PRA-L ArchivesArchiver > PRA > 1999-03 > 0921116318
From: "Gene Pennington" <>
Subject: Submitting a Query to the List
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 17:38:38 -0800
One of main purposes for creating this mail list is to promote the exchange
of genealogical information between Pennington Research Association members
and other researchers. The information posted here will/may be copied and
used by the Pennington Research Association in its' publications. However,
prior to publication, we will contact the author and obtain a consent to
To assist with this exchange of genealogical information, I want to post
some basic information and guidelines.
What is a query?
A query, as I understand it, is a request to a person, organization, reader
or subscriber for information about a specific genealogical surname and
given name which may or may not include birth date, date of death, marriage
dates and other similar dates. There are many other pieces of information
which can be included in the query including locations, specific events and
spouse and/or children. I'm sure there are many other definitions and I
welcome you to post your definition so we can all learn from what each of us
thinks should be in a query.
What format should I use to submit a query?
1. Queries should be treated in the traditional manner, as handled for
perhaps a hundred years or so by genealogical and historical journals and
publications. They are questions from a reader or member, addressed to the
general readership and membership of the Association publications, whether
it is to Pennington Pedigree, the Courier, the e-mail List, or the Website.
Queries will not be handled by individual members of the Research Committee
or any of the Board or Staff members. However, as a Pennington Research
Association member, they can reply to a query as an interested member.
Should they reply, they are encouraged to send a copy of the query and their
reply to the Pennington Mailing List and to the Editors of the Pennington
Perigee and the Pennington Cousins' Courier for publication in the next
2. The Pennington Research Association is primarily an organization that
publishers genealogical and family history material -- presenters and
exchangers of information. It is up to the individual to figure out what
Group he/she's in. The Groups are simply there to facilitate coordination
and concentration of research -- they should not be regarded as some label
or badge to wear. The responsibility of the Pennington Research Association
is to present a "user friendly" format of information which facilitates the
researcher in determining information for themselves.
The Pennington Research Association standards for queries are:
1. The Pennington Research Association cannot do research for you, or assign
you to a specific Family Group. The Pennington Family Groups are usually
headed by the earliest known Ancestor of a specific family line. If your
family information has not taken you beyond the 20th century, it is unlikely
you will be able to immediately determine which Family Group (if any) you
descend from. The Family Groups are merely tools to facilitate exchange of
information, and to encourage persons to focus their research efforts in
logical areas. It is expensive and frustrating for descendants to duplicate
the same research needlessly, and if you can figure out which Family Group
you fit into, exchanging information with other members of your group saves
everybody a great deal of time and effort.
2. Queries should include as much identifying information about specific
individuals and locations as possible. You should have at least one time
frame and one locality. The three basic genealogical dates are birth,
marriage and death. If you have varying localities for these three events,
or know of other places where an individual of your family resided, what his
or her occupation was, please include that, too, because it will provide
more opportunity for another researcher to recognize your line and help you.
3. Always provide the maiden names if at all possible.
4. Get in the habit of thinking genealogically by using genealogical formats
for dates: DD/MMM/YYYY, i.e., 23 Oct 1998. Be aware of the areas where old
style dates and new styles dates conflict. Note: It is hard to state when
the "Old Style" Julian Calendar ended and the presently used Gregorian
Calendar came into use , because different countries adopted the "New Style"
at different times.
5. Whenever possible, state the basis for the information you are
presenting. This might go something like this: "Our family tradition holds
that John Pennington was born in Maryland, but his listing on the 1880
census for Kirkwood township, Belmont County, Ohio, states that he was born
in Ohio and that his mother and father were both born in Maryland." If you
believe something to be true, but are still looking for a means of proving
it, state that too. It will help others reason along with you to help solve
your puzzle. Likewise, if you do have sources, proof and/or evidence,
please state it in summary form as well.
6. When correspondents send you information, be prepared to reimburse them
for postage and copying costs.
7. Please strive for accuracy not just in your queries, but in your
research. Check your information against proven facts, preferably with
original records (Primary Sources), and next best, by copying pages of
printed (Secondary) sources, and including Title pages for author,
publisher, year and location of the source. This way you will quickly become
recognized as a responsible, reliable, diligent researcher -- the very best
Pennington Research Association