Re: Sharing family tree information #general

Lee Jaffe

If you don't mind hearing a perspective from the other side of the fence, I'm having problems getting information from relatives that would help fill in branches of our family tree.  I've recently made connections with cousins scattered around the country and have asked for their help with gaps in the record since some family connections have lapsed once earlier generations have passed away.  As a sign of my goodwill and valid connection I've shared an outline of my branch, with an offer to answer their questions, and hoped they would reciprocate. 

So far I've received very little help.  Initially they are excited at making the connection and seem eager to share family information.  In some cases, we've talked on the phone and exchanged some photos and documents, but those exchanges dry up quickly.  And I've yet to get any information that would actually help me fill in the tree.  In one case it took 3 tries to get a cousin to identify which of my great-grandfather's siblings he's descended from.  And I still don't know his parents' names or his siblings, partner, or children.  Ironically, I get the most help when people on one branch name names in another branch – e.g., "I'm not in touch with Hal but we talk to his sister Susan once in a while."  Bingo!  I now know Hal has a sister named Susan.  This is how I found out that a HS classmate was a second cousin, when another second cousin reported on the other branch, but nothing about her own family.

Maybe I need to be more explicit about protecting their privacy.  I hadn't considered that this might be an issue until reading this thread.  I've been so excited and encouraged by making these connections it never occurred to me that long-lost family – who seemed equally excited by the connection – would be so reticent to share.  No one has said that they don't want to be included in the tree or that they had privacy concerns.  But perhaps if I take that issue off the table right up front, that would be one less hurdle to sharing.  

Lee Jaffe
JAFFE > Suchowola, Poland
STEIN > Grodno, Bialystok, Poland
LUDWINOWSKA and BRAUN > Wizajny, Poland
JOROFF and KOSHKIN > Snovsk, Ukraine
SCHWARTZ > Perth Amboy, NJ

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