I am feeling hurt

+24 votes

I received an email from someone who had looked at My work here (which is very little of My genealogy because I can't figure out how to do HTML)and send a nice letter saying they were related to me and in looking Her husband was really a 2nd cousin to My Mom. Our grandmothers were sisters. 

They wanted to help me with My genealogy. I was busy so gave her a link to My ancestry account , Facebook, and My phone number. I was so excited. I thought Wow! a real relative who have some answers to My brick WALLS! I did Not hear anything at all from her. 

I installed a widget to tell me If someone opens my email or not. I wrote her another NICE letter outlining the Brick walls I have with that side of the family. I ask if I had offended her in any way etc. Still NO answer and she did receive  and opened it.

I feel used! I used to have My ancestry account private. I made it public when My Mother had her DNA as it had No use without me opening up My account. I have also been thinking about How My relatives have other Family members who are Looking for them too. On the Other hand... I have worked hard at this for over 10 years. Actually, to be HONEST, I have been obsessed with breaking My brickwalls. Minimum I have worked 8 hours a day and many days 14 hours. On the line that this Lady was interested in it has taken me over ten years to find the relatives of the relatives we have in common. I broke down the walls of that with only a few records to verify. I will have to go there and hunt at the courthouse for those records. I have More sources than anyone else on ALL My genealogy work and actual sources. I have read the driest books just to find that ONE clue. 

At first, I felt like making the account private again. I didn't....I mean the LADY did NOT have to act all interested and act like she wanted to help me when really She just wanted to copy MY work! I have not touched My genealogy since. I feel like writing her a nasty letter. I didn't...

Has any of You had this problem? How do You handle it? On One hand I want others to be able to see their relatives that I have worked on. On the other hand, I feel possessive of the hard work that I have done. I wouldn't have minded sharing MY work with her, but She didn't  have to act all friendly and Like She was going to do anything FOR me! Really I was doing everything FOR HER! I am like an OLD Dog sitting here licking My wounds. I feel hurt, used and Sad.....finally, I did work on My tree yesterday...first time in 2 months. I got a few relatives found also. 

I don't know exactly what I am asking for here, maybe a little salve to put this in a proper perspective! In fact, I have had this window open for several days trying to figure out how to word this.  Pam




in Genealogy Help by Pam Hawn G2G6 (8.9k points)
If the other party has quit responding, there may be a reason.

I got a lot of good genealogy info from a distant cousin, but since then there has been no further response. Another cousin and I shared family history info, but possibly due to burn out, that two way correspondence discontinued.

It's only my opinion, but I would not keep after it at this point if I were in your situation. It could be an exercise in futility.
I have the same problem, and worse. I sometimes get requests for information from people. I always answer promptly, and then crickets.. not even a thank you, or an answer if I request information.

I also admin a surname  DNA project. I will politely send a prospect info, even here on wikitree, inviting them to join the project, (find a male surnamed relative that is) and again crickets.

Recently a niece asked to be put on my trusted list. I did as she requested, wrote her a nice email and again crickets.

Don't try to get inside the human mind, it is a wasted endeavor and will only drive you nuts.

Don't expect anything, especially reciprocity, and you will not be disappointed.


9 Answers

+25 votes
Best answer

Pam, I do the work on here because I enjoy it. I am trying to set most of the profiles I manage to at the very worst the green privacy level so that the information can be viewed by everyone but it will take some time because with over 4500 profiles to manage I can only do so much each day. I respond to emails within 24 hours most of the time but do not give out too much personal information unless I am sure about who is getting the information. I have had several family members ask for information about this project but most are not interested enough to do anything themselves, that is sad and their loss but again I do this because I enjoy it and if it can help others great but I am not looking for anything in return so I do not worry about their lack of interest.

by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
selected by Rod DuBois
+18 votes
Dear Pam

I've had a similar situation both here and on Ancestry.  I did not open my profile to public, instead I emailed them all the birth, marriage, death certificates, baptism records and newspaper documents I've found. This was over several years.

Zilch, nothing until they found me here on Wiki.

All I do, bite my tongue (figuratively) as they request access to the Trusted List - I add them, make them Manager and remove myself as manager.

I've been doing the same, over the last 10 years (I retired at 40), spent almost 8/10 hours a day finding out as much as I can about the family.  Even traveled to various locations to do hands on research at the place.

If nothing else - rise above it, hold your head up and think - I'm a better person.  Even though you were tempted, you didn't write that letter - you are morally right for not doing that.

Best wishes.
by Living Bowling G2G6 Mach 6 (66.2k points)
+14 votes
Well, I tend to be like you and send lots of material when I find a new relative or s/he finds me.  But it varies a lot how much quickly I get to replying.  I usually have lots of things going on and usually I want to spend some time preparing a carefully researched reply. At least that's what I used to do.  Now I tend to send a couple of fairly quick replies and wait for a reply before sending additional material.  A suggestion to avoid looking like you're begging is to create a little one-page newsletter which mentions what's going on in your genealogy life and send it to correspondents and including this person both as a recipient and an off-hand topic.  This might shame s/he into getting back in touch and in any case might restart some old conversations.and if you include what's going on at Wikitree might get some of your relatives to join and help you build your tree.
by Living Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (449k points)
Dave I do not do a newsletter like you but most of my Facebook friends are family so I will post new information on there at times. With a link to the profile on WikiTree.
Actually I don't do a newsletter just now.  I've done a few in the past but the idea came to mind as a way to avoiding embarrassing anyone.  That might not work too well on facebook, unless the person in question actually showed up on facebook.
+17 votes
Hi Pam,

What happened to you was uncalled for but sadly quite common. You are however in the right place where your work is appreciated and you are valued for your work. Take a little consolation in the fact that YOU have researched, sourced and verified the information and YOU know it is all correct. You are obviously a strong person who can turn the hurt around into satisfaction that this other person is most probably admiring you for your work which is why she wants to use it. Hold your head high and keep your chin up. You are among friends here who are all working towards a common goal.

by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (162k points)
+12 votes
Hey Pam -

While it is disappointing to hear back from a relative from one of your most intriguing family lines, and then have them seemingly lose interest, I wouldn't give up on this relative.

