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Denise

Genealogy Packets

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Denise

I'm a cold-caller. What I mean is that I look up (usually on ancestry.com's "live people finder") people with the surnames I'm researching in the area that I know ancestors lived and call them to see if we're related. I've been doing this for awhile now with very good results. I've called about a dozen people and been able to connect with about 9 of them. It's quite fun and I've never had a bad experience doing this, but I am careful and sensitive. I never ask for information on living people, and I make sure I have exactly the information I need right in front of me so I can go back far enough to convince people I'm not some stalker or identity thief.

But I'm having a problem lately trying to figure out exactly what information to send people after we've made contact. The first 6 times I sent out packets, I learned that I'd overwhelmed people with data and they had a hard time picking out what was important to them. What's important to me is not necessarily important to them. And there's a cost factor involved. Some of my packets have cost over $10 apiece to mail. (And do we have to talk about the price of ink for printers? Why do they have to make ink so expensive!) I don't want to spend a lot of money only to have much of the information I sent wind up useless to those I'm trying to make connections with.

Does anybody else send out genealogy packets? What information do you include? How do you format it? What types of copies of documents are people interested in? I have birth and death certificates, photos of tombstones, marriage licenses, etc. I don't mind making copies and sending them, but is that what people want?

I've been very fortunate to receive back scans of photos, copies of obituary notices, and corrections. To me, this is what genealogy is all about; the sharing of vital information on common ancestors which makes for a strong bond.

Any thoughts?

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arnold

I think that most people do NOT care about genealogy. They see it as a hobby.

A key sentence of yours was, "I've called about a dozen people and been able to connect with about 9 of them."

That is a wonderfully high response rate. That does not mean, IMHO, that they are anywhere near as enthused as you are. My guess is that you overwhelm them with your inclusive packets. If you are worrying about the printing costs of the packets, then I suspect that you ARE sending A LOT.

The hard part is knowing how much to send enough. We all have that concern. If you are making cold calls, then I suspect a not so big packet is better.

I am not a cold-caller. I correspond with folks who are already involved, so I cannot guess what you should include in your packets. Can't help you there.

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Denise

That is a wonderfully high response rate. That does not mean, IMHO, that they are any where near as enthused as you are. My guess is that you overwhelm them with your inclusive packets. If you are worrying about the printing costs of the packets, then I suspect that you ARE sending A LOT.

The cousins I've connected with have been very excited to hear from me and the comment I get most often is: "I've always wanted to do that but didn't know where to start." But you're right. While they're very interested, I suspect most people just want to know about themselves and their direct lines. I don't do genealogy that way. I have an overpowering urge to know everything about everyone connected to my family in any way. That sounds intrusive, doesn't it? But can one intrude on a dead person?

Anyway, thank you for your input. I've just completed three packets to go out and they are much less detailed than ones I've sent out previously. It's taken me two months to put these packets together because I have been trying to find the best way to get the information in a form that won't overwhelm people. I just decided to do their direct ancestor, our common grand-ancestors and great-ancestors. Much smaller packet, more easily digestible, but still gives clues that I have more information available if they're interested.

Denise

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JustTheFax

I have made contact with many and ask for help. If they have email I email them an RTF file of descendants of their great-grandfather and ask them to fill in missing information in another color then they send it back, I also invite them to my TNG site to see what else they may be able to help fill in.

I am still waiting for others to send me reports. Sometimes it is a vey long wait.

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Reginald Vaughn Finley Sr

I'm a cold-caller. What I mean is that I look up (usually on ancestry.com's "live people finder") people with the surnames I'm researching in the area that I know ancestors lived and call them to see if we're related. I've been doing this for awhile now with very good results. I've called about a dozen people and been able to connect with about 9 of them. It's quite fun and I've never had a bad experience doing this, but I am careful and sensitive. I never ask for information on living people, and I make sure I have exactly the information I need right in front of me so I can go back far enough to convince people I'm not some stalker or identity thief.

But I'm having a problem lately trying to figure out exactly what information to send people after we've made contact. The first 6 times I sent out packets, I learned that I'd overwhelmed people with data and they had a hard time picking out what was important to them. What's important to me is not necessarily important to them. And there's a cost factor involved. Some of my packets have cost over $10 apiece to mail. (And do we have to talk about the price of ink for printers? Why do they have to make ink so expensive!) I don't want to spend a lot of money only to have much of the information I sent wind up useless to those I'm trying to make connections with.

