This has been a great thread to follow!
I can't help but wonder how I would have responded if someone had called me, out of the blue, before I was into genealogy, to say they were a cousin of mine I had never heard of. It's an entirely different mindset, I imagine. Today I have to censor myself, because I could talk about genealogy all day! LOL: I can tell when I've gone on too long when my friends get quiet...
Yet; if you ARE on Ancestry, or have put your DNA on other sites, I would THINK that meant you were looking for DNA matches. I have no desire to become best friends with strangers. My entire goal for finding cousins is to find more information on my families. And PHOTOS! I so badly want photos, especially of my Levine family, which has been my biggest challenge.
While researching my Levine grandfather's family, when I realized one DNA match was VERY close, I was THRILLED! On Ancestry, you can see roughly when people were last on there. Since she was on there quite often at the time, I thought for sure she would respond. But she didn't. And I was careful about how I put that first message, based on so many tips on the topic, and was careful with the second, and third..etc. Then I did some research on her, and it appears she's quite involved in media production, so perhaps she's well-known... to some. After my FIFTH (yeah) message, I said I wouldn't contact her again. Honestly, it was starting to feel creepy, even to me. But honestly, I've just wanted photos.
I've only been searching my family roots for a couple years, now, but probably have experienced almost everything others have mentioned; Talked with one cousin who had been adopted. Found cousins from just trees, found cousins from DNA. Have met a couple tree-found cousins in person. Talked to several others. Had two really gracious people, who had done years of research, send me what they had on my family, which opened up HUGE finds! And I've worked with others, which is more helpful than anyone can imagine.
Thanks to my 'genealogy buddies,' I found one living Levine relative. I did call him out of the blue. We actually had a nice conversation, and he sent me a couple photos. But he's still working, and although he said he'd have his daughter dig out the family photos, I don't hear from him unless I contact him, which I try to not do often. I'm sure he's still trying to figure me out.
I feel that, one day, that Levine relative I talked to will want more information. And, perhaps that will happen with the lady who doesn't respond. And others. Or not. But all I can do is my own research and celebrate the finds I uncover. From time to time I'll reach out to someone who can answer a mystery for me. But if they answer, I consider that a nice surprise.
The fun of the exploration, and the thrill of new findings make it all worth it. And, what I put together for my kids and grandkids will help remove all those historical family mysteries, which, in some cases, will just be harder to find in years to come.
LEVINE/LEWIN, SILBERNAGEL/ZYLBERNAGEL/SILVER, EPSTEJN/EPSTEIN, MOCZYDLOWER/MOCHEDLOVER, ERLICH, GRUNPELTZ, JOSKOWICZ, ZYLBERSZTEJN, SZTABINSKA, WILK