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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 18, 2005
    Posts
    537

    Default When you are randomly contacted about genealogy...

    Does anyone else get random emails from people claiming to be distant relatives? Do you answer?

    I don't have a lot of close relatives, and I do like the idea of getting to know other family members, even if distant (for example, my grandmother had several siblings, but I know nothing about those branches).

    The emails are slightly unsettling because these people seem to know a lot about my family. However, I guess all of that information is available publicly, so I don't know why it makes me uncomfortable. None of these strangers/relatives have ever asked for anything (money, etc.) so I don't know why I'm worried about being scammed.

    Has anyone else responded to these emails? What happened? What parameters should be used to avoid getting comfortable and revealing too much info?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2002
    Location
    East of Dog River
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    5,929

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    I did to one and she was legit and through her, met another very distant cousin. The first contact actually came down my way and we met and it turned out it was a meet again as we first met in the late 50s. Most, I do not bother with. I am tempted to contact people in Germany but they are pretty high profile in the horse world so am afraid I may sound like a stalker!!!!LOL
    Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

    Member: Incredible Invisbles


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3

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    My cousins are big time into genealogy. Although they are on my mom's side, they did a bit on my dad's side. Found out a great aunt emigrated with my grandfather and settled in NYC. I'd love to find out if I have any cousins, but feel weird about contacting prospects out of the blue.
    http://www.tbhsa.com/index.html

    Originally Posted by JSwan
    I love feral children. They taste like chicken.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2012
    Location
    NOVA
    Posts
    1,547

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    My dad is huge into genealogy maybe because he was given up as a child so it was part of his searching for his heritage. He reached out and eventually met some of his cousins. Can't hurt to respond. Maybe you'll learn all kinds of interesting things. Scam artists will give themselves away by wanting money or something.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2010
    Posts
    2,996

    Default

    Are you on any of the ancestry sites? Because if so, sounds like you might need to tweak some of your privacy settings.
    Proud Member of the "I Don't Do Facebook" Clique



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
    Location
    Out for Lent
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    34,227

    Default

    how else will they find family?

    As a teen I was at a family gathering from my mom's dad's side of the family.
    it was pretty awesome, because while on my Grandmother's side the family was once prosperous and plentiful, by the time we came around, it was her, my mom and her brother. To learn we had like 120 cousins - known cousins - plus some aunts and uncles that had disappeared in time was pretty mind boggling!
    We learned a lot about my Grandfather, I was told I looked exactly like his youngest brother who sadly died in the war at the tender age of 18 or so...It was no longer a small family, but a big one.
    My mom did not keep contact, but I know they are out there. If I were to try to reconnect, I would have to send off some 'hey aren't you kin to X or Y?' kind of inqueries...

    of course, we have become jaded...too many scammers. But the majority of people are not.

    Also: I am what I call half Amish (or Mennonite, as back home there is no distinction between the two), both my Grandmothers were Mennonite.
    The principle there for 'family' is 'among 100 cows' tales one hair'.
    I know I have cousins in Ohio, some who have been to visit family back home, many probably who haven't. (when I see the shows on Amish people, I find a lot of recognizable surnames in the lot!)

    I'd say it can't hurt.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2010
    Posts
    2,996

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Alagirl View Post
    how else will they find family?

    As a teen I was at a family gathering from my mom's dad's side of the family.
    it was pretty awesome, because while on my Grandmother's side the family was once prosperous and plentiful, by the time we came around, it was her, my mom and her brother. To learn we had like 120 cousins - known cousins - plus some aunts and uncles that had disappeared in time was pretty mind boggling!
    We learned a lot about my Grandfather, I was told I looked exactly like his youngest brother who sadly died in the war at the tender age of 18 or so...It was no longer a small family, but a big one.
    My mom did not keep contact, but I know they are out there. If I were to try to reconnect, I would have to send off some 'hey aren't you kin to X or Y?' kind of inqueries...

    of course, we have become jaded...too many scammers. But the majority of people are not.

    Also: I am what I call half Amish (or Mennonite, as back home there is no distinction between the two), both my Grandmothers were Mennonite.
    The principle there for 'family' is 'among 100 cows' tales one hair'.
    I know I have cousins in Ohio, some who have been to visit family back home, many probably who haven't. (when I see the shows on Amish people, I find a lot of recognizable surnames in the lot!)

    I'd say it can't hurt.
    I'd be kind of weirded out by that though, especially if I knew that I never plugged my name into any genealogy websites. Me, I've never gotten any emails like this.
    Proud Member of the "I Don't Do Facebook" Clique



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2001
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    Out for Lent
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    34,227

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    Quote Originally Posted by RubyTuesday View Post
    I'd be kind of weirded out by that though, especially if I knew that I never plugged my name into any genealogy websites. Me, I've never gotten any emails like this.
    you only need to have one place where your email is connected with your name, I am sure a good web search can connect you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bristol Bay View Post
    Try setting your broomstick to fly at a lower altitude.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 17, 2013
    Posts
    393

    Default

    I think this is weird, and probably wouldn't respond. Its never happened to me, but I only seem to get contacted by Nigerian princes, so take that for what its worth...


