An Introduction to Good Querys and my Genealogy Groups

If you are a beginning genealogy researcher there is even a Yahoo! Group, learngen, that is associated with an on-line interactive tutorial, Researching Your Family Tree: An Introduction to Genealogy.

Posting a good query is often overlooked by the beginning genealogy researcher. I have seen my fair share of bad query’s on message boards. Here are a few tips that I’ve found on-line in posting to message boards and mailing lists.

Here is a handy checklist for a good query. You won’t always be able to do everything listed. If, for instance, you are announcing a grand McCorkle reunion in Pocatello, you won’t put a specific individual’s name in the heading. You won’t always know all seven facts about the individuals, either; if you did, you probably wouldn’t be posting a query about them.

* Read a dozen posts before you compose your first. You’ll see good ones and bad ones.
* Put a specific name, spouse and date in the heading.
* Give as many of the basic seven facts (birth date and place, marriage date and place, death date and place, spouse’s name) as you can for each individual.
* Name the county and state or province for each town or township. Name the country if it isn’t obvious.
* Many people consider using all capital letters to be SHOUTING, and genealogy query boards to be a libraries. Use regular upper and lower case.
* If you post the same query on more than one board, say so. It is frustrating for a researcher to spend 15 minutes replying to a post on the Logan County board only to find out someone else already answered you on the Smith surname board.
* Don’t post the dates of living people.
* Put a blank line between paragraphs.

The better your post, the better a chance you have of connecting to someone who can help you.

Advice from URL:

How to post a Message Board Query

More is Less

More information lessens confusion. If your message is content rich and detailed, it will lend itself more toward attracting appropriate responses. For instance, if you are planning on writing a message about John Smith who married Mary Jones, you’d better list more about them than just their names in your message! Otherwise, because of the common occurrence of the Smith and Jones surnames, you’ll have way too many people responding to your inquiry. So, it’s important to include enough information about the people you’re seeking so that everyone will know exactly who they are, or at least how to positively identify them. The greater the details you can provide about when and where your subjects lived, the greater your chance of linking up with people seeking the same individuals. Some items that will help others identify common family members include these:

#Full name, including any middle names or initials
#Birth, marriage, and death dates
#Places where the above events occurred
#Residence and migration
#Names of their children and/or parents

Example: Henry Tewksbury, Jr. was born 15 Dec 1664 in Newbury, Essex Co., Massachusetts, the son of Henry and Martha (Copp) Tewksbury. Henry, Jr. married Hannah _______ sometime between 1685 and 1693. They had children: Henry, Jonathan, Hannah, Philip, Naomi, Jean, John, Abner and James. I would like to know the maiden name of Henry’s wife, Hannah. I haven’t been able to find Henry and Hannah’s marriage record in Newbury or nearby Amesbury, Massachusetts. I know that Henry was reported as “of Amesbury” in 1723 from a land deed. I also know that some of his children married in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Other than this, I have very little information on the time or place of his death or that of his wife. If anyone can help fill in the blanks, please contact me –

Extract From URL:

May 2008 Message Query Board

When I said that I belong to many groups, I meant it! Here is the old list of groups from my MSN pages:

MSN Groups

MSN Louisiana Genealogy Blogs
A Genealogy Experience
GenPals 2003
Lafayette Cemetery, New Orleans, LA
Ancestors R US






Yahoo Groups







Google Groups


About Louisiana Genealogy Admin

I manage several RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards, support Louisiana Cemetery Preservation, am a former Louisiana and Mississippi librarian, have been researching genealogy of my family since 1988, and write and promote several blogs supporting either Louisiana genealogy or Louisiana cemeteries.
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