February 28th, 2011

a genealogical conundrum

I'm continuing to stew over how to structure a hypothetical book or books based on this unbelievable amount of material I'm sitting on. As long as I'm at it, I'd like to toss a question out to anyone interested in the topic.

When I'm communicating with people who are, shall we say, a generation or more further along the path of life than I am, I do my very best to be as non-judgmental and perspective-taking and understanding as possible. If I really admire someone, I'll say that flat out, but if I think someone was a worthless waste of space on the planet and it's a darn good thing they're dead and buried and it's a pity they were ever born (even if that would mean I didn't exist either), I don't even suggest such a thing.

When I'm communicating with age-peers or near-age-peers, particularly if I feel they are likely to understand me, even when I'm sputtering with irritation and possibly even rage, I'll say things like, "skanky".

Here's the question: genealogical work tends to be in the nature of a legacy work. Any suggestions on how to present this to future readers, from generations which follow mine/ours? Is the non-judgmental, perspective-taking and understanding tone the right one, or should I be ruthlessly candid? I can't be so candid and assume shared knowledge -- I'd have to explain the other factors that go into the judgment (Gramma isn't skanky because she got knocked up first and got married second. Gramma is skanky because she was a mean old woman who was awful about everyone else doing much less questionable things and lied like crazy about lots of things including her own actions and relished the prospect of God killing everyone else at Armageddon and lived in daily expectation of that happening right up until she died, nor did she hesitate to bring that subject up at every conceivable and many inconceivable moments. Possibly also because she was dumb enough to not take precautions, when we're pretty sure they were at least somewhat available at the time altho not like they are today.).

I can readily imagine arguments for either approach, and less readily imagine still other approaches. Any preferences? Which would _you_ prefer to read, if you were reading about your own ancestry?