Foundations: The Beginning and Privacy #52Ancestors

This is my second (well actually third) attempt at the first week of 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks. Some of you will have seen the published blog post last week, but I began questioning privacy and have since changed the post to private. Maybe I was sharing a story a little bit too soon.

I spoke to a number of friends who are also taking the challenge and it made me think about a few things. What are the foundations of writing a family history blog? When do we need to consider the privacy of family members? When is it appropriate to blog and when is it best to keep it in a journal?

Attempt Number One

In my original attempt, I had started writing about when I started researching and why. It was after the death of my maternal grandfather. I wrote about him, put a picture I loved of him onto it, cried a lot through missing him and then decided it was too soon both for me and in terms of privacy. Although he is no longer with us, he was born within the last 100 years and there are still living siblings and children, so it felt too close.

My maternal grandfather really was the key stone of the family on my maternal side of the tree, so he would have been perfect to write about. I will try again to write privately in a journal instead, away from Google search and the potential breach of privacy for living family.

Attempt Number Two

Attempt number two was the one some of you may have read about the adoption of my great grandmother. It seemed to strike a chord with a number of people who are also searching for information of family members who were adopted in or adopted out of families. She was the reason why family was talked about so often; everyone wanted to know who her parents were. And we are a step closer using shared family detective work and DNA.

Like my grandfather, there are still close living family members and I realised in hindsight that I maybe made an error in posting up a blog when it can be seen as a sensitive topic. Although she was born before the 100 year rule used for privacy for the census records across the UK, it was the close family members that made me concerned I might have overstepped in sharing the story so soon.

I am tempted to write about the process of tracking down information for her biological family in a later blog without naming names so that others can benefit from the steps taken.

Setting Boundaries

The reason I started researching my family history was because we felt lost after the death of my maternal grandfather. We had some unanswered questions too about an adoption in our family where we wanted some closure. We wanted to know our roots after watching so many episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? That was 13 years ago this year. Now I want to share some of the other stories I have found, as a storyteller. I’ve found so many exciting things but I don’t want to be the boring person at all the family gatherings were only 2 people might be interested.

I’ve tried to sit and write a family history on individuals before, but I’d never gotten very far. Blogging in little bits seemed like a good idea. It’s a good way to share stories with extended cousins who actually might be interested in finding out a little more. It’s finding the balance and being cautious about where you step with in terms of privacy and content that’s sensitive or too grizzly.

The Rebuild

I am going to continue writing about my family history in this challenge but I’m moving back a generation to 2x Great Grandparents as the most recent. It doesn’t stop there from being fascinating stories to share, but it hopefully means I don’t upset anyone of breach privacy of others.

My venture into blogging about family history has had a wobbly start. I needed to build it on more solid ground. I hope didn’t shake the foundations too much!

What boundaries have you set for yourselves when blogging about your family? Were boundaries built within the foundations of your storytelling journey?