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While reading through some of the message boards recently I was reminded
again how important it is whether on the internet or interviewing a relative
or family friend about family history how important it is not to be to
We all need to remember to watch for signs that Grandpa is reluctant to
give details. Don't press. If he says, "I don't want to talk about it, "
let it go for now. There may be a "secret" and pushing too hard can silence
him for good. Be patient. The "secret" may be nothing more than a divorce,
which was scandalous indeed in 1850. Don't ridicule or discount a family
member's reluctance to discuss it further. Some family rifts have existed
for years; feeling run deep..
Remember that times have changed. Behavior that is tolerated today was
shameful then. Deep hurts could have resulted when Great-Grandpa married
two weeks after he was widowed, to a woman half his age, or because
Great-uncle Glen enjoyed playing cards on the riverboat. And heaven fobid
if there was a shooting or jail term....

These obstacles can slow a search, but getting the information is often
crucial to continued success. If you don't know there was a second marriage,
you may not know under what name your grandmother was buried when you try to
find her tombstone. Be patient.....
Ask the same questions of a number of relatives; you are likely to get the
needed information in time, although you may never get the full details from
the family..

If you suspect a notorious scandal, check the local newspaper instead
of pressing the family too hard for details...

Be sensitive.. Let your family know you are not being "nosy".
Assure them you just want to know about your family because it is
interesting to know your roots...

Linda Oxford 

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