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Those of you whose parents/grandparents are hostile toward discussing family history - do you feel guilty for looking into thing they didn't want you to know?

Those of you whose parents/grandparents are hostile toward discussing family history - do you feel guilty for looking into thing they didn't want you to know?

flfamly

I learned not to question my step-father about his family when he got so very angry when I would ask my mother about hers. I was into genealogy long before he and mother were married. She loved to hear what I found but we learned never to discuss it in his presence. He accused me of disrespect since I was "digging up dead people". I should just let them rest in peace. But he also would never discuss death or funerals and refused to make a will. Mom thought possibly he was so afraid of dying that he couldn't stand to even hear about other's deaths.


[deleted]

[удалено]


flfamly

Honestly this topic was the only thing he was unreasonable about. He was very good to our mother and rather than put her in the middle, I learned to only discuss it when we were alone. He died several years ago. My mother died 31 Dec 2020 at the age of 99. Even though she lived with me for the last 5 years of her life, I still think of things I wish I had asked her. Thank you for your concern.


ShowMeTheTrees

>and refused to make a will. Ugh, that's an act of hostility towards your mom. What a jerk.


Refrigerator-Plus

My father refused to make a will. He then dies of a sudden heart attack at the age of 53. I was 25 at the time. I now realise that not having a will must have caused my mother endless problems and additional grief on top of the grief of sudden and unexpected widowhood. Not making a will is a very selfish act.


futureanthroprof

Your poor mother! You are absolutely right that it had to be a nightmare on top of the loss. My grandfather died of a a sudden heart attack on a golf course in Myrtle Beach when he was 53 also. My grandmother was up at home in Sloan, New York with my father, aged 21, my mother, aged 20, who was newly pregnant with me, my 4 month old sister, my uncle who was 18, and my two other uncles who were 16 and 11, ALL in their 3-bedroom ranch since my father was in a band instead of working a regular job. My grandfather had JUST retired from Bethlehem Steel and was on his celebratory golf trip and died as soon as he swung his golf club. They both worked and supported all of us. I'm sure he was pissed that my parents were having another baby. Anyhow, he did not have a will, but they were both on the Deed. He did have a pension. BUT my grandmother, heavily criticized by family for going back to work when her youngest went to 4th grade, told me my entire childhood "Thank GOD I had my career before marriage and had gone back to work before your grandfather died! I would have lost everything! Make sure you have a career first, so marriage is an option, not a financial necessity!" I LIVED AND BREATHED THAT. Her own son though, my band-playing father, inherited that brick 3-bedroom house they built in 1955 with their bare Italian hands, and without my mother knowing or consenting, he took out a $75k reverse mortgage before he died of Stage IV colon cancer. He was the only one on the title and wrote "single" on his application (got the copy when we all got served!) My mother is 71 and in a subsidized apartment and has been dealing with the fallout since 2017. Lesson learned: do your research. Listen to your ancestors, even if you never knew them while they lived! Make your wishes clear! Long before you die! And don't marry a selfish a-hole!


Poppins101

Most likely experienced severe trauma as a child.


raisinghellwithtrees

I think I would be too curious to not dig deeper. But my family has a lot of secrets, and for me that was part of uncovering the generational trauma we inherited.


[deleted]

