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Old 04-08-2018, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,738 posts, read 4,235,000 times
Reputation: 10504

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My husband has a relative that has done extensive research on one branch of his family. I have a paper record that she has printed, which is great, but I would love a digital copy.


I have never met her, and I don't believe my husband has either. She is now in her 80s and I don't believe she has done more research in a decade. I do have an address but it may not be current either.


What I would like to do is send a letter that asks if she would give me her research in digital form. The records are extensive - hundreds of people traced back to the early 1700s - with various pictures and anecdotes. There are 3 bound books, each over 100 pages! Somehow it feels disrespect to just ask for what amounts to years of research - and yet I have no idea if anyone else has copies. I would hate for it to just disappear.


What would you write if you were to ask for such a thing?
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:22 PM
 
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ask for it, he wasnt doing it for financial gain to begin with

would probably be happy to pass it on so it can be worked on after he dies
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Old 04-08-2018, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Dalton Gardens
2,812 posts, read 5,725,931 times
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This could be tricky. You will be approaching someone who has put a lot of time, effort, money, as well as their emotions, into this basically life-long work.

As someone who has been doing this for over 35 years, and who HAS dealt with others asking this of me, I would probably be a bit annoyed. It is one thing to ask for SOME information, but to request all is not considered very polite. Also take into account their age and the fact that you will be asking THEM to provide you with digital copies, which could be a lot of work on their part.

If I were to write I would ask if they have put their collection into the care of a family member, and if so, have digital copies been made. If so, ask if you could PURCHASE digital copies. Taking this method might actually give you "brownie points" that COULD lead to them offering copies.

But, you do mention that you have a copy in paper form, so why don't you just scan it in to digital form, or pay someone like Kinko's?
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
25,516 posts, read 30,220,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kab0906 View Post
My husband has a relative that has done extensive research on one branch of his family. I have a paper record that she has printed, which is great, but I would love a digital copy.


I have never met her, and I don't believe my husband has either. She is now in her 80s and I don't believe she has done more research in a decade. I do have an address but it may not be current either.


What I would like to do is send a letter that asks if she would give me her research in digital form. The records are extensive - hundreds of people traced back to the early 1700s - with various pictures and anecdotes. There are 3 bound books, each over 100 pages! Somehow it feels disrespect to just ask for what amounts to years of research - and yet I have no idea if anyone else has copies. I would hate for it to just disappear.


What would you write if you were to ask for such a thing?
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you currently doing your own research? Do you use a genealogy program? Was the paper record you have created by a genealogy program or is it old-fashioned paper trees?

If it was created by a genealogy program and you have a genealogy program, then you can ask her to create a Gedcom, which is the data in a format that you can download directly into your own program.

If it is just copies of paper records, I agree that you should just do the scanning and create the digital copy yourself, and perhaps ask her if she would like to have a digital copy herself.

If you plan to expand the research and do not have a genealogy software program, get one before you do anything else. There are threads here in this forum that will help you get started.

You will then need to add the people in the paper records one by one. It's tedious at first but goes faster as you gain experience. It would be wise to try to confirm her facts as you go. Do not assume what she has is accurate. Also, as you add the data to your program, give her credit as a source.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyanna View Post
This could be tricky. You will be approaching someone who has put a lot of time, effort, money, as well as their emotions, into this basically life-long work.
Well, she does have the info already. Her question is whether it's been digitized.
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:39 PM
 
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
4,305 posts, read 2,034,135 times
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I would just write a letter and ask. At the beginning of the letter, explain who you are and how you are related. Then explain how you would like to keep up the tree by adding the newer generations. Maybe even list out some of the younger people from your branch of the family in the letter.

Ask for the "digital" copy in several ways, because her vocabulary may be different from yours. Like: is this information on a computer? can I have a copy from your computer. can I have the computer files. can I have the computer database. If she can't do it herself, she probably has a younger family member who can export the file.

I would never ask about purchasing it. This aunt/cousin will probably be very happy to know that someone is willing to continue her work.

I have recently "met" some relatives through DNA testing. The first thing I do is send them a copy of my tree. They are always so grateful.
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:40 PM
 
10,077 posts, read 5,219,898 times
Reputation: 15416
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzy_q2010 View Post
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you currently doing your own research? Do you use a genealogy program? Was the paper record you have created by a genealogy program or is it old-fashioned paper trees?
I took it since the husband was related, that OP wanted to put together a family tree and one relative has part of the family tree that is more complete

not some stranger asking for it, but family member
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Old 04-08-2018, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
25,516 posts, read 30,220,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLSFan View Post
I took it since the husband was related, that OP wanted to put together a family tree and one relative has part of the family tree that is more complete

not some stranger asking for it, but family member
True, but my question was whether she is doing continuing genealogy research or does she just want to digitize the paper documents she already has. It sounds like she has the type of family history books that amateur genealogists put together before genealogy software was available.
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Old 04-08-2018, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,738 posts, read 4,235,000 times
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I have Legacy. I don't know what she used but I'm fairly sure it is the output of some genealogy program. I was hoping to merge her data with mine, but I'm fairly new to this. Yes, I could just take the paper copy and input it myself which would probably take a few months.
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Old 04-08-2018, 06:35 PM
 
5,240 posts, read 4,547,963 times
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This can be a sticky wicket.

If her work product is well-researched and referenced, she should copyright it --- because she is the author, just as any history book writer is the author. You need consider whether you would think it appropriate to ask an author, you don't personally know, for a free copy of her work.

Then again if her work is "cut & paste" based on family lore, it could just be interesting mythology which may or may not check out as fact.
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Old 04-08-2018, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Georgia, USA
25,516 posts, read 30,220,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
This can be a sticky wicket.

If her work product is well-researched and referenced, she should copyright it --- because she is the author, just as any history book writer is the author. You need consider whether you would think it appropriate to ask an author, you don't personally know, for a free copy of her work.

Then again if her work is "cut & paste" based on family lore, it could just be interesting mythology which may or may not check out as fact.
She already has a copy. It is just on paper, not digitized. The information itself has already been given to her.

You do not have to do anything formal to claim copyright. You just do it.
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