Author warns of pitfalls in writing narrative family history

Educated as a boy in Catholic parochial schools in Buffalo, N.Y., John Colletta is apt to apply religious terminology when addressing an audience of mostly Mormon genealogy enthusiasts about the potential pitfalls in writing a narrative family history.

"I remember to this day very well that there are sins of commission and sins of omission," Colletta said Wednesday. "According to the Catholic catechism, you can sin by doing something, and you can sin by neglecting to do something. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hate to shock you here at Brigham Young University, but I have to tell you, when it comes to writing narrative family history, Catholic doctrine applies."

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