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When you are seeking help from others in researching your ancestors, there are several principles you should bear in mind.

First, clearly indicate you are willing to share that which you have. Genealogists generally speaking are very giving. They share easily. So be prepared to give, and to receive.

Second, assuming you have genealogy software (and you should), what both of you should share is a Register Report WITH NOTES and SOURCES included. By Notes I would hope you and your correspondent have captured biographies, news articles, anecdotes, relevant  historical observations and so forth associated with each person. That is, your best attempt to flesh out the life of an individual. Dates and location of birth, death and burial are relatively easy to find; Notes are much tougher to come by. Data without a Source has very limited use or believability. Without a Source, it is just a hint, not a well-considered fact.

Third, sign your e-mail or letter with a signature which includes the following: Your full name, your town and state, your telephone number and an alphabetized list of all the names you are researching. The telephone number is because some of us prefer spoken to written words and telephone calls today no longer cost $3 to $4 a minute. A conversation often leads to thoughts and questions the written word finds hard to convey.

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