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Genealogists or Conspiracy Theorists


Robert was relating a family story to his cousin Marybeth. She looked at him, half interested and half mocking. Marybeth lets Robert finish his latest family story and sarcastically asks, "Where did you hear that tall tale?" Robert shoots back, "It's not what I heard; it's what I know!" The conversation ends there with only a hint of future discovery. After all, most good stories always have a touch of intrigue, making them worthy of telling again. The great family stories are passed on from family member to family member, and the fish gets a little bigger with every telling.


Josh is a family genealogist that decides to research his favorite Aunts side of the tree. When Josh knew Aunt Gene, she was a self-made independent lady working in the housing construction industry. Once she started a job, she stayed there until it was completed. Josh loved hanging with Aunt Gene. She had long since passed, and he had many fond memories. However, the research of her records took a very dark turn. Her early marriage, divorce, remarriage, and birth of her baby, all within a very short time, didn't make any sense. Josh asked his ailing Mother what she knew about the events concerning Aunt Gene. His Mother replies in a matter-of-fact tone, "Aunt Gene married at a young age; however, her husband was abusive, and she divorced him. She moved back home. Grandma was an invalid, and Grandpa would "relieve" himself on Gene, and she became pregnant. She then remarried and moved back in with her abusive husband until the baby was born." Josh sat there with a stunned look on his face. WTF?


Are these made-up family stories? Reality tends to be stranger than fiction. Happy stories like John Boy Walton only happen in non-fiction books using imagination. Many people have no facts, only interpretations of what they choose to remember. If you present a fact to a client that angers them, it is usually a sign that you have offered something countering a long-held belief. The harshest disagreements tend to be about stories with no good evidence. A client can't go on a path of discovery based on what they think they already know to be true. How does a genealogist sort out what are facts from fiction? Hours and hours of research, and even that may not pay off. However, DNA evidence, Vital Statistics Records, and Newspaper Clips usually get the client's attention. Students of history, specifically family history, soon realize that people throughout history are the same. We all have our stories; many have used them as a crutch to help maintain their sanity throughout time.

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Stephanie Haygood
Stephanie Haygood
Aug 20, 2023

You're already my favorite. But honestly I enjoyed reading this. Looking forward to the next one. ✌️❤️

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Lynn Verot
Lynn Verot
Aug 20, 2023

Very good article. I loved it.

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