Blog Entries: 1 to 9 of 9
Restart of Webmaster’s Blog
I initially began the Webmaster's Blog as we launched our new KCGS website back in 2018. If you look at the various blog entries you will see that they were basically all about items our members needed to know about how to use our new website. Once I got those items published as blog entries time required me to concentrate more on building and adding additional content to the website. While that and other duties continue to require my attention, I now want to once again contribute to the blog. Stay tuned for future additions. But, please take a refresher on the initial blog entries while await new entries! Especially read the blog entry about the Members Only menu option!
How to RENEW your KCGS Membership
Membership in the Kittitas County Genealogical Society (KCGS) runs from January 1st through December 31st of each year. Starting December 1st through mid February of the following year members may easily check to see if they need to renew their membership. Read on to learn how to do this.
Many members renew their membership in November or December but members actually stay "Active" until mid Febrary of the following year before their membership becomes "Inactive." Becoming an "Inactive" member simply means that you no longer will receive advance notification of upcoming society events AND will no longer be able to access the "Members Only" items on the website. That means items like access to the "Kittitas Kinfolk" society newsletter archive, Gallery photos, past presentations at the society meetings and other items from the "Members Only" section of the website. You will, however, still have access to all other KCGS website menu items.
So how do you know whether you still need to renew your KCGS membership? The easiest way is to go to the KCGS website at www.kcgswa.org AFTER December 1st and click on the "Members Only" menu item on the left side of the web page. If after entering your "Login Name" and password you see the following warning message at the top of the page, it means you still need to renew your membership. Note, after the start of the new year the wording on the warning message will be slightly different and will say something like your membership has expired but you still have a limited time to renew your membership.
Your membership will expire in 23 days at midnight.
If you have already renewed, thank you for your continued support. Your membership information will be updated soon.
If not, please renew soon to continue access.
If there is no warning message AND it is between December 1st and mid February of the following year, you are already renewed for your yearly membership. Otherwise follow these directions that appear on the bottom of your login page to renew your membership:
You may renew your membership by going to the "Join/Renew Membership" menu page
and filling out the "membership application" and then mailing it (with your check)
to the following address:
Kittitas County Genealogical Society
413 N. Main Street
Suites L & M
Ellensburg, WA 98926
Attention: KCGS Treasurer
If you prefer, you may just stop by the KCGS Library and leave your check
instead of filling out the form and mailing it.
If you have already renewed your membership, we Thank YOU for your continued support.
Note that you are asked to print out and fill in information on the form and either drop it off at the KCGS Library or mail it to the society mailing address. Please remember to enclose a check or money with your form!
If any of your contact information has changed please note that on the form so we can maintain contact with you and keep you informed of society news and happenings. Otherwise, if no contact information has changed all you need to do is sign your name on the form. Then turn it in and that's it.
If for any reason you feel you have already renewed your membership but it still appears we haven't activated your renewal, please contact the KCGS Treasurer at email@example.com for assistance.
Thank you for your continued support and participation in the Kittitas County Genealogical Society!
Surname Research EXPLORED/How To Use
I doubt you need to have Surname Research actually explained as it means you either have questions regarding a Surname or have info to share about a surname. Instead what this blog entry is all about is HOW to use this featrure in our new website. First though I need to ask for your help in making this feature a useable part of the website - I NEED YOUR SURNAME INPUTS! I have entered a few "sample" Surname entries to give you an idea of what can be entered about your Surnames. It NEEDS a lot more entries from you - our KCGS Members!
You can see what my "sample" Surname entries look like by clicking on the "Surname Research" menu item on the left side of the webpage. Data about a Surname will be displayed in one or several of 6 separate box areas labeled: Surname, County, State/Prov/Regn, Country, Begin Year, and End Year. Click on the "eye icon" next to the Surname and it will display the full information about a Surname that was entered previously.
So HOW do you enter a Surname? After opening the website, click on "Members Only" menu option on the left of the webpage. You will be asked to enter a "Login Name" (or Username is another name for it) PLUS a "Password". You should have received an email from me earlier telling you what your Login Name and password were. However if you have forgotten that or no longer have my email, just click on the "?" (question mark) to the right of the Login Name or Password and it will guide you towards a solution.
