When I was actively working on my tree, I once had an elderly relative
hang up on me a few times; she thought I was trying to sell her something
and never really understood that I was calling just to make contact!
It was a little disconcerting!
But let me offer another point of view as well. Recently I was contacted
by a gentleman who is working on another branch of my tree. I told him
what I knew (via e-mail) and told him he could call me anytime. He
responded by asking me to complete large branches of a tree and send
them to him. I told him that I really didn't have time to start another
project right now (I have three children and one of them is ill) but he
just didn't seem to understand; he kept e-mailing me to ask if I had found
out such-and-such or when was I going to research the information he wanted?
I think that sometimes we as researchers can get so immersed in what we
are doing, that we may forget the personal side of this. I've asked myself
many times why the tree project is important to me. For me, it was about
meeting people that I didn't know but had a connection with. And through
my tree project, I made a very strong connection with two cousins I never
knew, and my grandmother got to meet the son of her first cousin and tell
him stories about his parents. (That son died notlong after, so this was
incredibly special.) Some people aren't going to want to meet any new
relatives and that's okay. And some may balk at being asked to "work" for
you, depending on how you approach them. In this e-mail age, I definitely
find that a phone call is a wonderful thing sometimes.
Sharon Tessler (Searching BERTENTHAL, NADELSTECHER, with links to STENZLER)