Yup, this is a big one! When I was in high school, I was doing a project on my family history for AP US History class and found it \*really weird\* that I had photos of people like my great-great-great-great grandparents and a ton of photos of my great-great grandpa's cousin who didn't even live long enough to finish college, but zero photos of my great-grandpa. Once I did some digging, I found out what the reason was for that-- in the 1920s, my great-grandfather got into a car wreck; alcohol was definitely involved even though this was during prohibition. He lost an eye and was brain damaged; could not function for the rest of his life. No one took photos of him after the accident. My great-grandma wasn't supposed to get a job because it wasn't proper for a lady of her station, so she played the stock market instead (she had already been doing that in the 1910s though-- my great-grandparents visited Wall Street for their honeymoon, and she would have LOVED to work on the stock exchange floor if she'd been born a male or born in the 20th century). So basically the family was living off of their savings/inheritance and investment income through the 1920s and 1930s. Once I found out about the car accident and how the family survived the great Depression after that, a bunch of other stuff made sense: my grandpa was really into the stock market and was even explaining it to me when I was a little kid, a lot of my uncles have degrees in economics and work in that industry. Alcoholism is still an issue on that side of the family, but everyone kind of acts like we're not supposed to talk about it; it's not proper. There's people in the family who act like it's still the 1920s as far as what we don't talk about. The idea of never spending money on anything even when there's a lot of it probably came from not having anyone able to work during the 1930s (the kids were too young, proper ladies didn't get jobs). I think that's part of what lead to my "chameleon" type ability to move between social classes-- I can fit in with everything from camping in a tent city to being in the VIP section of a fashion show. Oddly enough, I think the phobia of car accidents got passed to me because the successive generations carried part of that trauma. After I got hit by a car in 2013, I didn't have a normal reaction-- I ended up with really intense PTSD and had always had a phobia of getting into an accident or getting hit by a car. Analyzing the traumas of past generations along with what their social norms and relationships were like along with analyzing my own life explained a lot. The strangest part was the way my grandpa barely talked about his father until he was in the early stages of dementia and was aware that he was slipping into the same headspace his father had been in post-accident. He was in his 80s and finally processed what happened when he was a small child. It was insane to see that happen after unscrambling the "why are there no photos of Lester?" question.


UnsightlyFuzz

Upon the occasion of my paternal grandmother's death, I asked my father if she had been a happy person. He replied that she cried every day of her life. (something I did not know.) Then my uncle (his brother) came into the room, and I asked him the same question. My father blew up at me, swore at me if I remember correctly, and said that was a terrible thing to do to him. Once he calmed down a little, my uncle said that yes, he thought she had been a happy person. I'm no wiser as to her emotional makeup, nor will I ever understand why this question bothered my father so much.


pisspot718

Those type of disparate stories (betw dad & his brother) is one reason why people do genealogy.


Cuss10

It also brings up the psychology of the family. Both dad and uncle may have been right. She may have cried every day to one son and feigned happiness to the other.


_farouche_

My grandmother is my only living grandparent, but she gets very quiet when I start to ask about the past. I met her father when I was very little and he gave me the creeps - like a lot, I would cry and run away whenever he was there. My dad says he didn’t like him either. No one gives specifics, but I don’t press it. I assume that she doesn’t want to remember and speak of it, but not because she doesn’t want me to know. She shouldn’t have to relive trauma or anything just because I’m curious.


Doran86

My paternal grandfather is actively against any research being done into our family history and would prefer I not look into it. Of course, I already have, and have uncovered that his father simply disappeared from all records post-1935. Judging by the fact that the person my grandfather calls "Dad" is actually my 2x-great grandfather, I suspect my great-grandfather left his wife and kids after 1935, when my grandfather was 8. But my own dad has urged me to never bring this up to my grandfather. He is extremely stubborn. I would love to get actual confirmation, though.


futureanthroprof

He is probably emotionally at that age he was when it happened. I had a grandmother that was mentally and emotionally 7, when she got run over and left permanently damaged from a car and was taken out of school forever at 3rd grade by her non-English-speaking parents, and another grandmother who graduated HS in 1942, went to SUNY Buffalo and took Engineering, and had a career before she married at 24. Guess which side of the family taught me everything I needed to know about life, and guess which side I do the most research on!


larion78

Not guilty in the slightest. If they're hiding something about the family because of the "shame" I want to know what's it is and have been fairly successful in finding out. On my maternal side it turns out they were ashamed of their societal status (they were poor), the rampant child sexual abuse, spouse abuse, having a convicted rapist in the family and that nearly everything single member of each family line has some form of moderate to severe mental illness. Add in the problem of highly toxic interpersonal relationships between some family members and it's made for an interesting experience unraveling everything. My paternal side was pretty dull in comparison. Just unhappy marriages, an instance of 1st cousin marriage, racism, poverty and delusions of grandeur. It's been fun finding it all out and cleaning out all the garbage stories, although I am cautious enough to sound out people before I tell them the truth. Some of them are happy with their own fantasy.


pisspot718

Maybe the mental illness comes from the traumas, not organically born.


