MS Word includes a mail merge wizard. Let me explain. A wizard is a small application that walks you through a process. Mail merge is a Word function that allows you to use a template to produce duplicate documents with some personalized information on each document.
Mail merge is generally thought of as a marketing function. For example, if you have a promotion, you would want to send the same cover letter to a list of people. The letter will have the same text but each letter will have a unique address and salutation.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with genealogy? Nothing on the surface until you consider how many times you've written the same letter to older relatives who do not have email accounts and to whom you are going to send letters if you hope to get a response.
Pattie has taken this concept one step further in that she annually contacts relatives with a genealogy update that is similar to the Christmas update that many families send annually. She's also been known to write to everybody across the country with the same last name if the project is manageable and affordable. She's put together an entire presentation based on doing mass mailings...the why, the who, the how, and so much more. It's a fun and fascinating presentation.
Certainly, if you're a professional, you'll have use for mass mailing for any number of reasons.
I'm just going to introduce the concept in this post. The other thing I'm going to do is tell you that before you start, you need a list of people to send the merged letters to and the text of the merged letter (What do you want to say to each addressee?).
We'll really get started in the next post.