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  • Don Anderson

What to Say..........

You have just discovered a close match; a match that may have information key to breaking down a ‘Brick Wall’ in your family tree. You need to make initial contact. What to say.....................

What you say very likely will determine the response given.

Let’s look at the numbers – On average, a message sent to a new match has between a twenty to twenty-five percent chance of ever being responded to. Again, that’s on average. Others may find a lower or higher response rate.

In other words, for every 100 messages sent, between twenty and twenty-five will respond. With that being said, every response counts!

My list of ‘Bs’ should be a guide when initiating contact:

Be proactive – Initiate a plan - create a list of those matches you wish to contact.

Be thoughtful – Think through what you want to say.

Be detailed – Include names, dates, and locations - this can make a difference to the reader.

Be open – Have others read what you want to send – feedback is invaluable.

Be transparent * - Honesty is the best policy. *Adoptees may want to exclude mentioning their

circumstances in their first contact.

Be generous – Offer to send any information you have regarding the individual or family line you are seeking information on.

Be willing to pay – If you plan to ask the contact to take a DNA test, have your credit card ready!

Be grateful – Thank your contact for any and all information received – even if it’s not useful.

I look at each new contact as an opportunity to build a new relationship. After all, they are family!

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