For most people, myself included, genealogy is an exciting experience that is exciting, thrilling and at times heartbreaking. However, it is still very enjoyable, and finding out about our predecessors’ lives – whether they lived in prosperity or poverty – is something us genealogists will continue to do no matter what we uncover.
A couple of months ago, I have my first negative experience of researching my family tree. I am going to be very vague, as the matter in hand relates to many people still living, and it would be completely insensitive to post details about the matter online.
I received an email from a cousin who filled me in on some information about a not-so-distant (and only fairly recently deceased) relative. What they told me was very shocking. I didn’t know much about this person’s life to start with, but what I found out was still completely unexpected. It did however explain a lot of what I knew about the views and attitude towards family and genealogy of some of the close family involved. After receiving and processing the information I received, I almost wished I had never enquired into this relative.
Typically when we find an ancestor or relative from generations back in a criminal records register, or one that is a bit of a black sheep, in our research, it is usually quite an exciting find to have a bit of drama in the family tree. However when the relative is one who wasn’t alive that long ago, and well within living memory, that thrill just isn’t there. I think we always try and assume the best of people, when sadly it’s not always like that.
Has anyone else had a similar experience?