The brother of an ancestor got drunk and belligerent with his mother. His brothers were unable to restrain him and the county sheriff came and arrested him. He served a month in the county jail.
An aunt’s husband attempted to murder her while she was pregnant. He never served jail time and, based upon their adjacent burial in a local cemetery, I’m concluding they never were divorced.
A relative passed him off in a town about ten miles from where his wife was still living. When his wife found out about the girlfriend, he ran off-with another woman.
A relative borrowed a substantial sum from his grandmother and was supposed to execute a mortgage to secure the payment. He never did and was unsuccessfully sued by her estate when she died.
I have an uncle who hung himself in his barn for his teenaged daughter to find him.
I have an aunt who disemboweled herself when her abdomen was apparently riddled with cancer.
And there is more.
There is solid evidence in every case as every situation generated one or more documents.
But how much do I share?
That can be a difficult question to answer.
Years ago, in an attempt to interest a relative in our ancestor, I told her everything about our common female ancestor. After reading the relative’s biography on the website of the university where she was employed, I thought she would be interested in a strong female ancestor who apparently lived life on her own terms. Apparently my storytelling was too much. After I spilled the beans about the ancestor, my relative stopped answering my emails. Maybe the murder, divorces, and accidental death were simply too much for her.
Do I tell a relative who may have old pictures I don’t know how her great-grandfather ended his life? They may not share those pictures with me if I mention his cause of death.
How much can you omit without altering the story?
How soon do you spill the beans to that new found cousin?