Once you have logged in to the Members Only section, click on the "Profile" menu item underneath the Members Only option on the left side of the webpage. It will open a new page. At the BOTTOM half of the page you will find 5 tabs labeled: Member Info, Contact Info, Alt. Contact Info, SURNAMES (my emphasis!), and Member Settings. Click on the SURNAMES tab and it will open a new page where you will be asked to enter information about a Surname. On the new page you will be asked for specific information about the Surname you wish to enter including an "Alternate spelling" of the Surname and an area where you can enter additional information in the "Notes" section.
NOTE: If there are already one or more Surname entries you have entered, then click the "+" (Plus sign) in the upper right to create a new entry. You may enter as much or as little information as you like on the new page described in the previous paragraph.
When you have entered as much information about the Surname BE SURE to click the "SAVE" button on the top right of the page.
Now PLEASE help me "build" this part of our new website! Use it to exchange information about Surnames YOU are interested in! Visitors to our website will click on the "Surname Research" menu option on our website and by searching for and clicking on the little "envelope icon" next to a Surname will be able to email YOU to ask questions or share information about YOUR surname you have entered! That's it! Time to enter YOUR Surnames! PLEASE?
"Members Only" PROFILE Section Details
As explained in the September 28, 2018 "Webmaster's Blog" entry titled "Members Only Menu Option Details", the PROFILE Section of the "Members Only" section of the new KCGS website is very important to the security of the members personal information and the website itself. So let's examine what is included in the Profile and how KCGS members can customize it to their comfortable settings.
First thing to know is when we say PROFILE you need to understand it is the profile of only one person - the person identified with the Username and Password needed to access the "Members Only" section of the website. Each member has their own individual member profile.
When a KCGS member clicks on "Profile" under the "Members Only" menu item on the left side of the web page, they will see a new web page on the screen. The page will be divided into 2 "boxed" areas. The Top box will be titled "Membership Info". It will describe the TYPE of membership the member has and a few other details about the membership. The Bottom box has 5 separate "tabs" at the top of the box. The tabs are: (1) Member Info; (2) Contact Info; (3) Alt. Contact Info; (4) Surnames; and (5) Member Settings. Contents and uses of each of those tabs are as follows:
Member Info: This contains the name of the member as entered when the membership record was created. No other information can be entered or changed by the member.
Contact Info: This contains the primary way to contact the member. Included is their normal home address, phone number(s), and email address. A "box" on the top right of the bottom box has an icon of a "pencil". That indicates the member can change the information shown on this tab when it changes or for privacy concerns.
Alt. Contact Info: This allows a member to enter an "alternate contact information entry" in case they are away from their primary residence for an extended time period. This would for instance, normally be for someone like a "snowbird" leaving the area over the winter. Again the "pencil" icon indicates the member can make changes to the information displayed.
Surnames: This can be used by the member to list surnames they are either interested in receiving infomation about OR for surnames that they have information on that they are willing to share with others interested in that surname. NOTE: that there is a "menu item" titled "Surname Research" on the menu side of the web page so visitors to the website can see the entries made by members. To ADD surname information, click on the "plus" sign on the top right of the bottom box.
Last is Member Settings: where members will see their Login Name/Username and a place about a Password and in the bottom corner under "Membership List" several items regarding items that can show up on the Membership List. All of the items under "Site Access:" such as Login Name and Password have a "pencil" icon indicating the member can CHANGE the information. THIS IS CRUCIAL --- After you login to "Members Only" PLEASE click on "Profile" and then on "Member Settings" and CHANGE your Login Name to something YOU want AND set a NEW Password! That prevents anyone else from accessing YOUR account. If you don't mind your initial Login/Username, then just change your password to make things secure.
Finally, under the items under "Membership List" you may use the "pencil" icon to change the "Yes" settings on the items to "No" if you DO NOT want those items to appear on the Membership List. We hope you would leave the name as YES but if you feel strongly about not having your name appear on the list you are certainly free to change it to No.
