I find that using Ancestry.com upsets me. My mother lost touch with her relatives in Indiana. My paternal family lost touch with our relatives in Ohio and Michigan. I grew up unassociated with most of my relatives through no fault of my own. Mine's been a fairly lonely life. On Ancestry I see all these people who are researching the same people yet don't seem to want to connect with their own relatives. Just before Mother's Day I went through a spate of writing to her relatives hoping to reconnect with someone to no avail. I can't help but wonder why people don't want to know me. On Ancestry we can't be complete strangers because we can see our relationships. Even when they're kept private, it's easy to deduce that's where the connection is.
I never thought the sole aim of family history research, otherwise known as genealogy, was gathering information about dead ancestors. For me it is also a way to learn not only what happened to my family in the past, but to find out why my family is the way it is and to find out what happened to the rest of it. As for wanting to connect with living relatives, what could be more natural? Human beings are social. We are not meant to grow up and live alone. As we can see, when we are too separate, individuals and society suffer.
I fear that the popularity of scandalous and bad news in the media and the plethora of who-killed-whom-with-what-this-time shows and movies have made people much more suspicious of strangers and some downright paranoid. I can understand a certain amount of caution in the Internet Age, but too much is not a healthy way to live.
With my families, there is also the additional element that all grandparents were mixed European and Native. I have had cousins drop contact because I brought that topic up. It's really time to accept facts and let go of any racist feelings. There are people from many races living on North America. There are people of many religions living on North America. There are good people and bad people in each and every group so pointing fingers at another is not valid. We are all here and we need to learn how to live peacefully together to heal the people and the land.