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  • Contacting matches

    I'm somewhat new to dna testing but not to genealogy, I've been researching family history for years.
    I took the plunge and had most useful tests for myself and wife including FF. I refrained from contacting anyone through the supplied email until I had reviewed what history I had to determine if I could find a connection. I could not so I sent out a few emails for myself and one for my wife. Also received one from one of my wifes matches.
    I was frustrated at the lack of response to any of them. One of my matches was very good and I had high hopes. No response. My wife's contact at least responded however briefly, It seems some people want to look at others information but not involve themselves working with others. Why go the trouble of having a test and posting a name.
    I'm cautious due to privacy but will work with others if there's even a remote connection. I've responded several times with quite a bit of info and never got even a thank you.
    Thanks for letting me vent. If anyone has suggestions or can tell me the etiquette to follow up with I would appreciate it.
    Last edited by knightowl; 15 December 2013, 01:10 PM.

  • #2
    I might benefit from some etiquette suggestions also. I have made several fantastic connections with other testers, and then there are the ones that do not respond. Recently I got a response that was just rude. Any strategies for effectively communicating with the wide variety of people that test would be welcome. I sure hope that I never come across as offensive to anyone.

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    • #3
      Contacts

      In general people receive so much info they have limited time to respond. When I started geology I received so much help that it is hard to not give back. Some people's expectations for what DNA would tell them was too high. They may be disappointed that it is a tool and not a complete answer. Do supply as much info as you feel is safe but promise more.

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      • #4
        Do ALWAYS address the person by name -- that is, the name associated with the Kit - and/or state which name/Kit you are writing about. Also always include your Kit Name if it is not the same as the name you are signing -- and especially if it also is from a different e-mail - so they can see your info, as well as you seeing theirs.

        I manage kits for myself and several relatives, as do many others. "Hi! FTDNA says we are related" -- whether accompanied by info on your ancestry or not is basically useless to me if I do not know which kit you think you are addressing.

        The majority of initial communications I have received have provided no indication what kit they are addressing. Very frustrating!

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        • #5
          Thank You

          @loobster

          That is information I can use.

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          • #6
            I can really relate to the frustration you feel when prospective matches do not bother to reply, or in some cases, provide little if any helpful or useful information if they do respond.

            My strategy is to manage my own expectations first. To do that I send a brief note providing some surnames, full names of some of the oldest relatives or ones that maybe connected, short family history (if I think it's helpful and relevant), link to family tree and specific geographic locations that may we may have in common. I have a template for my email message and I change it and tailor it to fit each match. I send out messages to as many matches as possible, because you never know when you'll get someone who really wants to explore the potential family connections and work with you. Then I wait, if I hear from someone I try to be responsive, engage them and try to keep the dialogue going;. If I do not hear from them - I simply let it go. Don't be discouraged and good luck with all your efforts in your genealogy search.

            All the best,
            MaryLea

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            • #7
              So new that I can't even be called a noobe

              Hi All. I have only received results for the Y-DNA-12 so far, but ordered the upgrade to 67 as well at the mt Full Sequence. I also have received results on my FF. I shows numerous matches there at the 2nd - 4th cousin range. I am not sure how I should proceed at this point. I have read the pdf help file section 4 on Family Finder and I am still confused. I apologize for having so little knowledge, but with your help maybe I can get more proficient. Thanks

              Comment


              • #8
                Contacts

                Originally posted by MaryLea View Post
                I can really relate to the frustration you feel when prospective matches do not bother to reply, or in some cases, provide little if any helpful or useful information if they do respond.

                My strategy is to manage my own expectations first. To do that I send a brief note providing some surnames, full names of some of the oldest relatives or ones that maybe connected, short family history (if I think it's helpful and relevant), link to family tree and specific geographic locations that may we may have in common. I have a template for my email message and I change it and tailor it to fit each match. I send out messages to as many matches as possible, because you never know when you'll get someone who really wants to explore the potential family connections and work with you. Then I wait, if I hear from someone I try to be responsive, engage them and try to keep the dialogue going;. If I do not hear from them - I simply let it go. Don't be discouraged and good luck with all your efforts in your genealogy search.

                All the best,
                MaryLea
                It is indeed frustrating to not receive a response. I hear some attempting to justify this by saying perhaps the individuals are embarrassed because they do not understand DNA or they do not have a great deal of knowledge regarding their ancestors. To this I say horse feathers. How about the common courtesy of a reply stating this. Another frustration is matches with no tree or surnames listed. I ask them to please look over my tree - and they respond that they do not see any names they recognize - end of story. Surnames are important, of course, but then so are locations and time frames. Bottom line is that there is not much that we do do regarding these individuals so just move on. That said, I will occasionally Google their names to see if they have posted to any genealogy boards.

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                • #9
                  I follow two paths.

