Thursday, March 3, 2016

I Don't Share Everything

In January, I wrote "Is Genealogy Sharing a 'Female Thing'?" As a follow-up to that post, I'm admitting today that I purposely don't share some things on my blog.

I read genealogy blogs for many years before jumping in and writing my own. When I finally decided to get started, I made the conscious choice to avoid sharing certain items in my posts, such as:

My Father's Surname - This surname is very unique in the U.S. Basically, I haven't found anyone here with this name who isn't related. (That may not be the case in other countries.) Since I didn't know how immediate family and cousins would react to my "crazy" hobby popping up if their uncommon surname was Googled, I decided to avoid writing about anyone with that name. I've mentioned it once as the maiden name of a 2nd great-aunt in a story about her husband. However, when I wrote about a 2nd great-uncle who owned a hardware store and about my great-grandmother who died during the influenza epidemic, you may have noticed that I didn't specify a surname in those posts.

My Mother's Maiden Name - Interestingly, my mother's maiden name is also unusual. I wasn't sure how that side would feel about me sharing the family name in such a public manner, so I decided to take the conservative route. I mentioned it in several posts as the maiden name of female relatives, but just in passing. This surname (and my dad's) is on my public online family trees, and both are listed on the Surnames tab of this blog, so I'm not hiding them. I'm just not featuring those names when I write family stories. At some point, I will specify my parents' surnames in future stories, but I'm not ready to do it yet.

Some Family Scandals - Since I'm conservative about mentioning a surname on my blog, I'm sure you're not surprised to hear that I don't share some skeletons in the closet. For example, my family history includes an attempted murder-suicide in the 1920s in front of two young sons, as well as a young boy who found his dead grandfather after his suicide in the 1940s. These incidents were in newspapers so the facts were public, but I feel that I don't really have the right to share stories like this since I'm not a direct descendant of the individuals involved. Those boys witnessed terrible things, and the psychological impact might have been felt even by the next generation.

If I thought that others could learn something by sharing stories like this, I might change my position. And that's the great thing about writing a blog: you can make your own rules.


  1. I'm contemplating the possibility of beginning a series of vignettes of my ancestors on my blog, which has until now been simply a place to post digital layouts I have designed for a heritage album.

    I follow a few blogs, and yours is one of my favorites! I appreciate the way you write, as well as the wonderful Pittsburgh and related tips which have been a help to me.

    And I especially appreciate your post today - I think you are very wise to observe the parameters you have described!

    Thank you for your thoughtful posts.

    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment! The photo layouts on your blog are beautiful, and I'm sure your vignettes would be just as inspiring. I would definitely read them if you do decide to go in that direction. Thanks again for taking the time to comment - blogging has been a little tough lately, so it's great to have your support.


Do you have a genealogy problem or need guidance on where to search next? Send me a message if you'd like me to help!