larion78

In this case the mental illness didn't stem from the traumas, it contributed to them. I have a dose of the family legacy myself and have never suffered from any traumas like I've described. I've also spoken to a number of other descendants without traumatic upbringings and either they or their siblings have mental health issues as well. The common factor in each case are shared ancestors. I could definitely see how traumas can cause mental health issues though. In my families case the mental health issues just created a feedback loop making it so much worse. 😟 Please note what I've described so far in my comments is only a brief overview. I would need to write a small novel to go into detail. So my beliefs are justified I just haven't and don't plan to explicitly detail everything. Plus I'm currently in hospital. 😟 edit: spelling and context (word in wrong places) Apologies to u/pisspot718 if I came across as unwilling to consider your view. I will be reviewing my existing beliefs regarding the issue. Thank you for the perspective.


robojod

I’m sorry you’ve had such a lot to unravel. But I definitely believe mental illness and trauma often live symbiotically, and it’s very difficult to decide which came first. The comedian Ruby Wax’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ was very interesting on this topic. She suffers from severe mental illness, and her story went into some dark Holocaust-related trauma that undoubtedly poisoned the mental health of recent generations. But then she went back even further and found relatives incarcerated in asylums even then. So sometimes it’s a combination of genetics, family trauma, and history.


larion78

Thank you for the different perspective. Both yours and u/pisspot718 comments are definitely things I must genuinely consider as you both raised valid points making me reassess my outlook on the issue. You've both demonstrated that I need to look at it all from a different angle without my bias and I appreciate that. I wasn't aware of Ruby Waxs mental health issues and the episode you mentioned. I'll seek it out and watch it.


pisspot718

Apology accepted, although not necessary. At least you're not in denial and willing to examine the suggestions.


robojod

That’s a very refreshing attitude. Though we’re all just here to learn from one another. Hope you enjoy the WDYTYA - it’s one of the best, though very sad.


pisspot718

I accept what you say. Best to you.


larion78

Likewise. Take care and stay well


inquisitioscientiae

My father is super tight lipped about my family because my grandfather swore him to secrecy. It was only after doing a DNA test that I found out that we were Jewish. My dad won’t let us tell anyone but I kept digging into it and just discovered that my grandmother and others died in a concentration camp. The memories are too painful for them to discuss but I couldn’t resist my curiosity and just had to delve in further.


futureanthroprof

I just quietly honor all of those people and the ones who don't want to talk about it won't know unless they come to my house or follow me online. I have an aunt who died tragically when she was 5, and I made sure that when my daughter turned 5, I said to myself "She is going to do all kinds of things Aunt Debbie didn't get to do, so make sure you embrace every opportunity."


momofferris

I don't feel guilty at all. All the research I do is for my descendants.


ninja-blitz

My grandmother is the only "product" (my mom's words) of both of her parents' second marriages. Both of her parents' 1st spouses died in the 1920s (he was sick, she died in childbirth), they remarried in the 1930s and my grandma came along a few years later when both of her parents were in their 40s. She had 2 older half-siblings from her mom (old enough that my Grandma's niece is like 5 years younger than her), and 6 half-siblings from her dad (youngest was 5 when my grandma was born, oldest was 26). My Grandma's dad died when she was in her early 20s, the year before she married my Grandpa. At the funeral, her paternal half-siblings all came up to her and told her she had a choice: she either come with them and never see her mom again, or she stays with her mom and she's considered dead to them. (To say they didn't like my Great Grandma is a bit of an understatement). She obviously chose her mother. Fast forward to the mid-1990s. My grandparents moved to their current home in a small town in 1990. A few years later, one of my Grandma's paternal half-nephews is outside their house doing something to the fire hydrants for his job. He saw her and his first reaction was "I thought you were dead!" (and not in a happy-to-have-found-you kind of way). To this day my Grandma STILL holds a grudge about that side of her family. Doesn't want to talk about them, doesn't think I should research them, etc. Does it stop me? No, but when I make a breakthrough, I make a point of not telling her about it. (As an aside, she's outlived them all, and is still going strong living way longer than any of them (and a few of their kids) have, so boo on them!)


futureanthroprof

She was NTA! They are ATA!! OMG.


ninja-blitz

\#truth!