The most important thing you should do in the "Profile" area is CHANGE your Login/Username and Password. PLEASE do that for ALL our sakes! Again, if you don't mind your initial Login/Username then please just change your password! Also, we ask that when any of your information changes, please update your Profile with those changes. Thank you for your assistance with these things!
"Members Only" Menu Option Details
The "Members Only" menu option is the ONLY menu item that requires a Login to access it. That should be obvious to all from its name. In an email to KCGS members it was explained how Usernames and Passwords are INITIALLY assigned. Once a member has that information they can access the "Members Only" area of the website. So let's explore a bit what is IN that area of the website.
Initially, the "Members Only" area consists of 5 separate functions: (1) Membership List; (2) Profile; (3) Newsletters; (4) Monthly Treasurer Reports; and (5) Logoff. Let's look at each area for a bit.
Membership List: This is simply an alphabetic list of ALL KCGS individual members with their names and, if okayed by each individual member, their address, phone number and email address. Yes, members CAN restrict some of their personal information. More about HOW that can be done in a separate Webmaster Blog entry. (See NOTE: on "Profile:" below for further details). NOTE: The Membership List is ONLY available to other KCGS members, NOT available to anyone who is NOT a KCGS member! We value privacy!
Newsletters: This is where members will find both the CURRENT quarter's issue of our newletter, Kittitas Kinfolk, and several years worth of back issues of the newsletter. This is a one of the benefits of being a KCGS member.
Monthly Treasurer Reports: In an effort to advise our members of our financial status, the Treasurer will post a condensed monthly report of financial transactions and account balances.
Logoff: This simply shuts off access to the "Members Only" area but DOES NOT close the website. Very important to logoff once you are through using the "Members Only" area to prevent non members from accessing the area.
Last is Profile: which is where EACH member can control their own personal information that is available to other members. Since there are several places for members to control the information in their Profile, I will explain that more fully in an additional Webmaster Blog entry. Please look for that entry as it is VERY IMPORTANT to YOU!
A Personal Note
As I write this entry on Thursday, September 20, 2018 it is with a mixture of emotions. On the one hand I'm excited! On the other hand I'm apprehensive. The cause for these mixed reactions is that at midnight TONIGHT the new KCGS website will "go live."
I am thrilled that finally after almost a year KCGS will once again have an Internet presence. I'm also excited about the possibilities this new website offers us - both to our regular members but also to visitors from off the world wide web. There is so much potential built into the structure of the new website that intrigues me with the possibilities. I only hope we will be able to adequately put them to use. I am also grateful for the stability and support that comes with this new website and I know that future maintenance of the site will be much improved over what we had with the old website. I truly hope you can sense my excitement!
The excitement however is tempered with apprehension as we launch our new website. There is a lot to this new website that we are now going to need to keep operational and enhance with additional content and capabilities. I worry that initially, content is limited as it was necessary to first set up the basic support structure so the website could be used. Time then limited us in putting in a lot of initial content. That will change now that we can start to work on adding more content!
Still as one of the "Tips" on the website expesses, "Don't just visit a website once... keep coming back to see What's New!" That's what we hope YOU will do as we do have a lot more ideas and information to add to the new website as time goes by.
We hope you will enjoy exploring the new KCGS Website!
Purpose of this Blog
As part of our purchase agreement with EasyNet Sites.com for building this website, we also received training on how to build and maintain the website. The training was delivered over 4 weekly sessions to three KCGS members (Lynn Blazek, Diane Huckabay and Dave Storla.) These training sessions totalled approximately 14 to 15 hours during the month of July 2018.
With that explanation, I'm sure it is evident that there is quite a bit included with the website that was built for KCGS. That also means that it is a necessity that we (as webmasters) provide some training to our society members. Our hope is that this blog can be used to help our members to effectively use our new website to its upmost! That is the PURPOSE of this blog.
With that thought in mind, let's explore a bit about the Membership List! While, at present our new website doesn't use ALL the features that are built into the website, the HEART of the website revolves around the Membership List. By having basic information like member's name, email address and phone number and address we can keep track of our members and ensure we keep them updated with society activites. That probably isn't a surprise to anyone.
