Genealogy “Skeletons” – Should We Dig Them Up?

August 10, 2008 at 6:17 am 2 comments

Many times as I research for myself or others I discover some things that might well be kept quiet.  Should those “skeletons” from the past be kept in the past?  Should we post them in our blogs?  Write about them on Genealogy sites? 

What do you think?  Give me your opinion…

Here is a link to my article written on this subject:


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Randy Seaver  |  August 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    It all depends on who is telling and who is asking, doesn’t it? If a client wants to know about his/her family’s past, then it is our responsibility to tell them, using documents and reliable sources, in a way that describes events without making good/bad judgments.

    If the negative information would affect a living person adversely, then we should not post it to our blogs or message boards or web sites without asking that person first. You can “hide” names from research to foster discussion or demonstrate research techniques and still publish information online or in publications.

    Good article and good questions — thanks — Randy

  • 2. paarade  |  August 21, 2008 at 6:42 am

    Good Advice. I began my genealogy as many others do. I interviewed family members and assembled my tree. But as I pushed on, I found that some of the information didn’t fit.

    After a young girl became pregnant, the family took an extended, impromptu vacation. When they returned it was revealed that the parents had a surprise child while in their 50s. I’m sure the the neighbors weren’t fooled but the illegitimate child’s grandchildren are still alive (though in their 80s) and I’m certain that they don’t have a clue.

    My dilemma is how to record the information. My GEDCOM file is available on the net but I’ve always left this section blank. To record it accurately would hurt these people who are still alive. To record it as it was given to me would be publishing false information that will circulate the Internet, leading others astray. So I leave it blank until that generation has passed.

    Not the best solution but the only one I am left with. With the Internet bringing better records to researchers, I’m dreading the phone call from the hapless descendant who stumbles upon the truth and calls me.

    I have no idea which of the daughters had the child and there is no one for me to ask. And of course I will never know who the father was. Maybe after they perfect DNA research, I can fill in those blanks.



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