Sunday, March 30, 2014

Followup to Sensationalism used as a means of selling books

A flurry of emails back and forth over the past couple of days has hopefully now come to a close. It was not a subject which I particularly wanted to discuss since I believe it belongs in the past where it happened. I am not in favour of sensationalism and especially wonder at the right of a person to publish such a story when it isn't even their own family (and they lack that intimate knowledge of the circumstances around the family). However, that being said, I refused to allow my research to be part of her book and also I refused permission to use my 2x great grandfather's picture in the book. Her original reason for writing to me was looking for the relationship of my 2x great grandfather to this family and for the history of this family back in England. Perhaps my 2x great grandfather's face was about to be forever immortalized on a book about one of his uncle's descendants!

Both (the history of this family and the image) are available on the internet as I have freely shared this information although have put copyright restrictions on the use of my material for publications. I was told that my material would not be used and hopefully that will be followed through but when you deal with a different country and an individual it can be problematic.

The last email received from this individual informed me that 50% of some history is sensationalism. This individual claims to be the town historian for this particular area. As usual when people are finding that they can not work around you on something they pull out the health card which also happened in this case. We all suffer from stress in one way or another - that is a human affliction.

She claims to have people asking her to write the book but also clearly stated that no family member would answer her letters. My comment "it is a pity to ride on the back of a family other than your own to achieve success" stands and without the consent of the family there I feel that the book is a slap in the face to them.

The story is a sad one that involves a husband "defending" his wife from a preacher who went in for what I call fire and brimstone sermonizing. The wife was swayed in her thinking by this preacher to the extent that she chopped off her arm. Since they had a small child/infant at the time; the husband was quite irate. Unfortunately he took matters into his own hands and killed the preacher. This was in the early 1900s at a time when life was somewhat rougher in Australia. Various newspapers articles were written about the family which had undergone some hardship. The claims of mental illness were levied at the family in what I now consider to be an unfair way; prior to her writing to me I did not have an opinion. The husband was shot dead by the local police (the husband again made the mistake of shooting first but as an excellent shot he just grazed the shoulder of the policeman; the policeman killed him outright with a shot to the head (for which he was praised actually).

The whole episode rather reminds me of the Donnelly Family in southwestern Ontario. Another family about which I do not have an opinion but because one of the people involved was a Blake I have done a little extra reading on this particular item. It was the publications on this family that first turned me off of sensationalism writing - picking up on a single item in history - which is done solely to sell books with no thought of the effect on descendants of the family that is being written about. It is one thing to write about your own family but quite another to pick on a family that has lived through the tragedy once and forcing them to relive it again and again and again as the printed word circulates across Australia if indeed what this author says is true that this is the type of book particularly enjoyed there.

Perhaps the most poignant part of all of this is the individual claimed to have researched this family for fifteen years but was unable to connect this family back to the Pincombe family of Devon although did know that John Pincombe (the emigrant) was born in Bishops Nympton from my webpages. To make all the effort to quote the newspaper articles of 100 years ago and not to do a thorough job of the genealogical picture of this family is rather poor genealogy.

I decided to look at what I am supposed to have written about John Pincombe and Mary Ridd - the original emigrants to Australia which was the reason that she wrote to me in the first instance.

This will is written by the uncle of my 2x great grandfather John Pincombe. William, the testator, was the father of William Pincombe married to Maria Torrington. They had nine children: Maria Anne Torrington Pincombe, Sarah Jane Torrington Pincombe, William Silas Torrington Pincombe, John Pincombe (died as an infant), John Pincombe, Mary Elizabeth Pincombe, Harriet Torrington Pincombe, Henry William Torrington Pincombe and Thomas Torrington Caren Pincombe. Only some of these children emigrated to Australia.

John Pincombe (son of William Pincombe and Maria Torrington) married Mary Ridd december quarter 1859 at Barnstaple and they had six children of whom only the first is born in Bishops Nympton  march quarter 1861 with all the rest of the children born in Australia. This is contrary to one of the emails from this individual claiming that all of the children except Gertrude Mary were born in England with Gertrude Mary being the youngest. In actuality she was the second child born to this couple.

No comments: