Gentlemen, start your wet-vacs!

Yeah, I’m sure you want to read a letter I’m sending to a stranger in Vermont. Although, if you’ve been reading for a while and you’re still coming back, maybe you won’t mind so much.

I wonder if I’m overdoing the “complete stranger bit?”


Dear (concealed),

If I were you I’d be wondering who I am. I’m pretty sure you have no idea who I am, and to be frank, I’m not at all sure who you are either.

I should explain.

A little over six years ago my grandmother died. She was many things: generous, kind, and loving; but she wasn’t talkative. While she was alive I remember trying many times to draw her out, to tell me something about her family in Vermont. Every time I asked she only made vague references to her brother (hidden), his wife (blacked out), how they were nice, and how she got lots of maple syrup. I learned a little more about her family after she died when I took up genealogy as a hobby, and went through some of the old pictures and letters she left me; but it wasn’t much. I knew she had more family but I didn’t know if they were still alive; and even if they were, I didn’t know where to start looking.

This weekend I was going through some of my parent’s old stuff and I found another box of letters, documents, and pictures. Among them was a collection of cards from a (cloaked) (with pictures of young children, who I won’t name now – just in case I’ve got the wrong person) with no return address, but postmarked 15 odd years ago from (hidden), VT. I knew a few people from my grandmother’s side of the family came from (masked) from my genealogy research (albeit a hundred ago)… so I looked up the (shielded) phone listings for a (obscured)… and took a chance that you might be the same (screened) that addressed my grandmother as “Aunt Betty.”

If you are who I think you are, this may help explain who I am: my mother’s name is (somebody get me a thesaurus) and my grandmother was (not for you to know). If I’ve got the right person, I’m guessing you might be a daughter/grand-daughter of (some dude you don’t know). It’s also possible that I’ve got the wrong person, completely misinterpreted your relationship to my grandmother, or really creeped you out – me seeming to be some strange long-distance stalker from Florida.

I hope I’ve got the right person, and you don’t think it’s too strange being contacted this way. If you are (the right person), I hope you wouldn’t mind writing me back. For a long time I’ve felt like I’ve been missing half my family’s history, and I’d love to hear anything you might be willing to share.

If you’d feel more comfortable writing back, having seen who I am, feel free to have a look at my family web site: Otherwise, I can be reached by email at: (it’s already listed elsewhere so why am I hiding it now?), or by snail mail at: (no chance)

In the interim, thanks for taking the time to read this letter from a complete stranger… and thanks in advance for considering my request.

With warm regards,


Give the gift of words.