My INfamous relatives
I get asked if I have any INfamous relatives in my tree. It would provide some great opportunities to discuss family history. Can that be added?
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
This was the common type of question I was asked whenever I mentioned to someone that I was researching my family tree. Usually, "Found any murderers?"
But I really don't know how you could expect infamous relatives to be highlighted to you by some piece of FamilySearch programming. There are many Family Tree users who would no doubt prefer the opposite - i.e., to hide the fact that their relative had, say, a criminal record. So, at the very least, to draw this information from the system it would need other users to (somehow) highlight these facts. Yes, just maybe a "Custom Fact" (like "Infamous" or "Criminal") that one could be able to filter on. But - realistically - I can't see any way of introducing such a feature, especially as it would require the cooperation of other users to identify a person as "infamous", even if a method could be devised of creating a list of such individuals.3
I'd see this as rather fraught with controversy and ill-will. What would be the definition of infamy and what would be the benefit of knowing we have a distant relative that fits the category?
The Famous Ancestors activity states that I am the 6th cousin five times removed of Abraham Lincoln. In other words, we have a common ancestor who lived in England in 1595. This is rather meaningless since I'm probably related to everyone in the United States with ancestors from England to about the same extent. But it's also a rather harmless bit of trivia. And if someone who doesn't understand how closely we are all actually related comes to Family Tree, sees he is also related to Abraham Lincoln, and starts treating his neighbor better in order to live up to that "heritage," there may be some mild benefit.
If the Famous Ancestors activity also stated that I am a relative of John Wilkes Booth, that would really be just as meaningless. But would we want anyone to come to FamilySearch and get traumatized or depressed over that "heritage"? Or decide to live up to it?
In any event, since FamilySearch is a website of a church which has in one of its thirteen Articles of Faith the statement "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things," I really can't see them adding such individuals to the Famous Ancestors activity.1