Sunday, June 7, 2009

Black Sheep Sunday - The International BlackSheep Society of Genealogists [IBSSG]

The International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG) is an Association of Genealogists who have found "blacksheep ancestors" in their direct family lines, or under the "One Degree Rule" of the Society.

The One Degree Rule is: If a person lived in the family domicile of an ancestor, and the actions of that individual affected the family, as if they were a ancestor, or member of the immediate family, then that individual's acts can be used for membership qualification under this rule.

The Society was formed in late 1997.

The mailing list for the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG) is, a combined topic list, where most of the activity occurs. the Society list requires you to subscribe before posting, non-member posts are held for approval, and since answers will likely be posted ON the lists, you should consider joining to see them.

Subscribing to Blacksheep

Subscribe to Blacksheep by sending a NEW email from the address you wish subscribed to: adding the word SUBSCRIBE as the subject or body. If you want a daily digest of the list instead of individual emails, contact:

A note of caution, the list is a high traffic list, and the topics are NOT limited to genealogy, but should have a connection to genealogy. Being a society, we like to be friendly with each other, it is a club.

Qualification for the Society membership (and the right to use IBSSG after your signature in genealogy correspondence) is granted on the main list ( by posting the following:


Subject: Qualification request

Body should mention the following: Your relationship to the individual Why you think he or she is a Blacksheep of the Family Whether or not the acts were of a social or criminal nature, unless it is obvious.

IMPORTANT If the individual is living, or the acts are still having an immediate effect on your family, or disclosure may lead to danger to anyone, please do not submit the details publicly.

Our Tender Lambs Corner is set up for the PRIVATE submission of this type of qualification, please write our Tender Lambs Coordinator (TLC) Sue Bates ( to submit directly to her confidentially. What you submit under the TLC program is entirely private. Only Sue will know, and will announce your membership without details.

Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the Society is to discuss family blacksheep in order to learn more about them and share information about your "Black Sheep" with other members of the IBSSG! Many times having a Black Sheep in the family leads to a family "wall of silence" and research into the family becomes very difficult. Our Goal is to help find alternate routes to information sources, and to "normalize" the view of the blacksheep as a person, who has a place in the FACTUAL history of the family, without regard to behaviors.

Remember, the acts may be embarrassing to others in your family, but within the Society, you are not alone! Many of us have similar situations, and can relate (actually many of us are related) to the problems in doing this research.

Jeff Scism, IBSSG