Good article, beneficial to my preparation to record family histories. I would
be careful about speculation on what might have been considered the norm. In
reality no one is really average or "normal." The histories would be
more valuable without speculation, but footnotes or added reference may enhance
if given as comparative. Let the reader speculate if they will, but keep the
histories accurate, unvarnished.
One thing that can be done with biographies/autobiographies of ancestors is to
use the suggestions in this article to gather material to footnote obscure
events, places, or people referenced in the biography. For instance, my Great
grandfather wrote in his autobiography a brief statement that he was witness to
all the events of the Reformation of 1856 [in Utah]. Readers of today would not
understand what that reformation was all about--a period of time ten years after
coming to the Great Basin Area of the United States that the Latter-day Saints
used to recommit themselves to the LDS Church through repentance and rebaptism.
That's one example of many where footnotes to his Autobiography helps to
clarify details he may have understood well but didn't explain
thoroughly.Footnoting allows for clarification of the biography without
corrupting the integrity of the original.