I received the following from one of our customers today and enjoyed it so much that I'm republishing it here (with permission).
Decades ago when I first started investigating my 6th great-grandfather’s family of descendants I was particularly fascinated by the oblique notes I found in the older genealogies.
“Killed in a hunting accident” “Met an accident in the woods” “Went West and untraced” “Died in the great Galveston Hurricane.”
Since then I’ve discovered that none of the above was entirely true if at all.
I’ve also discovered descendants omitted, “died” or down-played in family accounts for more onerous reasons – multiple divorce, murder, kidnapping, suicide, medical tragedy and more.
If like me, your twig of the family tree hasn’t exactly been pristine, consider the gifts these people have given you.
Strength – if you have experienced one of these things as a near relative, realize that no matter how much you suffered at the time that you have survived it and congratulate yourself. You are strong.
Perspective – if you know or discover that an earlier relative is a closet skeleton - thank them if you haven’t experienced the same thing yourself. If you have, also thank them – it means you aren’t the only family member who’s faced the same thing whether now or generations ago.
Faith – Learn about the lives of your ancestors and their message to you. I have found at least three times that their survival is the miracle that I even exist.
Embrace the past with love and sensibility. Learn as much as possible about your ancestors recent and distant and respect any medical problems those in your twig might have had – you may have inherited them as I have.