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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions we’ve heard so far. If you have a question that’s not on the list, please contact us.

WordPress & Hosting

What plugins are automatically included?

The following plugins are automatically installed with your WordPress site:

Restrict Content Pro Ultimate (for membership management)
Fluent Forms (to create forms and receive form submissions) along with Fluent Forms PDF Generator
Divi All-in-One Theme & library (to create drag & drop pages) and Divi Supreme Pro (to schedule posts/pages and include social feeds)
Admin Menu Editor Pro and menu builder (to customize your WordPress admin area and restrict certain areas)
OurRoots CMS database plugin
WooCommerce (for your store), WooCommerce Payments, along with AJAX search for WooCommerce and optional marketing
bbPress (forums for surname research and other discussions)
Modern Events Calendar Lite (for the calendar; can be upgraded)
PDF embedder (to embed PDFs in pages)
Yoast SEO (search engine optimization)
Jetpack Free (reporting and other tools)

Can we install other plugins?

Yes! You’re free to install any other plugins you like and/or deactivate the included plugins. We just ask that you check with us on our Facebook group to see if anyone has experience with the plugin already and/or if there are any known security risks before installing.

Is email included?

Not really.

Certain emails which are sent directly from your site in response to a certain action taken by your users (for example a membership registration, a renewal notice, an event registration or a purchase) are called “transactional email,” and these are handled by WordPress directly.

Newsletter type emails require you to set up secure mail transfer protocol (SMTP) elsewhere to handle bulk email. We recommend MailChimp because the plugins we selected for membership management, form processing, etc. integrate well with it.

Who handles updates and backups?

Your site is automatically backed up by Kinsta every night. (Both staging and live servers) We will enable automatic updates for the plugins we install, and will monitor them for security and significant updates.

Membership Management

Who has access to member data?

By default, the following roles have access to member data:

– Webmaster
– President
– Treasurer
– Membership Chair

Membership modules are hidden from other user roles by default. The webmaster can adjust these settings and grant (or revoke) access to the membership module using the Admin Menu Editor Pro plugin included with your site.

What membership levels are available?

You define the membership levels for your society. By default, the following types of membership are supported:
– Periodic memberships (you define the period by number of days, such as 365)
– Lifetime memberships
– Group/household memberships

We also have a tentative solution for calendar-based memberships where members may join for a partial year, then renew for a full year. (Contact us if you’re interested in setting up this type of membership)

Does the system automatically send renewal emails?

Yes. When you set up your memberships, you choose whether they should automatically renew. If the membership is on auto-renew, the member will receive a notification just prior to their renewal. If the membership is set to expire, the member will receive a notification just prior to the expiration, and then again when the subscription has lapsed.

Can we accept payment by check?

Yes. When a user signs up they can select “pay by check” and then mail a check to you. You will be notified that this has happened, and you can choose to either activate their membership right away, or leave it in “pending” status until their check is received. Unless you activate their account, they won’t have access to members-only data until you receive the check and apply the payment to their account.

OurRoots Databases

How do I include digital images with my data?

When you are creating the CSV for your data, include a column referencing the corresponding image. For example if the row contains the transcription of Headstone A, in the “image” column, you would type the filename (for example headstoneA.jpg). When you upload your data, you’ll upload a corresponding zip file with all of the referenced images, and OurRoots will match them up with the appropriate record.

Is there anything else like this for genealogy?

Not really, which is why we’re so excited to be able to offer this solution to societies. If you can’t use OurRoots, you might try AirTable, but it’s difficult to make a search form that works well specifically for family history research.

How do I map my data to search fields?

When you set up your collection you’ll enter the names of the columns in your CSV. When you enter them, you’ll select the role (does this data pertain to the primary person, or another person in the record) and the search mapping. It’s very straightforward. OurRoots will use this mapping to return results according to the search conducted on your search page.

Do I have to host with you to use the databases?

No. We’ve developed a plugin for WordPress that will work with any WordPress host you choose. Outside of WordPress, we’re working on making it possible to embed the search page in another hosting solution. The complication is that we need to be able to call into their API to get your hosting access token, and then send that access token to a new endpoint on our server, which would verify the host’s access token and generate an OurRoots access token, and then the javascript file would add that OurRoots access token to the page and launch the search app on the page. 

Alternatively, OurRoots is a free, open source project hosted at Github. You can download the project and set up your own server. This costs about $75/month, and we found this to be more than most societies could afford. So that’s why we built the multitenant WordPress solution.

Events & Calendar

Can I require registration?

Yes. We’ve included two versions of a registration form by default: registration for a free event, and registration for an event with a fee and with optional add-ons such as a sylabus or lunch. (Quantities/seats can be limited, and payment can be processed through PayPal) For each event, simply copy and customize the registration form, then embed it in your event information. In addition to being available for export from your site, the registration information can be automatically posted to a Google Sheet or other integrations.

Can I limit who can see an event on the calendar?

Yes. You can set the event visibility to certain roles, or to society members or to the public. This means you can use the same calendar to publish board meetings, public meetings, and members-only events, but only the relevant information will be shown to any given user.

Store, Payments & Donations

We don't really sell anything. Do we have to have a store?

Nope. You can disable the store and then if/when you decide you want to sell something you can just activate it and set it up at that time.

How can we accept donations?

You can add a donation form to your site with processing through PayPal. We’re looking into a way to include donations at the time of member registration.

Have another question? Please contact us.

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