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 How to Send Queries

First determine what information you are seeking.  Is it specific: a vital record (birth, marriage or death); maiden name; military enlistment, a will abstract, or the location of a grave?  Or do you want more general information such as biography details, pension records, or an opinion on conflicting facts?

Whatever your question is be sure to provide enough information to identify YOUR Hampton. Use the journalist's neumonic of who, what, when, and where, (how and why are optional).

A Subject line that is specific to your query is more likely to receive a response.  For example if your Subject is "The Hampton Family" or "Help me find my ancestors" it will not receive the same attention that a Subject of "John Hampton SC 1800" or "Maiden name of Jacob's wife GA 1850?"

Please respect the privacy of the living.  Do not include their Date of Birth, Marriage Date or Children's names.  Nor should you include your own street address or phone number in a public message.

Keep your query simple.  Sometimes that isn't possible and those are the queries that should probably be directed to the Hampton Mailing List.  

Be prepared for discussion.  [No, there won't be a test.]  When you receive a reply it will probably prompt more questions, either from you or to you.  

The single most important thing that you can do is Document your Sources. Serious researchers will ask you where you found the information.  

Speculation is sometimes appropriate, however it should always be clearly stated that it is indeed speculation.

   

 

 Where to Send Queries

   


That depends upon the type of enquiry.  Both Mailing Lists and Message Boards have strengths and weaknesses.

A Mailing List, even one that is publicly archived as most of the RootsWeb lists are, is primarily focused on the present and discussion taking place currently among a group of people. In depth discussion is possible and direct interaction among the members of the group of subscribers. Discussion on a mailing list tends to cover a topic at length, and when that discussion is exhausted a new discussion begins on another subject. The strength of a mailing list is the ability to include a large number of people and opinions in an ongoing, in depth, discussion benefiting list subscribers immediately.

By contrast, Message Boards like those at Ancestry/RootsWeb, not only function within the present time, but provide long term archiving and universal searchability by anyone who chooses to search for a surname. There is no requirement to subscribe to a discussion group to make a contact through a search.  You can post a question to a Query Board, or access archived documents, using the Message Boards. The strength of a Query board rests with its being the best place to post a query about your "dead end" or "brick wall" ancestors. You might not get an answer tomorrow, or even next week; but the query remains in place for anyone at any future time to find it and to make contact with the original poster. A far larger audience will search the surnames included on the board messages over a period of time than will subscribe to any one mailing list. The non-query (document) boards provide an excellent place to record, search, and archive Vital Records, Biographies, , for your future reference, and to aid others in their research. If everyone who has access to some family record in the above categories would simply transcribe and post the information in their possession, in time there would be a very valuable storehouse of information for the benefit of future genealogists.

"Where to Send Queries"   
Copyright, 1999, Joan Young ~ used with permission    
Thanks to Joan, RootsWeb & MyFamily.com for their generousity    

In a Nutshell

Mailing Lists are dynamic with messages and information coming and going on a regular basis. When you send an e-mail to a list it is received by hundreds of people at the same time (as soon as they check their e-mail). Responses and comments are usually prompt. BUT, the only people who respond are those who already subscribe to the list.

Message Boards are static. They are best used to reach a more general audience, for brick walls AND as a repository for photographs, original documents and GEDCOMS.

Once you understand the difference between Message Boards and Mailing Lists, you should also know that all messages that are posted to the Hampton Message Board at Ancestry/RootsWeb are "gatewayed" (automagically forwarded) to the Hampton Mailing List.

You can have the best of both worlds by subscribing to the Hampton mailing list at RootsWeb first. Then use the Message Board and post your query.  The main thing you can't do on the list is respond to a Message Board Post (unless the poster is also a list subscriber).

"Start with what you know and be prepared to share it.  That's how family trees grow.
 

 ~ Greenhouse Notes

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 Last Updated 04/27/2002