Last night, I went out to eat with one of my best friends while I was back home in Minnesota (the land of milk and honey, in my book). She had recently received her AncestryDNA results and we were discussing the surprises (No Italian!?!?) and not-so-surprise results (Eastern European makes sense because she is Polish) in her DNA.
So then I asked her the next question: Did you contact any of the matches?
The answer: no, because what would she say?
Being a former top-cookie selling Girl Scout, I feel comfortable talking to people I don’t know, making those cold calls, and writing emails to start a conversation with somebody I have never met. But I feel that there is a good portion of people out there who feel awkward writing people that they have never met.
Maybe it’s the fear of rejection. Maybe it’s the fear of not knowing what you’re walking into. For me, I look at it as “How can this person help me knock down a brick wall?” or “How can I help this person in their genealogical research?”
So I thought that I would share how I reach out to people that are my matches on these sites by giving you the three things that I include in every email:
- Introduce myself and how I found them online
- State your purpose for writing the email
- Conclude with what you could give them in return
If you keep the introductory emails short and concise, the recipient will be less intimidated and more likely to write you back.
Here is an example template that you are more than free to use:
My name is __________________ and I found out that we are a match on ___________!
I am trying to figure out how we are related. These are my surnames [I usually go to the great-grandparents]:
Do any of these look familiar to you?
If you have any information to help me put the pieces together, that would be great! I would also be happy to share whatever information I may have with you!