Chapter 8 - Successful correspondence


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Chapter 8 review of Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood, 3rd Edition.

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Chapter 8 - Successful correspondence

  1. 1. Successful Correspondence• Correspondence is essential to genealogical research. Complete research cannot be accomplished without it unless you have unlimited funds for travel.• Writing good letters is not easy. Many expend a great deal of time & effort with very little to show for it.
  2. 2. Correspondence Calendar• Organize your information• File your information• Index your information
  3. 3. Filing Documents• There is a need to correlate all documents with the letters to which they relate.• Fold them individually – place in envelopes which are glued to appropriately-numbered and titled sheets of file-sized paper.• They can be filed in their proper places among the letters.
  4. 4. Filing Docs continued….• Make a separate file for documents received through correspondence.• Give same numbers as the letters to which they are related and file accordingly.• Will create an additional file – one disadvantage.
  5. 5. Combination File• Interfile all fruits of your research.• Maintain Manuscript file separate from your research calendar & correspondence calendar.• Develop a numbering system that related to both.• Make a separate correspondence calender for each locality or jurisdiction. (ch 7)• Cross Reference both
  6. 6. Tabulating Results• You should tabulate the results of your correspondence as carefully as your family research!• Get any important family data recorded on your work sheets & analyze ASAP.• Your next step in your research maybe be influenced by it!
  7. 7. You want your Correspondence File to be aversatile and accessible record of your research by mail.
  8. 8. Review of Research Note Requirements1. Initiate a work pedigree chart showing a selected line or two of interest, & include all known genealogical facts…..2. Initiate work family group sheets on those families of special concern, & show all genealogical…facts pertaining to them…3. Initiate a calendar of correspondence & index letters sent or received which apply to the lines of interest….4. Initiate calendars of search for each jurisdiction of interest, & list on them bibliographic information for sources searched or to be searched…5. Maintain a manuscript note file of searches & findings.6. Periodic Research Reports
  9. 9. Let’s Write A Letter1. Limit your request2. Make your request EASY TO ANSWER3. Make TWO COPIES of each letter your write4. Express THANKS to those who help you5. Fair EXCHANGE will work to your advantage6. Provide for RETURN POSTAGE
  10. 10. The 4S Formula1.Shortness2.Simplicity3.Strength4.Sincerity
  11. 11. Objectivity• The ability to look at your own letters and see them for what they really are.• Have someone else read & criticize your letters.• Let your letter sit overnight, then Re-Read.• Check spelling, grammar & punctuation• PLAN YOUR LETTERS!
  12. 12. How Does the Letter Look?• Adequate margins• Short paragraphs & double space• Keep your left margin straight• Use proper letter form USE GOOD ENGLISH!• Type your letters if possible.
  13. 13. To Whom Do I Write? Who has custody of therecords & information?
  14. 14. Checklist1. Are most of your letters less than one page long?2. Is your average sentence less than 22 words long?3. Are your paragraphs short – always less than ten lines?4. Do you avoid beginning a letter with: “I am doing genealogical research…”?
  15. 15. 5. Do you know some good ways to begin letters in a natural & conversational manner?6. Can you think of four different words that will take the place of “however”?7. Do you know what is wrong with phrases like: “held a meeting,” “are in receipt of,” “gave consideration to”, etc?8. Do you use personal pronouns freely, particularly “you”?
  16. 16. 9. Do you use active verbs (“I read your letter” rather than “Your letter has been read”)?10.When you have a choice, do you use little words (pay, help, error) rather than big ones (remuneration, assistance, inadvertency)?11.Whenever possible, do you refer to people by name and title (Dr. Brown, Mr. Adams) rather than categorically (our researcher, the patron, etc.)?
  17. 17. 12.Compare your letters with your speech. Do you write the way you talk (your most careful talk, of course)?13.Do you answer questions before you explain your answers?14.Do you resist the use of phrases like: “Attention will be called to the fact,” “It is to be noted,” “It will be apparent”?
  18. 18. 15. Do you organize your ideas & data before you write your letters?16.Have you tried setting off lists of various types into easily-read tables?17.Do you number and/or indent important points, explanations, etc., and attach explanations to the data they explain?
  19. 19. 18.Do you highlight important facts by underlining or by separate paragraphs?19.Do you re-read your letters before you send them to see if you actually said what you intended to say? “The Letter Writer’s Checklist,” instructional handout, The Genealogical Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: unpublished, 1964) Modified and used by permission.
  20. 20. Conclusion• Experience is a good teaching tool, especially when combined with proper instruction & guidelines.• Follow guidelines in this chapter, you should obtain good results from your research experience.• If you follow good procedures, your chances for SUCCESS will be vastly improved!!!