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8949RE: [S-R] Your expert opinions needed

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  • Bill Tarkulich
    Jan 8, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      You make a good point. With so much spam running amok, it's best to write
      an email subject carefully. I like to use surnames and place names to alert
      people when they see a sender (me) that they don't know.

      I spend a lot of time "cold-calling" people in my genealogical work, both by
      email, phone and letter. A well placed letter of introduction is always in
      order. When someone like this writes to you, ask him/her all the same
      questions you might want to write in a letter of introduction.

      The first thing I try to do is prove they are serious in their intent. Many
      people throw out a bunch of names and see what will stick. Very lazy
      approach - they get out what they put in, very little. It has been my
      experience that people who are dead serious about their researcher (those
      are the people you want to talk to) will be willing to share lots of

      Some questions you should ask:
      Where village are your ancestors from? Where do you live now?
      Have you written to the family in the US? Where are they? What are their
      Have you written a family tree? Can I see it? What are your surnames?
      Have you looked at village records for family?
      Do you know people of my surname? Who?
      What can you tell me about the village?

      I think it's entirely safe to tell him/her:
      My immigrant ancestor NAME was born about 18xx in and came to the US in
      19yy. His spouse's name was... He had brothers/sisters/parents named etc.
      Have you heard of these names?

      This inquisition should not only demonstrate knowledge, but willingness to
      share, and seriousness of intent. Follow this with a series of measured
      exchanges and see just how helpful s/he is. The overwhelming number of
      people in the SR are incredibly sincere and generous. You also have the
      great pond called the Atlantic Ocean between the two of you. I used to
      worry at first that they would show up at my doorstep someday. That just
      simply isn't going to happen.

      I am in the enviable position of just having opened up "pandora's box" of
      immigrants from the village of Ulic and environs. I have located where a
      large number of them settled and am in the process of matching up American
      with Slovak national families. I have people in Ulic who are looking and
      people in America looking. Even being familiar with the village, you still
      have to approach each introduction with kid gloves. Not only to show I am
      serious, but also to measure how interested the receiving end is. I need
      not tell you how many of our relatives are NOT interested in genealogy!

      Good Luck and tell us how you make out.

      Bill Tarkulich

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Dollins [mailto:axd2@...]
      Sent: Thursday, January 08, 2004 8:48 AM
      To: SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [S-R] Your expert opinions needed

      > It is always wise to be cautious. Since Ladislav has not made any
      suspicious requests I would continue the correspondence. He appears to have
      a legitimate interest since your surname is the same as the family he is
      looking for in the USA.
      > Genealogy research by its nature requires you to trust that people
      > are
      wanting or needing help . . . There is a serendipity in helping, often by
      accident relatives make contact or are put in contact with one another.

      Last fall I went back and forth with someone who contacted me about one of
      my surnames. His first email was "want photos?" (Talk about suspicious!) We
      kept writing for a couple of weeks and eventually discovered that we have
      the same great-grandparents. Now I have about fifty more cousins in Slovakia
      than I did a couple of months ago!

      Keep writing. You never know what might come of the correspondence!


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