Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Hunch, A Letter and An Answer

Well I decided to do something that I've never done in terms of my genealogy research: I sent a letter to a stranger who I was pretty certain was my 2nd cousin once removed. Although I had a phone number I didn't want to just call up and sound like some nut case or some scammer. Here is how it all transcended:

In doing research on the McCrickert branch of my family, I noticed that two sisters were very close but all I had on the other siblings (two brothers and one sister) was the death of Matthew McCrickert in a military plane accident in 1946 (see photo above and the subject of a future post). Something told me that there may have been a rift in the past and that I could still get details for the one brother and sister. The sister's name was Dulcide Veronica McCrickert - not a very common first name so I had that to work with.

I came across an obiturary and a listing in the Social Security Death Index for a Dulcide V. ******* who passed away in 2006. I was able to find living relatives mentioned in the obituary and through current public records placing them in Long Island, NY. I was pretty certain that this person was the son of Dulcide V. McCrickert so I decided to write a letter and enclose some supporting evidence.

I wanted to appear sincere and I didn't want to come across as some scammer. So I printed out some very simply ancestor and descendant charts for Dulcide V. McCrickert and sent them along with a simple letter. I included my email and phone number in case the son wanted to contact me.

While I waited a few weeks, I kept thinking about this: my aunt Ethel McCrickert Hannan, the sister of Dulcide, lived with my mother from 1998 to 2002 when she passed away. Dulcide did not pass until 2006. My aunt Ethel never did talk much about Dulcide - I just feel sorry that there was an opportunity to be in contact with other McCrickert relatives but was unaware. I could easily fault myself for not having researched this earlier, but that is water under the bridge.

What it does remind me to say is this: if you have the opportunity to contact elderly relatives please do so NOW - tape record interviews, have them label the backs of photographs etc. I can't emphasize this enough.

As for the answer to my inquiry: I'll save that for the next post.

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