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13 February 2014

Some People Just Won't Tell Certain Things

No matter how often you ask or how many ways you try to get an answer, some people will not tell certain details about themselves or their close family members.

There comes a time when you have to realize that a relative may know things that they simply are not going to talk about. Period.

My own grandma knew her brother was divorced for several years before he was killed in a car accident in the 1930s. She never told me. She also knew about her step-grandmother and where she was buried. She never told me that either. Other things she readily shared.

But there are times when people won't tell you certain things. If it's a close family member, consider whether or not it's worth straining your relationship to get that one detail.

Especially if you think they'll never tell you anyway.


  1. Its a good point. My grandparents are actually my great-aunt and great-uncle. We never knew until after my grandmother passed. She never wanted us to know she wasn't able to have children and raised her sister's child as her own.

  2. Thanks for this Tip. I think this sort of thing happened a lot more than we realized "back then". If you've ever wondered why a particular marriage or birth record can't be found, perhaps there never was one.

    I've come across a case where a "couple" had three children but no marriage could be found. When the children asked their "parents" about this later in life, the answer was something like "you don't need to know that".

    1. I found Canadian birth records for 13 children by a couple. I also found their Canadian marriage record, which was dated just before the last 3 were born. I wondered at the time, if the older children nagged at them to get married. :D

  3. When I was researching my Kentucky roots, I found a couple of children born before the marriage. My mother explained to me that sometimes back then the couple had a "ceremony" of marriage and had children. Then the judge would come to town later and marry them legally. She also told me that the reason most marriages took place in spring and summer was that that was the time of the yearly bath and there were flowers in bloom to also give a nice aroma to the festivities.

  4. Sometimes we have come across in research where a woman has taken a child as her own, even signing the birth record as the birth mom when there was a wandering husband to call into account. We figured out the pattern by following his trail and the newspaper reports of incidents that happened. In this particular case she was a very good & kind person who gave someone else a future.