Arimnestos90

I get a part of what you say, my grandfather had a complicated life, and reneged on a part of his heritage as well, he stopped speaking the language, and adressed us in his second mother tongue, I have recollections of my dad pushing me to ask him for help with my homework and he refused. After he passed, I discovered he had a very tense relationship with his father, which played a big role in his self imposed exile (My grandfather decided to go live in a town somewhat lost into the mountain valleys of northeastern Mexico.) I feel the same way you do, specially after reading some of his correspondence


Tess_Mac

My mother's attitude was why would you want to know? It doesn't matter. It wasn't until both my maternal grandparents were gone that I found out grandfather had been married prior to my grandmother but no one knew. There was no record of divorce so he might have been a bigamist. If I had discovered this before my grandmother's passing I probably would have kept it a secret. My paternal grandmother was about 6-7 months pregnant when she married my grandfather. The baby was born less than a month later and only lived 2 days. I don't think this was my grandfather's child but will never know the truth. My paternal grandfather I knew was in the Royal Navy but what I didn't know was he'd survived a major battle (Battle of Jutland) during WW1 which explained a lot about his behaviour. I honestly think he married my granny because he'd served in the RN with her brother. The timeline between his leaving the Navy, returning to Kirkintilloch and granny's pregnancy doesn't line up. I don't feel like I'm snooping, I don't feel guilty. Their history is my history.


futureanthroprof

"I like to know what my ancestors did so I can repeat the great things as their blood flows in my veins and they live on in me, and learn from and not repeat the not-so-great things." I was discouraged from and encountered anger as a young child when I started researching. They didn't want family secrets exposed. Murderers, rapists, illegitimate babies, 13 y/o girl's marrying cousins. I am the great-great-great granddaughter of the leader of the Grand Army of The Republic. He was shot with a cannonball at Gettysburg while saving his captain's life. He lost his leg and fell in love with his caregiver and I would not exist had he not been determined to live as normal of a life as possible, because together the had my great-great grandmother. He later died trying to save two children from a burning home without his prosthetic leg on. News of his death was in newspapers across the state. Had I listened to my elders and stopped researching, I would never have known that Charles St. Onge, b. 1838, gave me his gift of persistence and resilience. It is because of him that I ended up working with disabled vets. God gave me the genealogy bug. Don't argue with God!


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jamesshine

Everything was fine, until recently. I was “caught” not regurgitating the revised history they all have collectively fashioned. They scolded me like a 6 year old. I don’t feel bad one bit.


jhn107

My grandmother was so adamant that we didn't need to know about her past that we waited until she passed away before we looked. Now that I know her secret, I understand why she wanted to hide it. But times have changed so much since her day and age, I am not embarrassed by it at all but I am glad I waited.


poundsignbuttstuff

Only a few sentences but now I am so curious.