However other features of the website allow us to track their membership details. Members can also add an alternate address to their membership record for members that travel or live parttime away from their primary residence (example would be "snowbirds".) By logging in, members have access to the membership list, their own "profile" where they can change their password, and other information to suit their privacy concerns. When they log in they also have access to the current as well as several years worth of the society newletter. Finally, members can post SURNAMES they either are searching for or ones they have information about that other members or web visitors may have interest in.
For our KCGS staff, the Membeship List allows us to send our members the quarterly newletter, meeting remiders and other news through the automated "Blast Email" feature of the website. As mentioned previously, the Membership List also allows us to track membership status.
The Membership List is truly the"heart" of our new website!
We Begin to Plan the Website
After slecting EasyNetSites.com (ENS) as our website builder, plans got underway for what we needed for the new website. Our old website had been hosted by Ancestry on RootsWeb but had been offline for a few months. Unfortunately we did not have a backup of what was on the old website so we first thought we would need to start from scratch in building content for the new website.
Luckily, in a conversation with Tom Ryder, President of ENS, he reminded me about Internet Archive, more commonly known as the "WayBack Machine" after the time machine in the TV cartoon series, "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show." The purpose of the Internet WayBack Machine is to constantly look at websites on the internet and make backup copies of their content. Thus, there is a way to go back and potentially recover long gone content from websites. We were lucky as we were able to recover almost all of our previous content from our old website.
Now that we had most of our old content safely stored on our own computers we could look more at what was needed for our new website. Tom Ryder told us that with our new website we would get four training sessions for a total of about 16 hours of training on the different modules of the website. The training would be recorded so we would always have it available plus there were PDF files included with the software explaining visually HOW to do the various tasks on the website.
The training sessions would take place over a four week period, one training session each week with time to practice what we have learned between session. One LITTLE problem, there was a THREE (3) hour time differenct between Florida and Washington state! I had previously asked Diane Huckabay and Lynn Blazek to partake in the training with me. So guess what, the training schedule was set up for us to start training at 7 am! Well, we survived and now know enough to be dangerous, I'm afraid!
Now we are involved with building content for the new website from new materials as well as content from our old website. Keep watching for all the exciting things to be added to the website. If you have other ideas about things that might be added, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
EasyNetSites - Our Website Provider
Thought I'd tell you a bit about the company that we have chosen for our new KCGS Website. The EasyNetSites.com company is located in Florida. They have been in business for just about 10 years now. The President, Tom Ryder, was a computer programmer and had a business that developed web applications for businesses.
One day that all changed when a customer called and asked, "How much would it cost to build an application to support my business?" Tom's reply was, "How much money do you have to spend?: When given a figure, Tom replied, "You can't afford me!" That may sound strange and abrupt but wait till you hear "the Rest of the Story" as Paul Harvey would say!
The customer that called asking if Tom could build a website said she wanted to use it for her GENEALOGY Society! Not only that but SHE was/is Tom's MOTHER!
Well the story worked out okay as Tom told his mother that what she really needed was a customized website built with templates that would be easy to use. Tom said THAT wouldn't take a lot of effort for him to build. Luckily both Tom and his mother were well acquainted with what genealogists needed in the way of a website. Thus, the first EasyNetSite's website was developed for Tom's mother.
As this new website began to be used, Tom quickly realized that other genealogical and historical societies could also likely use this type website application. Now almost 10 years later EasyNetSites (commonly referred to as ENS) has approximately 230 societies using their product.
One thing that convinced KCGS to go with ENS is the fact that in Washington state alone there are several genealogical societies using the ENS application. These include societies like Yakima, Spokane, Chelan county, Stilliguamish, and even the Washington State Genealogical Society and Heritage Quest Research Center! All totaled there are 14 ENS sites in Washington state. ENS also has customers in Canada.
If you are interested in looking at other ENS sites go to www.easynetsites.com and click on the "Portfolio" menu item to visit other ENS sites.