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Old 04-04-2013, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Wisconsin
7,215 posts, read 7,590,916 times
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So I have mentioned in the past how I've been investigating my grandmother's biological parents (they both died when she was very young). I figured out who they were quite some time ago. More recently, I found that my great grandmother had been married briefly before getting divorced and then remarrying to my biological great grandmother.

Anyway, I was able to track down copies of her divorce filing, where she states that he had abandoned her and their baby and fled to Indiana. Then, just yesterday, I received the actual divorce documents from Monroe County, Indiana. Her husband alleges in these documents that she had multiple affairs while they were married, including one with his nephew (who he names)! Further, he claims that the child they had together was not his.

I know stuff like this happens in every family tree, but to read it on paper was fairly shocking. I'm not even sure now if this is something I should share with the rest of the family at this point.
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:26 AM
 
9,213 posts, read 18,119,052 times
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I mentioned this one in another thread. My great-great grandfather was this respected, somewhat wealthy business owner. He was supposed so "upstanding" that he later disowned his youngest daughter, my great-grandmother, for her errant behavior and impulsive choice of a husband.

But I found newspaper reports from the 1890s that showed he had been arrested for burglarizing warehouses and stealing large amounts of meat. At the time, he was married and already had several children, and he was a skilled tradesman and church-goer. He was evidently stealing meat, and selling it, to augment his income. One warehouse owner, fed up with the thefts, rigged up a booby-trap with strings and bells and caught my g-g-grandfather in the act, and shot him (causing only a minor wound). He was arraigned, but I can't find any stories after that on his being sentenced. Evidently he didn't serve prison time, as he ended up in a nearby city (as seen in a city directory and later the 1900 census) with a new occupation.

No one in the current family knew about this, and it certainly was not included in the family "lore."
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Old 04-04-2013, 11:42 AM
 
Location: SLC, UT
1,571 posts, read 2,163,044 times
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Not sure if this belongs here or not, but when I was researching my biological maternal genealogy (I'm adopted), I found a woman who had put together some pages that consisted of my biological maternal genealogy going back to the 1600's. I contacted her - turns out she's my cousin, and no one at all in the family knew of my existence. They knew that my birth mother's older sister had had a child out of wedlock and given him/her (they don't know if it was a boy or a girl) up for adoption, but when my birth mother got pregnant a few years later, she and her immediate family told no one. SURPRISE! New family member!

I bet I caused a bit of a stir.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TracySam View Post
But I found newspaper reports from the 1890s that showed he had been arrested for burglarizing warehouses and stealing large amounts of meat. At the time, he was married and already had several children, and he was a skilled tradesman and church-goer. He was evidently stealing meat, and selling it, to augment his income. One warehouse owner, fed up with the thefts, rigged up a booby-trap with strings and bells and caught my g-g-grandfather in the act, and shot him (causing only a minor wound). He was arraigned, but I can't find any stories after that on his being sentenced. Evidently he didn't serve prison time, as he ended up in a nearby city (as seen in a city directory and later the 1900 census) with a new occupation.

No one in the current family knew about this, and it certainly was not included in the family "lore."
Wow, crazy story. I can imagine why this story about him was "swept under the rug", so to speak.
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,240 posts, read 12,868,719 times
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Lots of stuff - my 2nd great grandmother was an alcoholic disowned by her family and drank herself to death when she was only 31. Another woman in my tree (not a direct ancestor) had a baby out of wedlock and gave it up for adoption. Another family seemed plagued with tragedy and scandal, which I detailed on my blog: Genealogical Musings: The Tragic Family of James Addison Smith

Also, the alcoholic story is here: Genealogical Musings: Every Record Tells a Story
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
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Nowadays, most of my genealogy is doing descendency work. So I'm dealing with lots of family members who are distantly related.

On one of my projects .... I have this distant relation who is famous. When researching the family, I found his grandfather died in the city jail, while waiting sentencing on a drug conviction. I don't give anyone the connections, because as I'm known to research the family, a lot of people want to know specifically about that person, and how they're related.