JaimieMcEvoy

**Do No Harm** I would feel guilt if I caused them harm. Or, if I caused harm, even though a person might be deceased, if it was hurtful to their close living relatives. Sometimes, though, these are factual and mundane things. The discovery that relatives had their first child only 8 months after they got married caused some upset to those who didn't realize. The to me amusing discovery of a relative arrested for getting drunk during prohibition caused mild family argument. I included it in the tree because it wasn't major, because it was a matter of public record easily found online, and because it didn't really do harm to anyone other than mild embarrassment or disbelief. I do believe that people ought to be able to know not only from who, but also from what they came from. It is part of understanding our relatives lives, their social circumstances, the struggles they went through, sometimes valuable health information. But where it might cause hurt to the living, I generally don't circulate that information. I do, though, sometimes share that in discreet conversation. Think of all the reasons why someone might not want to talk about the past. Put yourself in their shoes. Sometimes it's just embarrassment (I have relatives who refuse to acknowledge the fact that our Irish famine ancestor was an orphan. "There weren't no orphans in our family"!). But it's really different to ask someone to remember abuse, addiction, war, severe poverty, child death, family dysfunction, forced migration. Put yourself in their shoes. To remember and talk about something is also to feel the emotions again that came with it. And when one is willing to have those conversations with you, get permission about sharing, and always find a way to continue and end those conversations on a happier note. ​ **X-File** I have what I call my X File. This is information about people that might not be wise to share in an online tree. And a lot doesn't go into it at all, respecting the right of privacy of others. The information in the X File is things I might share one day. One example - I have a Great Grandfather. He was about 21 when he learned that his older sister was in fact his real Mom, and that the parents who raised him were in fact actually his Grandparents in reality. Although some family members, even most, seemed to know about it, I respected that George had been quite about it, and I didn't begin sharing the story openly until after his children had passed away. And the information is relevant to genealogy and to our family story. ​ **Needing to Know** Often, when I am doing a family tree for other people, they really want to know why something was the way it was in a family. They might have had an alcoholic parent, or an abusive grandparent, and they are hoping that learning more about the family will bring some understanding. Sometimes, people have had some difficult family, and they want to know about others in the tree or ancestors who might give a kinder or more inspirational story for them to carry. When I do a tree for others, I always let them know up front that something sensitive can come up, and talk to them about how to share that with them. And I am clear that I am just the researcher, that it is their family story, not mine. I always leave it up to people I do trees for what *they* want to do with sensitive information, with a quick lesson about genealogy ethics, like not identifying living people. ​ **Go Sideways** I know that there are people who don't want to discuss some things. And that goes back a ways - there are still people alive who knew some of my Great Great Grandparents as their Grandma and Grandpa, so even what to me seems ancient history from four generations and 150 years ago might still cause upset to the living. But often, there are other relatives who are willing to talk. A parent might not want to talk about the past. But an aunt and uncle who grew up with them might. Or even a cousin. I first found out about my Great Grandpa having an entirely different family from what he though he grew up with from a second cousin who knew about it. But always be kind, consider discretion, and let it go if people really don't want to talk about it, is how I function. ​ Good luck with it, Jaimie.


amethyst_lover

My grandmother never told us the date of her wedding. This had led to all sorts of speculation she probably wouldn't be happy about (and possibly worse than the truth). Out of respect to her, however, I am waiting until after she passes to request the records from the county clerk. Pretty sure we, her descendants, won't care as much as she does. But it bothers her a lot, so I've dropped it.


collapsingrebel

My mom's side of the family has been in the American South since before the US was a country and we've got ties to basically every horrific event you could think of that originated in the American South. Elements of my family do not want to acknowledge those events and to a large degree I agree with some of them. There is no real benefit in making those who remember drag up those memories. I'm a Historian by training so if I have to dig into those stories I always let the person I'm talking with tell me what they can handle. That's about the only way I've seen to handle it.


GeekyBookWorm87

When you go digging in the past the skeletons you dig up not everyone wants you to find. My grandfather on my mom's side died before I was born. He was from Ireland. The house my mother grew up in and that was still owned by my grandmother was filled with secrets and you never asked about why they came to USA or where he was from. I had been doing a school project about tracing your family tree when I found a mystery involving my grandfather. He was a HUGE question mark and even as a kid I loved a good mystery. Any question I'd ask my grandmother got ignored and any question I asked my mom or her siblings gave them anxiety. I found out later about name changes and involvement in politics and being smuggled out of Ireland.


robojod

There’s a good Sebastián Barry novel about this called On Canaan’s Side.


GeekyBookWorm87

Thanks, I will look into this. Secrets started to come out more after my grandmother's passing and me explaining that I didn't care and wouldn't judge what their role was. I understand why he did what he did both there and when he came here. It was just the secrets and the not knowing that was hard to deal with. It was like being dropped in a minefield not knowing what would piss people off.


robojod

You’re so right. Secrets are the very worst, because they force everyone to lie, either outright or through omission. Yet families - probably most - are full of secrets, and it means you never have all the facts you need at your disposal to understand why everyone is so traumatised.


