Sharing Genealogy, Part 2: Sneaky Tactics

No-one wants to share your genealogy? No-one wants your houseful of paper, right? That’s the problem. It’s just more stuff they have to store somewhere.

You have to get a little devious here. Think sneaky tactics.

Appeal to their vanity.

One of my sisters looks like our paternal grandfather’s sister, Marian. When I emailed over the picture of Marian, the other sister wrote back, “Boy does she ever! OK, now it’s getting interesting.”

My father (he’s gone now) was almost the spitting image of his great-great granduncle, Christian, who was a shoemaker in Kalamazoo. He made shoes for the soldiers during the Civil War. I, personally, find that utterly fascinating because I have a thing about shoemakers. I’ve always said if I ever win the lottery the first thing I’d do is have my shoes custom-made. I like to fantasize about living back in the 1800’s with Christian being my favorite brother and making shoes together and talking about shoes all day. But, if you’re not a shoe-person I guess Christian’s just another name and date. Sigh.

On my father’s other side we’re descended from Mary Queen of Scots. Honest. It says so in one of the old family diaries. There’s only about 150 years between the beheading and the diary. Some of the royal names are there; Harold, Temple, Gordon … I’m sure if I could get into the right library I could tie up the loose ends. Nothing like a little Royal blood to spice things up. They were a whacky bunch, those old Royals.

Drive them mad with curiosity.

I have a seee-krit and you don’t know what it iiiii-is …

(little hopscotch lilt)

You’ve got to turn this thing on its head. Make them salivate! Make them fight over your boxes of paper! No, me!, I’m older than you, I should get ’em first.

Get a handful of your ancestor photos, the portrait kind, 10 or 12. Re-size copies down to about 40 pixels wide max. About this size:

Sharing Genealogy

Rename them so it’s really clear. Don’t put the actual names. Put great-great-grandmother, great-granduncle, etc.

And then email them. You know how that looks in an email. At the top is your laid-back message: Here’s a few of your relatives. Thought you might be interested. Followed by little teeny thumbnails in a long column. Each one followed by the file name.

I’d bet my life you’re going to get back an email that says something like this, “Sorry I haven’t written sooner, it’s just been craaazy around here. Between work and the grand-kids and, maybe you heard, our basement got flooded … But you know those pictures you sent? … they were really small. I couldn’t really see them. Could you send them again a bit larger?”


OK, at this point, don’t blow it. You have to keep your cool. Don’t be sending them all your filing cabinets yet.

3 thoughts on “Sharing Genealogy, Part 2: Sneaky Tactics

  1. Damaris Fish

    This is like trying to convince them that you’re not crazy…or that they are also crazy, like you, but it’s okay, because we’re family 🙂 Thank you for the tips. Enlisting help is important, too. Network!

  2. JL Post author

    If it was little for kids you could glue ancestor photos onto Easter eggs before you hide them. Wrong time of year right now but … Oh, look who you found! It’s Uncle Howard!


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