PROFIT) and will never place your material on a .COM (an extension normally used FOR PROFIT).  It will never be used "for profit" of any kind.  It will remain online FREE for all to use.

Since we are a group of volunteers, not a commercial website, which means we do not receive donations or payment of any kind, we do not allow our county hosts to make a profit from this project and they should never ask you for money. If this ever occurs, please contact
Susan  immediately.  You should always be extra careful if a project that represents itself as "not for profit" or "free" beings to ask for your money.  You should also get, in writing, a statement explaining to you that your donated material will not be sold or used for profit.


Volunteering To Manage An Illinois Trails County

Where do I place my pages?  Does it cost me anything?

You are free to place your pages anywhere you want them. There are many companies who offer free webspace. We do offer free space under our iltrails.org, iltrails.net and illinoistrails.org domains. Email 
Susan for more information.  For help with HTML and FTP, try this fantastic tutorial at HTML Goodies. You'll be a whiz at this web stuff in no time. :)  We are currently working on our own tutorials for HTML, FTP, Graphics and other tips and pointers used in making a website.  

Can I adopt a Town or Township of a County?

YES!  If covering an entire County is difficult for you because of time and resources, adopting a town in that County is a great idea.  We're happy to have volunteers at a County level.  We would be happy to have volunteers who prefer to cover a topic in a township too, such as religion, history, cemeteries, occupations, etc. We can easily link your page to the County it falls under, or you are free to submit it to your county host here at Illinois Trails for inclusion. Many researchers have a great knowledge of the specific area their ancestors lived in and this is a wonderful way to help.  Just email us and let us know what area you would be interested in covering and we'll get you added.

What are my responsibilities as a County host?

If you decide to volunteer to manage an Illinois Trails County, please understand that some cost will be involved because you are required to obtain original data to transcribe.  The cost is normally minimal and we can help direct you to a variety of resources.  Most libraries charge anywhere from .05 cents up for copies, microfilm can be rented through your library as well, if you prefer not to purchase the film itself.  Walking cemeteries is always free. :)  Some of us may have microfilmed records that includes many different counties and we are happy to share that material with you free of charge.  You can email Susan if you have questions prior to volunteering.

1.  Providing raw data on a specific County always following Copyright Laws.  Census, Cemeteries, Marriages, Deaths, Divorces, Local Jail Rosters, Military Data, Histories, Biographies, etc. are available in their original format at Courthouses, on Microfilm, in out of Copyright County Histories and other books, through the National Archives and Libraries and by visiting your county personally.  Even if you live outside of Illinois, many facilities are available where you can obtain/rent/purchase original microfilm and records.  Donations by fellow researchers must be added and a copyright given to the submitter and Illinois Trails History and Genealogy, http://www.iltrails.org,  is required.

Resources that ARE NOT acceptable to use are pay per view organizations such as Ancestry.com, Heritage Quest, etc., data presented by another person on the web, without written permission for inclusion in this project, material that is currently under copyright, including but not limited to books, genealogical and historical publications.  If you ever have a question regarding copyright, ASK FIRST!!

We hope to eventually have complete data for each County, but by beginning with the documents you already have it's a great start. Every little bit helps someone! We can't stress enough that transcribing data for your county is the number one responsibility of a county host. We are not a links only site.

2.  Include a History of your County.  Let visitors know what your County was all about. You can include photographs, biographies, public officials from the past. There are many things that can be included under this subject.  

3.  You may link to other pages that pertain to your County, by request or permission, but remember, WE ARE NOT A LINKS ONLY PROJECT - WE PROVIDE RAW DATA TO THE PUBLIC. Any homepage linked should pertain to your County, and should contain genealogical and/or historical content, which includes surnames. If someone is unable to make a web page of their own, and donates their records for use on your County pages, you are responsible to place that information online, giving copyright to the person who submitted the material and to Illinois Trails History and Genealogy.

4.  You must be subscribed to our Illinois Trails County Manager mailing list.  This list is free and is only for those who manage an Illinois Trails County or Topic.  It's a moderated list where you can find assistance in web design, questions regarding copyright, resources, etc. and just general "chit chat" among managers.  This list is a private list and email sent to this list remains private (that means no forwarding or sharing with others outside the project).

You will also need to provide a link to the main Illinois Trails Home Page and the surrounding Counties that are online, on your main page. Your main page must include the Illinois Trails Logo of your choice and it needs to be displayed near the top of your index page. Once you've been accepted as a county host, you can visit our Graphics Page to pick up your Illinois Trails Logo.  These logos are currently being redesigned and you will be notified when they are ready to use.

5.  If you decide to use query and/or data submission boards,
be sure you have total control over them.  You need to check to make sure the server they reside on does not claim copyright to anything posted on your boards.  Remember, your submitters have the right to remove their data at any given time and you need to be sure that everyone has the right to delete material from your boards.  The best type of board is one that gives the submitter a password. Then they are free to delete their message or data at any time.  If you need suggestions regarding submission and query boards, let us know. If you plan to link to other websites that are commercial (Ancestry, Rootsweb, Family Treemaker, etc.) please be sure to include a subject heading for these links that let your visitor know they are commercial sites.

You are free to do your page in any manner you like, as long as the above is followed. It is your choice as to whether you add surnames and queries, libraries and societies, etc.  You may want to ask your visitors what they prefer and what they'd like to see.

If you are found to be in violation of Copyright laws, your county isn't being updated for no reason, your email address is bouncing or inactive or you do not adhere to the guidelines above, Illinois Trails reserves the right to remove you as the host.  We're always open to discussion, however, and we will try to work with each host to be sure the guidelines are followed.  If you have questions, just ask. :)

You will need to actively work on our County pages.  If an emergency arises or you will be away for an extended period of time, just email Susan and we'll discuss your options.  Everyone has "real life" issues and it wouldn't be unusual for something to keep you from your duties at Illinois Trails, however, if you cannot fulfill your duties as a County host, or you seem to have abandoned your responsibilities, it may be best for you to leave the project to allow for a more motivated person to take over.

We hope you have an idea of what Illinois Trails History and Genealogy is all about. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact
Contact Susan.  Thanks for visiting!

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