7 Ways to Deal with Sensitive Issues

posted in: Family History, Genealogy | 0

Over the years I have run into several sensitive issues on various sides of the family.

Each family has a different way of dealing with this information.  For some families it is a well known secret, for others they do not want to discuss the information and for other families they have been asked to wait until certain individual{s} involved have passed away.

Don’t forget to be careful with sensitive information and respond in a sensitive manner

So what do you do when you run into sensitive issues?

  1. First and foremost, you honor the request
  2. Listen, but do not judge—we never know how we would react in a given situation
  3. Understand the circumstances and time period—situations were handled much differently 30… 50… 70… 100 years ago then they are today. There was a lot of things that were not discussed or as they saying goes “Swept under the carpet”.  Many situations were considered taboo in their time.
  4. Do what you’re asked—for instance one family provided me with information but asked that I not include it in any research until their loved one was deceased. That was a request I still honor.
  5. Understand this is a sensitive issue—if the family does not want to discuss the situation than drop it; if you’re asked to wait then you wait
  6. Handle the situation with kid gloves—approach the situation as if it is a sensitive situation and don’t go in with guns blazing
  7. Realize that stigma’s may still exist and accept that. Possibly with the passage of time the individual{s} involved or affected will be willing to share more information, but accept they may never be willing to accept any information

How have you deal with sensitive situations in your family history?

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