My mother's cousin is our family historian and genealogy expert. I am the writer of our group and often use her findings for short stories or character types. However, with her recently discovered facts about a loved one, I'm not sure how, when, or where to use it.
Growing up I idolized this person in question, and admired him for his strength, skill at overcoming adversities, and for his myriad accomplishments. I still do, but realize now that he was only human and made some mistakes, not earth shattering ones, but significant ones all the same.
Five years ago, on the ten year anniversary of my Mother's death, I wrote a short story about the days following her passing. It was cathartic, and helped me to understand Mother, myself, and our fractured relationship. In the story, I noted that we had a documented, (and hung) Massachusetts' witch who decorated our family tree. It was appropriate and enhanced the mood of the scene, adding punch to the ghostly elements. By the way, I do believe in the unusual, the supernatural, the unexplained, the things that make your skin crawl and the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
So I think I should include our family's weaknesses and unexplainable actions in future short stories, or use them to enhance one of the characters in my novel in progress. Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.