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Some Do's and Don't for Lookup Request


Some Email Rules for Lookup Requests.

  • Select a concise title or Subject Line for your email. "Whazup, Missy" very seldom gets a prompt response and may even receive a visit from the "Delete Without Reading" fairy.
  • Edit any quoted text down to the minimum needed and attempt to refrain from sending us images of census pages. While we live to download and muddle through countless pages of U.S. Census images, you might get a quicker response if you just send us the name and cite the census reference.
  • Read your own message 2 or 3 times before sending it. If it doesn't make sense to you, what chance does your lookup volunteer have?
  • Think about how your lookup volunteer might react to your message. Some things that can be said face to face with a smile among friends don't translate well to email and may send our volunteers screaming for the local constabulary.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. "Looking for "Uncle Kpjm Dkoyjs" might not get the same results as "Uncle John Smith".
  • Do not curse, flame, spam or USE ALL CAPS. Nobody knows or cares that your great grandfather was a real %!@#% *^&!%, it does no good to complain that your ancestor wasn't found in our resources (we can only work with what we have), believe me we already get enough spam and WHEN YOU USE ALL CAPS, WE THINK YOU'RE YELLING AT US.
  • Do not forward any chain letter. We know how to do research! We'll find out where you live -- if we don't know already.
  • Do not use e-mail for any illegal or unethical purpose. Always a good idea unless you are looking forward to a little time in prison or a long time in hell.
  • Do not rely on the privacy of e-mail, especially from work. If you feel like a forced career change, fine -- just leave us out of it.
  • When in doubt, save your message overnight and reread it in the light of the dawn. Sobriety is always a good editor.
  • Don't put our volunteers in your address book and, if they're added automatically, please delete them. We all enjoy a good challenge but dealing with shady Nigerian lawyers and removing email borne viruses from our machines, is a bit much. Don't you think?

And, here's the "Golden Rule" of E-Mail:

That which thou findest hateful to receive, sendest thou not unto others.

Page Last Updated:   Monday, 20 August 2018


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