Fact v. Family Stories

We have been drilled to stick to the facts in genealogy. Family stories are just that, stories. “Three brothers came to America” and “my ancestor was an Indian princess” probably are without more than a grain of truth, if that. Find the record. Get the facts. And, of course, document the facts.

Now we are told to “flesh out” the family. Ask the old folks for stories. Ask those who remember the prior generations what they can tell you. Genealogists are told to record these stories, write about them, add them to their records.

Ancestry is pushing this big time. It’s very annoying. You have to push those promotions aside to get to the records. I assume the other sellers of genealogy related items aren’t far behind.

Does anyone else see a contradiction here? First we are to ignore the stories and get the facts. Now we are to record the stories and perpetuate the myths. Is that to make it more interesting to the masses so more people get involved in genealogy (and buy subscriptions to, say, Ancestry)?

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One Response to Fact v. Family Stories

  1. chmjr2 says:

    I think the push is to get the correct stories. Also the true stories can be so much better than any of the fictional stories. I can say for certain that is true in my own family. It just take more research and detective work to get the facts and the stories behind them. When you add a story (from an interview) in which a fact or two are not correct you can always make a notation about it. However I love hearing family stories from older relatives. The sad part is now I am one of those older relatives.

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