    4 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003
    Location
    NorthEast
    Posts
    24,781

    Default

    Be very careful because random "lost relative" and genealogy emails are often ways slimes use to get your mother's maiden name, a common security question for financial/credit companies.

    If you really want to know if you're related, open a bogus facebook under a new gmail/yahoo/Hotmail/whatever email and only a partial name (no photos, links, etc) and invite the person to friend you there. Then question the heck out of them first.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte


    5 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2012
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    NOVA
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    1,547

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KLCarp View Post
    I think this is weird, and probably wouldn't respond. Its never happened to me, but I only seem to get contacted by Nigerian princes, so take that for what its worth...
    Oh no you are missing out on your long lost Nigerian fortune.
    You don't scare me. I ride a MARE!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2001
    Location
    down the road from bar.ka
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    32,846

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    I work with somebody who has gone OCD big time over their ancestry, even going to Europe and knocking on doors of those distant 6th cousins thrice removed who did not respond to her e mails and/or have any contact whatsoever with the thinner twigs of the extended family tree- and don't want to.

    This person delights at revealing long held/forgotten family secrets like multiple great aunt had 4th cousin 60 days after the wedding or 3 times great granny had 2 times great grandpa while hubby was fighting in the Spanish American War for a year.

    Then this person goes on and on at work about all this long ago crap as well as wonder why some distant cousins who did respond to the e mails and did not care for the "reveal" of long ago deeds and misdeeds no longer communicate even when person turns up on the doorstep.

    I know more about this persons family back 300 years then I do my own and so don't care... I should suggest they put the energy into hoarding or something involving the living instead of dead people.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,593

    Default

    The only way I found my first cousin was by stalking, sad to say. She'd moved a number of times and either never kept in touch with my mom or my mom didn't care to share her info with me - there was always the excuse that I could call my Aunt if it was that important - and guess who's new address and phone # I didn't have either?

    So off to google I went, where I discovered her husband, a well respected academic type, had passed away, and thence to Fb where I found her unique last name and as a widow she was happy to reconnect with family. I had to be very circumspect but we had a history together so I brought that up. Out of the blue third cousin types I can't say I'd bother though.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2001
    Location
    Parker, Colorado
    Posts
    2,713

    Default

    I had someone with the same last name as me contact me through LinkedIn -- turns out we probably ARE distantly related on my husband's side, as our last name is a relatively uncommon one.
    where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    10,812

    Default

    Trust but verify!!!

    A few years back in the fox hunting publication Covertside I noticed an article about a hunt who's Master had the same unusual family name part of my family has. I emailed her directly, provided ways for her to verify that I was real and it turns out we are distant cousins. Pretty cool.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SLW View Post
    Trust but verify!!!

    A few years back in the fox hunting publication Covertside I noticed an article about a hunt who's Master had the same unusual family name part of my family has. I emailed her directly, provided ways for her to verify that I was real and it turns out we are distant cousins. Pretty cool.
    I've often wondered if the horse bug is genetic.
    http://www.tbhsa.com/index.html

    Originally Posted by JSwan
    I love feral children. They taste like chicken.


    3 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2000
    Location
    Nokesville, VA
    Posts
    35,413

    Default

    I have previously unknown half cousin (same grandmother, different grandfather) who contacted us about 6 years ago (phone not email). She s the illegitimate daughter of my father's half brother, Pat. She did not find out he was her father until she was in her 40s, and he asked her not to contact anyone else in the family until he died (he died in 1987).

    Anyway we were a bit cautious in the initial response, but she turned out to be legit, and great person.

    My father and his half brother are 20 years part, and have never been close.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    NM
    Posts
    1,608

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    My cousin started doing some research and found our some cousins in Ireland. It was fun to hear about them and their lives. My cousin may visit them. The horse gene was over there . A neighbor was big into it too and it turns out we are 5th cousins which has been fun.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2007
    Location
    In the saddle....
    Posts
    265

    Default

    On the flip side - I am a genealogist, and I have done many, many cold calls to people in verifying lineage.

    I always give them full disclosure to who I am, what I'm doing, the extent of data I've collected, and what I'd love from them. Before I even ask any questions I give my phone number, my address, my DAR background, etc - everything they would want to feel comfortable talking to me.

    In my own family search have made a wealth of friends in 3rd and 4th removed cousins/relatives I'd never known. And never was I refused information. Even years later I'm still in contact with relatives I'd found and contacted to complete a genealogical line.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2011
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,284

    Default

    Nearly 18 years ago, my Dad received a call from a young man who said he might be my Dad's son. Long story short, he was. Turns out he is older than me and my Dad never knew. The girl he dated senior year in high school never told him she was pregnant and put my half brother up for adoption. As soon as we found out, he has been happily welcomed into our family. His adoptive parents are fantastic people too. We all feel blessed to have found each other.
    It's only when a mosquito lands on your privates that you realize there is always a way to solve problems without using violence. fb meme.


    3 members found this post helpful.

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