Good question, brilliant replies, back in the dark days of the last centuary (you know about the time when England was last winning the world cup!) mum and dad gave me a guitar and a school teacher was kind enough to give up his lunch breaks to try and teach me some songs using chords. Our family moved and I dropped out of guitar playing after a few years, never having progressed much. A couple of years ago I took it up again and a performer at our local pub said "learn barre chords its worth it in the long run" A few false starts and wow was he right.
Someone on Chordie, to my shame I can't remember who, was good enough to mail me a chart with all the finger positions for each type of note (major, minor, 7ths etc, etc, working off the root note (the position on the 5th or 6th string) for barre chords, its been invaluable to me so I will pass it on to you vie e-mail as i dont know if I would be allowed to post it here or even how I could post it here! Hope it will be of assistance. Stick with it when you start getting the hang of it and they start sounding right it all suddenly makes sense!