This evening I've received one from Genes Reunited, the rather awkwardly named offshoot of Friends Reunited that promises to match me up with long-lost relatives rather than a whole bunch of blokes with whom I spent seven years failing to understand quadratic equations.
It's headed up with "(First name), was (grandfather's name) a veteran hero?" (Obviously there was real stuff where I've put the bracketed bits).
Well, that intrigued me. So I read on.
"Did (grandfather's name) fight and die for his country? We have found clues to your ancestor (grandfather's name) in World War Two death records by matching people in your tree to official records."
Well, the dates might stack up. From memory granddad was born around 1915-ish which would have put him at the right age during World War Two, I guess. What else do the Genes Reunited people have to say?
"It's likely to be an emotional journey as you start uncovering how your ancestor met his fate during this truly global conflict."
Well, yes. I imagine it will be emotional. The emotion it's most likely to evoke is shock. My family are likely to be very shocked to learn about it.
Especially my grandfather, come to think of it, who's alive and well.
He's happily spending his well-earned retirement with my grandmother in sheltered accommodation just down the road, so the information that according to some website he died fighting the enemy from the trenches or piloting a Spitfire will be news to him. And, I imagine, to my grandmother, who's probably been wondering why granddad seems somewhat reticent to do the washing-up. I'll mention it to him at the weekend when I pop over with a bottle of Baileys for his birthday. I'm sure it will be emotional.
My response to the Genes Reunited drones this evening has been like a Middle-Earth dwarf. Ugly, short and brutal.