Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Genealogy can be a dangerous hobby!

Oh Dear! It has happened again. I began researching what I thought would be a interesting topic for a genealogy lecture. The more I read about it the more fascinating it became. A friend of mine was also very interested in the subject matter and she started reading what was available online. And then something rather strange happened. It started to be a bit scary!

So you have to ask yourself "How can genealogy research be scary?" Trust me, I know the answer. There are people out there who do not want to be connected to their ancestors. Most of us find this hard to believe because we love those skeletons in our closets. They add a little something to our family trees. 

The group of people that we were researching were amazing, but extremely private and their descendants do not want anyone delving into their past. It didn't take long for us to get the message. Back off!! It is a shame, but we will respect their wishes. This brings up the question of how far can you go when researching your family?

Every family has problems and eventually you will be faced with them in your research. The skeletons in your family unfortunately leave the most records. Do you expose them or do you just pass over them with basic vital records like they had no "dash"? I guess it depends on whether or not you feel threatened. I know someone who was researching my mother's family who was threatened and dropped her research. 

We don't think of genealogy as a dangerous hobby or profession, but some times it can be. When you are threatened, or when you are asked to leave a cemetery and followed to make sure you do, or when the staff or maintenance workers at a cemetery clam up and refuse to talk about their "guests" it is time to drop that research and move on.

Will that family ever be found? Perhaps. As we move from generation to generation and further away from the problem memories fade. What once was a disgrace no longer seems so bad. Maybe a few years down the road this fascinating group of people will be the subject of may lectures. As for right now, I don't think so.


  1. Did you contact the descendants of these persons, or did they find you from something you wrote?

    I think you did the right thing, although you could research the persons and not publish it.

  2. It is a very interesting subject to me and I will continue to research the families involved. We were not directly threatened but we got the message!!