Just the other day, on another line, I encountered a family where the father shot the mother (who survived), the youngest daughter (who didn't), and then himself. And then, unbelievably, they had a double funeral for the father and the daughter he'd murdered.
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:57 PM
 
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I have a friend whose family is LDS and he has a detailed chart of his ancestors going back many generations. He showed it to me several years ago, and we calculated from the wedding dates and birthdays of the couples' first children that over 70% of them were pregnant when they got married. Abstinence apparently has NEVER worked!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:12 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
8,644 posts, read 5,139,057 times
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Default Can be worse

I learned a few years back that my great, great, grandfather was not just a dirt farmer, but was one of the richest men in his parrish in Louisiana. Wealth in those days (1830's) was determined in the south by the number of slaves owned. He owned seventeen. We have a copy of the inventory of his property taken in 1837, the date of his death, and then of the auction that took place a year later.

His house brought a mere $800, but several of the male slaves sold from between $1400-$1700. In those days an estate was divided half to the spouse and the other half in equal shares to all the male children. Grandpa Joseph had a wife previous to my grandmother who died in childbirth but left him with two sons. And my grandmother bore him one, so those three shared in one half of the proceeds, and grandma got the other half. Since my greatgrandfather (also Joseph) was underage, my grandmother kept his share in trust for at least five years before he came of age. And part of that trust was a young male slave aged 12 years old and valued at $200 at the auction. By the time grandma's son came of age, Tone, the male slave, was valued at $900.

Not too many years after that my whole paternal line was for sure poor, dirt farmers following the War Between the States.

For awhile I was extemely ashamed of that information, but after a lot of consideration, I realize that my ancestors were stupid and made poor choices, but they lived in their own time in something that was considered "normal". That's not to condone slavery, it's simply to explain that in history up until the 19th century slavery virtually everywhere in the world was considered a way of life. Our morality was expanding during that timeframe.

I have enough guilt to live down in my own life without worrying about what my ancestors did.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:00 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
8,240 posts, read 12,868,719 times
Reputation: 10464
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardendresden View Post
I learned a few years back that my great, great, grandfather was not just a dirt farmer, but was one of the richest men in his parrish in Louisiana. Wealth in those days (1830's) was determined in the south by the number of slaves owned. He owned seventeen. We have a copy of the inventory of his property taken in 1837, the date of his death, and then of the auction that took place a year later.

His house brought a mere $800, but several of the male slaves sold from between $1400-$1700. In those days an estate was divided half to the spouse and the other half in equal shares to all the male children. Grandpa Joseph had a wife previous to my grandmother who died in childbirth but left him with two sons. And my grandmother bore him one, so those three shared in one half of the proceeds, and grandma got the other half. Since my greatgrandfather (also Joseph) was underage, my grandmother kept his share in trust for at least five years before he came of age. And part of that trust was a young male slave aged 12 years old and valued at $200 at the auction. By the time grandma's son came of age, Tone, the male slave, was valued at $900.

Not too many years after that my whole paternal line was for sure poor, dirt farmers following the War Between the States.

For awhile I was extemely ashamed of that information, but after a lot of consideration, I realize that my ancestors were stupid and made poor choices, but they lived in their own time in something that was considered "normal". That's not to condone slavery, it's simply to explain that in history up until the 19th century slavery virtually everywhere in the world was considered a way of life. Our morality was expanding during that timeframe.

I have enough guilt to live down in my own life without worrying about what my ancestors did.
I never even considered my slave owning ancestors in this topic because slavery wasn't really considered scandalous at the time. That is also why I did include the info about a relative who had a baby out of wedlock - because even though that's not scandalous today, it was at the time.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:08 AM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,544,912 times
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Nothing scandalous in my family tree, but very convoluted, my family is Latter Day Saint, and there is more messed up stuff in our genealogy book that would make any soap opera a run for its money.

Two brothers , each married two sisters, who were from the same family. The resulting offspring, one of which was my Great Grandmother, she married a man, who died, and she married his brother less than a year later... The baby, my Grand Uncle, has the second husband's name on birth certificate, but who was hisFather? I guess it does not matter. Then, my Great Grandmother left him, and married another man, no divorce, as it was in Mexico, and a polygamous marriage, she just left and came to the USA, not sure about citizenship, she was born in Juarez, she is blond, with blue eyes, I guess paperwork was not so important back then, as she had a US passport and Social Security card.
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