Gransnet forums


Ethical problem?

(28 Posts)
AlieOxon Fri 17-Oct-14 20:24:18

I've just seen (it wasn't sent to me) a story of the life of - call him Col. X., a distant relative, who died in the middle of the last century.
It is I think accurate in most particulars and has taken a lot of research to produce.

Except that the person who wrote it, about a parent, has chosen to change the name and sex of the firstborn child, all the way through.
This person has had a 'sex change' - that was their choice; BUT has gone back to apparently change history.

You cannot change your birth certificate, and this will make future research impossible...I can't accept this!

Comments please?

thatbags Fri 17-Oct-14 20:34:25

A change in someon's marital status changes that from the date on the marriage certificate.

A change of name by someone who changes their name by deed poll changes from the date of the deed.

A change of sex dates from whatever legal document acknowledges that change, not from the birth.

I suppose the sex-changed person in this story does not really regard it as a change of gender but rather as an acknowledgement of their true gender despite biological clues suggesting otherwise at birth.

AlieOxon Fri 17-Oct-14 20:51:16

This is probably so - but it seems grotesque to me.

And from the current name, no-one could trace the parents......

AlieOxon Fri 17-Oct-14 20:52:38

It just seems wrong, to do this in the context of writing what is supposed to be the truth!

thatbags Fri 17-Oct-14 21:21:40

Is there not a way of tracing back to the original parental name via deed poll or whatever other way the name was changed?

Can you make comments or changes to the record?

rosequartz Fri 17-Oct-14 21:33:24

I am always very meticulous about family history research for that sake of future generations if nothing else, but many people seem to take a 'leap of faith' which really annoys me. I think everything should be accurately researched and recorded and that includes any change in status such as marriage, or in this case a change of name and sex.

It is not something I have come across, but even so, obfuscation like this is of no help to future generations. Facts are facts.

AlieOxon Fri 17-Oct-14 21:45:43

So far as I can find, this 'life' is not online at the moment.

I have gone into my own tree on Ancestry and recorded simply the change of name with a rough I don't know when this was.

Might help someone in the future!

rosequartz Fri 17-Oct-14 21:58:49

According to one FH on Ancestry our family is descended from Henry VIII (all absolute rubbish of course, she hasn't even got the right person!).
I have asked her to delete it but no response - unless it is a private tree it is out there for all the world to see and copy.

Nelliemoser Fri 17-Oct-14 22:55:19

Having done quite a bit of family history I have discovered there are many inaccuracies in official documents. It makes family history a mine field.

I am working on one at the moment where there are huge questions about the date of birth of the husband of an ancestor.

This husband is documented in 1820 in Bishops transcripts of a marriage as being 20. Husband's specialist profession and home town is clearly recorded on the marriage licence and I have several good sources of evidence that this man husband is that of my ancestor.

However he is stated in most census records and details about his business to have been born in 1811. I am at present trying to find out more about this discrepancy at a Museum in the town connected with his business interests.

AlieOxon Sat 18-Oct-14 09:52:37

Someone on Ancestry stole my Welsh grandmother.
I sent a polite message to point this out....all I got back was a stiff acknowledgement - I've never been back to see if it was corrected, I would get too angry if it wasn't!

Elegran Sat 18-Oct-14 10:04:59

I spent time researching something and told someone else about it, then saw it posted by him on a big website as "his" research. And he posted some other stuff about a different part of the family which was rubbish - I got that changed by an email to the webmaster with a true account complete with references, something my plagiariser never bothered with.

rosequartz Sat 18-Oct-14 16:26:16

Alie that is what happened with my tree - someone 'stole' my paternal 3xgreat grandmother (same name but wrong place and date of birth) but then included her and the rest of my family in her potty tree and did not even acknowledge several messages. I have now made my tree private. I do not wish to be connected to Henry VIII!

Someone else has his family research all over the internet on several sites and his own website; he has included my maternal 3xgreat grandmother and all her ancestry - but again the name of his ancestor is the same but not the date or place of birth! No response there either.

