Tuesday, 20 January 2015
One of the first few posts that I wrote on this blog was about the perils of taking research by others at face value. I had been completely over excited by finding all sorts of "hints", as they call them, on Ancestry. They related to a tree which I had been working on for a friend but I was not careful enough at investigating their provenance and everything got a bit tangled.
Unfortunately, I have not taken my own advice and have once again got carried away with clicking on hints without checking carefully enough. Apparently once bitten, twice shy does not apply to me when I am immersed in work! Must do better. I now have to trace each item and check it.
I did get to thinking about this problem's relation to life in general though. How many people search feverishly for long lost family only to find that blood ties are not necessarily enough to break down years of separation and/or resentment?
My mother in law has, in recent years, welcomed a niece to their rather large fold. The niece was the child of my mother in law's brother but from his first marriage. A child when the marriage broke down, she will never truly know what happened and it being a Catholic marriage breakdown, it was not really spoken of amongst the family.
This niece only properly appeared in the family's lives when her own father died and she and her siblings were unfortunately excluded from full participation in the funeral organised by her father's second family.
From then on, it was a matter of taking sides in many ways. She approached some of her aunts. Some, like my mother in law, remembered her and were glad to see her. They welcomed her without asking too many questions. Others were more wary, to say the least (!).
The niece, my husband's cousin of course, seemed to be a reasonable person and her presence was accepted quite quickly at family events. She asked for addresses of cousins and sent cards, made calls and generally seemed to want to engage.
It gradually became apparent, though, that she had unresolved issues ranging from anger at the family to drinking excessively (and I mean early morning etc - not just at parties). She had a neediness which seemed odd in someone in their fifties. There were rows with family members.
Now that we are sadly facing an imminent funeral and wake for my father in law, I have no idea how this is going to play out. You cannot exclude someone from funeral attendance.
The family tried to do the right thing and they accepted someone on the basis of blood ties without digging any deeper. Why would you? But the "hints" were there all along. I am just hoping that this situation does not backfire on a day on which emotions will be very high. It will be a step too far.