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Monday, February 16, 2009

Wrting a Letter to Strangers

Joyce asked
I saw a family name in the deth notices. As this has been elusive for me, I’d like 6to know how I can ask questions ofr the family without being invasive or pushy.

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Joyce, My opinion (and others will have their own thoughts and opinions on this subject) I think if you wait for a bit (a month?) and then write to the family with a respectful letter you will be fine.

Express your condolences for the family's loss, explain how you found their name and address, and your interest in the family name. I would not get into specific questions in this introductory letter. You could include your phone number, email and of course snail mail as a contact, and ask if there is anyone who is considered the family genealogist that you might get in touch with.

I think with this first letter, it is important to simply establish non-invasive contact. Then wait a month and write again, remind them who you are, and ask a few questions. Then cross your fingers for a response.

Realistically you are not apt to get one so be prepared.

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