Growing up I knew our family secret, but I was always told to never discuss it in public. Do we inherit the sins our ancestors? This month, I broke that rule and discussed it with a few of my researching friends. My inquiry to these friends was, “do I try to research this or leave it alone?” Should I be researching the forbidden in my family?
We had some in-depth discussions on my family secret and they both advised that I should look into it. That was exciting because I would like to learn more about this era of my family and to see if it was a multigenerational thing. From what I have been told by other family members, it was. But, as a researcher I need to prove it.
For the sake of my family, I am not going to discuss the particulars of our family secret. But, think about the different scenarios that your family may want to keep secret:
- A murderer in the family
- Drug addictions
- Slave Holders
- Prison time for unintended errors of judgement (which today would not lead to prison time)
- Dirty Politicians
- Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials
- Active racism
- Sex Offenders
Is there anything on this list that happened in your family? Were you told to keep it on the back-burner? Don’t look into it and definitely DO NOT discuss it! It is ok if you do. Most of us have something in the family that has gone wrong. We are only human and so were our ancestors. We need to research these people and the things they did to learn more about our family and how what they did affected the lives of their families and how it affected your life.
How do you handle these situations in your family? Please leave a comment or if you would like to discuss more in-depth we have set up a forum category specifically for this discussion.
© Terri O’Connell 2012