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Author Topic: What should I do?
Lisa
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I've been working on my genealogy over the past few months. Focusing in on tracing all the descendants of my grandfather's grandfather's grandfather, Mordechai Orens.

One of the branches of the family descends from Mordechai's son Tanchum (I'm descended from a different son). There was a guy I corresponded with about a decade ago who was descended from Tanchum, and when I started working on the genealogy stuff again, I tried getting in touch with him again.

After several failures, I Googled him and found that he'd passed away in June.

There were notices online in some of the groups he took part in, so I contacted them to see if they had any information on his relatives. They said that his friends were unable to locate any family at all.

Now... we're talking a fifth cousin or so. He lived in Maryland, and I can't afford to go out there. Not to mention the fact that it's been a few months already. I have no idea how he was buried, or where he was buried. I don't know if he was Jewish or not (a distressing number of my relatives aren't, mostly because of intermarriage), but if he was, I suspect he wasn't given a Jewish burial. Or possibly a burial at all. He may have been cremated, for all I know.

Now... I've never so much as spoken to this cousin over the phone. I only exchanged some e-mails with him. Is there something I should be doing that I'm not?

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rollainm
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Hire a P.I.?
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Lisa
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I think I'm more concerned about what my responsibility is than how to get the genealogy stuff (though I have an interest in that as well).
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Noemon
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What kind of responsibility might you have? I really don't have any idea.
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Lisa
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He was family, albeit distant. Maybe I should be checking to see that he was buried properly and all...?
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rivka
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If he were not, would you be able to do anything about it? I doubt you'd have any legal standing.
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ketchupqueen
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I am not familiar with the intricacies. If you can't find out/he wasn't buried properly, would praying for him do any good?
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Tante Shvester
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It doesn't sound as if you have any responsibility here. Or ability to change things.
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Rakeesh
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My personal opinion is that you don't have a responsibility here, because someone that distantly related is so distant as not to be 'family' at all, on that basis alone that is.

I mean, I'll bet neither you nor anyone you know ever met or even heard of this man outside any family research, and the same can be said of him and anyone he knew about you. To me, that's not family in the way family has rights and responsibilities regarding one another above and beyond friends and strangers. That's someone who shares perhaps a small portion more DNA with you than a complete and total stranger.

That's not to say you can't feel a responsibility here, but if it were me, it'd be a responsibility I decided to assume on my own, just to another human being. And even then, who knows if as Tante says that will amount to anything tangible.

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Darth_Mauve
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Check the local newspapers for any funeral notices. They usually mention where and under what type service the funeral was held.

I am unfamiliar with the Jewish Funeral rites to know if you can or should do anything as a distant relative.

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