Sometimes there are gaps in your family tree and one of the easiest ways to fill them in is to contact relatives. In my free printable guide to contacting relatives, you need to decide the best contact method. Sometimes Facebook or email are the only options at first, but phone calls really are the best way to reach out to people, and here’s why.
Conversation sparks memories. You never know when you might say something that will jog their memory and elicit a story that wouldn’t have come to mind if they were just responding to an email.
Captures emotion. Talking to someone helps you catch the big picture. Voice inflection can give huge insight into how someone feels. Have you ever sent or received a text that was misunderstood by one or both parties because words were seen and not heard? I have. Multiple times. Hearing someone speak helps you understand how they felt about people and experiences. This is another great reason you might want to consider recording your conversation (with permission of course).
Emails get burried. People have the best of intentions to reply later “when they have time,” but then they forget or the email gets buried in their to do list.
It’s Quicker. Let’s be honest, time is limited for everybody so let’s make the most of it! It is so much quicker to say something than it is to write it out or even type it out. If writing the information you collect seems overwhelming, you might want to consider audio recording your conversations.
Creates Opportunity. Conversation builds connection, and then people will remember and think of you when they come across more information that might be helpful to your family history efforts.
If it’s out of your comfort zone to call relatives you don’t know very well, start with the ones you know best. Here are some pain-free tips on how to talk to your relatives and have a successful phone interview. You can do this!