Improving the Odds of a Reply When Contacting Someone by E-Mail #general

Ralph Baer

Twenty or thirty or more years ago, I would write to a distant relative who didn’t know me, and that person would answer my questions just based upon my statement that I was compiling a family tree. Now with people being concerned with the protection of personal information, it is getting very difficult to get a reply, let alone answers, even about people who are no longer living. 
I certainly understand people’s concern. Every time I contact a company by phone and they ask for my mother’s maiden name to “prove” that is me, I cringe considering how easy it is to find that information on line. (I know someone once posted that one should make up a phony maiden name for this purpose.)
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to approach people to improve the chances of getting assistance? 
I was going to explain why I am asking this question at this time, but the I decided that it probably distracted from the question.
Ralph N. Baer        RalphNBaer@...       Washington, DC

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