Handley's Eastern Shore Maryland Genealogy Project
Eastern Shore

QUERY POSTING INSTRUCTIONS



The best place I know of to post research queries, in most cases, is with the USGenWeb Project. Many counties are now using the new RootsWeb Query System, while others are using the Surname Helper Query System, and still others have their own methods. Here are the addresses you will need for each county to post a query:

CRAFTING A FRUITFUL QUERY

The way you compose your query is important. A well-crafted query will generally receive a good response, while a badly-done one . . . zilch-o. Here are a few tips:

Use Proper Capitalization and Punctuation: Be sure to type SURNAMES (last names) in ALL CAPS. *Only* the surnames, though. The rest of the query should be in lower case, with initial (first letter) caps as appropriate. Please use commas, periods and other punctuation.

If you don't capitalize the surnames, they don't stand out. If you type your entire query in lower case letters, it comes across hard to read and "sounds" to the reader as if you are bored. If you TYPE YOUR QUERY IN ALL CAPS IT "SOUNDS" TO THE READER LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.

Be Specific: Tell the reader right up front what you're looking for - parents, birth date, burial information, etc. Include locations (city, town, village, parish or township, and county name) and dates (birth, marriage, death). If you don't have exact dates, say so, but give a range or estimate. Give names (First Middle LAST) of the query subject, and also the spouse (First Middle MAIDEN). Be sure to put those surnames in ALL CAPS.

GOOD: Seeking birth date and parents of William ROBERTSON, born circa 1710 - 1740, location unknown (may have been Somerset Co., MD). He m. Sarah DASHIELL in May 1753 in Stepney Parish, Somerset Co., MD.

NOT GOOD: who were john smiths parents any help appreciated thanks

Be Concise: If you post an eight-paragraph query, you're going to lose most readers somewhere in the middle of the first sentence. Get to the point, state what you're looking for, include specific information on the person who is the subject of the inquiry, as well as their spouse and immediate family if it will help. No need to post a mini-Gedcom of everything you know about that family and their inlaws, cousins and pets. If you include the salient points, a reader who matches up will recognize it and respond. At that point, you can exchange all the gory details.

Contact Information: Always include your NAME and your MAILING or EMAIL ADDRESS. Most folks will not respond to an inquiry that does not include the name of the person who is asking. If you're in the witness protection program or a fugitive on the lam and need to remain incognito, then you probably should just not post a query altogether.


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