Friday, 20 September 2013

Is There A “Right” To Do Genealogy?

Thomas MacEntee poses this question as part of Open Thread Thursday

Are we any better people delving into and then documenting the minutiae of our ancestor's lives than the nosy-parker next door neighbour who twitches the curtains when she/he sees you come home at 1am, who takes a prurient interest in counting the days between the wedding and the birth and then takes pleasure in spreading that information through the community?

Does it make it better or "more right" because the people we are investigating are deceased a generation or more ago?

Is it the difference of the matter of intent? Finding the truth versus the gossipy negativeness?

Is it a matter that we aim to have a personal set of ethics where we find the facts, look at what has occurred without applying filters and aim to do no harm to any living person?

Who determines what constitutes harm?


An action that you or I may perceive to not be a problem may seriously offend someone else.

I would imagine that many if not all of us have some information documented in our databases that is not for release at this current time because it may bring discomfort to someone we know.

Do I have definitive answers to this question? 

No I don't.  

Thank you Thomas, for being willing to air this question. I do believe that the fact that people are willing to discuss this question is a positive thing as I believe it is the unwillingness to discuss things that may make you uncomfortable is what leads to many of societies issues . 


I do my best in life to "do no harm" to others, to believe that everyone has the right to live as they wish as long as they do no harm to anyone but themselves. 

Will I continue to research? Yes I will. 

Will I continue to restrict some information from publication at this time? Yes I will.

Is that the right answer for everyone? Probably not, but I don't have the right to make an answer for everyone.