I was recently given a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings collected by a late great-aunt. Stories relating to family members, but in the main relating to people she knew in the village where she grew up.
One is an account of a famous sportsman being involved in a car accident in the village. A search online as to who he was turned up accounts of his sporting career, the fact he died young (after becoming an alcoholic). And that recently, there was a campaign to get a statue of him put up, in his home country, with his son keen on the idea.
What isn’t readily available, but is there to be found, is that this sporting hero was in court several times. Offences included drink-driving, but also (one occasion) assaulting his wife, her very young sister, and the police officers who arrested him. He was cleared of assaulting his (then) infant son.
It’s none of my business, and the facts are there for anyone to find (with the right subscription and a bit of digging).
Is the son better off not knowing what his flawed-hero father did when he was a toddler?
Another cutting is of a marriage. I ‘knew’ who the bride was, and did a search on the groom. And found, attached to someone’s online family tree, a biography of him which claims his maternal grandfather was the Times newspaper’s war correspondent during the Crimean War.
Except he wasn’t.
He was in the print trade, quite possibly newspapers. But he was only 17 when the Crimean War started, 20 when it finished. And ‘The Times newspaper sent their own war correspondent, William Howard Russell, to the Crimean War.’ Russell has a memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.
This is info the family with the online tree could easily find for themselves, if they chose to look.
So, should I point it out to them? And potentially stop other people copying the info as fact when it isn’t.