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8950Re: [S-R] Your expert opinions needed

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  • Vladimir Bohinc
    Jan 8, 2004
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      Since "cold calling" is my job I would like to add a couple of words too.
      There is an interesting difference between the US and Slovakia.
      If I call a person in Slovakia, their first thought is " this must be about
      inheritance or some money".
      If I call a person in US, their first thought is " he wants something from
      me, he will show up at the door,I do not want to be involved in any
      immigration related problems"
      Of course, I simplify, but these are main common denominators.
      Since 9/11, one additional factor came into play; terrorists. Now, everybody
      can also be a potential terrorist or their supporter. Now, since the big
      brother is watching everything already, any contact with a "suspicious"
      person can be dangerous. This is the thinking on the US side.
      I must admit, I do not know the right words to express my deepest
      disappointment over this issue.
      If this will continue, it will be the end of good relations among people.
      If a person has "fear", be it legitimate or "implanted" by propaganda, then
      the sick imagination has no limits any more. Imagination about what bad
      could happen to one and how mean somebody else could be is then predominant
      and always present. (Be on alert)Such thinking can not be a basis for any
      friendly, and sure not honest relationship.
      The problem with cold calling is, that it is very , very, difficult to make
      it look different than a spam.
      Since legitimate and illegitimate spammers are more or less all trained in a
      way, they know all the tricks, how to approach a person and how to generate
      Since our researcher is after the same goal, he has to present his case in a
      way, that should generate interest on the other side. If it looks like a
      spam, he is branded as spammer, if it doesn't, he is suspicious.
      The suspicion hysteria, that not so long ago was at home here, is now
      overseas. I can say only one thing; it ruins everything. Forget the
      friendship, forget love. All fake.
      Is this what we want?
      Since presenting a case in a right way is very difficult, non english
      speakers have a big problem.
      They do not know even how to express themselves correctly. If they try
      harder, it is even more suspicious. ( Study the Nigerian scam)
      On the other hand, a slovak person, being called, just can not beleive, that
      there is not some money /property involved. For them, it is impossible to
      believe, that there could be something else, not to mention family love. All
      such cathegories have been killed by the former system which taught
      suspicion and alertness as a duty of every citizen. Love could be present
      only among the inner circle of the family. If you have not been identified
      as one belonging to it, you are out and thus suspicious.
      Internet and e-mails allow many things. In a way, they allow contacts that
      were not possible before.
      On the other hand, they also allow persons to hide their identity.
      If you want to build a good relationship, do not hide behind acronyms. Write
      your full name and test the contact with the snail mail as soon as possible.
      If you are affraid of identity theft, give up genealogy.
      For someone to steal your identity, I imagine, you would have to be rich, at
      least worthwile.
      Such fears remind me of an old woman, who is affraid to be raped.
      When I receive mails from persons with whom I would like to establish a good
      contact, and see, they are hesitating and evasive, I call them by phone and
      settle the matter.
      Since genealogy is about names, dates and places, at least with the dates,
      you do not have to be picky.
      You do not have to give away the full date. A year is enough. The same you
      should expect from your counterparts. I am talking about living persons. The
      rest is no secret.
      Who is a son of whom is known to more than only family members, so it is
      public. ( at least your neighbors know that) Most of the marriages are in
      public and so are the funerals.
      ( Once a Registrar would not tell me, when somebody died. I said, I will go
      to the cemetery and find this out. Go, she said. I went and found.)
      Back to e-mails;
      I don't feel good, when I receive a mail from unknown person, that starts
      with "Hi" and ends with "John"
      This feeling has proven correct in most times.
      Sending mails without addressing the person and without signature is an
      Well then, enough of this very early morning poetry.
      With best wishes,
      Vladimir Bohinc

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Bill Tarkulich" <bill@...>
      To: <SLOVAK-ROOTS@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 2:19 AM
      Subject: RE: [S-R] Your expert opinions needed

      > Anabeth,
      > 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
      > 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
      > email, phone and letter. A well placed letter of introduction is always
      > 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.
      > 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
      > information.
      > 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
      > names?
      > 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
      > 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
      > 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
      > 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!)
      > 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
      > than I did a couple of months ago!
      > Keep writing. You never know what might come of the correspondence!
      > Anabeth
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