Pilgrims & Puritans - Christians or Barbarians - Followup

+6 votes

Thanks to all for your responses; the views and opinions expressed were exciting and insightful.  In keeping with the Honor Code, we are all united in our mission.  It seems I may have unintentionally offended some of my fellow WikiTreers, and for that I sincerely apologize.  However, the primary point of my post was that "I feel the heroic and noble rhetoric in many of the bios should be eliminated.  I propose we simply stick with the facts as sourced."  In retrospect, I probably should have posted my comments on the Policy & Style forum page; or, at the very least, chosen a different title!  Sincerely, Wilbur-403.

in The Tree House by Eunice Pender G2G6 (8.1k points)
Hi Eunice, I hadn't seen your earlier post/discussion and what interesting reading it made. I know nothing about American history, its just not taught in schools on this side of the pond. So as someone who knows nothing about what was being discussed I think it was balanced (as in it showed different sides) and interesting.

No matter what country we are from; no matter what political or religious historical events we document in our profiles we always need to consider what we say and how we phrase things. To use a very very simple example; one of my first profiles of an ancestor killed in WW1, I changed the bio from 'shot by a German sniper' to 'shot by a sniper' when I read it I thought to myself, that looks wrong, that German soldier was most likely a boy too;  given the lives lost possibly he also didn't survive, and I hope his family remember his sacrifice too?

Sorry that does sound emotional, but my point is you're right, stick to facts. You can still be proud of what your ancestor did, its how you word the profile. I don't think you came across as offensive in anyway.

Lizzie, thanks for the thoughtful response, which I think was very much in keeping with the basic WikiTree's goal--to collaborate, be courteous, and increase knowledge to create "an accurate, single family tree that's open to the world".  The majority of WikiTreers have a desire to know who their forbears were--good, bad, or otherwise.  As well as how those ancestors may have played a role in shaping who we are today, no matter what part of the world we call home.
Family legends exist in some family genealogy books that were not just made on purpose but were passed down. They may most certainly be fictous,but as long as it's from a cited quote,then what's the harm in a little more biography . Sometimes these legends are good because they may have a spec of truth somewhere in them within the cited quote. There is a difference between a statement created today or by a fraudulent genealogist versus a family legend. Just don't rely on it. It certainly makes profile way less boring as well. Many people including myself have added these cited quotes too the bio along with the records,and spent a whole lot of time on the profile. The legend could have been in an obituary. It would be frustrating if some one simply just deleted it and added nothing too the profile,as many people just put "needs citation or more info on profiles and don't add any info.

One of my very direct ancestors who was in the revolutionary war made up a story about his father going out with a furry in battle,because his father actually was about 60 and died from exhaustion in a march. Which must have been humiliating too him who was a surviving veteran of that war. Maybe even was criticized about that. So then the legend has a strong cause rather than it just being made up for no reason.

1 Answer

+10 votes

Eunice, I wasnt offended because, really, I'm in a quandry about how to bio my several Confederate ancestors, as the very issues of the Civil War are with us today. But, I think I get your point, that if I were to laud those ancestors for what belived they were fighting for, then some folks would certainly take offence at my take on my ancestors service.

An example: At the Battle of Wilderness, my great-grandfather and two of his brother (and assorted cousins) held the gap in Lee's army as Hancock's Division threatened to break through and destroy Lee. Poague's Battalion, of which my relatives were members, threw grapeshot and cannister at the oncoming Yankees until Longstreet's Division could arrive and fill the gap, thus saving Lee's army.

Now, how do I present that? Though I am proud of my great-grandfather's service at this battle and to the end of the war at Appomattox, I don't need to perfume it up to. I just state the facts.

This can certainly play out a different way. I wonder how folks from Britain think about our deifying our Revolutionary ancestors (I have 13, my wife has seven). 

But an excellent point was made in one response you got. If I may paraphrase, WT is not the place to debate political, cultural, or pholisophical differences. Historical facts are historical facts. We welcome all, are courteous to all, and don't force folks into molds. I think Policy & Style have enough on their hands to keep us in check.  :-)

I think your question was well thought out. 

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.4m points)
I feel torn two ways on these sort of things - their was honor in their time - they were heros as Columbus and Cortez and all were discoverors and were honored for hundreds of years for their life work - and within my lifetime I see these folks that we looked up to now derided and all the negative -and I am not saying it is not a BIG negative side of all those stories - those history lessons come back to me - the Mission project we all did growing up in California and later - just recently we find out that that is when all the bad things in this place began - and it happened north and south and all over - Canada too and people were treated wrong, people were cheated then killed or driven from their homes their children taken, their culture practically obliterated - some groups totally wiped out and it is unforgivable it todays mindset - yet on it continues in the third world - Palm Oil takes the land away from primitive tribes on the Amazon, etc - we all must do what we can to show we HAVE learned from what we now see was wrong and will not let it continue

But we also must look back and try to see how in their eyes they did much of what they did through fear and to protect their own - what they thought was theirs to protect - the real bad thing is greed - and one of the things that draws us all here is the opposite of greed which is sharing - we come to this site not only because it is free - but so that we can help one another and share what we have with each other
Well said, Navarro. Said better than I did.

I see I got a flag for my previous comment. I hope no one mistook what I was saying, but if someone did, then I offer my most sincere and humble apology. I meant no offence. Do I need to clarify what I was saying? Please let me know. 

thank you Pip, and may I say - your part inspired me to say it that way I think

Double WELL said Navarro Thank you. Pip I was not  offended by the original post either.As the recipient of a red flag or two my self I conclude that some times  words and meaning can sometimes be misinterpreted.      

especially when I forget to proof read and say sometimes twice.  :)

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