How to Ask Research Questions
Genealogists are people of passion. We appreciate your enthusiasm for your family stories and enjoy putting you on the scent of new facts.
At the Maple Ridge Museum & Archives, we average about 15 requests per week from all over the world from people seeking lost ancestors. We receive emails that sometimes give us too little of the information we need to be of any help.
You can facilitate our ability to serve and get a response out quickly, by putting your request concisely in terms of the following:
Who? – Full name and date of birth. Many families re-used the same names over and over so the key to the generation is birth date. If you have other details – like marriage date and partner’s name – include that too. If you are looking for an obituary, date of death is essential. However, if that is one of your questions, we have resources that may provide that information.
Other associated surnames can also be useful. If your person married into a long-standing Maple Ridge family, then our information is more likely to be associated with that other surname. Sometimes the names of neighbours can help.
When? – Include the time period you are interested in. When did your person live in Maple Ridge? We don’t need to know when they lived in Vancouver or Calgary – just Maple Ridge.
Where? – Maple Ridge is composed of a number of historic neighbourhoods which were anchored by their post offices. If you know the neighbourhood name associated with your person – like Haney or Whonnock or Webster’s Corners – include it. See our community history section for an outline of all the neighbourhoods.
What? – What question are you asking? It is tempting to say, “Everything you can possibly tell me about them”, but we haven’t got that kind of time. Focus your attention on one or two important questions. Once you have those answers, they may lead to other questions. It is better to work through a series of questions rather than try to do everything at once. We will spend up to one hour for free on a research request but after that our research fee of $50 per hour can really add up.
These same criteria hold if it is a business or an organization that you are asking about.
Finally, please share your compiled family history with the Maple Ridge Museum & Archives. We are happy to keep these records on file, and help you connect with other researchers.