How Do You Record Bad News?

Recently I shared the story of finding out my great-grandfather had served time in prison. It’s a story I find sad, but also a great anecdote. For me, it was a great find and something I had never heard.

However, only after I shared the story I wondered if another one of his decendents would have taken offense to my sharing the story. (For the record, no one has.) I then began to think about hearing bad stories about someone on your tree, and if they should be shared.

A couple years ago someone reached out to me on Ancestry. We had a close match through DNA, but she couldn’t find a common relative. I looked as well, and after exchanging a few messages, our communication fizzled.

Cut to a few months later, when I received another message from her. She had discovered that the man who raised her mother was not in fact her biological father, and thought she had uncovered our link: she thought her grandfather and my great-grandfather were the same person. This claim threw me for a loop. I had never heard any stories, and I was particularly close to my grandma, and I became defensive. Not defensive towards her, but to other family members towards the situation. I didn’t want to believe my great-grandfather would have done such a thing.

It turned out her hunch was wrong, and she was looking at the wrong branch. I was relieved.

When I consider these stories, I wonder just how much family history should be shared. I know a story of a family member, something she spoke of, but I wonder if sharing it might hurt someone else. Is it something I don’t record, because someone else may be offended?

So I want to know, what would you do? Do I share the story, or keep it private? All the individuals directly involved have passed, but I would hate to upset other family members.


St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick's Day

Growing up I didn’t really pay much attention to St. Patrick’s Day. I didn’t know of any Irish ancestors. Green is not my color. It was a holiday I just didn’t connect with.

Little did I know, I am Irish on my mom’s side of the family! My 3x great-grandparents James and Catherine Moore immigrated to Canada from Ireland. They settled in Ontario where they raised five children.

It was their granddaughter Etta who would them immigrate to the United States.

Etta Moore McCallum
Etta Moore McCallum, circa 1908.

I still don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day per say, but I am proud of my Irish ancestors! Without researching my family history, I never would have known about my connection to Ireland, one of the reasons researching my family is important to me.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,




Welcome to Family History Food!

I’m glad you are here!

I have been researching my family history for six years, discovering stories about ancestors I never knew. Last year during a trip to San Diego, my mom and I discovered that her grandma once worked for the Marston family, whose home sits in Balboa Park and is now a historic site. She was their pastry chef, working in the kitchen pictured.

It was something my mom never knew. She knew her grandmother liked to bake, something passed down to my grandma, then to my mom, and then to me, but she never knew that is how she made a living.

Unfortunately, none of her recipes remain. She knew everything from memory, so this part of our family history has been lost.

My own maternal grandma left boxes of recipes behind, and I have been thinking about the best way to preserve this part of our family. I have many memories tied to certain dishes, and because I feel food is important to many, I think every family has family traditions and/or memories around food. This site will do just that: it will serve as a place to share recipes, but also to share tips and tricks to preserve your own family history.

On Family History Food I will cover a variety of topics:

Recipes: I will share many of my own family recipes, from dishes we ate growing up to recipes we just uncovered and have never made. Recently I have been uncovering recipes at estate sales, and will share some of those as well. Our family has strong traditions tied to food and recipes, especially around holidays, and I hope sharing some of ours will allow you to remember your own traditions as well. Plus there will be lots of great recipes.

Tips: I will share tips related to cooking, genealogy, etc. I am working on preserving my family history, and will share the steps I am taking, what I have learned, and what you can do to begin work on your own.

Shop: A shop full of a variety of vintage items, from clothing to cookbooks. I will post new items all the time! You can find the shop at

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