This (unintentional!) genealogy goof-up was early on in researching my own family; more specifically, my BRUGLIERA surname. The (totally unforeseen!) error shall be filed under: I Shook The Family Tree A Bit Too Hard or Way To Go, Gram!
In “starting with myself”, I knew my first stop was to see Grandma Brugliera. Unfortunately, my Great-Grandmother B died just a few years earlier; she would’ve had loads of family info and stories.
Upon asking, my Grandma pulled out some pencil-written notes on scrap paper. “Your Grandfather had started it a while before he died.” Wow! All sorts of Brugliera relatives and notes about them – nice!
Prior to that visit, I was on the fence about whether I was going to pursue this genealogy thing any further. With all sorts of other things happening at that time, it was surely the push that was needed. And the rest is (family) history!
Grandpa must’ve “knew” one of his grandchildren would be interested in knowing their ancestors more; it was merely a coincidence that I, the eldest, took on that challenge, continuing right where he left off. Anytime I would visit Gram, I’d gather a few more pieces of information, memories and excellent research clues.
So, one day she’s rattling off family facts and names…
“You know your Uncle ‘Frank’ was born in Brockton?”
“Yep, got that at the vital records office in Boston last month.”
“Oh, and there’s the son that his unmarried daughter [my cousin ‘Ann’] had and gave up for adoption.”
“Uhhhh, no – didn’t have him.”
“Yeah, he’d be a Brugliera; she being unmarried, right?”
“Errr – I guess.” Not really knowing how to answer that one.
“Then there’s another uncle on your grandfather’s mother’s side….”
And on she went.
I was kind of surprised that “Ann” had a baby and didn’t keep it, but then it was no surprise as I wasn’t all that close with her and her siblings. I gave it little thought afterwards. Until it was B Family Tree time…
Using a very crude early knockoff of Microsoft Word, I had compiled a 10-page “collection” of worldwide Bruglieras – past and present. I was very proud of my first family history, as more B’s in there were connected to others than not. I made stapled copies and handed them out to several relatives.
In keeping this family compilation manageable, I only included those that actually have/had the Brugliera name. Most of those decisions were easy, but then I came to the mystery baby boy of “Ann”. Should he be included? Sure, why not? He IS a Brugliera, so I’ll call him “unknown son Brugliera” with the adoption notation and leave it at that.
A few months later, I get a letter in the mail. It’s my cousin “Ann”, and she is some PISSED. “Why did you do this to me? Now my PARENTS know about this baby!” Uh, what – they DIDN’T?!?
Boy, did I feel like a total dope. I didn’t even THINK of that possibility – damn!
I replied to “Ann” with an apology and explanation. “Gram was helping me with the B Tree and your son was brought up. I made a note and she continued on. Gram mentioned it so matter-of-factly, I had erroneously assumed that it was public knowledge and that I was probably the last in the family to know about your son and subsequent adoption.”
I ended it with “You know, it was just Gram being Gram. Your son will be removed in the next revised Brugliera Family Tree.”
I heard nothing more from “Ann”, and the next time I saw her, oddly enough, was at Grandma B’s funeral. After greeting her, I again apologized for the mess I caused. She said “Oh, that’s been long resolved. We’re all cool; don’t worry about it!” And that was the end of that. Though I always include him in the grand total…
That B number is WELL over 174 now. And counting…
Thanks for all your family tree help, Gram! As I said, if it weren’t for you, I may currently be into some other “-ology”, such as entomology or gynecology. “You’re a women’s doctor?” “No, that’s ‘genealogist‘.”
The moral here is to tread lightly when speaking with living family members about OTHER living family members. Even though it may come off as “Oh, everybody knows THIS!”, it may not be so. Especially the living family members that are CLOSEST to the other living family members. Got all that??
If not, you can hire me, The Online Genealogist! And… I… will… repeat… it… all… much… much… more… slowly. Hey, I get paid by the hour – heh.