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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2004-03-31 03:44:30
Subject: Some rules for asking questions

* Forwarded (from: GEN_BRITAIN) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Roy Stockdill (8:8/2002) to All.
* Original dated: Tue Mar 30, 04:04

From: roy{at}stockdill.com ("Roy Stockdill")

As there seems to be a good deal of uncertainty as to how to phrase 
queries and appeals for help when posting messages here, perhaps I 
could offer a few suggestions.

1) Don't be vague - be PRECISE. Try not to use phrases like "Grandma 
always said...". Genealogy is not based on what your grandma always 
said; it is based on hard and known facts. What we need to know is 
what you actually know from your own researches.

2) Use clear and simple English, including correct grammar and 
punctuation, which includes the proper usage of upper and lower 
case letters where appropriate. Do not post messages either all in 
capitals or all lower case, or without commas, since they are very 
difficult to read and many people won't bother. English is a 
beautiful language when written with clarity and precision but, 
sadly, it so rarely is these days.

3) Tell us the full extent of your knowledge to date and what 
records you have actually researched yourself. If, for instance, you 
know someone's precise birth/marriage/death dates, then give them. If 
you have already searched in a particular census(es) or perhaps 
certain parish registers, then say so. Don't by your vagueness let 
others waste their time going over old ground you have already 
covered. It is not appreciated.

4) Having stated precisely what it is that you are certain of, then 
go on to state precisely what it is you don't know and what 
information you are seeking. State your request(s) clearly and 
without the possibility of ambivalence.

These simple rules of guidance, if sensibly followed, do not seem to 
me unreasonable and would help alleviate much angst.

Roy Stockdill
Web page of the Guild of One-Name Studies:- www.one-name.org
Newbies' Guide to Genealogy & Family History:- www.genuki.org.uk/gs/Newbie.html

"It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of
people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean
advantage of them." 

- P. G. Wodehouse

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