What should I do about a "black sheep" discovered in my extended family?

+11 votes
I found a member of my extended family who murdered his wife and children back in the 1980's.  I do not wish to release the name yet as I am conflicted on what to do; so he and his victims are not on Wikitree yet.  The killer is serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania and is still alive.  His immediate relatives are deceased except for a surviving son who was adopted after his family was murdered and has a new name which has not ever been revealed.  The story of the crime was reported statewide in Pennsylvania and is part of the public record.  I don't want this to be an embarrassment for his other relatives, but I also feel that his heinous crime should be memorialized for his victims.  Your guidance would be greatly appreciated.
in Policy and Style by Ray Domanski G2G3 (3.3k points)
familysearch.org has a very extensive data base and they only display names of people after they are no longer alive. There is a waiting time before they will include a particular name, and I don't recall the duration.

I would rather do genealogy about persons who are no longer with us rather than on living persons.

It's your choice, but my input would be to wait until later.
Only the killer is alive, his victims have been deceased for 27 years.  Should I just add the victims names with no mention of the circumstances of their death?  Thanks for your help!!!
I would leave it alone. Sometimes people break out and go after others. It's almost Christmas. Let his maker deal with it when the time comes.
Geez Louise.  I can't help think of the surviving son, as an adoptee, not being able to find his family.  One bad apple does NOT spoil the whole tree, and it's difficult to get behind those bad apples.   I like the advise you got about locking them up and having someone else there too.  Too many times one generation of dopes can cut us off from a really cool history.  Or perhaps, explain how we got where we are.   Plus, your documenting it, takes away those hissing sounds in the corners of family gatherings.   I like to think that shedding light sends roaches away.

3 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer
You can set that particular info as private and only the dates of birth and death will be reflected. I do that with members as well as info that I either am not ready to reveal as I havent confirmed it or at the request of the relative.
by Dawn Wright G2G Crew (680 points)
selected by Ray Domanski
That's what I would do. Create the profiles for the deceased people as (red) Private, or Private with Public Family Tree if you want to show the family relationships.

Only members of the trusted list can see the biography of a profile with those privacy settings, so that's where the details of the crime should go.

And find a trusted relative to be co-manager of the profiles, so the information will not be lost if you should also depart suddenly.
+3 votes
Hi Raymond, welcome aboard.  You might want to read through this thread, and some of the links provided, to get some different perspectives on this topic:

by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (458k points)
+2 votes
I have a similar situation with a relative dated 1897. I chose to create a profile for the victim only. I did list newspaper accounts on the victim's profile.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)

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