If you’ve been on my blog in the last couple of weeks you’ll be thinking “but you did a blog about this already. We’ve read your blog for the first week of 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks challenge.” Some of you will have read about my great grandmother and her adoption, our working out her biological family and our DNA journey to find out her family.
I had some wonderful feedback too, which I am really thankful for. It’s spurred me on to continue writing.
The blog post is still in existence, but I set it to private. I didn’t want to start on shaky ground by maybe being that generation too close to where we are now, or maybe just too close in time.
Where do we begin
I’ve joined a few different groups for the 52 Ancestor challenge; one is Amy Johnson Crow‘s official Generations Cafe group on Facebook, one is with my classmates from our family history night class (the people who inspired me to take part in the challenge) and the other is with one of my best friends who I discovered through our shared interest in family history. I’ve also put my blog forward to be listed on GeneaBloggers and joined their related Facebook group. I have been reading a lot of different blogs, comments in the groups, posts in the WordPress Reader for 52 Ancestors etc.
One thing that made me think was the different levels of privacy people are willing to share. Some people have given details right down to themselves and while others will share their stories but only within the groups. Some are just taking the challenge and writing it in their personal handwritten journals. Of course, there’s no right or wrong way for the actual writing. There might be a “right or wrong” for the levels of privacy though. I didn’t want to start this new blog on difficult ground.
Privacy, security and the “Hard Stuff”
In December, I watched a whole bunch of talks recorded for The Genealogy Show. There’s a real variety of speakers and topics discussed which are fantastic. One was called “Sensitive Subjects – Writing About The Hard Stuff” presented by Rhonda Lauritzen of Evalogue.Life. She had discussed how she had written a draft of her family history, something a little more modern and closer to home. She mentioned that a family member hadn’t been happy about something that was mentioned in the draft that had been completely changed for the final edition which had caused a huge rift. Thankfully the rift has since been resolved. Phew!
With these factors taken into consideration, I decided that the story of my great grandmother might not be one that everyone is ready for. I had ruled out discussing anyone from my grandparents generation forwards, but I have re-evaluated and will be moving the bar back a further generation until I feel I am happy that there will be no upset. I still have great aunts and uncles who will have clearer memories of that generation and I do not want to feel that my interpretation of the records misrepresent the family they knew and I only had a small brush with in my early years.
There is also security related questions the come into play. I did think about writing about my maternal grandfather as my foundations, certainly he was the keystone, but I thought that it wouldn’t be so wise for security reasons, even though he has passed. I wouldn’t dream of writing about living family, whether they are closely related or distant cousins. I find it really uncomfortable seeing posts on social media where grandparents give the names, dates of birth and photos of their grandchildren. Parents doing so, that’s for them to think about on a deeper level, but family members posting about children with photos and dates etc is a huge “NOPE!” from me. If in doubt, ask the parents first before you share anything about their children online.
I apologise if you came to the blog to read that original post. I will be writing a new blog to take it’s place about “Foundations” that ties in with the 52 Week challenge before the week is out, so stay tuned. Sorry for any inconvenience.