Why Don’t They Trust Me?

Almost every aspect of doing family history research is rewarding.  Finding new family members, finding documents, looking at photographs, even puzzling through mysteries that you cannot solve—all are rewarding in different ways.  Sometimes it is frustrating not to be able to find a key document, but there are always new documents to be found and hope for finding the ones that are missing.

But what I do find most frustrating is not being able to persuade a newly found relative that I am not a stalker or a scammer or some other type of crazy person.  Whenever I have located a new relative, I always send a message explaining why I think we are related (in some detail) and a link both to my blog and to my work website.  If they are on Facebook, I give them access to my Facebook page.  I try to do whatever I can to reassure people that I am not after them or their money, that I am not interested in anything other than making the connection and possibly learning more about our shared family history.

I understand that not everyone is interested in this stuff, and that’s okay.  There are lots of things I have no interest in that other people find fascinating—investments, cars, basketball, cooking.  It makes life interesting—we are not all going to be interested in the same things.  Variety is the spice of life, and all that.  But what I don’t understand is people who won’t even respond, even if just to tell me that they are not interested. I assume they just don’t trust me, and that makes me sad.

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