                  One is to write more notes over time, getting more lower key and personal and less geneo-techy that I sometimes am. I try asking a few questions and I write again in a few months. Often I find out that someone had a big bunch of stuff going on and just needed time to get that settled. Patient and polite, I try to be.

                  The other is to research with what I have. I google names, emails, and sometimes folks list ancestors even if they do not put in a list of surnames or a gedcom. I use ancestry and often find out what I wanted to ask. Or I find out some things and my next note can be more on target. I have build a fair number of trees for my matches. Once or twice they were useful to the match.

                  Only sort of related, I research my 3rd, 4th and 5th cousins down to the present, find them on ancestry trees and initiate correspondence. This has given me more ability to say "Oh, you descend from Mary, my 4 g gm Rebecca's sister, even though their name is now a totally different ethnic group. It helps to know that German and Irish families become Italian and Chinese in 4 generations. I have talked a few into testing, which proves that line and gives me someone to have matches in common with.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by twhman View Post
                    I am not sure how I should proceed at this point. I have read the pdf help file section 4 on Family Finder and I am still confused. I apologize for having so little knowledge, but with your help maybe I can get more proficient. Thanks
                    Have you written down (for yourself) what your goals are? Specifically, what you are hoping to accomplish?

                    Then, for each item that you are hoping to discover, develop a strategy for how to go about tackling it.

                    If you are looking to construct a family tree from scratch, then you'll need to learn the basics of genealogy, how people are related to each other, the terminology, etc.

                    Secondly, then, is understanding how matching someone genetically can be used to infer the relationship between you and the match.

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                    • #11
                      Useful info

                      I started the thread as a way to vent. In reading through the replies I see a lot of good advice. I would like to thank all who replied with their methods and tips. I for one will try to use all I can.
                      Like S9 H9 says, the setting of goals is especially appropriate. Recently I have many hours of searching but not much to show for it.
                      A list of specific goals I want to accomplish is the very next thing I do.

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                      • #12
                        May I add two possible reasons that may cause people not to reply:

                        1. Some made the tests some / many years ago and at that time they put a lot of interest into DNA-genealogy. Now, several years later they have lost a little bit of their interest in this and they are not so "hot", so when they get an email, like 4 years too late, from somebody that might be related to very distantly they don't have much interest in replying, or put the reply on the wait-list.

                        2. A second reason may be that through email we are no longer human beings, we become dehumanized, so we don't see a person behind all of it. A good way around this is of course to try to be as personal as possible in the email.

                        Maybe a final reason can be when somebody asks you to prove that we are related, but don't want to put the time and interest into it themselves. Then of course you may not be so interesed in answering such an email. Better if you say something like: Oh I want to do the work, please if you can help a little ...

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                        • #13
                          [QUOTE=aketilander;376999

                          2. A second reason may be that through email we are no longer human beings, we become dehumanized, so we don't see a person behind all of it. A good way around this is of course to try to be as personal as possible in the email.

                          [/QUOTE]

                          I think there are lots of human reasons: family events, work crises, ..., being overwhelmed or confused, or just procrastination with good intent like I do often. I keep sending notes with some combination of personalization and explanation of interest and what the results suggest to me. I have some that after years I have not heard from and others that I get responses from eventually. Or maybe their nephew tests and I match both and we can team up.

                          Hmmm think I have a couple old emails at the bottom of my inbox.

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                          • #14
                            A surprising number of people who get DNA tests aren't interested in genealogy. They might be more attracted to the population finder / ethnicity calculator part of the results. That's what my mom wanted to know.

                            If they are interested in genealogy, they might only care about one line. For example, my grandfather only cares about people with his surname. He doesn't want to talk to or know anything about his mother's line or his father's mother's line, and so on. In fact, he's so fanatical about his paternal line that he subjected me to a 45-minute discussion of a Civil War hero with his last name. We're not related to him. Well, we share a common ancestor dating back to the 17th century in the US, but that's when our family trees diverge.

                            So if he paid for a DNA test and someone wanted to connect to him about literally any other line than his paternal one, he may not even respond.

                            I completely understand why it's frustrating. I actually have a cousin match from Sicily whose great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother share my known Sicilian surnames. We're 2nd to 4th cousins. This would actually be my connection to Sicily and I could finally learn the names of my great-grandparents' parents. He won't talk to me anymore, though. I emailed; no response. I won't be pushy and I don't know how to proceed, but I guess he just doesn't care about genealogy. Or maybe he doesn't trust me enough to give me private family information. Either way, there's not much we can do other than be exceedingly polite and patient, can we?

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                            • #15
                              People want answers not questions

                              Could that be that when another person write asking questions they feel that there is no gain, since they can't answer their questions?

                              I am not going to mistreat anybody that contact me, in case I do find a match (I am pretty sure it will be zero match), but I am in a quest for answers about the past of my ancestors and if a person contact me with questions, it will not help on what I am trying to achieve.

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