Doughty Family Genealogy Forum
I know of NO way, unfortunately, to instruct each and every person the whys and wherefores of query writing...I wish there were. Whenever possible I tell folks of the 3 essential elements, hoping that others will read the post and also take it to heart. I am the administrator of a couple rootsweb gen lists and have a little primer in query writing included in the Welcome Email that is sent to people when they join...plus other handy hints. However, I've come to the conclusion that most delete it without even a cursory glance...so, I put at the top...."please do NOT delete this without reading - it has valuable information for you"....but still folks just delete it...a case of taking the horse to water, etc. So, aside from 'divine intervention' I know of no way to get people to give the information necessary to get some help!
I'm sure we Americans may be the worst about giving a country, because we do 'assume' that as we are doing American research, through American oriented sites, with American online records, and with other Americans, we tend to forget that not all are Americans reading them. I, for one, admit to never, within my recollection, using USA in a query.....however, since I am generally posting my query on a site that is an American county or state it isn't generally necessary. However, it would be a good idea to get in the habit of doing that...but, I must say, I've never had anyone write and ask me what the country my post concerned....I believe, after being involved in computer genealogy for many years, that the majority of folks on any/all of the sites I visit ARE Americans....thus, not using the USA isn't a problem....and,after all the posts and all the queries I've answered, I can tell you from experience that writing a poor query knows no boundary or nationality....it's simply people from everywhere who don't think things through, and forget that the ONLY things we, as readers of their queries know, is what they tell us...which, is often not enough, unfortunately.
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