Have you, the county host, heard of my surname in your GenWeb area? Can you tell me where my ancestor came from, within your county?
Maybe, maybe not. But the county host is just one person, and unless by some rare coincidence s/he's a cousin, the fact that he's heard of [your surname here] in his area probably won't be much help to you. There are many other people out there who have access to the web site. Instead of asking the county host this, why not place a query where everyone can see it? Each county should have its own query page, and there's a page for "unknown location in Ontario" too. There's also Surnames of Ontario that allows visitors to post their surname interests and state which area of Ontario they were in.
How long will it take for my query to be posted?
That depends on the page you post it to, and whether they are using the Ancestry Message Boards system or a manual posting system. For Ancestry Message boards, it's instantaneous. Most county pages are now using this system. But if the county host posts queries manually, it may take a day, or as long as two to three weeks. The page where you submitted the query should have some information on this. Go back and check.
TAKE NOTE: Whether a county page is using an Ancestry query board, or posting queries manually, each query is reviewed by a human being. This means that your query can be rejected if necessary. The administrator can delete messages that don't belong on the board.
What do you mean, reject or delete my query? If I submit it, you have to post it, right?
Queries can be rejected or deleted if:
- ... they do not fall into the geographical area covered by the page you posted it to. This is common sense. If your query covers Toronto, and you post it to the Middlesex County GenWeb page, the people who can help you won't even see it. If your query doesn't get posted, or goes missing after being posted, and you think maybe it's because you submitted it to the wrong county, check the Ontario Locator. If the board administrator isn't swamped with work (and we can be), he may take the time to email your query back to you, so at least you don't have to remember all that stuff you typed! However, you most likely will not receive any notice that your query has been deleted.
- ... they are posted to the "General / Unknown" query board when you specify a location (ie, Smith in Toronto). If you know where your ancestor was, post to the query board that covers that area. Do NOT post to the "general / unknown" query board. The general/unknown query board is only for queries that do not have a specific location, or apply to more than one area within Ontario. If you post your specific area query to the general board it buries the queries of others who are seeking a specific area. Please be considerate and post responsibly.
- ... they are too long. You needn't give every bit of information you have. A good size is five to fifteen lines, and if your query takes up too much space some hosts may not post it. For the format of a proper query, please look at some of the queries which are already there, and also visit this page: Writing an Effective query.
- ... they aren't a query. A descendancy chart, for example, is not a query. The words "Send me my family tree" or "anyone researching?" are not a query either. This sort of query will not be posted, & most moderators should delete them. For the format of a proper query, please look at some of the queries which are already there, and also visit this page: Writing an Effective query. If you're looking to find what others are researching, read the queries already posted, or use Surnames of Ontario.
What makes a good query?
See this page: Writing an Effective query
I didn't get an answer to my query - why not? and what next?
Don't think that just because you posted a query your work is done, and you can sit back and wait for someone to bring you the information. One thing you can do is to browse through some of the query boards and see if your surname has already been posted by someone else. You should also check the Surnames of Ontario page.
If you didn't get an answer to your query, there could be several reasons. Most likely, no one else researching that family is online and looking at the right place. You should also place queries on the newsgroups and mailing lists.
Another reason you may not get an answer is that you didn't write a query which will get results. A query like "Researching Smith in Toronto, does anyone have any Smiths in Toronto?" will not get results. People are not obligated to respond to your query. Most people just browse them by surname - they do not read each query.
How long will my query stay up?
Again, it depends on the page, and what system the host is using. It should be a minimum of three months, but on some pages it may stay up longer. Some hosts leave queries up as long as there's space for them; others have limited space on their server and can't leave them up more than the minimum three months.
With the Ancestry board system the queries posted are never deleted and there is a search function so that even when your query no longer shows, people can still find it.
There's a mistake in my query, or my email address is wrong or has changed. What do I do?
Yet again, it depends on the page, and what system the host is using. If you posted on the Ancestry/Rootsweb Message Boards you must log on to the system and change your profile. GenWeb CANNOT do this for you. If the query board is a manual or guestbook type page, contact the person who runs the page where your query was posted. Usually he or she will be the only one who can go in and change things. Or, you can simply reply to your own message with the corrected information.