21 June 2013


     I am re-posting (below) a short post from my blog about family stories, Spilling the Family Beans, because it raises important questions that family historians and genealogists often fail to consider as we plough our way through family records and stories and secrets.
     When asked whether family history information and records should be placed in the public domain and be easily accessible, many researchers answer ""yes" reflexively. But there are layers upon layers of questions to consider, many of them raised by the recently documentary Stories We Tell. I certainly do not have all the answers, and neither does this movie, but the questions are important and should be pondered by all family history researchers.
     My post reprinted as follows:
     When I was a young assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, I was intrigued by and amazed at the different stories told by eyewitnesses to the same crime. Each person who witnessed a crime saw the event from a different angle and perspective. The eyewitnesses' own backgrounds and emotions and prejudices colored their perceptions, and especially, their recollections. Where did the truth reside?
    These questions and more are addressed in director Sarah Polley's exquisite documentary Stories We Tell. What are our family stories? How are family secrets kept secret? Where is the truth in our stories? Whose version is the true version? Is there a true version? Who "owns" the story? Who "owns" the right to tell the story or to keep it hidden?
     I want to write pages and pages about the questions raised by Stories We Tell. But this movie is so full of surprises that I would certainly trip up and include a spoiler or two. So, watch the trailer:
    If the movie is not playing in a theatre near you, consider buying or renting the DVD version, scheduled to be released in September.