Genforum no longer notifies you if you have a reply to your request for help with a family history search. Therefore, PLEASE check your request periodically. PLEASE RSVP, so the volunteers know you have read the replies.
Take a look at the main page for the Kansas forum. You'll notice that just about EVERY request has replies. It's a pretty good bet that if you post a request for help, you WILL get replies.
Now take another look at the main page for Kansas forum. Notice how many threads in which the Original Poster of a request DOES NOT post again. The usual pattern goes like this: A request is posted by an Original Poster - and then the Original Poster never returns.
If an Original Poster returns silently and secretly (reads the thread, but does not post again), that doesn't count. Others can't benefit or know about that unless the Original Poster posts again.
Check it out. By looking at the main page of any message board in Genforum, you'll notice this is a widespread, ongoing pattern. This includes original requests (queries) that start like this: "I am desperate. I have a brick wall. I have been looking for years. I really want to know this. Any help greatly appreciated."
If a volunteer researcher buys that line, he/she is often times set up for disappointment, because often the person with the "brick wall" is the most likely person to walk away from the answers.
In many cases it seems as if maybe this is why he/she has a brick wall.
Let's talk about why do volunteer researchers participate in your family history search? Because it's fun to solve a puzzle, that's why. But many, like me, enjoy New York Times crossword puzzles, too. So why do genealogy puzzles? Because in helping with a genealogy puzzle, we might enrich someone's life. I find it worthwhile and enjoyable to help others in their quest to know more about themselves, where they came from, who they are. I like the idea of making someone happy at the same time I have the fun of helping to solve a puzzle.
Please don't leave volunteer researchers hanging. It's as if you started a conversation and then walked away as they answered you. If you post a request, stay with it! Join in your own discussion. Talk back! When you post a request for family history help, you're not pushing a button on a machine, and an answer pops out. Rather, you are beginning a dialogue in which you yourself are the most important participant.
Volunteer researchers are good-hearted souls and deserve better from us. I know - because I've been helped by many. Most volunteer researchers not only give but also receive family history help. We all have a stake in keeping genealogy message boards fun, vital, and effective. Please do your part, with that 30-second trip on the internet to revisit your own thread, and post "Got it" or "Thanks!" or "Whaddya know" or any little thing at all.
One word from you might mean the world to a volunteer researcher who spent hours on your task.