If you are writing to a relative for the first time, introduce yourself. Let them know your purpose and what it is you are seeking. You could include a family group sheet with the letter shown in the following figure, which may pique interest, but don't flood the cousin with data at this point of the contact.
[Your name and address] [date]
I have been working on the family history for two years, and just found out from a relative that you and I are related as second cousins. We both are great-grandchildren of George Milliken and his wife Susan Masters. My family is through their daughter Jane, who married Jesse Cooper. My mother told me that she lost track of your family after your parents moved—about 30 years ago. I am delighted to now be in touch.
I was told your grandparents passed away many years ago. Can you tell me when and where they died, and where they are buried?
I have also been hoping to find someone with a photo of our great-grandparents, George and Susan. Do you have one that can be copied, or do you know of anyone in the family who does?
I would be so glad to hear from you and to exchange information about our families.
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