Astro-Databank:Handbook chapter 06
6. Finding Birth Data on Celebrities Not Included in Standard Reference Works
Writing directly to public figures is a commendably direct route, but is not too effective. A "star" gets thousands of letters, most of them asking for something, and they end up in a secretary's wastebasket. Even when Lois Rodden introduced herself as a journalist using Data News letterhead, she rarely get more than a 1-2% return. However, if one has the name of a mutual acquaintance this dramatically improves the odds. Below is a sample letter for you to adapt as well as some tips to increase your chances of a response.
Most of the vital statistics offices have been closed to the public over the last 30 years. Very few states allow birth records to be accessed and those, "for research only." Most states only send birth certificates to the person on the certificate, a parent, or a genealogical researcher if the person on the birth certificate is now deceased. Most state vital statistics offices require documentation that we have a legal right to the information. One astrologer Lois knew was able to obtain birth data on a famous serial killer by claiming him as a brother. While we can't advocate this approach we are not above gratefully reprinting this data when it is passed on to me. If we know the county seat where the person is born, going in person to the County Registration office is often surprisingly productive. If we had a national network of astrologers who were willing to do this, we could build up a central database with some dispatch.
However thanks to the anonymity of the Internet things are looking up. We can go to www.vitalrec.com to see the specific rules for each state. Many of the states have the application on line with instructions for filling it out. Applications require us to have the father's and mother's (maiden) name – which brings us to the next step in the research process.
Sometimes the names of parents are found in the biography sites listed on our links page. Who's Who gives the names of the parents; however as a warning, the birth dates given in Who's Who are notoriously unreliable. Otherwise we might find out the place of birth on a website and then call directory assistance if it is a small town. Parents of public figures are a much more fruitful avenue for obtaining birth data than approaching the public figure or their secretary directly. If we don't get the parents we may end up with a relative that can give us the phone number of the parents. This approach requires utter sincerity to get through people's natural suspiciousness in these modern times. Enthusiasm about our interest in astrology and casually mentioning that we know how to read charts may get us into a dialog of trust, followed by a quick mini-reading which obligates them to work on our behalf to get the birth data from their famous relative.
Wikipedia is a good source for birth dates and birth places, but it is not highly reliable, as usually sources for such information are not given. The astrology sites with celebrity data sometimes have birth times that we don't have in the AstroDatabank – but rarely – and a birth time without a source is not much better than ouja-board data.
We may also draw on our astrological training and choose a good day for this work. We look for good aspects to our natal Sun, Moon, Mercury or Venus from the Sun, Jupiter or Venus to get good hospitality when we make the call. Look at the aspect configurations for the day as well as from transiting planets to natal plants. Look for good aspects to or from Pluto when doing the initial digging – especially to the Moon or Asc.
Building Astro-Databank is a community effort. Each person who brings us data plays an integral part in the building of this community resource. Hunting down data can be lots of fun.
AstroDatabank relies on astrologers like you to help us continually add to and update our records with new information. We have provided a sample letter that you can adapt should you wish to write to a newsmaker or celebrity for birth information. Anything in italics below will need to be customized to your situation or to your newsmaker/celebrity. Please review the “tips” page for some “Dos” and “Don’ts” on how you can increase your chances of receiving a response. If you do receive a response that yields birth information, including time of birth, for a celebrity or newsmaker, we invite you to send it to us with the source of your information. We will credit you as the referral for any data and sources you provide. Happy researching!
Your return address
Dear Mr./Ms. _____:
I’d like to invite you join hundreds of other people from (insert an industry name or other identifier, like “Hollywood” or “the movie industry” or “business”) in having your name and a capsule view of your accomplishments listed in Astro-Databank, a biographical database published freely on the Internet. Since we have found that people who are in the public eye use their charts more effectively than the average person, charts of celebrities and newsmakers are critical to our ability to continually improve our astrological techniques and to educate professional astrologers for the future. For example, astrologers might use our data to study the astrological patterns that are most common in the charts of actors or authors or to study timing for successful ventures or awards. For these and other studies, we rely on the good will of people like you to help us bring astrology into the more scientific world of research.
All that we ask is that you send us by e-mail or regular mail:
- Your birth date (month, day, year):
- Your birth time (hour and minute):
- Your birthplace (city and state as well as country if outside the US):
- Your birth name if different from your current name:
- Source of the data (e.g. directly from birth certificate in hand; from family member’s memory; from baby book; own recollection of family member’s statement; rectified from approximate time, etc.):
Please visit our website: www.astrodatabank.com for more information as well as for a glance at some of the other celebrities who are already included in AstroDatabank. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call (insert phone number) or write (insert E-mail address).
Very sincerely yours,
Your signature Data Researcher
Do's and Don'ts
- Do use “Mr.” or “Ms.” unless you know the individual personally or have talked with him/her on the telephone.
- Do maintain a professional, sincere, gracious attitude in all your correspondence or phone conversations.
- Do refer the individual to www.astrodatabank.com; it can lend legitimacy to your request for data.
- Do sign with your name and be sure to include your own contact information (address, phone number).
- Do tailor the letter to the individual situation.
- Do try ahead to obtain a contact, in the office or in public relations perhaps, who can take your letter to the individual whose birth time you are trying to obtain.
- Don’t be too effusive with praise; it can sound insincere.
- Don’t use humor unless you know the person well; it can backfire since we all have different ideas of what’s funny.
- Don’t be more wordy than you need to be; the recipient is busy and gets hundreds, maybe thousands, of fan letters.
- Don’t ask for an autograph, picture or any other favors in the same correspondence. We want to keep our request strictly professional and to improve our odds of receiving a response.
- Do use the title “Data Researcher” under your name; it adds legitimacy.
- Do forward any timed birth data your receive along with your notes about how and from whom you obtained it to:
Astro-Databank editor firstname.lastname@example.org , or by mail to:
c/o Astrodienst AG