After localizing the area from which the family that you are researching came, it is often helpful to join a society covering that part of the world. The majority of family history/genealogical societies publish some form of journal/newsletter in which their members are entitled to place free queries. Non-members can do so for a relatively small fee. In addition to the query service, research interests of new members are usually published in a subsequent journal, and in this way researchers with common interest names can contact each other.
It is considered polite protocol to enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope when first writing to a person whose name seems to tie in with your line and you should always reply to letters sent to you even if there is a negative result. It can be very frustrating waiting for the postman to bring that letter which just may be a true contact.
Various services are maintained by most societies with baptismal, burial and marriage indexes, tombstone transcriptions, photo-links to mention a few.
Articles appear on local customs, places and personalities of note, lists of material deposited in local record offices and libraries and in some cases members offer to do complimentary research using these sources.
Addresses of or links to county, state and local societies can be found for example on the Genuki site or you may find affiliated British societies here. Australian societies affiliated with The Australian Federation of Family History Organisations Inc. are listed here.
Many TFHS members have made contact with people in a close family relationship through such means. Recently one member found in a journal which she would not normally have read, the fate of a family connection for whom she had been searching for the past 15 years.
Joining up even for 12 months will give a new awareness and insight into your family history, which you may never have thought possible.