JMB Family History

This page is where I will be slowly publishing my family tree research, most of it which is currently residing in the databases at Ancestry.com.

Ancestry.com (and their Family Tree Maker software) is a great resource, but I really don’t like my research to be locked away in a proprietary system, so I’m publishing here it here over time.


Table of Ancestors

 

 


Index of Names


Frequently Asked Questions and Privacy Policy

 

1. What information does this website share about living people?

To comply with both federal law and basic understandings of ethics in genealogy, I will be only providing the following information on people who are alive:

With Permission* Without permission*
Living people over age 13 I can publish as much or as little as you want. I will list your name and your place in the family tree only,
but if you would rather not have your name listed at all,
I can replace it with “LIVING PERSON” or just your initials.
Living Children under age 13 It’s up the parent(s) to decide, but I would suggest only including
the child’s name, year of birth (but not full date), and a picture.
I will just list “LIVING CHILD”
Celebrities/Public Figures over age 13 I will make any changes or corrections requested by the individual. We have a few famous people we are related to, including one living former US President.
So for these folks, I will provide information that is publicly available and
that is found to be reliably accurate. (For more information on privacy issues under US law for “public figures”)

2. How are non-biological ties of kinship shown (i.e. children by adoption, step-children, etc.)

This is a tricky issue to me and one that is personal to me. 3 of my 5 siblings are adopted and my only child is a step-son.

I think it is very important to affirm the idea that kinship is about all kinds of ties beyond biology, while at the same time, I think it is critical that a child who has been adopted or has been raised in a blended family, to be able to maintain and claim all of their family connections.

And finally, different people have different desires when it comes to how much information is shared about their family ties.

So, my policy for this project is as follows:

  • For deceased people – To the extent these connections are known, I will show all of them (i.e. biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, etc.), but it should be known that in previous generations these kinds of arrangements were often informal in nature and may or may not show up in government records. There are also occasions when the facts at stake might have been embarrassing (i.e. a so-called “illegitimate” child) and hence the truth may be hard to determine. But to the extent possible, I will seek to tell the truth on this project and cite the various references to the events in question.
  • For living people – I will follow the privacy policies mentioned above. If permission is granted (by the individual if age 13 or over, or by parent(s) for individuals under 13), I would be honored to share the full extent of an individual’s connections (i.e. listing biological and adoptive and/or step and/or foster parents), but otherwise I will simply list the individuals as they are known publicly. (I.e. an adopted person will simply be listed as the child of the adoptive parent, without any reference to them being adopted).

 

3. What about “skeletons in the closet” (embarrassing facts or stories), will these be shared and if so, why?

History isn’t pretty and no family is composed of only saints or villains. But I think the truth should be told, in context.

Which means that I will be discussing the fact that some of our ancestors did some bad things, including the terrible evil of claiming to own other human beings (aka slavery). I will also though be discussing some heroic and good stories too, and will seek to put historical events in the context of their time, while at the same time, not whitewashing the past. This will be tricky and will be an ongoing challenge.

4. What is your approach to oral history?

Parts of our family tree are backed up by solid sources (census records, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, probate records, land records, military records, church records etc.), while other parts are based solely on oral history (stories passed down from generation to generation)>

Oral history can be accurate (and is often the only way to find out some parts of history)

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