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Return to Milestones Vol. 2, No. 1
All our ancestors weren't saints and pillars of the community. What will you do when you turn up a horse thief" in the family?
When Grandpa was caught with his hand in the till and subsequent prosecution was made against him. Are you going to enter this in the history? If you are doing a detailed genealogical history you could make a brief truthful entry, otherwise let the next person do his own research.
If you want the family to co-operate and be proud of their family don't put information in which would be embarrassing. Leave a blank or only enter the good things. Some families just can't be bothered to give you their information so you will have some blanks.
I feel that many times a correct date for a couple which was a little slow getting their marriage solemnized, takes the wind out of the gossips sails. Don't forget that preachers were scarce on the frontier and sometime a marriage would be recognized by the community and families and later a minister would perform a ceremony which would be recognized by the church. We still have people being remarried in the church after a civil ceremony.
I also feel an illegitimate child should not be denied the right to know his ancestors.
Many ladies and some gentlemen don't give their year of birth and certainly don't appreciate your good memory. If you aren't sure leave a blank or say "about".
I keep two sets of books. One has printable and showable information. The other has the dates, which I have been asked to with-hold, usually until after their death.
As you start to compile information decide how you are going to handle the situations and try to be fair. If you intend to publish the history later ask permission from the individual and abide with their wishes. This is where a form which they fill out themselves is very handy.