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to call a 90 year old woman?

(32 Posts)
annalijse Sun 18-Mar-18 00:59:28

I've been doing some research into family history and found a distant member of the tree with no known close living relatives who could fill in a lot of gaps. We had assumed she had long since passed but turns out she's alive, 90 and living on her own in her own home. I wanted to call her and introduce myself and ask about her parents and family history but my husband said it's completely inconsiderate, that I'd give the old dear a heart attack and that it's wholly inappropriate to call 90 year olds about matters like this....

annalijse Sun 18-Mar-18 01:00:10

Just to add, I found her number via BT directory enquiries

Minnie747 Sun 18-Mar-18 01:02:31

I can't understand why it would be inappropriate? Surely it would be your relative who would decide to engage with you on this, or not. Good luck.

Matrons Sun 18-Mar-18 01:03:27

Tbh she will probably be delighted to hear from you however given her age a letter of introduction sent via post would be best.

halfwitpicker Sun 18-Mar-18 01:03:34

I'd call.

She might not talk to you but it's worth a try.

Redglitter Sun 18-Mar-18 01:03:40

Why on earth would phoning someone and gently introducing yourself cause a heart attack. He's a bit dramatic

I'd phone her or drop her a card as a way of introduction. She'll possibly love the idea of reminiscing with you

DancingLedge Sun 18-Mar-18 01:05:19

Go for it.
A letter in the first place?
I have relatives in their 90s who would love to meet a distant family member, and chat about family.
Two things: it would take them a few minutes to get their head around who you are.
And don't be surprised if relatives are suspiciously protective of them at first.

Is there a younger relative you could contact first to be an intermediary?

AvoidingDM Sun 18-Mar-18 01:06:41

I'd maybe post a letter first. I'm assuming she is a great auntie who might be delighted to have you round for coffee.

Xocaraic Sun 18-Mar-18 01:07:32

I would sent a note first.
Be courteous and say you would like to call to discuss x and y if she would be willing and able.

nokidshere Sun 18-Mar-18 01:09:53

Definitely a letter and not a phone call. I spent a lot of time, sometimes unsuccessfully, trying to warm my 90+yr old MIL about who to talk to on the phone and modern day scams.

A letter would give her time to absorb the information and check it out with someone first.

adayatthebeach Sun 18-Mar-18 01:13:49

Also she may not hear well on the phone.

AnnieAnoniMouse Sun 18-Mar-18 01:38:08

🙄. I wonder if your dipshit DH would have sad the same if it had been a bloke.

My Aunty is the same age and last year she got a phone call from a second cousin twice removed or something. Anyway, they chatted several times and then she came to visit. They’re having a great time piecing bits & pieces together.

Do it while you can, you’ll regret not doing it.

Mind you, I’d send a letter first. If she’s called my Aunty this year she’d have struggled to understand her on the phone. She’s putting off getting hearing aids...much to my cousins frustration 😂

NoKnownFather Sun 18-Mar-18 01:46:22

Ignore DH, that's a crazy suggestion! Not knowing if she has a hearing problem/has been warned about scam phone calls by family/etc I would phone to gauge her reaction and maybe ask if she would prefer you to send a card. A letter (imho) implies you are awaiting a reply and she might not feel like writing a reply and/or being able to mail it to you.

She might surprise you and be quite sprightly, she might be on the internet...until a year ago I had a 95yo neighbour, she had a laptop setup in the living room and an iPad to carry around the house, she was on contact with members of her extended family wherever they lived in the world. They were far flung and some of the younger members were travelling and working overseas, but she would Skype or email on a daily basis and she knew more about their travels than their own parents.

Unfortunately she had a fall (not injured, just shaken) and her adult DCs who lived interstate, insisted she go into a nursing home. I've been told she is NOT happy living with 'old' people, which is sad.

Anyway, I would get in touch with your family member asap, she won't live forever (unfortunately). All the best as I do family history too and would dearly love to find one of the oldies.

MacaroniPenguin Sun 18-Mar-18 01:46:44

I think I'd start with a letter.

You never know, if her hearing is bad she may prefer to communicate by email.

VladmirsPoutine Sun 18-Mar-18 02:15:23

Do it!

snapperstickers68 Sun 18-Mar-18 02:17:13

So you want to introduce yourself for potential inheritance purposes?

blaaake Sun 18-Mar-18 02:20:34

Yes, because the only reason for getting to know a distant relative is because you're after their money.  says a lot about you @snapperstickers68

blaaake Sun 18-Mar-18 02:21:18

Oh dear, my hmm face disappeared from that post.

AjasLipstick Sun 18-Mar-18 02:27:49

A letter is better as it's less "in your face" and for her generation, more polite than a phonecall.

It also gives her a chance to digest the information and perhaps discuss it with a friend or relative.

Include your phone number and address and then it's up to her.

Lokisglowstickofdestiny Sun 18-Mar-18 02:29:31

I'd write first and introduce yourself, it gives her the opportunity to decline without putting her on the spot.

xQueenMabx Sun 18-Mar-18 02:38:52

Writing a letter sounds like a good idea, means she isnt put on the spot. You could give your phone number and address then she can choose how to get back to you.

You should definitely try.

mathanxiety Sun 18-Mar-18 02:39:27

Your DH is being a bit silly, unless your family history involves babies given up for adoption that nobody knew anything about, or secret marriages, etc.

Most really old people are happy to talk to a relative about family history.

I would send a letter first, with details of who exactly you are (include your maiden name, your parents' names and relevant grandparents' or even great grandparents' names, and any relevant maiden names too, and where they were born and lived). I would also include a photo of yourself, and copies of any photos of your parents and grandparents or older generations that could jog her memory and also assure her that you are not a dodgy chancer/Nigerian prince, out to rob her or swindle her.

If you arrange to visit, you might like to reassure her that you will not bring a carload of young children with you - sometimes older people get a bit stressed by children. Maybe arrange to meet her in a local hotel or restaurant, and buy her meal?

She might well be suspicious that you are interested in her estate and could interpret your interest in family history as an attempt to make sure you are her only potential heirs, so be prepared for a cold shoulder in response.

Eltonjohnssyrup Sun 18-Mar-18 02:41:00

Yes, definitely send a letter asking her to call you.

TheDailyMailIsADisgustingRag Sun 18-Mar-18 02:42:08

A heart attack? What exactly are you planning on asking or telling her which would result in a heart attack confused?

If it’s just as you say in the op; you’ve been researching your family tree and would like to make contact with her to see if she can fill in some gaps, then yanbu.

TheDailyMailIsADisgustingRag Sun 18-Mar-18 02:42:27

A letter is a good idea too though.

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