Dear Annie: A distant relative, whose family I had never heard of, contacted me on the Internet begging for family photos and history for her grandmother.
Out of the goodness of my heart and at great expense, I took a week and sorted through ancient photos and family history, scanned and labeled the photos, and emailed them to her. However, when I later checked Ancestry.com, I saw those photos and family history online. I didn’t recognize any connection between her family and mine, although she insists there is one. Furthermore, our family is very private and has no interest in having our history and photographs published on the Internet for anyone to see.
Last year, when my cousin had his identity stolen, the authorities said identity thieves often get information (like the mother’s maiden name) from genealogical websites.
I wrote this woman a polite email and informed her of the identity theft and our family’s request that our privacy be respected. I asked that she remove the family photos and history from the site. She wrote back a scathing email, calling me “rude” and saying she did not have to be at my beck and call. She finally agreed to remove the information, but when I checked later, she had added more.
This “cyber-bully’s” hateful words and total breach of trust have made me physically and emotionally ill. She is a manipulative, lying, exploitative, ungrateful witch. I went to great expense, time and work, giving her copies of treasured family photos so that her “Nana” would know where her father came from. Nana wrote to tell me she’d like to visit her “newly discovered family.” I don’t want to see or hear from any of these evil people again. How can I stop her from posting our family photos online?
Dear Bamboozled: We contacted Ancestry.com and asked what you can do about removing the offending photos and history from their website. They said to email email@example.com, saying you did not intend for these photographs to be posted. Give as many details as possible, and they will try to resolve it. However, there are no guarantees.
To some extent, you have already lost the battle, because these photos and history are out there, and more importantly, you don’t know what else this woman might do with the information. We hope your letter serves as a warning to anyone who sends such personal data to people they barely know (and even those they do). Everything can be posted online and made accessible to anyone who looks.
Dear Annie: My husband has a habit of interrupting me while I’m still talking. He anticipates what I’m going to say and will answer before I’m finished speaking. If I ask what he wants from the grocery store, he will start telling me while I’m still asking, which means I can’t hear what he says. This is both annoying and rude, but he doesn’t get it. Any ideas?
-- Frustrated in Louisville
Dear Frustrated: If you have told him how annoying this is and he is unwilling to work on it, we recommend you change your response so you are less aggravated. Stop speaking when he starts. Don’t correct him if he “anticipates” wrongly. You can then respond to or ignore what he says, depending on your mood, but try not to get angry.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org