dee_burris: (Default)
Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2010-11-30 05:46 pm

We are storytellers...

Since I have been reading other genealogy blogs, I've noticed a pattern.

If you go very far through the archives, you nearly always find an entry where the blogger talks about someone contacting them about a blog entry or an entry in an online family tree. Or, that they fear it will happen if they publish the information.

You know, one of those entries that shows that the parents weren't married when the child was conceived, or that the grand aunt died in an insane asylum after spending the last 30 years of her life there, or the upstanding patriarch of a specific branch of the tree was getting horizontal with someone else's wife, sister, or daughter...

The purpose of the contact is to clean the poster's clock, and shame them into hiding, changing or deleting accurate historic information.

I don't get those kind of contacts often - maybe three or four times a year - but when I do, they are doozies - all full of righteous indignation.

They make me shake my head and laugh out loud.

And I reply to all of them.

What I tell them is this...

If you are serious about genealogy, you naturally become an historian. Even amateur genealogists have to do historic research to understand the context of what we are seeing.

But we are more than historians and genealogists.

We are storytellers.

Every single person we document in our family trees has a story, down to the very youngest who may not even have drawn breath at their birth.

And the stories are their stories - not ours to spin to make them more palatable to someone else, not even ourselves.

I refuse to become part of writing revisionist history.

I am a storyteller.

[identity profile] elizabeth o'neal (from 2010-12-01 02:04 am (UTC)(link)
I hear you. I'm about to post one of "those stories" later this evening. I will most certainly catch h*ll about it, but I'm doing it anyway. As you said, we are the storytellers.
oakmouse: (Default)

[personal profile] oakmouse 2010-12-01 02:52 am (UTC)(link)
*ahem* YOU GO. To heck with the ones who want to bury the embarrassing bits. Those "embarrassments" can be the blood of life to later generations.

I wish I knew the name of the Scots soldier who was responsible for impregnating my umpty-great grandmother in rural Wales during the Napoleonic Wars. Instead I only know the name of the farmer who obligingly married her and adopted her unborn child. The family mostly but not quite entirely hushed it up, including her place of residence at the time, so I can't even find his regiment.

We are storytellers

(Anonymous) 2010-12-01 04:08 am (UTC)(link)
This hasn't happened to me, yet, but I'm sure it will. My reply will be "DNA has made it impossible to keep these secrets, anyway; at least I can present the story in an interesting way!"

[identity profile] (from 2010-12-01 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Applauding! As one descended from a chronically horizontal upstanding patriarch (I do love the way you play with words) I'm all about getting to the truth - though even that is a loaded word.