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replying to Living Relatives posts

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


JaneyCanuck Report 2 Jun 2011 20:28

I've just spent a bit of time replying to two.

The first (someone who has two general research questions there), I have advised to use Genealogy Chat, since it is utterly pointless to put such questions on Living Relatives, and I have no clue why it would even occur to someone to do that.

I also have no idea whether anyone has already given her answers to the questions, of course.

The second was looking for a brother born ~60 years ago and not seen since childhood (too much info in the post, probably).

I found what appeared to be his marriage, and him and his wife on an older electoral roll, and a telephone listing for the wife, and sent it to the poster. Took a bit of time.

I have no idea whether someone else had already done that. As we've discussed at length. I did ask (as I always do if I reply to a post on LR) that the poster edit the post to include a sentence saying that she had been sent contact info for a possible family member.

My suggestion.

Could we have a thread somewhere, where the usual suspects could post the title / link of LR posts they have replied to, with a brief *description* of what they sent?

"sent info about marriage and contact info for possible child"
"sent death registration info for spouse"

That sort of thing.

The question would be where to have the thread. It would be very clear what it was for -- not to comment on the LR posts or on the info sent (the person who sent it could always be PMed). Just for noting when work was done and reported on.

I sent somebody else today a whole packet of records leading, I'm pretty sure, to her father's second ex-wife (undoubtedly aware of the poster's existence) and adult children, with contact info. (See? I don't object to people looking for and finding their parents, for instance -- just to having the details of the parents' personal lives spread around the internet.) Apparently others had sent her something, but not the end result. Frustrating not to know what was already sent.

Probably not feasible ... I'd sure just like to know when to spend time and when not.


jax Report 2 Jun 2011 21:52

I have given up with that board now.

After replying to one that posted at 4 am I am pretty sure I would have been the first to respond.

Did I get a reply?..........Not without prompting

Was it because my reply was now at the bottom of the list in this persons inbox? or maybe they did'nt think they needed too?

I also do not need anymore access to peoples trees :-D



Lindsey* Report 2 Jun 2011 21:58

There needs to be an automated response for every reported thread on that board , giving reasons,

email addresses, to much personal data etc.

I too am more than fed up with doing Genes job for them !


Maddie Report 4 Jun 2011 16:46

I have posted information on that board and am wondering how many other people also replied to that thread. Surely that can lead to information overload. We need to know how many replies have been posted and whether the search was successful


jax Report 4 Jun 2011 17:07

There is no feedback at all Maddie it seems a complete waste of effort replying

I have mentioned this before but I know of someone who posted a request on that board as a "Test" 40 views 1 reply and that was me, and I was in on it anyway.

So as you say are they getting infomation overload....or none at all?



JaneyCanuck Report 4 Jun 2011 19:00

Now to be fair to some of the posters -- they aren't all alike.

The other day I put someone in touch with her long-lost brother's wife -- the poster mentioned in my OP. Sadly, my deduction was correct and the brother had died w/in the last 5 years. She replied immediately to the info I sent, and also updated her post as I requested, to say she'd received it. And she let me know next day that she had been in touch with the wife (widow). She expressed many thanks for the information, sad as the outcome was for her mother.

The exception rather than the rule, most likely. I've had results ranging from a couple of others like that to zero, too.

Interesting experiment, jax!

Unfortunately, we still can't know whether anyone has replied to any other post on the board.

The overall effect seems to be plain, though:

This board has *reduced* people's chances of getting help from other members.

Of course, they are almost all new members who would not have paid their fees were it not for the advertising about this board, anyhow.

Other than the ones duplicating requests already made and exhausted on another board ...


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 5 Jun 2011 11:57

It would need a considerable rebuild, but there does need to be a limited option to add to the LR threads. Perhaps something with a drop down box with options of

'Sent details of Birth' (or marriage, death)
'Sent possible contact details'

Or even a simple
'Message sent to poster'

Then at least other interested parties might know that someone is taking an active roll.

In the meantime, as JC has said (I think) anyone who does reply to one, could encourage the poster to edit their post to say (in general) what info has been received. And to use the 'thread answered' button. It can be removed at a later date if things don't work out as planned.

As to overload - difficult to tell. I'd picked one yesterday which had been posted 24 hours before. From the response, it would seem that no one else had replied, and it was quite an easy one if I could find the info!


jax Report 5 Jun 2011 13:34

As I see it if they have a box to say message sent to poster ect, they may as well have them on the open boards again.

