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07-03-2019, 13:51   #1
kildarejohn
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Contacting a 4th/5th cousin in US

I have been researching my family for years, but have never before contacted any relatives except people who were already themselves doing research through online message boards etc.
I have now traced a branch in the US, but they do not seem to be active on Ancestry etc. I have found a name, address and phone no. via Google, but no email address or social media contacts.
In these circumstances would you phone or write? Has anyone got a "standard wording" for a letter to an unknown 4th cousin.? The family had association with military "special ops" so I don't want to become target for investigation!
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07-03-2019, 14:23   #2
pinkypinky
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I would write a polite letter saying you've been tracing your family tree, outlining the connection and asking them to get in touch if they're interested.
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07-03-2019, 15:10   #3
Hermy
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I think a well written letter is the way to go.

Keep it simple - introduce yourself, give some background, and ask for one or two specifics.
Also include a chart to help illustrate the matter to those less au fait with genealogy.

I've done so several times and it generally garners a positive response.
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07-03-2019, 21:14   #4
hammy007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermy View Post
I think a well written letter is the way to go.

Keep it simple - introduce yourself, give some background, and ask for one or two specifics.
Also include a chart to help illustrate the matter to those less au fait with genealogy.

I've done so several times and it generally garners a positive response.
Completely agree with this- I wrote to a distant relative regarding a DNA test which was a big ask considering they didn't know me (I was trying to prove a male line, and they were the only living descendants I could find to compare to). I included some info about who I am, and included family charts showing how we were related. I ended up getting a positive response and they agreed to do the test (line was confirmed!), so I definitely agree that a well written letter is probably the best approach.
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