Monday, January 11, 2010

Health and My Family Tree

What's the pattern of health and disease in my family tree? I'm starting to track this so I can understand some of the possible health risks that I and my generation will face. I know a good deal about my immediate family but info on the horizontal links in the family tree is far from complete.

Privacy laws mean that I can't always find out why a relative died, even when I get a copy of the death cert. And sometimes people hesitate to talk about illnesses and death in the family, so details can be sketchy. Quite a sensitive topic to bring up when I do locate long-lost relatives--what's the best, most discreet way to ask: "What did your parents die of?"