A Helping Hand
Many genealogists volunteer their time to help online on various message boards and genealogy forums. Often, the requests for help can be a little vague or don’t entirely show what sources have already been checked. So, help us help you, by giving your query a good title, one that draws the eye but is still relevant to your search. People with a knowledge of a county in Ireland, for example, will be drawn to a query listing that county, rather than simply a request saying, “Help, Searching for my Irish Ancestor” in the title. Make sure you tell us what research you have already done. This means that we won’t waste time rehashing what you already know and can use the time to try and point you in a new direction. If you don’t know exact dates for your ancestor, try to give an educated guess as this will inform the scope of the search.
Do tell us your stories passed from generation to generation as they might include elements of truth and small nuggets of information that could be important, especially if they point to under-utilised archival sources (sometimes not available online). Aside from this, we love hearing your family stories!
By doing these things you have a better chance of standing out from the crowd (and it’s quite a considerable number!) and show that you are organised and understand the context around your ancestors’ lives. Most importantly, it gives us a chance to do our best to help you out and make the most of the time available.