Ancestry website were not in the slightest bit interested - in their opinion people are entitled to put what they wish into their trees. Some people have even managed to trace their Ancestry back to Adam and Eve. Remarkable!

granjura Sat 18-Oct-14 16:39:14

We recently found out that OH's grand mother was not the nationality, ethnic group or even Continent as we'd always been told. Lots of reasons for the original lie in the book written about OH's grand-father- partly due to Apartheid and racism in South Africa. We only found out due to our grand-daughter having Ovalocytes (unsual oval shaped red blood cells) - and I asked via FaceBook some relatives in Cape Town- who said 3 of the girls had them- and then explained why. Some of our UK relatives who'd known said grand-mother have found it near on impossible to cope with the 'new truth' - if at all.

rosequartz Sat 18-Oct-14 16:55:09

Of course, some mistakes happened because many of our ancestors probably could not read or write (well, perhaps not yours but possibly mine!), so names were written by the person calling door to door and taking the details down for the census. For instance, we have a family name of Honor which was written down as Ona, and ages were often fluid for reasons best known to the people giving the information. DH's g-grandfather 'lost' about 12 years off his age at one point when he appeared to be living apart from his wife.

AlieOxon Sat 18-Oct-14 17:52:01

Yes, one of my gggrandmothers lost some age as she got married, ending up only ONE year older than her husband. She got older again later!

I have one ggauntie who signed with an X.....

pompa Sat 18-Oct-14 18:00:00

We spend thousands of hours researching our families.
primarily most of us initially trace our paternal line, BUT-
With the fairly common occurrence that the true father is not the one on the birth certificate or if prior to 1837, parish records, we do not truly know our paternal line, only the recorded one.

Elegran Sat 18-Oct-14 18:49:17

One great-great-grandmother not only shed some years when she remarried, she also gave a false name and mislaid her first husband. I have found no trace of his death or of any divorce.

It is definitely her - my grandmother knew her and her second husband, who had a distinctive name (and the timing of the marriage was seven months or so before she produced a daughter)

rosequartz Sat 18-Oct-14 20:26:01

pompa that true, although I would dispute the fact that it was quite a common occurrence. Of course if you have old family photographs and, like me, you look like your paternal great grandfather you know it is the right line - oh that I looked like my maternal grandmother but alas no!

And we had a newly found second cousin of DH who visited from Canada last year and she cried when she saw the family resemblance of DH with her great uncles.

pompa Sat 18-Oct-14 20:39:36

When you go back 400 or more years, I suspect it is not an uncommon occurrence, not of course in every family, but in the overall picture.

Also children were adopted into another family with no documentation whatsoever, usually as a charitable action.

We are pretty certain that this has happened in our tree. We have over 500 people in our tree, statiscally it must have occurred more than the once. Generations ago, if a woman had a baby by another man, unless she told her husband, the chance was no one would know.

rosequartz Sat 18-Oct-14 20:56:13

Also children were adopted into another family with no documentation whatsoever, usually as a charitable action.
pompa that happened with my maternal family. I have found out quite a lot about my family from the descendants of the person who was adopted informally. However, his own biological ancestors were quite easy to trace too as he kept his own surname.

I have seen some trees with thousands of people, it must be very confusing and difficult to keep track.

pompa Sun 19-Oct-14 08:14:06

My point in this is that even when we think we have found a paper trail, there are traps all along the way that often make it difficult to be 100% sure of the true facts.
But, this was/is all part of the fun of genealogy, trying to determine the most likely line. Sifting through the variation in name, dates etc. If it was easy, what fun would it be.

We have a cousin that was adopted without documentation, but she retained her name and we managed to trace her. She also had a sister, who, we assume, changed her name to that of her adoptive family, after her birth certificate, we can find no trace of her, no death, marriage, military or passenger registers etc. We live in hope that we will find some clue eventually.

durhamjen Sun 19-Oct-14 17:19:27

I have had messages from Americans who say that Mary Milner, who was married to the Earl of Strathmore, is buried in whatever state they live in. Then, of course, they link their family tree to the Royal Family.

She is buried at Gibside.

rosequartz Sun 19-Oct-14 17:56:27

I have some ancestors who were buried, apparently, in Virgina, USA, before it was discovered (according to to other 'researchers').

AlieOxon Sun 19-Oct-14 19:53:13

To go back to my original post, a couple of people have asked me if it's possible this has been sent to us because the person has died.

...I have found a Social Security Death Index for the UK which, although not fully searchable, is telling me that there is no death certificate for either sex name for 2013 or 2014.

So why send it now, and with no address?

rosequartz Sun 19-Oct-14 20:10:50

Did they emigrate?
Is the person who wrote it the first born child?
Would they get a new certificate and have to change their name by deed poll?

I agree, you can't change history, only note the change when it occurs.