Tonight I watched the new show “I Forgive You”. At first thought, it may not seem like that has anything to do with genealogy, but it actually brings up a situation that most people doing genealogical research eventually will encounter to some extent.
The whole point of genealogical research is to make discoveries about one’s family histoy, whether it be your’s, a client’s, etc. This, of course, doesn’t promise that that all of the finds will be wonderful. Some are very unsavory. I have a person in my own tree, my 3x great grandfather August Jeske, that I’m trying to prove a less then happy circumstance for. I’m trying to prove whether or not he spent time in an insane asylum. Is that something I’m proud of? No. Is that something I’m ashamed of? No. Every story of every family member helps contribute to who I am. The saying “what is, is” is so true. Are some stories hard to deal with? Absolutely. But what has the potential to be even more difficult and harmful is when facts get buried and ignored for generations. Eventually someone will uncover these things and will have to deal with the truth. The truth does set you free. So I urge you… Talk with your family. Be honest. There’s no reason to feel shame over the past. The past is the past and you weren’t involved. Let go. Forgive what needs to be forgiven. Gain appreciation and respect for people involved. Strive to make the next generation even better.