GeekyBookWorm87

Exactly. This!


xboox2020

When I asked questions about my family history and questions about one of my parents, I would get a lot of hostility. Things they said and things that happened didnt add up. I left it along due to their wishes, because they guilted me into it. Then I moved out from under their influence (literally moved countries). My mother-in-law is very much into Ancestry and showed me how easy it was to use, what she had found out etc. I did a quick little search on their, and found photos of various grandparents that a great aunt had uploaded. I emailed home to request verification of what I had found. This, finding something my great aunt had done, apparently caused a major fight of "how dare I". Again, I left it alone. Then a few years later I emailed to ask about other questions I had about my own parentage, questions they had never answered. Several social media blocks, hostile emails, and family being manipulated against me later, completely removed any guilt I had associated with these questions. It should have happened a lot sooner, as I am not the only one they have fucked up with their various lies. Since then, I have had a DNA test done, ordered countless documents, and constructed quite the family tree. I have established the family history they all repeat is bullshit, found out they lied about my parents, I believe I found what the big secret was that they were probably trying to cover up which ironically wasn't about me, and found countless interesting individuals who had been forgotten to history in the process. To me (and maybe this is just my own rationale), they don't own the story or the history of the entire family, they don't own my DNA or what I can do with it. They don't get to police who knows. They fail to realize that after a certain point, these are all public records so that anyone can know. At the end of the day, who does it hurt to know what various villages we all came from. TLDR: I'm still pissed off with them for all the lies, despite how many times I state I am not, and I feel no guilt for finding out answers.


DubiousPeoplePleaser

There’s a fine line in genealogy where the feelings of the living meet the records of the past. Respect your dads wishes to not know, instead ask him for his favorite memories of his dad. You can still do your research for your own sake, but not share your findings with your dad. Also be prepared for some dark history just in case.


_flowerchild95_

With my family, my father’s biological father wouldn’t claim my dad as his son, even though his name is on the birth certificate. Further tensions revealed that my dad doesn’t think this man is his father because he saw the man once and “doesn’t look like him” but instead he thinks he looks like another man my grandma had in her life near that period of time. He attacks and shames my grandma for it whenever he gets mad at her. My grandma is very adamant that her first husband (who disgraced her by getting another woman pregnant while him and my grandma were married and putting the baby announcement in the paper) is my father’s father. It’s so bad that when I started making the tree, my grandmother AND father asked me not to put this man in the family tree. Because I respect them (but especially my grandmother) I haven’t. With my mom’s side, my grandfather was very tight lipped about things, and my mom swears he’s hiding secrets, but I’m not sure.


Refrigerator-Plus

The things that they wish to hide before migration may be as simple as arriving by crewing on a ship and jumping ship. May be an illegitimate birth or some political issues. Being Jewish, but converting to Catholicism could be a likely scenario if you were Polish. Most of these things would have been the cause for shame in older generations, but these days, we see them as just part of the rich story of migration. Research away. Each generation that passes will make info harder to find. Just research quietly around the ones that don’t approve.


ShowMeTheTrees

Don't feel guilty. I had a shocking discovery that the the man on my dad's birth certificate - his mom's husband - was not his DNA-father. He was born in 1925. Everyone who knew is dead. I can't ask anybody. My parents got edgy when an aunt was telling me about my dad's mother (she died when he was 5) so I SUSPECT they might have known. But on the other hand, I never had any tiny hint that they knew. It drives me insane. So yeah, dig, get facts, find out reality.


pisspot718

There's been A LOT of that with DNA tracing. Including some attached to traumas.


Keyra13

Idk why but I feel like this has something to do with Nazis


robojod

My first thought too. Perhaps some kind of collaborator in the family. Or shame about what happened in Poland. WW2 was a long time ago, but the poison is still with us.


slutataurusrex

This reminds me of my Nana when I called to ask her about her parents and grandparents. She said, “you don’t need to know any of that stuff, just start your tree with me!”. If you knew my Nana, you knew to expect nothing less from her. God I miss her so much.


AndThatsAllSheWrote

Yes. My maternal grandpa never knew his father, he took off when he was a toddler and he hated him so much he never spoke of him again. I did a ton of research and was very careful with what I shared with my mother (grandpa is deceased now) because I knew how hated my great grandpa was in the family. I’m glad I did the research though because sometimes you just need answers. But knowing how abandoned my grandfather felt by this man still makes me sad.


karmatir

My great-grandfather went to extreme measures to hide who he was, where he grew up, etc. I talked about it a bit with my grandmother before she passed and she always expressed wanting to know more but he would never tell her anything. I remember the man a bit (died when I was 9 and I only met him a few times) but he never would have known that internet knows all. And while I still haven’t figured out why he hid everything I have been very successful in tracing his family line, as alas, his parents descended from Quakers. From there it was super easy to go all the way to the 1600s complete with stories.


flora_poste_

I never got to discuss my paternal grandparents with my father, but their lives are fairly well documented on paper. They died when I was very young. As for my maternal grandparents, they also died when I was very young. My mother said that they absolutely refused to discuss life in Ireland. They had emigrated separately from Mayo and Kerry to the USA in the early 1920s and eventually met each other and married. She said they were both so bitter about being forced out of their homeland by poverty that neither wanted to talk about the old country at all. As a consequence, the little I know about their lives comes from historical and geneaological research, plus the very few facts that my mother managed to glean from them before they died.


