I got interested in knowing more about my history when making a scrapbook for my parent's 50th anniversary. I found out the names of my grandmother's birth parents and I was hooked. I joined Ancestry.com and began the journey to my roots.
14 years later I continue to find at least 2 questions for any answer.
Both of my parents are gone now. My mom was the last of her generation and I found stories she had no idea existed. I have recently started trying to find people from other branches that are the age of myself or my older siblings to try to connect dots.
This is where the question of detective vs stalker comes in.
In doing the research, in order to build a family tree, you consult census records, birth, marriage, and death certificates. You read obituaries to find out about the people so they become more than just a date. And you read about the married last names of female children.
Thanks to the internet, finding people is easier. All you need to do is input a name into Google. You narrow choices by location. Possible relatives are often listed along with address and phone numbers. Then you can go to fb and input a name. Often locations are mentioned. Then you can check their friends lists and see if you recognize any other names from your research and if so, you can message them.
I've messaged a few people. And a few of them have responded. Two have asked how I found them.
I had just been really impressed with my detective skills. I hadn't thought about how it sounded until I thought about the process. Now it feels a little stalkerish. And frankly, it's kind of scary to think how easy it is to be found.
Now I'm feeling a little hesitant about contacting strangers out of the blue. I try to asuage their potential fears by telling them about myself and how I think we are connected. But still...
I'm not sure how I would respond. Or if I would respond.
Hopefully intent is the final arbiter, because I would hate to be a stalker.