Is it enough? (To not use the names of living individuals)

Is it enough?

(To not use the names of living individuals)

The stepson of a grand uncle of mine recently contacted me. I had written about his mother and stepfather a few years ago and he found my blog posting to be fascinating. His mother married my grand-uncle when he was about two and a half. In my posting, I mentioned that his mother had a child when he was four-years-old. The child, a boy, was a half-sibling; he and the baby had a common mother but different fathers. What he found so fascinating was that neither he nor his other half-siblings had any knowledge of the child who was born and died about seven weeks later.
My wife commented about the encounter, “What if the mother didn’t want anyone to know?” Was I right in telling the story? It is a tough moral question. I rested my hat upon the following facts:

Both mother and father had passed.
The child had passed (as an infant).
I didn’t name any living individuals in my story.
Last, but not least, I had the sources that told the factual story.

Nevertheless, my wife’s comments made me think. What should be the criteria about when not to tell a story? I try to be careful about never telling the names of living people, is that enough?

Please leave any thoughts or comments below.
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One thought on “Is it enough? (To not use the names of living individuals)”

  1. I've written quite a few stories that put me through the test of deciding whether to post or not. Like you, I think about how old the events are and who might be affected today. I also consider whether the events are a matter of public record or simply family lore.

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