DEAR ABBY: I am a genealogist who is working with my mother on a family history, and we're not sure how to handle a situation that has come up.
A relative, "Mary," had a child, "Jane," out of wedlock. Mary's parents raised Jane as their own, so everyone in the family refers to Jane as Mary's sister, rather than her daughter. My mother knows the truth -- as do other relatives -- but no one acknowledges this publicly. Mom thinks we should put the truth about Jane in our family history. However, I'm afraid if we do, it will upset my grandmother.
As a historian, I think we should print the facts. However, there has already been a great deal of feuding in that part of our family, so I hate to add fuel to the fire.
What's the best way to handle this? -- SKELETON IN THE CLOSET
DEAR SKELETON: The most skillful diplomat in your family should approach your grandmother tactfully and assess her feelings. If she would be hurt or embarrassed by the revelation, perhaps those facts should be kept "private" for another generation. Announcements of this kind can be bombshells with reverberations that echo through the entire family. While it is important to have an accurate family tree, and people are more open-minded today than they were a generation ago, there is no reason to make public at this time a revelation that could further fracture your family.