Wednesday, May 21, 2008

RootsWeb Adds Project Banners Today

The day has arrived for the addition of headers to RootsWeb hosted genealogy project websites such as World GenWeb, FreeBMD, etc. RootsWeb Community Operations Manager, Anna, posted this message today:

As planned, the updated mastheads will start appearing later today. We receive a lot of positive feedback on the content of your sites and are proud to be able to be a small part of your success.

If you would like to change the masthead on your site from the new default gray color to the green masthead please follow the instructions below.

To see the complete post, including the instructions for choosing the alternate header, click on RootsWeb Newsroom » Blog Archive » New Mastheads - Look for them today….

As of the time this message was posted, headers had not appeared on any of the sites I checked, including:

  • Is the USGenWeb domain still hosted by RootsWeb or did they move elsewhere?
  • The USGenWeb Digital Maps website still sports a "hosted by RootsWeb" graphic.
  • UTGenWeb - State of Utah portion of USGenWeb.
  • WorldGenWeb - "Root" GenWeb site for the entire world.
  • FreeBMD - Project to transcribe birth, marriage, death civil registration index for England & Wales.
  • Is Cyndi's List still hosted by RootsWeb? Will headers be added to this venerable website?

Many USGenWeb project coordinators received a message earlier this month from David Graham, Sr. Product Manager at The full text of the letter was posted on various message boards:

Dear USGenWeb coordinators,

For those of you with pages hosted on we wanted to give you an update on our plan for including a small masthead at the top of hosted pages on RootsWeb. We love being able to host your page and other pages that help the family history community so much, and adding this small masthead to acknowledge our hosting service allows us to continue to be able to offer this free hosting service as well as other services.

The mastheads will be included on pages as early as May 21st. The standard masthead can be viewed here:

As a USGenWeb coordinator you will also have the option to use a USGenWeb specific masthead. It can be viewed here:

To get the USGenWeb masthead on your page instead of the standard one all you need to do is place a file named 'banner_select' in your public_html directory. It should contain the text 'USGENWEB' (all caps and without the quotation marks) and nothing else.

Thanks for your support on this minor change. We love hosting your page and this allows us to continue to offer this free hosting service.

On another note, we also wanted to let you know that in the coming months we will be releasing a new feature that will make it easier for you to make sure that other people can find your page on RootsWeb. It will let you enter some information about your page to get it included in a new search feature built to find pages hosted on RootsWeb. For hosted pages related to the USGenWeb Project, we will also create a specialized page that will surface all of the pages that are associated with the project. We hope to be able to link to this listing of hosted USGenWeb pages from the RootsWeb homepage. As this project comes closer to completion we will let you know more about it.


Sr. Product Manager
Part of The Generations Network

The original announcement that mastheads would be added to these websites was made last August and can be found at Update on mastheads.


  1. Directions for changing the default banner colour on Freepages websites were sent today on the Freepages-Help mailing list.
    Freepages Banner Options

    Also, the directory contents of

    contains 8 sample mastheads.

  2. Dear B.G.,

    Thanks for the additional information.

    -- The A.I.


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