Author Topic: Writing to a relative...  (Read 701 times)

Offline Snow1600

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Writing to a relative...
« on: Saturday 06 July 19 15:58 BST (UK) »
Hi,  Iím relatively new to the forum (though have been a background lurker for a while) and was just wondering if I could ask your thoughts please on the etiquette of contacting some oneÖ

My Granny grew up with only her parents and was desperate to know where she came from and more importantly if she had any family out there.  So my Mum and I began researching 20 years ago and found Granny had just one cousin called Dorothy.  We tracked her down but were a few years too late as sheíd already passed away.  Dorothyís friend/neighbour was able to tell us that sheíd been married to a British soldier in Malta and had two children, but sadly all three had been killed in the war, after which Dorothy returned to England and didnít talk about much as she always became very upset.

I recently found two records for Dorothy in Malta stating all her husbandís details and that she had been in fact divorced from him after the war, not widowed.  Iíve since been able to trace their marriage and divorce, as well as the husband himself.  He also returned to England, remarried, had two daughters and died in the late 1990s.

Iíve still found nothing about the children however.  Malta registry canít search for birth/death records unless I can provide exact names and dates, which I donít have.  It seems you have to have a license to search the Malta registry, and the one genealogist I found in Malta Iíve been unable to get hold of, though Iíll keep trying.

My mum suggested to actually write to the husbandís daughter (she was the informant on his death cert, and according to the electoral rolls she was still at the address she gave on the cert a few years ago).  Basically Iím unsure if this is alright to do.  Even though itís written on his second marriage cert that he was married before, what if the daughters didnít know that.  Maybe this is the point I call it a day on Dorothyís story.  Any thoughts on whether to write or not to write?

Many thanks,
Sophie

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Online hallmark

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #1 on: Saturday 06 July 19 16:21 BST (UK) »
With them being so distant maybe a case of "Let sleeping dogs lie!"
Give a man a record and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to research, and you feed him for a lifetime.

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Offline PaulineJ

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #2 on: Saturday 06 July 19 17:07 BST (UK) »
So you simply write and explain that Dorothy was your relative and that if you have the correct man, she was married to and divorced from  the "British Soldier" before his marriage to the daughter's mother.

You don't have to tell her about her half-siblings.
If asked, you can reply that you have been unable to confirm any kids.
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Offline Craclyn

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #3 on: Saturday 06 July 19 17:49 BST (UK) »
Worth a try. Keep it simple in your first letter and offer both email and snail mail as options to reply. Might be a good idea to include a stamped addressed envelope to make it easy for them to reply.
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Offline rosie99

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #4 on: Saturday 06 July 19 18:05 BST (UK) »
If the husband of Dorothy was a soldier it is possible that the childrens births were registered as 'overseas births' and appear on the GRO indexes for such births.  https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/british-armed-forces-and-overseas-births-and-baptisms
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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #5 on: Saturday 06 July 19 18:59 BST (UK) »
If they were divorced, the daughter will have been born after that and won't have know Dorothy. It also depends whether her father ever discussed his first marriage. If it ended acrimoniously you are unlikely to get a true picture of what Dorothy was like. Also remember that the daughter isn't a relative of your mother, she'd only be related to Dorothy's children.
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Offline Snow1600

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #6 on: Saturday 06 July 19 20:23 BST (UK) »
If the husband of Dorothy was a soldier it is possible that the childrens births were registered as 'overseas births' and appear on the GRO indexes for such births.  https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/british-armed-forces-and-overseas-births-and-baptisms

Thanks for this suggestion Rosie :)  The nearest birth record is six years after their marriage date so doesn't appear likely unfortunately.  I'd looked at overseas marriages when I was first searching for the marriage as well but without success, and that eventually turned up at a local church in Malta.

Offline Snow1600

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #7 on: Saturday 06 July 19 22:23 BST (UK) »
Thank you for everyone's replies and thoughts on this.  My feeling certainly was that this could be difficult especially as we're not really relatives, so I think I'll put aside my Mum's suggestion of writing for now. Thank you.

Offline sparrett

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Re: Writing to a relative...
« Reply #8 on: Sunday 07 July 19 01:39 BST (UK) »
 ;D ;D On the other hand ! ;D ;D

It is not out of the question, given the interest in family history being so popular at he present time, the daughter may be just as curious as you to discover connections.  She could be searching too.

Personally, I would drop a line and simply ask whether she has any interest in family history as you think there may be a possible distant connection. Sign you name fully.

If you get a positive response move forward gently.
If not forget it. ;D

 Sue
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