Should You Overwhelm that New Cousin with Information?

It can be tempting to share everything you have with a newly discovered cousin. Sharing is not bad, but try and avoid overwhelming your recently discovered relative. Their level of interest may not be as high as yours and telling them that:

  • your uncle got drunk, threatened his mother, and ended up in jail for thirty days
  • another aunt went insane
  • a cousin was killed after he passed out on the railroad tracks and a train ran over him
  • your uncle’s body was exhumed three times to be autopsied

may be a bit overwhelming. I’m not saying to keep stories from your cousin or to paint them a reality that did not happen. Just don’t overwhelm them. You might even want to wait to share ten generations of ancestry and all the names you have.

Even if your shared past is not quite as colorful, your kinfolk may not be ready to read through forty pages of deed abstracts in an attempt to determine who the father was for your 18th century Virginia ancestor.

Your goal with the new genealogist is to not scare them off. Take it slowly, focus on helping them with the people they are currently stuck on, and go from there. They may even have information on recent relatives that you do not.

 

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