Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Genealogical stalker

Genealogical stalkers are people who find our name in the publicly available records accessed by the search engine of an online genealogical database, become convinced that they are distantly or closely related to us and absolutely want to know who we are and to get to know us better.

One of the participants in a mailing list I subscribe to has actually experienced the phenomenon personally. The other day, she wrote to the list that a genealogical stalker had found her name on a well-known genealogy website and had then gone to the extent of phoning her mother (looking for her phone number, I suppose). The mother's number, by the way, is unlisted, which only highlights the level of obsession involved in the stranger's act.

Creepy but predictable, don't you think?

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I just found your site while researching DNA testing and waiting for FTDNA to send my F.F. and mtDNA combo kit. Very nice!

    Your post was so close to describing our own family's situation I feel I must comment. Thank you for warning the "DNA Seekers" about this potential hazard in their quests.

    Something very similar recently happened to my own mother. After 75+ years, a woman in another US state found the name and location of my mother and decided to aggressively pursue a relationship with her and our family. It seems she has been aware all this time that they were half-sisters and separately adopted away when they were babies and toddlers.

    Talk about opening a can of worms! This has caused some grief and resentment in our family because of two reasons: we have all been believing a lifelong untruth and because this woman, my "aunt", keeps sending my mother more documents proving her case, over and over again. No one is disputing it, but it is tarnishing my mother's fond memories of her much loved, adopted parents. And since there are no photos, good memories are all she has.

    My new "aunt" is very rude and invited herself to fly out to "see" us (that is, to take photos of us, critically question us and offer nothing in kind: e.g., we still don't even know the names of her own grown children, who would be my half cousins, I believe.)

    All of this has driven me to find out more about my true biological family, for good or ill, so we'll never go through a shock like that again! We've always had a typical, extended family who have lost the eldest and those who passed away too early in life. We accept our family members for who they are. But apparently, there are also some "family" members out there that we could do without meeting!

    Anyway, stay safe and keep up the great blog!