Some relatives are reluctant to talk to the family genealogist for fear that every detail of a family skeleton or scandal will be broadcast for the world to hear.

Ask yourself if you really need to know every detail of every family squabble. It may be sufficient to know that two uncles fought over money when their father died and never spoke again. It may be sufficient to know that a mother and daughter didn’t speak for the last twenty years of the mother’s life without going into excruciating detail of exactly what precipitated the falling out.

Sometimes, if the person to whom you are talking actually “lived through the family drama,” it may be difficult to get answers to questions because the entire situation is painful. Tread lightly. “Drama” and scandal look different when one was not in the throes of it.

Sometimes if you press too hard you end up with no information from a relative. And something is usually better than nothing.



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