You Can't Choose Your Family

As I head into my 15th year of ancestry research, one overwhelming thing has become clear: you cannot choose your relatives.

My past year of researching relatives through the use of DNA testing, combined with research using archives, old family records, etc. has grown my family tree to where I now have 4,123 documented relatives, both close and distant.

I have been in touch with quite a few of my previously unknown living relatives and I've had some excellent results and have started to get to know some really wonderful people. I've also run into more than one person who is less than wonderful and with whom I have no time nor desire to get to know. I think a number of these "less desirable" individuals became "lost relatives" for good reason.

One of the more interesting challenges I have faced is when I am contacting relatives that are "peers" in English society. It seems that they mostly think I have an ulterior motive for contacting them. I guess with fame and (sometimes) fortune comes isolation. Hopefully I can overcome some of these preconceived ideas and get to know these people better so that I can have a better understanding of that branch of the family. If not, it is their loss - I'm an interesting person to know! ;o)

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