One thing you have to be careful about, particularly when you have living elderly relatives, is stirring up the family skeletons. During the very short course of my research, I’ve managed to dredge up a few things that I wondered whether to bring up with my Nan for fear of upsetting her. Thankfully, she was happy to be quite open about the things I wanted to ask her which include:
– On getting my Nan’s older brother’s birth certificate it showed that he had been born out of wedlock – not something shocking for this day and age, but considering he was born in 1915, quite the scandal!
– I did a speculative Ancestry search on my Grandad’s sister and discovered that she had been married and divorced during the war, a fact my Mum didn’t even know.
– There is still a persistent rumour in the family that my Nan had two other siblings in the Channel Islands, as her father worked over there every summer for several years.
– As I said yesterday, I re-discovered that my Great Grandfather had another sibling who had passed away.
– There are several ‘shotgun’ weddings back over the years, family members forced to marry due to pregnancy (at least so I think, given my own calculations of the date!).
So there are no murderers or criminals (so far!), so quite tame, but in the context of the times they happened, not exactly socially acceptable. It’s nice to have an exciting family tree, but it helps if your living relatives are happy to talk about it!