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Nearly Two Thirds of Family Historians Are Distressed by What They Find – Should DNA Kits Come With Warnings?

28 Jun 2023 8:47 AM | Anonymous

I found an interesting article by Cheryl Winn-Boujnida, published in TheConversation web site:

In 2019, Doreen Rosenthal and I surveyed 775 Australian hobbyist family historians to examine their motivations.

They were adults aged between 21 and 93, but most were older and the median age was 63. The majority (85%) were women. This seems to be typical of hobbyist family historians. Women often take on the role of “kin keeper” – and have the time to devote to it when they’ve finished rearing children and have retired from paid work

Most family historians are older women. 

Survey respondents described why they were passionately engaged with their hobby – and how it made them feel. Some 48% “sometimes” felt strong negative emotions about what they found, while 15% did “often”.

There were five common distress triggers.

You can read the full article at:


  • 29 Jun 2023 4:50 AM | Anonymous
    Hi Dick,

    The actual author of this article is Susan Moore. I know Susan, and she and Doreen along with one other are the authors of "The Psychology of Family History: Exploring Our Genealogy". I was one of the many genealogists who completed the survey on which the book and this article were based.
    Link  •  Reply
  • 29 Jun 2023 9:54 AM | Anonymous member
    I didn't need DNA to find the skeletons in my family's closets - basic research uncovered those secrets. We embark on our genealogy journey because we want to know about our ancestors, and it should surprise no one that there might be uncomfortable truths ahead. If you don't want to know what's behind that door, don't open it. Otherwise, dive in - but be kind enough to recognize that your relatives may be happier not knowing (or having the whole world know when you put in online).
    Link  •  Reply

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