A Family Group Sheet is one of the "fun" things you can
add to your web site.
Er, well, let me rephrase that. It's fun to receive one -- they often
unexpectedly and may contain a new treasure of information about your
What is not so much fun is creating the form and setting it up so you
receive the information.
Forms require a CGI script to process the data that has
input to the FORM. RootsWeb offers a resident CGI script called
Mailmerge. But Mailmerge can be confusing to beginners, and is
not for the faint of heart. Most of us have had to tinker a bit before
get it to work. Mailmerge will work with any form, but genealogy
webmasters often want a Family Group Sheet that their site visitors can
to contribute data. So here is the HTML code for a ready made FGS form,
accompanying Mailmerge template that will send the FORM INPUT
to you via email. You will need
both to your website. Follow these instructions carefully, and you may
on the first try.
You can view and test this
Family Group Sheet
Form. Enter your email address on the test form to receive a copy of
Copy and paste the
for the Family Group Sheet FORM between the
tags of your page. You can add the form to an
existing page, or create a new
one. This page may be formatted any way you like -- add a background
graphics, change colors, add your own introductory text, and a link to
your home page.
There are 3 places where the code is highlighted in red.
These must be changed to match
I have suggested the file name
for your template. If you choose a different file name
for your template, you must change it in the
If you are using this form (or any Mailmerge form) on
a RootsWeb server other than Freepages, you may need to change the PATH in the
<form action=> tag. Paths for Homespages,
Virts, and WWW
accounts are explained here.
tells Mailmerge where to send the
data that has been input to the form, and how to format it. Copy and
paste the code for the template
to a new, blank page in your Text Editor.
use a word processor to create or edit your template. A
adds its own internal formatting to the saved file which will
make the template unusable. The template must be
formatted and saved as a plain,
ASCII TEXT file.
Save the file as
or whatever name you have used in the
tag. Using TMP as your file extension makes it easy
to identify a template in
your directory listing.
are seven highlighted items in the template code. Again, the ones
must be changed to match your information.
The ones highlighted in
are optional changes. I have used double forward slashes to separate
location // source in the
output email. The separator is optional, but I think it makes
email easier to read. You can eliminate them entirely,
or you can change them to whatever character(s) you prefer.
Upload both the form and the template to the same directory. For
example, upload both to your root directory, genealogy_html.
The template must be uploaded in ASCII mode. Set this option
in your FTP utility before beginning the upload. You can use
File Manager to
your template and
but you can not use File Manager to upload a template from your
computer, as it transfers all files in binary mode.
Test your Form! If everything is working correctly, you will
see a confirmation screen like the one you saw when you
Arriving at the confirmation screen means that the email
has been sent to the address you have indicated in the template. You
should receive the email almost immediately. Since this email
computer (script) generated, you may need to instruct your ISP's sp*m
filters that it is okay to deliver this mail to your inbox.
I have tried to make these instructions relatively goofproof, but
they are not intended to answer every
question about Mailmerge. I stongly recommend you review Elsi's
before attempting this, or any Mailmerge form at Freepages.
Basic documentation on how to use Mailmerge is available in the
RootsWeb Wizards pages at
Detailed documentation is provided at
If you have further questions about using Mailmerge on
FreePages server, please post your question to the
mailing list. All those who were assigned web space on
the Freepages server were automatically subscribed to the
digest version of this list (Freepages-Help-D). If you have
unsubscribed, you will need to subscribe again before you can
post to the list. You can subscribe now using the buttons
in the list graphic at the bottom of the Home Page.