Sunday, October 17, 2010

Family History Month - QUERY

~Today's prompt is brought to you by the letter Q~

Oftentimes genealogy is a solitary experience.  We sit before our computers in the privacy of our homes and research on Ancestry, FamilySearch, Footnote or perhaps perform Google searches.  Perhaps we research at the local library or archives.  We may discuss our genealogy with others but many of us work on this passion alone.  It doesn't need to be that way.  In the short time I have been doing genealogy, I have found that it can also be a very social experience.  We can volunteer at a genealogical or historical society, attend a local library's "genealogy afternoon" or society or technology meetings or conferences, and we can connect online with others who share our passion. 

One of the easiest ways to move our genealogy forward and engage other potential family members is to post a query on a genealogy site.  There are several genealogy sites to choose from ~ rootsweb, local or distance genealogy societies' web pages, Ancestry's connection service, CousinConnect, Facebook's surname or locality pages, to name a few.  Today why not check out a few different query sites, read up on the terms and conditions, spend some time drafting a few clear and concise queries, post your queries, and then make a note to follow up on them.  While you are at it, read through queries from other posters.  Perhaps there is interesting information regarding your surname or locale, perhaps one of the posters is a long lost relative, or you may find a query format that you would like to use with your future queries.  Make sure to update your email address or other contact method if anything changes (you will often find people respond to a query months or sometimes years later and if your contact information is incorrect that is a connection missed).

(image by digital artist Michelle Meiklejohn, made available by ~ thanks)

Some tips on getting your query noticed ~ There are many queries out there so make sure your query gets noticed - provide:
  • Surname, Given Name and a Timeframe 
  • Locale
  • Concise Information You Want
  • Concise Information You Have
  • Contact Information 

I have had especially good luck with FamilySearch (translating Genline's Swedish documents with the assistance of FHL volunteers) and local genealogy sites (a Ward County, North Dakota volunteer looked up my greatgrandfather's obituary and sent me a transcription via email - I had the newspaper citation and provided that in my query).  Today, give it a try ~ you may be amazed at the results!

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