What’s only a date for your files, is a sad life event for the family.
Genealogy is more than just dates and we sometimes forget that.
Last week a friend of a good friend of mine passed away. The week before the great baby granddaughter of a cousin passed away. The week before that the nephew of a friend commited suicide. The week before that the father-in-law of a friend passed away.The week before that a brother of a friend of a friend commited suicide. The month before that a friend’s mom passed away. For me all of this was divided into before the flood and after the flood. I know I sent a sympathy note before the flood. The week of the flood and the six weeks after that have all been a blur, I don’t think I sent cards much less notes. So much was going on, the days had no exact beginning or ending time, my empathy bucket may have just been empty, but it doesn’t change the fact that I felt sad for each of them and wished that there wasn’t so much pain in each of their lives. I doubt any of those people will remember or care, they were already in a world of hurt, but if they did, Marcia, Dianne, Laura, Charla and Jocelyn, I am sorry you have had such pain.
The death of a loved one causes some pretty fierce emotions. You hear about decade-long fights and disagreements that erupt at funerals or after the reading of a will because this is such a stressful time for those involved. People say and do thoughtless things under stress. Then while everyone is gathered together, they talk. Thus grudges are born, rehashed, sealed, forgiven or cemented.
When you are searching for genealogical information, you want dates for births, marriages, divorces and deaths. Two of those life events are life affirming and two are not. Be gentle and empathetic when you ask for divorce and death dates especially for those whose lives are in the same generation or one away. It may still be very painful to remember or discuss.
When you are searching for family history you may hear some pretty amazing stories, both positive and negative. Just as everything seems rosier through the lens of the birth of a new baby or a family wedding, everything can seem darker through the pain and loss of death or divorce. Check your premises; when did the story begin?