Page Modified: 28 January 2021
Texas Genealogy & History
"...the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic..."

- from the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2 March 1836

The TXGenWeb Project County Of The Month Criteria

These criteria for The Mike Basham Memorial TXGenWeb County of the Month Award have been established using the Basic County Page Requirements for The TXGenWeb Project, e-mails about this subject to the txgen-l e-mail list, and recommendations from County sponsors and patrons when asked "What should the criteria be for selecting a County for The Mike Basham Memorial The TXGenWeb Project County of the Month Award?" Please remember that we do our best to remain impartial in our decisions for nominations and that the final tabulation is based on a group effort.

Basic Requirements | Criteria | Suggestions | Regulations & Guidelines | Forms

Basic Requirements for all TXGenWeb County Websites

The following requirements must be met on all TXGenWeb Project county websites. Failure to meet these requirements will automatically remove you from monthly consideration for the COM award.

  • Meet USGenWeb requirements
  • The County Coordinator's name must be on the main page along with a link to the CC's email on the front page and the e-mail address is current.
  • TXGenWeb is formatted correctly. (Capital T,X, G and W; spelled correctly; all one word.) Just GenWeb is unacceptable.
  • USGenWeb is formatted correctly. (Capital U,S, G and W; spelled correctly; all one word.) Just GenWeb is unacceptable.
  • The phrase GenWeb (without TX, US, Can, etc.) cannot be used anywhere on a website in the TXGenWeb system.
  • The correct TXGenWeb logo is on the front page.
  • The correct USGenWeb logo is on the front page.
  • There is a link to the main TXGenWeb page on the front page. (It is recommended that you have a link on every page of your website, but not required.)
  • There is a link to to the main USGenWeb page on the front page. (It is recommended that you have a link on every page of your website, but not required.)
  • There is a link to the Counties List or the Alphabetical Counties List.
  • The old TXGenWeb background is not used.
  • There is a link to a Query Board.
  • The site is focused on genealogy.
  • Every page provides genealogy research. (No pages devoted to advertisements, no banner ads, no solicitations, etc.)
  • The site has a lookup page for a list of volunteers willing to do lookups in the county. There may not be volunteers yet, but please have the page and how to get in touch with you if people want to volunteer.
  • IF there is a statement about the last update of the county website, the date must be not be more than six (6) months old.

Criteria for the Mike Basham County of the Month Award

Below is the explanation of the point system for rating a web site. When we surf a site, we look at the category and it's description. We think of how that site rates compared to an ideal site in our minds. We use the first number in the range that pops into our head; it's usually our best impression. We try not to compare one site against another, but rather rate against an 'ideal'. The point values are weighed towards encouraging the sites to have more original records, transcriptions or abstracts with significant information presented in a useful way on the web. A good way of thinking about what we are doing: All sites are good, you are just giving points for those that are better than average in these categories. Note: It is likely that some sites will not have entries in every category. If there is nothing on that site, we just skip that category. If there's something on the site and it's not included in our categories, then we use our best judgement in the Miscellaneous category.

Instructions for Surfers: Print the Surfing Evaluation form. [Note the form is designed to be printed in landscape mode on your printer] Fill in the county names across the top. Go to the website and looking at the criteria below mark your ballot. Rate your first county in the column to the rightmost side. The rating you give is based on an 'ideal' page. Then fold the sheet of paper under. Then go to your second county, rate your second county and then fold the column under. Wait to total the columns on your ballot until the very end. This helps to prevent you from comparing counties and keeps you thinking about comparing them to an 'ideal' county. (If using the Excel Sheets, then merely hide the columns as you go through the sites.) Every Month check the basic criteria for TXGenWeb pages. If a county doesn't meet these, contact Jane Keppler. Nominations for county of the month are due by midnight on the 15th of each month.

Content Criteria



Local Contacts
Contact information for the county courthouse, libraries, museums, etc.
US Census Information (1790-1910)
More points are given to indexes with identifying information such as age and state of birth or those listed in the order the census taker listed them
Other scans/transcriptions
This includes all types of records that are scanned or transcribed. More points are given for records on the site than for links to records.
Cemetery Records
Consideration is given to the number of cemeteries in each county when evaluating the rating for this category. More points are given for transcriptions on the site than for links to other sites.
County History
County history can be in many forms. More points are given for more history
County Information
Any information pertaining to the county not covered above
Page Update Last 30 Days
A statement that the page has had an update in the last 30 days
Overall site search
Site search engine
Miscellaneous Content
This will include miscellaneous information that does not fit in any other category and active Archives links

Presentation Criteria

Links Work
Check random links to other Web pages
Pages load quickly
Pages load quickly (less than 15 seconds ideal)
Color & Graphics
Good use of Colors & Graphics
Ease of Use
Easy to use the pages
Miscellaneous Presentation
The order of material presented is logical and well thought out and anything not covered by above presentation criteria [Historical photos of the county for instance]


