Archiver > TRANSITIONAL-GENEALOGISTS-FORUM > 2009-12 > 1260801592

From: Jillaine Smith <>
Subject: [TGF] When research results in controversy
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 09:39:52 -0500
References: <>
In-Reply-To: <>

Certainly you've conducted/published research that results in
information that the client (or others) is not happy with.

Such results could include (and all of these have happened to me):
* a different branch of ancestors from what has been commonly accepted
* evidence of a pre-marital pregnancy/birth
* evidence of infidelity
* evidence of criminal activity

For example, if any of you read the story I drafted about the four
families who swapped partners back in the 18th century
know that one result of that has been a HICKS descendant who refuses
to believe that his direct-line ancestor abandoned his wife and ran
off with a 16-year-old.

In the example above, I softened the language of my own convictions.
I believe I've compiled enough evidence that it was Moses Hicks of
Richmond, NH who ran off from his family with a 16 year old girl.
However, direct line descendants are adamant that it can't be so. My
response was to present the evidence but leave my conclusion vague,
letting the evidence speak for itself and allowing the reader to draw
their own conclusions. But something about this bothers me. I feel
like I'm compromising myself a bit.

In the same story, the research I've conducted draws serious doubt on
the paternity of my husband's direct line ancestor; however, a woman
with whom I've worked closely is abhorred by such an idea-- less
because of the immoral connotations it raises than because how it
would impact all those DAR applications she's successfully submitted
in the past.

How do you handle such situations?
Jillaine Smith - Bethesda, Maryland

This thread: