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How to write your query

Replies: 2

How to write your query

Posted: 9 Feb 2013 10:56PM GMT
Classification: Query
Many people on these boards are willing to help you break through brick walls. You can make it easier for them to do so with a well-worded query. If you are unfamiliar with writing a query, here are some tips:

1. Do not use words like "help," "stuck," "dead end" in your subject line. (We know you're stuck; you posted on the brick wall board.) Put the surname you're searching in the subject line, along with a place or date. That will make it easier for people experienced in that area to assist you.

Example of a good subject line: "John Smith b. 1810 Dutchess, NY- died when?" Then, in the body of your email, tell us what you found already. Give names of wife, parents or children so we can find the needle in the haystack.

2. Don't get hypothetical. Give us the names, dates, places. Not helpful: "How can I find my grandfather?"
More helpful: "I'm looking for Joseph Pfizer, b. 1850 Poland; came to USA abt. 1880; lived in Illinois 1900 but I cannot find him after that."

3. Tell us what country you're researching in. These boards are viewed by people all over the world. If you write "How do I find divorce records?" the answer depends on where these records are - UK? USA? and if USA, in what state?

4. Tell us the time period you're researching. That determines where records were kept, IF records were kept.

5. (For USA): if you mention a census in which you've found your relative, give us the census year, the state and county, and under what spelling the surname was found. If your query says you're looking for REICH, and you find him under RAKE, please tell us so. A link to the census page, or posting it as an attachment, would be helpful.

6. Please don't say you "need any info" yet when people respond, answer with "I already had that." If you have a particular record, tell us up front!

Hope this helps some of you break through your brick walls.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
LHSwisher 10 Feb 2013 5:56AM GMT 
daciodan 10 Feb 2013 7:20PM GMT 
oastwd 10 Feb 2013 8:34PM GMT 
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