Rude Reply from relative #general

Rob Halpern

Dear Fellow Genners,

I find it odd and even a bit disturbing no one suggested that the writer
simply respect her cousin's wishes. We have no "right" to this info and
those who don't want to play with us are not "bad" or "paranoid" or anything
but going about their business. For whatever reasons, this person does not
want to participate. Why not simply list him this way: "Son (requested
privacy)" or something similar. He doesn't want to be in your book.

Let's face it, sometimes we meet delightful new friends/relatives and
sometimes we hit a wall. But we do this because we like to and truth be
told, in some ways we exploit our informers for our own ends. Let's not get
moralistic about it. Maybe this attitude is contributing to the resistance
we sometimes meet. Be gracious and only play with those who wish to play
with you.

Rob Halpern

Pamela Weisberger <pweisberger@...>

After about five years conducting genealogical research and making a variety
of "cold calls" (or sending "cold e-mails") to potential relatives...I've
also received responses that run the gamut >from delightfully surprising to
incredibly hostile.

Some people who don't know me >from Adam have invited me over to their homes
based on only a few words of mine which theorized a family connection, and
others, to whom I know--positively--that I am related, are hesitant and
circumspect in their cooperation.

In the case of your cousin's son, it sounds like you are dealing with either
a paranoid personality or someone with family/relationship issues that you
are not privy to. He could also be going through a difficult time in his
life that affects his behavior. Nevertheless, courtesy doesn't cost
anything, and even if he had strong feelings about retaining his privacy, he
certainly could have been nicer about explaining his position to
you--especially since you once gave him a bar mitzvah gift!

Since you talk to his mother frequently, she would be the one to ask about
his rude behavior. She might be able to shed light on his response, or act
as an intermediary in dealing with his inclusion on the family tree.

The unpredictability of how we're received as we seek to connect to missing
(or lost and then found) relatives is what makes genealogical research
challenging, but also fun. Take it with a grain of salt, and continue on

Maybe someday he'll see the light--perhaps when his children are asked to
make a family tree for a school project and will come calling.

Pamela Weisberger
Santa Monica, CA