Thursday, July 01, 2004
As a USGenWeb county coordinator, I see a lot of queries written by people who are new to genealogy and who make all sorts of errors when they are asking for assistance. I had one the other day where the person had erased the county name from the message line. On the hyperlinks on my pages, I always add the county name so that when a person sends an email I have an idea in which county they are asking for help since I have several counties in multiple states. On this particular one, the person was asking me for assistance in a place that I knew was not connected with any of my counties, and I had no idea which site the person had visited. It turns out - the person was researching in counties further south in that particular state and appeared to have no connection with any of my counties. The person also asked me if anyone was researching her ancestor. There were surname registries available on the site (of course, she was in the wrong county) and links to message boards and mailing lists (and their archives), but even the absence of a name in one of these online sources doesn't mean no one is researching that person. It just means that no one has registered the surname or written a query regarding him. Oh well, enough on the subject of bad queries. A good query will identify the person on which one is seeking information, dates or approximate dates, location, and other helpful facts which might produce a lead.