I have a lot of experience with this, as I have been reaching out to numerous close and distant relatives through Wikitree, Familysearch, Ancestry and even Facebook and Google (for mailing addresses) over the past several years.  While I will occasionally hear back from a highly enthusiastic relative who wants to share (and take DNA tests, etc.), this is exception, rather than the rule.  But - I consider it a huge success when I hear back at all from a relative, as this often generates the exchange of some family pictures leading me to pictures of relatives that I have never seen before.  Or, even a few email messages or a short phone call can sometimes generate a really interesting family story that ends up making sense of something down the road.

The one piece of advice that I would give to someone in your situation of not having heard back from a relative who had shown interest in the past is to send more interesting and compelling communication.  I would never mention the "not having heard back" part, as this always comes off negative.  Instead, if you have an interesting picture or document of a relative of their's and send it on to the person, this often motivates them to respond.

Case-in-point, I hadn't heard from an elderly cousin of mine in over a year, and figured that he might be tired of me, etc.  But - as luck would have it - another cousin sent me a picture which happened to include the elderly cousin's father.  I sent him the picture and we ended up having a three hour lunch the following week because he remembered several of the details and wanted to talk about it, etc.

So - once you have someone's interest - keep feeding that interest with a letter or email message every few months or so.  They still might ignore you, but seeing pictures and documents, etc. can really get people motivated to want to talk more.
by Ray Jones G2G6 Pilot (164k points)
+8 votes

People can be both wonderful and thoughtless, I know my research is standing on the shoulders of giants who have done similar work to yours. But you have done the serious spade work and have enjoyed the reward of a job well done. No one can take that from you. And it is possible that the other person is overwhelmed or has suffered a family crisis, I am only speculating but it has happened in my own life. Please continue the work you enjoy and know the human family is better for your efforts.

Paul Evans
by Paul Evans G2G3 (3.0k points)
+11 votes
Hi Pam,

I understand what you are feeling and have been there myself.  Unfortunately, I have sometimes, without intention, been the one who has 'disappeared'.  Sometimes for days or months.  Try to be understanding and nonjudgmental.  I'm not condoning what this person has done.  I'm just saying that sometimes 'Life Happens'.  For example; my 99 year old grandmother lives with me for 27 years now.  I try to live my life and do what I want.  (I LOVE research and genealogy) Sometimes her health issues or mine come into play, and I can be taken away from my work and research without warning or choice.  Emails pile up and people get touchy, mad or cut me off. Sometimes people intend to do well meaning things, but they are taking on more than they can handle.  Sometimes, also in my case, They have had a medical issue that takes your short term memory.  You get lost on issues and projects, with no idea that you were even on it, let alone what you were doing.  :(    Of course, it could be possible that they found out that they were just wrong, and they were not related and they are too embarrassed to say it or apologize.  Hopefully not, but maybe they are hospitalized or in a nursing home or care facility; maybe incapacitated.  God forbid, and I have had this happen, they passed away unexpectedly.

I would say, be patient, be kind, and hope that your paths cross again in a more positive way.  Be thankful, you may have found a relative, if even for a moment, that you never knew of.  You may have even found some info or leads that you would have never found.

If worse comes to worse, just let it go and know that your heart was in the right place.  Your rewards will come to you.  Let that other person reap the rewards of their actions; good if they meant well, and if not...well, they get what they deserve and you will not have to do anything.  Just let go.

Best of Wishes,

by Ken Wise G2G4 (4.1k points)
A lot of wise words there, Mr Wise. I can identify with a lot of that.
Sure enough "life happens". If it was as bad as you feel remember very few people nick stuff they don't value.
Ken is so right.  If you have not heard from the person, maybe she is dead.  Maybe she is lying is a hospital.  Or probably much more likely, she got overwhelmed by her daily life.  Or maybe she just has no manners.  But who knows?

In our age of information overload, anyone can get behind on their e-mails.  Or maybe she is no longer at the e-mail address you have.  I was once cut off by a provider that discontinued its service with little notice, and I doubt I notified everyone I would have liked to.

My point is, you don't know, and anyway it's just one person.  You will probably make many rewarding contacts during your genealogy research.  Surely the good outweigh the disappointing.
+6 votes
Hello Pam, when I started this I had my birth name and a DNA sample. The first thing I got were a couple of bruises on my forehead from running into brick walls.

People want to help, and then they realize they offered more than they can actually provide and shut down rather than embarrass themselves.

It took me a year and sweetness and a nuclear powered bulldozer, but I now have a brother, a mother, and an extended family.

"Improvise, Adapt and Overcome".

James Brooks 14388
by James Brooks G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
+6 votes
I have had similar things happen to me.  It is like people want to just take without as much as a thank you. It can be frustrating and at times I have felt like not even corresponding. I do strongly believe in making all my discoveries available for all.  It does absolutely no good to keep it to myself. Genealogy is all about sharing even to those who don't appreciate it. I never would have gotten anywhere if other people were not willing to share and make their hard efforts available for other family historians.  Even if I spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless man hours I would still want it available to help others and my future generations.
by James Stratman G2G6 Pilot (105k points)

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