Hidden from Family History: The Ethics of Remembering

Robb, Martin (2024). Hidden from Family History: The Ethics of Remembering. Genealogy, 8(2), article no. 51.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/genealogy8020051


This article draws on case studies or ‘microhistories’ from the author’s own research to explore the ethical responsibility of family historians to represent the experiences of those whose lives have been ‘hidden from history’, and in particular the lives of one’s female ancestors, as a way of correcting the omissions and erasures of official histories. It also discusses the ethical dilemmas posed by the discovery that one’s ancestors were involved in activities that are now regarded as morally suspect, such as profiting from the ownership of slaves. Finally, the article debates ethical arguments about respecting the rights of the dead to privacy.

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