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CMT: Living relatives board

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

Contrary Mary

Contrary Mary Report 9 May 2011 21:33

I am neither trained in, nor have any mediation skills, and further more, have no desire to.

My desire is to help find those people who are being searched for, nothing more than that.

Providing that the person seeking family is over the age of 18, I don't see it as my place to offer any advice other than *be prepared for rejection and be discreet, they may have other family who know nothing about you* and *consider using the services of an intermediary to make contact*.

GR do have a guide for those posting on the Find Living Relatives board........I don't know what else they can do, or what else you want them to do? It's up to the individual to read it and make use of the info, or not, as they wish, GR can't force anyone to avail themselves of mediation services.


Edit to add: I don't feel I am breaching anyone's privacy by finding information which is in the public domain.


JaneyCanuck Report 9 May 2011 21:50

"The seeker may breach privacy in their request for the information but surely the provider of that information is also breaching that persons privacy by supplying it. "

I don't agree wtih that, TF. All the info any of us can provide here is what we have found through legitimate sources.

My own problem is with the very personal nature of the information being posted on the internet where the world and its dog can find it easily. Not just the people concerned -- their employers and co-workers, and other family members. Once info is posted at this site, it is here for eternity, unless it gets deleted.

Someone searching for a birth parent can do it without announcing all the details of that person's life -- no need for tales of alleged adultery or alleged child abandonment and so on (remembering, of course, that it's always only one side of a story, and it may not be remotely accurate at that).

It isn't even necessary to announce that the individual sought is a birth parent. Yes, most of us like to know the search isn't an exercise in stalking, but that's something that can be explained by PM. (I do this all the time when someone has been decently circumspect and not posted the specific reason for the search -- in a PM, I say: if I may read between the lines ... .)

Most people who post their birth parent searches around the internet don't give the first thought to the people affected. The all-caps one I quoted on page 1 of this thread struck me as one of them -- all those names, all those people who may have no idea and whose lives could be upset. There are loads more.

Yes, those effects could follow when someone makes contact. I just think that's different from having your or your parents' private lives discussed on the internet.

I think people are entitled to find their birth parents. And in many cases, given common circumstances (women were coerced into relinquishing their children, whether by family or by agencies or by economic circumstances), while I might not say that people are entitled to find the children they relinquished, I'm not averse to helping, myself.

I just don't think that either party has any business posting the details of the situation (at least as they think they know them or choose to characterize them) on the internet.

And I think that a site that allows this may find its reputation diminished.


BatMansDaughter Report 9 May 2011 22:54

Going to stick me two penneth in.

Now we all know on here that we can't control what people post, but maybe GR could?? When it is regarding living or possible living relatives why not have a form like system......... then only certain appropriate amounts of info could be posted.

Not sure how they would go about it but I'm sure it's possible.

Regulars know not to post info that could be related to living persons or their family, hence we PM the poster...... and we say so on the thread..... how it works at the mo means no one knows whats happening, these definately needs to change.

Sorry for any typo's...... typing in the dark is harder than reading off the monitor. LOL!!

Dee x


jax Report 9 May 2011 23:09

I do wonder if GR actually read the looking for living people threads in the past?

As you say Dee regulars know not to post sensitive info, and since they bought in the" report as abuse" where the post is removed straight away, I cannot see a problem.

Rather then say to someone helping "can you remove that birth as it is recent"...for them never to return, anyone who sees it can remove it for them. Same goes for any personal details supplied from the poster.

If they are new to the boards they will soon learn what is right and what is wrong to post...if it is then explained to them in a friendly manner perhaps



JaneyCanuck Report 9 May 2011 23:59

I've just requested review of this one (as edited by me below):

X and Y were taken away from their father some seven years ago he has not seen them since they where at primary school. Their Mother moved away and DAD has not had any contact with them until this year when he found them on Facebook. unfortunately someone has deleted the profile on Facebook and we have lost contact again.PLEASE if anyone has any information on the whereabouts of these two children PLEASE lets us Know as DAD is heartbroken. All he wants is to hold his wonderful children in his arms and let them know he NEVER stopped loving them and he NEVER stopped looking for them. Please KIds get in touch with your dad HE LOVES YOU. From your step grandmother

?!?! If they were in primary school 7 years ago then they may well be minors -- the poster refers to them as "chlidren".

