July 23, 2014

Skeletons or Welcome Surprises?

The power of the interwebs has led to many found friends and family members.

I admit to cyber-stalking researching and/or stumbling across people from my past.  Some pleasant, some more along the lines of skeletons better left in the closet.  Some people have found me, both welcome surprises and those that got a quick 'ignore' click.

My mother's family is large and close, by most standards.  We know a great deal about our ancestry.  On the other hand, I have never met anyone related to my father, and I know little more than his place of birth and parents' names.

I am wrestling with contacting someone that might not know I even exist.  My father was one that left his hometown in the rear-view and never looked back.  My parents were only married a short time, and my dad died young, well before I was of an age to pose any probing questions or seek information about the family he never willingly spoke of.  I never knew my paternal grandparents, and until recently, had never even seen a photograph of them.

I found, through the magic of the Gorenet and Facebook, several members of my father's family - and, among their internet footprint, photos of grandparents, aunts & uncles, my father's childhood home, and the business my grandparents ran in my father's hometown.

I do not have some deep need to connect with his family, but it would be nice to hear anecdotes about my father's childhood and learn more about the family he never spoke of, instead of just seeing pictures on internet and wondering about the stories behind them.

Unless they are crackpots.

I mean, I could open a Pandora's box.  I know, from my mother's single trip to meet the family, that there are (or were) some colorful characters in my father's family.  Think Appalachian-dwelling folks that would give a hot and thirsty pregnant woman a Mason jar of moonshine, presenting it to her as water, and then cackling like hens when she downed it and then couldn't breathe for 5 minutes.

I could be inviting trouble by connecting with people that my father chose to leave behind.  Or, I could miss out on knowing part of my own history by doing nothing.

3 comments:

CenTexTim said...

Tough call. But think about this - there may be a reason why your father left and never looked back, or never willingly spoke of. And no one from your father's side of the family has reached out to you over the years. It may be best to let sleeping dogs lie.

On the other hand, you could set up a fake FB account and use a burner cell phone to contact them, just in case...

Mel said...

My Mom was in her eighties and was the only survivor tied to my Dad's family. She received a phone call from a woman asking for the medical history of my Dad's brother.
It seems he had a little fun while he stayed with my folks in the early 1940's and she was the result.
He never did tell his wife and kids about the family tree. When my Mom passed and I went back to close accounts and settle part of the estate I was bombarded with questions about the family tree.
He was the youngest of six and never grew up even with military service.
Good luck on your decision and I like Tim's suggestion. Seeing as you've already had contact it may be to late.


Mel said...

http://www.roadkilltshirts.com/I-SHOOK-MY-FAMILY-TREE-AND-A-BUNCH-OF-NUTS-FELL-OUT-T-SHIRT-P13185.aspx

This might add a little humor to it. They're plenty in my tree.