_becatron

Probably more angry at being forced from their homelands because of certain people's 🙄


flora_poste_

Yes, what little I know is awful. Evicted and had their houses pulled down by the land agents. Forbidden to pull sedge from the hillside or dig any turf to warm themselves or cook their food. Brutal oppression and then Civil War. No wonder they decided to pile onto a ship for America.


_becatron

Welp. The guilt I, the descendants of Scottish plantationists, feel reading things like this is astronomical. I know it's not my fault but..


flora_poste_

Don’t feel guilty for what happened before you were born! All water under the bridge. We’re all Americans now. Also, I lived in Ireland for several years, and it’s all one big happy family there today. I’m speaking of the Republic, of course, not the still occupied six counties. Things are still not settled up there. But I believe we’ll see a Unified Ireland in my lifetime, maybe even in the next 10-15 years. The conflicts that accompany Brexit will usher that in.


_becatron

Yeah I live in Northern ireland. Its not as bad as the media portrays it


flora_poste_

Oops. To be fair, I never visited NI myself. Just lived in the ROI ten years ago.


Cyneburg8

My grandmother was like this to my mom and my mom was a little to me, but she didn't know much. I've been researching our family and she's really interested. Although, information has been really hard to find for her family, not my dad's though. Don't feel bad, you have a curiosity.


makemusic25

My mother’s grandparents refused to discuss the past. She just knew the generalities. They’d had a hard life and didn’t want to remember. Both my parents really got into genealogy and I inherited their records and passion. My mother’s grandparents had both immigrated. My great-grandpa came from the German colony, Frank, near Saratov, Russia as a young boy with his parents and some siblings. A Dr. Igor Pleve did incredible pedigree charts of many German families in the Saratov region. My great-grandma came from either Austria, Hungary, or Germany, depending which U.S. census I’m looking at. She came with her parents and some siblings and that’s a dead end. Nobody’s been able to find any immigration records or anything in Europe with that surname. I really wish she’d said where she was born!


Infobird

I have a grandmother, my only living biological grandmother at this point, that seems to go back and forth whether she supports me researching her past or she despises it. I know she didn't have it easy growing up and had both my mom and my aunt by the time she was 17, so she had to grow up really fast. She also had no communication with her own father, he left when she was born/very little. There are times where I've felt like I was going against her wishes and it was hard to not be able to ask her questions and get straight answers, especially when she was in her 'the past is the past you should leave it that way' moods. But my mom and I are both interested and I've shifted mindsets. I myself am allowed to be curious about my own past, and even if she doesn't want to know what I've found or help me find it, I'm allowed to be curious and do my own research. It's my history too, she doesn't own it. But I am also very careful with what I discuss with her so as not to cause her unnecessary pain or anger.


brendanl1998

If I got a bad reaction it would make me want to learn more to be honest


imperfectgoddess

Everyone has a right to know where they came from. The "Why does it matter?" is that question that is the key to the mystery to be unlocked. Because it does matter to those who have the 'bug' to learn the truth. Because there are also ancestors who wish us to honor their memories by learning the whole truth. That said, you take it on, you accept the consequences. No matter what you find.


CockMaster6900

You’re apart of the family and I think that gives you a right to know. I’d say be respectful as possible but a lot of this is public information sooooo…..


