Is Your Family Bigger Than You Thought?
Have you ever wondered if there’s someone missing from your family circle? Maybe you’ve heard a name in passing and that’s all you know. Perhaps you were young when the person left the family, or you simply feel your family may be larger than you were told.
Whatever the case–adoption, family conflicts, or other situations–you may be separated from your relatives. If you’re interested in understanding your family tree, or reconnecting with loved ones no longer in contact, it can be difficult.
Here are ways to make those connections, and how to use this information once you have it.
Use Family Connections in Your Search
If you have no information at all, only a vague suspicion of someone missing, it’ll be a hard search. It’s best to start with what information you do have, such as the person’s connection to your family.
If you’re searching for a sibling, try looking up a parent online and see what connections appear through different identity searches. If it’s a cousin, try an aunt or uncle. The name could show up in connection to your known relative. Through this, you can glean name, age, or possible location, which helps in later searches.
Family Drama Can Help Narrow Your Search
Maybe there’s some drama surrounding your family member’s disappearance. Try to learn more about these specifics. For example, if he or she was estranged due to poor life choices, perform a criminal records search on the person to try and confirm the particular rumors from your family. These rumors may be unfounded. But they could also be accurate, helping you to better narrow your information search.
On that note, be aware that your family may avoid this person for good reason. Take the time to discern if it’s safe for you and your known family members to give your estranged relative an avenue to get back in touch.
Consider if You Should Really Make This Connection
As you narrow your search and get closer to finding the real breadth of your family tree, it’s wise to evaluate what you’ll do with this information once you have it. You can make connections, but should you?
For example, was your estranged relative driven out of the family because of prejudice? In this case, he or she may not welcome hearing from you. Was this person adopted out of the family? In this case, your relative can choose whether or not they want to connect to their biological family.
Time the Connection
It’s especially important to time these connections properly. Holidays can generate strong emotions, especially among family members. And you don’t want to risk making disconnected relatives feel obligation or guilt about getting back in touch. Be sure that when you do make a connection, if at all, you do so during neutral times, where each person can feel at ease making a decision.
Imagine Yourself in Their Shoes
Imagine this: you’re moseying along, just living your life, when a complete stranger calls or texts you out of the blue. He or she is a member of a family you chose to leave or who you knew nothing about, and they want to get in touch.
It may not be welcome contact, at least at first. So, if you reach out to a relative who hasn’t even heard your name, you should acknowledge this. And perhaps invite the individual to investigate you in turn. This could help him or her to feel better about making the connection. It could also provide the tools to confirm your identity, and verify that you’re safe to meet with.
Prepare Yourself for “No, Thanks”
There are many reasons why an estranged or lost relative may not want to know you. For example, in one report entitled “Hidden Voices: Family Estrangement in Adulthood,” participants reported four reasons for separation: emotional abuse, differing expectations about family roles, clashes based on personalities or value systems, and neglect.
These are difficult things to process. Even if you don’t share the problematic behavior of your family or if you resolve to keep your relative’s location a secret, the reality is that reconnecting may not be a good choice. As such, be prepared to take “no, thanks,” as an answer.
Let Your Search Influence Your Decision
Above all, motivate your search with love and curiosity. To help ensure you’re making the right kind of connection, try using PeopleFinders to learn what information you can about the person ahead of time. You don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Understanding how much effort he or she put into remaining anonymous will help inform your decision on if you should contact them at all.
Browse the PeopleFinders blog for more ideas about how to use PeopleFinders more effectively in your long-last family investigations, as well as other searches.
Image attribution: VadimGuzhva – stock.adobe.comTags: family, Find People, reconnect
Categorized in: People Search