On March 11 David Schreiber wrote ...."I would like some advice on
approaching possible cousins......" . I wrote to him privately but I think
this might help others, also.
To protect other people I have ....'d out names.
Dear David, here is what worked for me. I found a few facts about L... and
wrote a polite informative email (see below) to which she promptly
responded. Then after that contact and one more, she gave me all the info
and contacts on her husband's family who mostly had moved to Florida years
ago. After I contacted them, I just got back >from a trip where I met 3
wonderful "new" cousins, all very nice, and happy that I found them, and
want to get together again soon. Luckily, now I have added a whole limb with
branches to my tree.
The guide rules I followed which I had read before stated write politely,
explain what you're trying to do, give them something (in this case a copy
of a telegram), and if you have a fact try to empathize or find common
ground with them. Maybe I wrote a bit too much but that's a guess you make.
Las Vegas, NV
First contact letter
Hi L..., shalom and Happy New Year.
I'm writing to see if your late husband, C..., and I are related as cousins.
I'm sorry you lost him. I too lost my wife 8 years ago.
It's a long story but I found you through the recent Woodstock anniversary
publicity on PBS and eventually to S... County.
I have been the family historian/genealogist for about 10 years, >from
joining the Denver JGS and after moving to Las Vegas, the JGSSN. I see among
your many accomplishments you were active at the S... County Historical
Society so I thought you would be interested and a good contact.
My grandfather S... Simon married my grandmother E... B... in Belarus and
they had 4 children-T..., A... my dad, I..., and I.... My gf emigrated to
the US in 19.. and the rest of the family arrived in 19.., as did
coincidentally my mom's family (F...).
The extended family all lived in Buffalo, NY where I was raised.
I have 3 possible connections. One is a telegram congratulating my dad on
his 1928 marriage >from "Uncle J... B...", Brooklyn, NY. I have attached a
copy for you.
The second is on my grandfather's arrival ship manifest in 19.. it states he
is going to see his brother-in-law J... B... at R... St. Brooklyn.
The third is a story my cousin F... Simon >from Toledo told me about 5 years
ago. She says when she was a youngster in the 1940's they went to see some
B... family who had a gas station in the E..., NY area. This info seemed to
tie in with what I read recently about you. If C...'s grandfather was J...
B... then he and my grandmother E... were brother and sister. They would
have come >from Minsk area. It's hard to read but I think based on Elka's
ship manifest she had a sister R... in Minsk and their father's name (>from
E...'s grave in Buffalo) is A... my great grandfather.
I hope you don't mind my contacting you and I would like to hear >from you