Make your letters concise and to
the point. Do NOT include more than one or two requests at once, and be careful
not to write confusing details of your family lines.
Provide complete information on an
individual and event for which you need documents. Include all names that
may have been used, including nicknames, alternate spellings, etc. List dates
and type of event as completely and accurately as possible. If you don't
know the exact date, specify the span of years you wish searched and be prepared
to pay for searches that span several years.
Patience pays! Unless you already
know the # of pages in a deed, or the exact cost of a document, don't
send a specific amount of money in cash or a check. It is appropriate
to send a signed, BLANK check, however, with a notation written, (preferably
in red ink), UNDER the "$__________" line of the check which states,
"Not to exceed $5.00", or any amount you wish to specify.
If you don't care to do that, you will need to make your first letter a statement
of what records you need and a request for them to send you a statement of
charges. You can then send a check for the exact amount in a second letter.
Always provide an S.A.S.E.,
(Self Addressed Stamped Envelope).
County offices have limited personnel
and are often swamped with paper work. Genealogical queries are done as a
service which is outside of their realm of responsibility. They ask therefore
that you exercise patience and courtesy in your transactions with their offices.
When you write for a birth
certificate be sure and include following information: