Family History Alphabet: A Plethora of P attributes

My theme for the Family History through the Alphabet is the Attributes we need as family historians: the skills, experience and talents we need to bring to our research. We’re powering through the alphabet and Week 16 brings us a plethora of “P” characteristics.

P is for Privacy: No, not our own, though that they may also come into it as we happily write our stories on our blogs. Equally importantly we need to respect the privacy of living family members and not post their online willy-nilly, or in a printed publication without their Permission.  I don’t advocate strict privacy for those in the distant past, as their records are usually already in the public domain. However it’s worth remembering to treat their stories with respect, tell the truth but don’t sensationalise it.

Mindful of the privacy of others.

P is for Permissions: we need to be mindful that we must get permissions from our relatives before sharing their information.  Another privacy issue is the golden rule of not sharing someone else’s emails or addresses without their permission.

P is for Perspective:  Social values change over time so we need to assess our families’ actions within the Prism of their era and historical context.

P is for Patience:  Despite what we see on genealogy shows like WDYTYA, this obsessionhobby takes time. There’s no professional genealogist there to hand us the very document we’re looking for, no archivists waiting to greet us at the door and respond to our particular research questions. We need a vast amount of patience to work our way steadily back through time.

Persistence and patience pay off.

P is for Persistence: The corollary to patience if we’re going to find those missing clues.  Sometimes I think it’s the family members who make us work the hardest to find them, that we appreciate the most.

P is for Perspicacity: Well yes, I know this is the same as D for Discernment, but how could I resist?

P is for Possessive:I don’t know about you but sometimes I get just a teeny weeny bit possessive of my families

P is for Plenty: Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much we have to be grateful for along this quest: the plentiful resources and the plentiful generosity of others.

Do you have other P words to add to our suite of attributes?

Images from Office Clip Art (except for the FH Alphabet).

13 thoughts on “Family History Alphabet: A Plethora of P attributes

  1. Permission and Privacy are ones that really stand out for me, as I found my own family online with full details on a free public family tree site from some guy I’d never heard of, or ever given info to. It was rather confronting to see it all up there for everyone to see. The other P word I’ve thought of is Proud. Think of our ancestors, and what they went through. Surely many of them make us proud of who we are, and our heritage.


    1. Proud is an excellent addition Alona. I’m always horrified by the vacuum genealogists who think nothing of slurping up info and publishing without a care in the world. I hope you got him to take the details down.


  2. I think the P words here sum it up better than any letter so far. I once came across my family info (wrong info) inserted into the wrong tree. Thanks to a cousin-in-law who shared her wrong information. Couldn’t get them to take it down. Pathetic.


  3. Another great post Pauleen which encourages us all to think about the ways in which we pursue, and share, our love of family history.
    Privacy and Permission are two HUGE ones for me. I choose not to post about living family members and am also mindful of getting permission to post any family stories/ photos that have come to me from others.
    Proud is a wonderful addition, Alona. Am constantly just about “bursting out allover” re: my pride in the way my Ancestors took on seemingly insurmountable challenges to create a better life for themselves and their descendants. Only way to pay this back, I reckon, is to honour them by sharing their stories 🙂 …


    1. Thanks for the comment Catherine…as so often we’re on the “same page” with this. And Pride in our ancestors was a big omission and has now gone on my list thanks to Alona. Hopefully our family stories will give others pride in them too. (PS you wnt into the spam basket…why I ask myself after all your comments).


      1. Oh, thanks for the tip Pauleen. Realise now that I need to check my “spam basket” … like I’ve now learnt to do with my emails… Never “crossed my mind”, before 🙂 …


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