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Peterborough County GenSearch

Writing an Effective Query



  • Pick one main surname for which to base the query upon.

  • Cover the basic information and end it there - Who are you looking for? When were they living (birth & death years)? Where did they live? What do you want to know about them?

  • Know what area you're researching -- meaning the County or District of Ontario. If you're unsure what County or District a town, village, or city is in, visit the Ontario Locator

  • Avoid short forms such as b, m, d. Not everyone knows what these short forms mean, and short forms used in North America may not be the same as those used overseas. Even avoid short forms when you think it's an internationally recognized one. For example, CA can be interpreted as Canada, or California (USA).

  • Avoid number dates such as 09/01/88. This can be interpreted several ways -> Sep 1 1888, 9 Jan 1888, Sep 1 1988, etc. Spell out the month and year!!

  • Never write a query in a rush. Take your time. Go over it a few times to ensure what you're looking for is clear.

  • Keep queries to no more than 500 words, or 10 lines. The longer your query, the less likely people are to read it

    A query is NOT:

  • A descendancy or pedigree chart. A query is an inquiry, or a question. Where's the question in a descendancy or pedigree chart?

  • "Researching these surnames in this county/district"



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