As you proceed through your family history research, you will already have heard about or even come across what can be called ‘Family Secrets’. They were generally the forbidden family subjects, not to be spoken or written about for generations.
However, as you work on your family tree, each person should count and not just as a name and date, but a real person with their own faults. Many times the actions of one person just might have changed the course of future generations – including you.
So what are some family secrets? They would include a person who abandoned his / her family, a murderer, those families who held slaves, illegitimate children, criminals who served prison time, mental illness, bankrupted families, those who mistreated children, those who committed suicide, etc.
The whole purpose for researching and learning as many details, even of the past family secrets is that they are in the past – that you and your family today are not exactly like your ancestors.
Also documents, government records, newspapers, court records, cemetery records, are public and most have been for years. So really they are not true hidden secrets.
The main area to be careful are about living relatives or those who are deceased in the last 25 years or less. There could be those directed connected that wish to still keep the secret. So you can still do the research and gather the information, but not publish it in print, online or any database. However the details can be saved for future generations.
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