Freepages Tutorials


Already have a RootsWeb site, but need to regain access? See for detailed instructions.

Help for the Beginning Web Author

Having your own website sounded like such a good idea! It seems like everyone has one, and you have information you want to share. But now you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the new language and terminology; and you have questions -- a lot of them!

Where do I start ?
What is this HTML stuff ?
Do I have to learn HTML?
How do I add a photo to my page?
How do I link my second page to my home page?
How do I get my pages on line? 
Is there an easy way?

Well, some ways are easier than others; but creating web pages is not hard. These tutorials are meant to answer some of the questions that all of us had when we were beginners at web authoring. They were written for RootsWeb Freepages users, but will work for most sites on most servers. The following are "must reads".

Very Basic HTML - Even if you use a WYSIWYG editor to create your web pages, I urge you to learn the basics of HTML. There is no substitute for knowing how and why web pages work -- or do not. If you have been using the now discontinued File Manager, the RootsWeb on line editor and upload utility, finding another free WYSIWYG editor may be difficult -- another good reason to learn the basics of HTML so you can edit your existing web pages.

Your Genealogy Website - Genealogy websites have some unique features and problems. You'll find some suggestions here.

Getting started with FTP - There is more than one way to upload your pages to the server.

The Freepages-Help mailing list is a wonderful resource for answers to questions about building and maintaining your Freepages website. You must be subscribed to post to the list, but you will find answers to many of your questions in the List Archives.

Some RootsWeb features and services Freepages, WWW, and Virts users may have utilized or referenced in the past are being retired.

On 25 Oct 2017, the RootsWeb Home page announced: "As you know, RootsWeb is a collection of products that has grown organically over the last two decades. Many of these have not been updated or maintained in years. Ancestry is currently working on updating and revising World Connect, Mailing Lists, and hosted sites such as Free Pages over the next twelve months; however, all other products and functionality are under review. We will continue to notify you of updates here as decisions are made."

On 29 Oct 2017, the RootsWeb Home page said: "In an ongoing effort to focus RootsWeb resources on World Connect, Mailing Lists and hosted sites such as Free Pages, we are retiring features that are not heavily used and have not been maintained over the years.

Following are the discontinued/retired features that have occurred or been announced to date (30 Oct 2017):

  • Calendar - discontinued 13 Oct 2017
  • File Manager <fileman.cgi> - discontinued 31 Jul 2017
  • Guestbook - discontinued 13 Oct 2017
  • Genealogy Forum <> - discontinued 24 Oct 2017
  • Mailmerge (forms) - The Captcha verification stopped working some time ago so input failed. There are no plans to restore Mailmerge. Jul 2018.
  • RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) - discontinued 24 Oct 2017
  • Surname Helper <> - to be retired 6 Nov 2017


* * * * *

For many of us, our genealogy research can be much more than just a casual hobby and its significance in our lives is often the reason we want to share it by creating a website.  But it is sometimes difficult to explain our passion for searching dusty attics and squinting at ancient deeds or letters to those who do not share our enthusiasm.  A fellow researcher posted her eloquent explanation on the RootsWeb Message Boards, and she has graciously given permission for me to reprint it here:
  • Genealogy is history and there are lessons to be learned.
  • Genealogy is entertainment -- a mystery to be unraveled or a puzzle to be solved.
  • Genealogy is a way of connecting with family in the here and now.
  • Genealogy is a way of understanding the contributions of those who came before us and our obligations to those who come after us.
  • Genealogy is a way of honoring the individual life of an ordinary person.
By Eva Smith-Carroll
Website: West Virginia Memories

When talking to those who do not share your passion, you can point out that interest in your ancestors may also boost your scores on intelligence tests, according to psychologists at the Universities of Graz, Berlin and Munich. Their article was published in 2010 in the British Psychological Society Research Digest: The benefits of thinking about our ancestors.

Pat's Web Page Tutorials
Copyright 2000-2018 Pat Asher