What to Do If You Uncover a Deep Family Secret

As you go in depth on your family tree, there will be all types of names and things that your ancestor had and did. Some of their accomplishments can make your heart ‘glad’ at what they did, but you just might also find some deep dark individual or family secret, something concealed from most family members.

If that happens, check your information with as many different resources as possible. Never rely solely on a family legend or tale even if it is something good about an ancestor. Find newspaper clippings, any family letters, diaries or journals, family Wills, any listing in census records, city directories or local county courthouse records.

The more resources relaying basically on the same events, dates and people, the more likely you now have what are the facts. If you do confirm a dark family secret and you want to discuss with living relatives, be mindful of their feelings, you don’t want to shock them.

Do create as complete a story (written) of what happened and who was involved as you can research – not research not family tales. Do include your resources. State what has been discovered including what had been the family story prior to learning this secret. It is best not to place your own personal judgment of the secret good or bad – just what has been discovered. 

You are documenting a real event (hidden for years) for future generations. Plus very rare a family without at least one dark secret. – so you are not alone.

Related FamilyTree.com Blogs:

Family Secrets

Is it Taboo?

The ‘Unspoken’ Side

< Return To Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.