15 January 2011

Family History, Public Records, Privacy and Once-Secret Dossiers

Have you discovered some surprising, disturbing and even amusing things about your family members while exploring public records? 

The Wikipedia article about public records is quite interesting.  Are you compiling dossiers on your ancestors rather than trying to understand their role in your personal development and identity?  Have you even found official - perhaps even "secret" - dossiers on some of your ancestors?

It can come as quite a shock to read a dossier on someone you already know something about, especially as records from the past can reveal the prejudices of the authority figures who wrote the reports about your ancestors.  P

olice officers and military personnel (like diplomatic staff and journalists) sometimes take more interest in advancing their own careers than in producing an accurate and unbiased account of a situation.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.