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Surnames and Family Research Forum Archive

Re: Afraid to continue research - need advice

My advice is that you pray on it and then proceed from there. If you feel that your father's family would be receptive to you, then arrange a meeting. If you don't feel any encouragement, then you might want to sit on it and try again either at a later time or with another member of the family.

I recall several years ago at the funeral of a distant cousin, that the family received a phone call from a woman who claimed to be this cousin's child. Well you can imagine the reaction, as no one had ever heard of her existence, so we wondered why she had waited so long to contact anyone. Then we realized that she probably thought a funeral was the best time, as unknown relatives would be present that she could meet.

The relative who answered the phone, assured her that she should come by the house and meet everyone. She never showed up. This particular cousin was married at least 3 times that I know of, so it wasn't a stretch of anyone's imagination that he may have had other relationships about which no one knew. From my perspective, and basically that of my family, blood is blood [unless they are crazy and then of course you KNOW they're family!!! :)]

Being a genealogist I think it important to claim and acknowledge all who belong in the family regardless of the circumstances under which they entered the family. Besides, part of the reason that I'm tracing my family's history is to reunite severed branches. Although I've focused on reuniting branches of the family who were separated during slavery, my efforts apply to the living. I have had mixed results. Some distant cousins were delighted for us to meet, others were lukewarm.

Although the circumstances you explained make you hesitate to approach anyone, you might be surprised to find yourself welcomed with open arms.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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