When writing memoirs I may have to consider the feelings of certain living relatives. I feel with some memories it may be a good idea to fictionalize a bit, for instance, change names and perhaps places and dates. But on the other hand this may be a bit confusing for my descendants if they want to find out about the life of their actual forbears.
I am also in doubt how much I am allowed to tell about my friends or about people who briefly crossed my path. I went as far as changing names slightly of people I remember from the 1940s! This concerns of course my childhood memories. When I reblogged some of these memories I reconsidered and changed my friends’ names back to their real names.
In reading once more some of my old blogs, I kept coming across the name ‘Aunty Elsa’. Well, ‘Elsa’ was really ‘Ilse’. It’s only an insignificant alteration of the name. I guess anybody who would seriously study our family history later on would be able to figure out who this aunt was.
If it comes to surnames it gets even more difficult. There are some rather unusual surnames belonging to the people from the past that I am writing about. I must say I am a bit reluctant to disclose all these surnames.
However if it comes to my family tree I feel it is quite all right to mention all the proper surnames. From this follows that it is really okay to use all the relevant first names too, doesn’t it? I have to remember this next time I publish a bit more family history!