How many people gave out private info to the poster? If they did they were soon told to remove it and send it by pm. It cannot be any worse than what some people are putting in their OP



JaneyCanuck Report 5 Jun 2011 16:02

It could still be the LR board, with replies allowed.

It should simply include very specific instructions -- at the top of the board, on the "Add topic" page and on a separate "Add reply" page -- that personal details should not be posted -- and specify what "personal details" are.

The bizarre thing is that the instructions at the top of the LR board now say:

"This message board is where you can post details of living relatives that you are looking for."

Come on. How many people read beyond that and try to figure out what the block of dense text with random sentences in it is actually saying??

Details of living relatives -- well, that means their name and birthdate and parents' names and spouses' names and childrens' names. Right?

The "personal details" that are really completely inappropriate are things like
- marital history (left her husband and ran away with a sailor, had an affair with the neighbour lady)
- allegations of criminal conduct (was arrested for burgary)
- allegations of parenting a child outside marriage (which, in the case of a father, he may not even know)

It really doesn't just mean name and date and place of birth. Those are the absolutely most innocuous "personal details", in fact.

I kind of like Lindsey's idea of a form.

- Name, year of birth, place of birth.
- Where last known to be and when.
- Tick box to say "family member"
(the board should not be used for finding old girl/boyfriends)

Anyone who wanted further details in order to help could request them by PM, and the instructions should say clearly that posters will get help *from other members* by private message, and other members should post in the thread to say so -- and I like the idea of a set of choices for that too
- details requested-
- possible records sent
- possible contact info sent

In fact, there could be an automated PM with a checklist for the type of reply (details requested, possible records sent, possible contact info sent) and a list could be generated in the thread:
- name of person who PMed
(okay, date and time, maybe, and the person could tick to include boardname)
- type of reply

There should be none of what we're seeing now in OPs that is so inappropriate -- i.e. none of this "my birth mother", "the father I never knew", etc. etc. -- but that people do seem to think they need to include, perhaps to stress the importance and genuineness of their search (and I do not disagree that many searches are important and genuine).

Yup, a total rejig. One that I am sure is completely possible, technically.

Don't they wish they had asked our advice, once again, before running madly off in all directions?


SylviaInCanada Report 5 Jun 2011 22:02

and it still does not help us identify possible stalking

Joy Kentish Maid

Joy Kentish Maid Report 5 Jun 2011 22:14

Quite, Sylvia.


JaneyCanuck Report 6 Jun 2011 00:08

No, but then there never was a way for that.

I think a lot of us have an ear for it.

Some of us have shared uneasy feelings about men looking for women who do not appear to be family members, and said so in the thread, in the past. I am thinking of one who flatly refused to respond to questions about the nature of the connection. Of course, there were others in the same thread who merrily sent off info, having received no information about the connection at all.

If someone does want to provide info, they can request clarification by PM. If not satisfied, they don't have to proceed. Mind, there would be no way of sharing concerns and questions in a thread if this sort of arrangement were implemented.

The thing is, the info is out there -- none of us is using secret sources when we help.

I won't voluntarily help someone I think is improperly looking for an ex-partner or minor children, for instance. And I'll report threads (and have done) if that's what they seem to be.

The only complete solution to the problem would be: no requests for help finding anyone living.

And that would kill my thread looking for descendants of my grandparents' siblings in the US, for instance.

Keep in mind that the site is actually supposed to be about finding family members, not ancestors!


Maddie Report 12 Jun 2011 11:14

Hi all
for all its problems I did put a post on the board and received information that I am now trying to pluck up the courage to follow up just in case it is not the person I am seeking. Anyway I am grateful for their help


Maddy888 Report 16 Jun 2011 09:20


I have posted on the LR/board and with the help of all the volunteers found my Father. The time given to my search, checking and re-checking details was immense, no words to describe how grateful I am to the dedicated helpers.

There is a definate need for this board to be available to its members.

It is down to those of us that post to demonstrate politeness and good manners by keeping the helpers informed of progress and thanking them for thier good work. Please don`t give up helping people like me, you change lives with your tireless work.

Genes_please state at the top of the board that postees on LR has a duty to manage thier thread and contacts to keep all involved informed of what progress is being made.

As stated on another thread about this board______a good idea for those of us that want to search for living people_could be that we must send our request/post directly to Genes for review and Genes be the ones that decide the content and wether the post may be made public or not.
I believe that this would lessen the need to report abuse and the correct threads are posted_not those for Gen/searches.
And the postee would have calmed thier excitement/hopes down enough to be cautious and made fully aware of thier responsibilities on that board.

And a completed checkbox would be more clear to all concerned.

What do you all think about that ?