How to Submit a Query
When you send a query to a society, library, or researcher there are some things that should be done to get the best results for your research dollar.
1. State specifically what you are looking for (marriage license, birth certificate, obituary, etc.).
2. Give as much specific information as you have:
a. Full name (ex. John James Smith not John Smith)
c. Birth date
d. Marriage date
e. Death date
h. Place of marriage
i. Military service
j. Place of residence (township, if known)
k. Parents names
3. Enclose a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) or a few loose stamps for return postage when requesting prices for research. Most societies are willing to furnish envelopes, but most can't afford to furnish postage.
4. Enclose ten dollars (check or money order) to cover cost of the initial search (one hour). The society will send their rates to do additional research or refer you to a local researcher(s) for additional research. The money you enclose will usually cover the cost of copies, postage and mileage for this initial research.
5. When you do an initial request of a society or researcher it is best to request just a small amount of research be done so you can judge the quality of research before you send a lot of money.
6. When you are satisfied with the search results and wish to have more work done by the society or researcher set a limit on how much you want to spend and let the person know by stating it definitely in your letter. (ex. “Please stop after four hours,” or “Anything you can find up to $25”) Expect to pay in advance for the research.
7. Allow thirty days for a response to your request. If you have not heard anything from the society or researcher by this time drop them a post card or note. Occasionally a letter gets lost in the mail or they may be busy with a lot of requests. If your check has been cashed make this fact known when you send your note.
Note: If you have a specific problem, suggestion, or if you have solved an unusual problem feel free to submit them and we will try to help everyone by publishing it in the newsletter.