My theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. This week we arrive at the tricky letter X.
X is for SCANDALS: All along I had a rating for this letter, but then realised if I used it my spam mail was likely to be flooded, so scandals it is. Not precisely an attribute but we as family historians do need to cope with all those scandals and skeletons that come out of the cupboards, the ones that earlier generations carefully concealed: convicts, illegitimate children, adoptions in/out, bigamy, incest, murder, victims of crime, divorce, mental illness, extreme poverty, etc etc. While many of these would no longer gain that letter-rating I carefully didn’t mention, some can still bring us up short and others ensure that the information may well still be concealed within the family. How we deal with this information, balancing honesty in reporting with respect for the people whose lives they were, as well as for their living decendants, definitely needs to be part of our family historian attributes. Which takes us back to E for Ethics (not to mention eXcellence).
X is (not) for XENOPHOBIC: Thanks to a former Australian parliamentarian we’re all familiar with this word. Since many of us have ancestors who were immigrants from different cultures and countries we can hardly afford to be xenophobic about people from other lands. It becomes a challenge to learn all we need to know about their former lives, what conditions may have propelled them to emigrate etc.
X is for eXTRANEOUS: As genealogists we need the ability to sift the extraneous or the deliberately deceptive information we obtain or are given: to sort the wheat from the chaff. It’s all too easy to be beguiled by a fanciful story handed down through the generations but we do need to practice D for Discernment.
Can you think of any other X words that should be added to our list of family historian attributes?
Images from Microsoft Office clip art online.