Stunningly inappropriate. Who among us has any clue what the circumstances of custody may have been?? But that's not to say that some eager beaver, or "father's rights" advocate, might not set about trying to track them down.

edit -- and just a plain awful invasion of children's privacy, if children they are. One does not post children's names and personal info on the internet, f*s.


jax Report 10 May 2011 00:09

Quite right too

I was helping on one a week or so ago and someone reported it, could'nt understand why as the person was not living.
In cases like that then yes it should be reported and as the boards are manned 24/7 why have this stupid pm only board?



JaneyCanuck Report 10 May 2011 00:51

I just PMed somebody about something on Living Relatives that I thought was an unnecessary bit of info about a family tragedy, and got this reply (in part):

"I have deleted that post as i had put it on the ancestors and had some good feedback. I cant believe how helpful everyone is."

There we go. The post on Living Relatives was totally pointless, the post on Find Ancestors got good help.

Just as we've been saying (not to mention more confirmation of the anticipated duplications).

But I reckon that in just over a week the Living Relatives has pulled in maybe 2000 pounds, even at minimum rates.


TootyFruity Report 10 May 2011 07:21

Janey I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.

In my opinion, there are two sides of the equation and many variables which need to be considered. The seeker has had time to consider and reconsider every scenario of being put in touch with the person being sought. The person being sought has not. For one reason or another the person being sought may not wish to be found and yet their wishes are not considered in a desire to help put the seeker.

Contrary Mary I really don't think that it is the place of the members to act as intermediataries but if the information found was handed to an intermediatory to make contact in a similar way that Joy ~ Kentish Maid outlines in her description of the Salvation Army Family Tracing Service then consideration has been given to both parties.

I also think that it is great that members help find living people but would like some kind of mediation to protect everyone concerned.


JaneyCanuck Report 10 May 2011 10:40

I requested review of the apparently inappropriate thread about the possible minors just before midnight UK time, nearly 11 hours ago. It's nearly 11 a.m. in the UK now? That's just too long. Reviews of posts on the Living Relatives board should be the priority for staff, particularly first thing in the morning.

Yes, the body of the post says "this post has been requested for review" (can no one speak English anymore??), but in the board list the names still show (and can be captured by internet search engines).


Lindsey* Report 10 May 2011 14:15

I am so anti finding living relations for people., not everyone has good intentions, like the long lost grandpa who stalked his grandchildren and had to be served with an keep away.

Then there's poor S who tactfully approached her birth mother , only to receive a " not interested, don't write again " how crushing .

And I'm not impressed by Davina McCall making it all look so easy , there are proper agencies for tracing people. but not on here where the set-up can be openly abused

The Finding living relatives board should be just a list of proper sites to go for real help

Rant over !


BatMansDaughter Report 10 May 2011 17:20

I can't beleive that the post the JC requested a review on last night around midnight is STILL showing the title details and hasn't been removed.... it is now 17 hours since JC requested it be reviewed..... what are GR playing at???

After reading through this thread again I think I am in agreement with Lindsey* , we all love to help when we can but are we openning cans of worms for others to sort out?


jax Report 10 May 2011 17:38

The trouble is there are too many members willing to find address's and phone numbers for people without really finding out why

I know this can all be found by anyone but it is made too easy.

There are people I would not want to see again and I could be found easy enough on FB, friends reunted, on here and poss ER if so I would not want my address handed out to anyone to just turn up on my doorstep. At least if someone contacts me online I can ignore it

I know I have been guilty in telling posters to try but at least I hav'nt found it



Lindsey* Report 11 May 2011 02:01

Well as far as I'm concerned Friends reunited was originally designed for people who WANTED to be in touch,it has the facility to list people who you want to contact and it's free.

I say remove the Living relatives part and just leave a list of places to look elsewhere before someone gets upset again


JaneyCanuck Report 11 May 2011 02:22

demonstrating the pointless futility of the Living Relatives board:

I guess we're kind of half and half on that kind of search -- I think if an aging person wants to find out what her mother did after leaving the family home, and try contacting her second family, I'm going to offer to help.

