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Old 02-12-2019, 03:58 PM
 
5 posts, read 2,492 times
Reputation: 10

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I've been doing genealogical research for an adopted man. I've found his biological mother and just recently his biological father. After doing some digging on his father, I've found some very negative information that I am reluctant to share with the son. I'm sure it would hurt and embarrass him if he knew this information. I don't think he would find it on his own. Is it ethical to withhold this negative information?
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
21,602 posts, read 4,540,908 times
Reputation: 26453
No it's not ethical.

He paid you to do this...and you did. The consequences are out of your hands.

Mind your own business.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:33 PM
 
5 posts, read 2,492 times
Reputation: 10
No, he did not pay me; does that make a difference?
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:36 PM
 
86 posts, read 41,528 times
Reputation: 529
Why not ask him? Tell him you have learned some very unpleasant things and if he would like to know them you are willing to share. If he would rather not know, then you have at least given him the choice. He should at least have a choice.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere
1,308 posts, read 1,776,181 times
Reputation: 2496
If this is an adult, I think you should ask him if he would like to know everything your search yields (good and bad). If he says that he would like both then I think you have a duty to disclose that.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:34 PM
 
4,315 posts, read 3,687,450 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargazy View Post
I've been doing genealogical research for an adopted man. I've found his biological mother and just recently his biological father. After doing some digging on his father, I've found some very negative information that I am reluctant to share with the son. I'm sure it would hurt and embarrass him if he knew this information. I don't think he would find it on his own. Is it ethical to withhold this negative information?
Just the facts. Try to avoid interpretting information or supposing what may have happened by what you've found.
Give him the copies of all the documents & newspaper articles, etc., so he can read them & draw his own conclusions.
Information is power in its own way, even if it is very negative.
It is not up to the researcher to parse the information on basis of unpleasantness.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:29 PM
 
Location: VT; previously MD & NJ
2,014 posts, read 1,183,981 times
Reputation: 5743
Tell him you found some unpleasant information about his father. Then put the information in a sealed envelope and give him that. Let him decide if/when he wants to open it.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:27 AM
 
Location: Eugene, Oregon
8,043 posts, read 2,558,313 times
Reputation: 11295
Of course this person will want to know everything you've found. It would be against human nature to not be curious. And that's why he asked you to do the research. You're not responsible for what his biological family members have done. You are the messenger, not the perpetrator. Share it all with him, without any judgmental interpretations. And it goes without saying, to keep it all confidential, as I'm sure he trusts you to do.
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Lincroft
89 posts, read 80,021 times
Reputation: 99
Anytime I do genealogy work for a friend or family, I asked them at least three times - are you sure? As I will report everything back and some of it may not be pleasant. My ex-MIL was astonished and upset what I found about her father and family - she actually asked me to stop - something are better left in the closet.
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
3,721 posts, read 4,098,621 times
Reputation: 6810
"Is it ethical to withhold this negative information?"
Yes.
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