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If you have an ancestor born between 1872 & 1900 . . .

Three Proven Methods for Getting Responses from your Living Relatives

Have you ever sent a Family Group Record to an aunt or a cousin, and asked them to fill in what they know? Chances are, you didn't hear back from them. For most 'non-genealogists' a Family Group Record is an intimidating piece of paper full of names, dates, and places that just don't make sense. Most of the time, they aren't sure what you really want.

Below are three proven strategies for getting the information from your living relatives:

1) Send them the Family Group Record, but add a fictional new spouse to their personal record. Chances are, you'll hear from them, or their spouse, the same day!

2) Send them the Family Group Record, but include an approximate year of their death. (You can claim innocence: "You never responded, I figured something must have happened.") Again, you'll likely hear from them right away.

3) Do NOT send them a Family Group Record to fill out. It can be overwhelming to our non-genealogist relatives. Instead, send them a report of their family in the following format:


Simple Step-by-Step Instructions for Creating this Report:

  1. In Legacy 6.0 Deluxe, first navigate to the desired family.
  2. Click on the Reports icon at the top. Click on the Books/Other tab.
  3. Under the Book Reports section, click on the Descendants button.
  4. On the Options tab, make sure that the Insert Underlines options are selected (see image below).
  5. Print or email the report to your relative.


The underlines for the missing information make it easy for your non-genealogist relative to understand exactly what information you are requesting. It also helps you, the genealogist, quickly see what vital information you lack about an ancestor.


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