Those who I have helped who have made contact in situations like this have reported only positive outcomes in the four years or so I've done it.


TootyFruity Report 11 May 2011 06:39

Janey I can understand the burning desire to discover what happened in the case you posted however cannot get past that mediation should take place before any meeting because the person being sought should be given the opportunity to comes to terms with their mothers other family. They may know nothing about her children from her previous marriage and so will not only have to deal with the emotions of being found but also the fact that this was kept from them.

If the search was for a living person in Canada, would the information be as easily accessible or would it be seen as an infringement of the persons being sought privacy?

I am pleased that the people you have helped over the past 4 years have had positive outcomes but these are just a drop in the ocean and there may be many more that did not have a positive outcome.


JaneyCanuck Report 11 May 2011 15:40

TF, you know the information is not accessible in Canada! And I don't think it should be in the UK, if anybody asks. ;)

The fact is that it is. None of us who "finds" it is doing anything more than lending a hand. People who ask these questions could hire a tracing agency that would do the same thing (if it was worth its salt), and also would not provide "mediation" (I would call it counselling, or maybe intermediation, since there's no dispute being mediated).

I do believe that people are entitled to know their families -- at least, as I've explained, that children are entitled to know their parents. It's harder to say in the case of parents and their children.

In Ontario, a law was passed a couple of years ago that gives adopted children access to info about their birth parents unless the parents have filed an express opt-out. (Before that, the information was closed and adopted children were never entitled to that info unless the birth parents also filed a request for contact, and there was a years-long backlog in just matching those requests.)

The thread I've referred to isn't an adoption, but the facts are the same -- someone looking for the mother she hasn't seen since early childhood. (I'm recommending that the thread be deleted soon since it's too personal, just using it to track info as we go, for now.)

Positive or negative outcome, I do believe that people are entitled to find out for themselves. I think it's paternalistic to say otherwise. I always recommend against cold contact -- I suggest talking to the present family, considering making contact through third parties like family members on both sides, etc. But I don't stand in loco parentis to anyone looking for their family.

The International Convention on the Rights of the Child, for instance, recognizes the family as "as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children", and says things like "States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child's best interests".

I do believe that people deprived of information about their family and the possibility of contact with their family are denied something very fundamental to their identity and well-being. The fact that a child was separated from a parent by something other than adoption doesn't alter the situation. A parent may choose to abandon a child, or may leave the family home for very good reasons with the same result, estrangement. That choice, in my opinion, doesn't govern the child's rights.

I think adults who are looking for their families are well aware of the possible outcomes, good and bad. And I think it's up to them to make the choice. People are entitled to the information that enables them to make choices, and that's all I see myself, at least, doing here.


SylviaInCanada Report 11 May 2011 21:38


it's already too late to delete that thread to preserve privacy

I just googled the name of the mother, and the whole thread is there

which means the information is spread around the internet

and THAT is what worries me!



JaneyCanuck Report 11 May 2011 21:50

Sylvia, the thread will remain in Google's cache for maybe a month, once it's deleted, then it will disappear. I'm thinking the odds of somebody googling the names in the next month are low.

In any case, the odds of a person born in 1926 being still living today are low in themselves. And the details of any other living people aren't in the thread; I've been sending them privately. Didn't put the details of the most recent marriage or the child's birth in the thread. Yes, those reading with access to the resources could find them, but google won't.

It's just because of the nature of the discussion that I think it should be deleted once it's run its course, even though no living people are actually named in it.


SylviaInCanada Report 12 May 2011 00:24


are you sure it will stay in Google's cache for only a month?

Only I have gone on Google and pulled up threads on people 2 and 3 years after they were first posted on here, or Rootschat, FamilyTreeForum etc.

as well as pulling up the names apparently published in newspapers or such like ........ now those usually have gone.

born in 1926 means they would be 85 this year

I have one friend who is going very strong at 85 ....................... as is Queen Elizabeth. Plus several people much older, including Prince Philip at 90.

I'm not so sure that the odds are so low!



jax Report 12 May 2011 00:30

HID's parents are both in their 86th year and leading a very active life