All families have ancestors who did good before leaving this earth. They should be remembered and applauded. There are of course, deceased relatives for reasons only known to them, did not do much good in life, causing family wounds that may not heal.

I advise anyone looking into their ancestry, to prepare for the following:

Part of this Blog’s purpose is to write about my long gone relatives. I share what my research uncovered about their lives. Good and bad. The reason for this post, is due to feedback on the biography of my Grandfather Patrick Coyle 1905-1985

The other day, I received a Facebook message from a cousin. One that I have tried and failed over the years to contact. The message wasn’t one that I found particularly friendly in tone. But on the subject matter, that’s understandable.

My Cousin read the Blog about our Grandfather Coyle and my use of ” hard man” in the Blog title did not go down well at all with her. Based on what she knew about Patrick Coyle, he was no hard man, but a bully towards the weak.

The message also went into detail about our Grandfather’s violent dark side. Information that I, and my family already knew about.

The Blog post on my Grandfather’s dark side did not go into specific detail. I felt my writing made it quite clear, that although he mellowed later in life, he was a violent man indoors and outdoors. And, contrary to what others may think, he was violent towards non family members too.

Patrick, like other relatives on his side of the family, was prone to bouts of violence for no reason. Some of the Coyle’s violent incidents made local press back in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The British Newspaper Archive provides the detail.

When I wrote the post about Patrick Coyle, I did not wish to go into the graphic detail on violent incidents. Why? There may have been close relatives/others still alive who bore the mental and physical scares of my Grandfather’s behaviour.

My Grandfather was a man who has no respect from the living relatives who remember him. Before dementia destroyed him. Patrick Coyle is a man that I find difficult being related to.

This has made me think about writing future biographies of close relatives and Ancestors. As a family history addict, I deal with gathering the pieces of a life’s jigsaw and attempt to complete it.

But when I write a biography of my ancestors, do I have the right to withhold information on the dark side of ancestors? Should a family history biography reopen old family wounds? And not consider the feelings of living relatives?

Fellow family history addicts, I would like to learn your thoughts.

Family History addict since 2012. Now documenting my findings and insights online.

2 thoughts on “Reopening Old Family Wounds

  1. This is a hard subject for sure. I’ve had to deal with this in some of my family. My mom told me about how bad of a man her grandfather was. She never told anyone of what happened. I promised her I wouldn’t publish anything until after her death. But the truth will be published. I am all about the truth & making sure it’s known. My family has tried to hid many secrets; sometimes for the best and sometimes at the expense of others feelings. I have done my best to document the truth of everything I have found. Eventually it will all come out. The hardest will be referring to my husband’s side of the family. Mainly his sisters. So many things have happened & so many lies have been told. Eventually the truth will come out.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say in my long ramble is when it comes to living members that were personally affected, respect their privacy, but document the truth. Make it so eventually the details will be told after everyone is gone. This is my personal feelings on the subject.

  2. My grandfather was a convicted child-rapist, now many years dead. I did not want to know this truth, but it is truth. I haven’t shared the court records I’ve found publicly, but once I’ve scanned them, will be willing to share them with cousins who want them. There may be a child of rape alive, still. What information is right to give to that person? I guess we’ll have to work that out between us.

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