Regulations & Guidelines

The Committee
  • The TXGenWeb Page Evaluation Committee Chairperson is appointed by the TXGenWeb State Coordinator. The Committee Chairperson serves as liaison between the Page Evaluation Committee Members and the TXGenWeb State Coordinator. Complaints against the Committee Chairperson should be sent to the Surfing Committee as a whole. Any unresolved group complaints against the Committee Chairperson should be directed to the TXGenWeb State Coordinator.
  • All positions in the Surfing Committee will be appointed by the Committee Chairperson, except for the role of Committee Chairperson which will be appointed by the State Coordinator.
  • Surfer Duties: Surfers are only responsible for their assigned region. Each month the Surfer will surf the region and evaluate the region. Evaluations are based on three categories: Basic Requirements, Content Criteria, and Presentation Criteria.
  • Patron Nominations: Each month the counties nominated by patrons are evaluated by the Patron Nominations Surfer. The best one is submitted as the Patron Nomination of the Month to Committee Chairperson to be included with the regional nominations submitted to the Finalization Committee. The final Patron Nomination is due on the 15th of every month.
  • Alternate(s) Surfer duties: To be available to fill in for any Surfer who is unable to complete their surfing duties for the month. The Alternate(s) will use the same guidelines and evaluation form as all other Surfers.
  • Finalization Committee duties: To surf and evaluate the county nominations made by the regional Surfers each month and determine their top three choices which will be submitted to the Committee Chairperson.
  • If problems arise between a surfer and a CC they should contact the Committee Chairperson.

The Assignments

  • Surfers are assigned a region from the 6 established regions of the TXGenWeb (2 per established region except for Far West region which only has 25 counties and is not divided). These established regions are posted along with the names of Surfers and their positions.
  • Surfers are asked to reveal any affiliation with TXGenWeb to the Committee Chairperson whether as a county coordinator, volunteer, or as a contributor to the county project.
  • Surfers are asked to respond to all roll calls made by the Committee Chairperson. Failure to respond to a roll call may be grounds for removal if deemed necessary by the Committee Chairperson.
  • Any Surfer who is unable to surf their region for the month contacts the Committee Chairperson so that an Alternate can be assigned that region for the month. Any excuse for not being able to surf for the month is acceptable as long as the Surfer notifies the Committee Chairperson of their inability to do the surfing in a timely manner so that the Alternate can do the surfing.
  • Failure to turn in nominations for three consecutive months without notifying the Committee Chairperson will result in forfeiture of the Surfer's position on the Committee.

The Evaluations

  • Counties will not be considered for County of the Month if they do not meet the Basic Requirements.
  • Surfers who find problems with the county pages in their surfing region can either contact the County Coordinator and let the CC know who they are and what the problem is OR they can report the problem to the Committee Chairperson and he/she will handle contacting the County Coordinator about the problem.
  • County Coordinators should always be contacted regarding issues with their site.
  • Counties that have been awarded the COM are excluded from eligibility for a period of 6 months. At the end of the 6 months, the county is once more eligible for the award.

The Voting

  • On the 16th, the Committee Chairperson will send any under represented regions to volunteers to be surfed for nominations. The Committee Chairperson will also send the represented region's nominations to the Finalization Committee so that they may begin their evaluations. They are NOT to make any final decisions until ALL regions are represented. On or before the 20th the Committee Chairperson will send the remainder of the nominations to the Finalization Committee. At this time they will finish their evaluations and send their top 3 choices to the Committee Chairperson by the 28th of the current month.
  • The Committee Chairperson will break any ties.
  • The Committee Chairperson will announce to the TXGenWeb e-mail list the winner for the month when the votes are complete. Deadline for this will be the 1st day of the following month unless a tie breaker is necessary in which case the announcement will be delayed due on or before the 5th day of the following month. (i.e., if the nominations are for January then the announcement will be made on February 1st or on/or before the 5th).


Surfing Evaluation Form

Excel Evaluation Forms

PH 1-20

PH 21-48

SC 1-26

SC 27-53

NE 1-20

NE 21-39

FW 1-25

SE 1-18

SE 19-36

NC 1-27

NC 28-53

You may notice a message beside the county listing indicating it is available for adoption. This means that we are looking for someone to take it over on a permanent basis. If you would like to adopt a web page for one of these counties, please contact Gina Hefferman, State Coordinator. The assistant state coordinators are Jane Keppler,. Bunny Freeman and Laura Gregory Roberts.

This page maintained by Jane Keppler.

Page Design by: Kimm Antell
Graphic Design by: Teri Brown

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All Rights Reserved. Limited use rights may be granted by written or electronic permission.