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poundsignbuttstuff

My great grandfather fought in WW2 and refused to talk about it. Side note: I had the great privilege of knowing all but two of my great grandparents and he was one that I got to know. He had three stories that he would tell and that was it. One of them, we always assumed was bullshit but when he passed, we had to go through his belongings and we found his box of stuff from the time he served. We discovered that story was, actually, 100% true. We also realized why he hid a lot from us. Another note: he never told me these stories himself. When I was young, my grandma were having a, I don't know what to call it other than a campout in her living room under her mother's sewing machine and we had a pillow on the big pedal used to operate it (it didn't run on electricity, the force from you using the two foot pedal made the needle go up and down) but anyway, it was dark and quiet a very intimate situation (not in a nasty way but in a close bonding moment way) and she told me all the stories he told her. And it was those three. So I've known them forever but I totally understand why he didn't want to tell even those except under special circumstance and why the others never saw the light of day. I'd love the opportunity to ask knowing what I know now but I think that if even given the chance, I wouldn't. It was so much harder then than anything we have experienced since.


Cuss10

I know my father is divorced. I know my grandparents divorced and my grandfather remarried at least twice. I want to know details but the state of New Jersey keeps those records private. I can either ask my father and risk upsetting him, ask my aunts and know I'll upset my father, or petition the state of NJ to see the records. I've chosen option 3 and I will only do so after my father has died.


peej74

Every family has at least 1 skeleton. My mum has 4 siblings from her father that she never had contact with. I have no problem diving head first to find them since I have only recently been able to find his name. My grandmother always refused to give his name - even on immigration papers.


Wrong-Finger6879

My paternal grandmother was very keen on our family history. She was always the stickler to label/date photographs. Her and my grandfather had taken me to Ireland several times as a teenager, which initially spurred my own interest in our genealogy. She had even managed to reconnect with our distant Swedish cousins descended from my GGG grandparents, who we still keep in touch with to this day. So needless to say, she very much encouraged us looking back towards our ancestors. Well after she died, my grandfather and other relatives would mention that she was married before and had a still born. Apparently, the guy was a real abusive jerk and I guess even pushed her down the stairs when she was pregnant. My grandfather told me that she never talked about the relationship and he didn’t want to ask her. So when I found a picture of her on her wedding day to this guy on Ancestry, I felt a bit like I was seeing something that she might not have wanted me to. On the other hand, my wife’s father’s side was very much a closed book. My father-in-law never knew his biological grandfather and was told that he was a cop and was shot and killed in the line of duty. After I started building out our tree on Ancestry, when my son was born, I found records of him living in Florida into his old age. I also found a picture of him at retirement age working as a cop down there. When we showed my father-in-law, he was blown away by it. He had always just believed he was shot… Now all the people who actually know what happened are dead but probably an interesting story in there if I can manage to get some more pieces together.


HMSquared

I have a couple of stories regarding my paternal grandparents. Story Number One: My grandparents have always been vague about their wedding anniversary. They don't celebrate it and don't like to mention the year in particular. Semi-recently, I was digging through our family records and found a copy of the wedding certificate. My grandparents married eight months before my dad was born, and by all indications it was sudden. Story Number Two: My grandmother does not have good memories of her father or step-father. Her mother was a wonderful woman who sadly had poor taste in men. I became interested in the step-father since he survived D-Day and (while not confirmed) it's almost certain the war affected him. My grandmother, a normally very chatty woman, will not discuss either of her mom's husbands. We don't know why my great-grandmother and great-grandfather got divorced, but I'm guessing it was bad. (Awesome little side note: my great-grandmother filed for divorce as a Catholic woman in the 1940s.)


Brock_Way

Uhm, me change my reasonale, well-intended behavior because of the hostility of someone else? Not hardly. Not at all. So much so, in fact, that I am likely to do more of it out of spite. Do not come at me with hostility. I don't respond well to it.


aitchbeescot

When doing genealogy research for other people I always warn them that they might not like what I find. Generally the people concerned are OK with it, but I feel it's always best to make that warning upfront.


MaggieJaneRiot

Nope. This is the history that made us.


[deleted]

Don't feel bad, knowing about these things is part of knowing about yourself! I'd keep digging.


babblepedia

My paternal grandmother has forbidden me from doing genealogy on that side. She doesn't want to answer any questions about her parents or grandparents at all, despite apparently adoring them. She's always been like this; we actually don't know who my father's father is at all either. She's never even given us a first name. She has a story about summer love but the details change every time she tells it. A lot of brick walls on that side.