Tips for Contacting Repositories (National Institute)
The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice by Louise St Denis, Brenda Dougall Merriman and Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
What Outside Sources To Contact...(cont.)[edit | edit source]
Advice[edit | edit source]
You will be writing to many of the sources we have covered. Keep in mind that no one is obligated to respond to your requests. When you send your letters, write clearly or preferably type them. Make sure you are polite and friendly, be precise and to the point and never demanding. Always cover the return postage and include a self-addressed envelope. Many of these outside sources have a general rule: No postage, no reply.
If you are writing to a different country, include money to cover the postage in their currency. If you are writing often to a specific country, you may want to write to the Head Postmaster of the Central Post Office of any large city in that country, include a draft asking for the equivalent value in stamps for airmail postage between the two countries.
When doing research, you will be looking through long lists and you will naturally suffer from eye strain. You should make a point of taking a break at least once every hour to let your eyes relax. If you don’t take a break, you may completely miss that important bit of information you were specifically looking for.
It really is mind boggling when we start thinking about all the information and resources available for searching. So often valuable information is overlooked and months are wasted searching, simply because the researchers did not do their homework, they did not know what information existed or where to find it. You must be organized! The initial awareness of what is available and, importantly, where it is located, will enable you to form an action plan for your research. The more you become educated on what’s out there the easier, the more fun and the more accurate your end results will be. You’ll find it quite a thrill to come across the vital statistics of an ancestor who lived 200 years ago.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Methodology - Part 1: Getting Started, Methodology - Part 2: Organizing and Skillbuilding, Methodology - Part 3: More Strategies, Methodology - Part 4: Effective Searching and Recording, Methodology - Part 5: How To Prove It, and Methodology - Part 6: Professional Preparation and Practice offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.