Does anybody else send out genealogy packets? What information do you include? How do you format it? What types of copies of documents are people interested in? I have birth and death certificates, photos of tombstones, marriage licenses, etc. I don't mind making copies and sending them, but is that what people want?

I've been very fortunate to receive back scans of photos, copies of obituary notices, and corrections. To me, this is what genealogy is all about; the sharing of vital information on common ancestors which makes for a strong bond.

Any thoughts?

Hi Denise.. I do the same thing. I have reconnected with hundreds of relatives thanks to ancestry.com. Many of which didn't even know who the hell I was, until I broke down the tree for them. Most seem very enthused at first, that is until I start finding out family secrets.. or they discover I'm an atheist.

I use Genealogy reporter for my packets. I only send them reports relevant to them. My entire packet revolves around my subject.

This way, they have more interest. I have sent packets to cousins all over the nation. No problems so far.

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Denise

Hi Denise.. I do the same thing. I have reconnected with hundreds of relatives thanks to ancestry.com. Many of which didn't even know who the hell I was, until I broke down the tree for them. Most seem very enthused at first, that is until I start finding out family secrets.. or they discover I'm an atheist.

I use Genealogy reporter for my packets. I only send them reports relevant to them. My entire packet revolves around my subject.

This way, they have more interest. I have sent packets to cousins all over the nation. No problems so far.

Thank you. I just downloaded the trial and am going to seriously consider using it. I'm ashamed to admit how many packets I now owe. I've completed quite a few, but have been unhappy with the format.

About those cold calls...Every single person I've talked to with whom I have a connection has been so grateful to hear from me and excited about the project. I recently made two huge and significant breakthroughs on "brick walls" within my families by cold calling and emailing people with the surnames I'm researching. Genealogy has been one of the most rewarding undertakings I've ever experienced.

Thank you again for suggesting Genealogy Reporter. I appreciate it more than I can say.

I think that most people do NOT care about genealogy. They see it as a hobby.

A key sentence of yours was, "I've called about a dozen people and been able to connect with about 9 of them."

That is a wonderfully high response rate. That does not mean, IMHO, that they are anywhere near as enthused as you are. My guess is that you overwhelm them with your inclusive packets. If you are worrying about the printing costs of the packets, then I suspect that you ARE sending A LOT.

The hard part is knowing how much to send enough. We all have that concern. If you are making cold calls, then I suspect a not so big packet is better.

I am not a cold-caller. I correspond with folks who are already involved, so I cannot guess what you should include in your packets. Can't help you there.

By the way, Arnold, I've made a connection with your project! I sent my information and got a wonderful response from one of your collaborators. And I recently, with the use of a cold call, learned more information on my Sprague line, which I've forwarded to my contact within your project. It truly is a small world.

I have made contact with many and ask for help. If they have email I email them an RTF file of descendants of their great-grandfather and ask them to fill in missing information in another color then they send it back, I also invite them to my TNG site to see what else they may be able to help fill in.

I am still waiting for others to send me reports. Sometimes it is a vey long wait.

Ouch. This makes me more determined than ever to complete what I've promised.

I also have invited those with internet access to visit my site and in one case it brought about an amazing discovery. One of my "cousins" visited my site, saw a picture of my brother and then sent photos to me. One of them kept bugging me until I finally realized I had been seeing the same face for my entire life: My father's mother's grandfather and my own brother look almost exactly alike! It's eerie. It's making me wish I had more photos of ancestors to compare everyone in my family with.

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aewold

One trick I learned on getting updated information back quickly for living individuals, is to simply add 10 years to the woman's age -- you should get a prompt reply! ;)

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Barry Chuckle

I have managed to find cousins via facebook and other social networking sites. I generally send them a message enquiring if they are my relatives along the lines of "I think we might be cousins, is your dads name john smith born in Manchester and was his dad called david?"

Once I have a positive match I invite them to look at my TNG website and let me know if they have anything to add. This works because I already know they have internet access as I found them via social networking sites.

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