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Old 07-20-2013, 10:06 PM
Location: San Marcos, TX
2,572 posts, read 6,265,030 times
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Originally Posted by AZDesertBrat View Post
<snip> There WAS one story I kept hearing all my life that turned out to be not true but I never thought it was. Supposedly my maternal grandma had some Indian in her family but, no, she didn't. She was English, Scots/Irish...mostly the latter. No Indian anywhere. I don't know where these stories come from.
I don't know, I wonder too. There is supposedly some Cherokee or Choctaw (depends on who you ask) in our family, on my mom's side, including the very persistent story about how a GGG (or GGGG, too tired at the moment to look) Grandma and Grandpa had a standard wedding and a separate "Indian Style" wedding a few days apart for the Grandma's family benefit yet I can find NOTHING at all indicating her Choctaw (or Cherokee) blood.

Originally Posted by gardener34 View Post
Sometimes I think people were just embarrassed that were dirt poor, w/o a pot to pee in. they would make up stories. And they just got passed on.
In ever heard any wrong ones, just lots of mispellings, RIDICULOUS mispellings that really threw me off - from actual relatives and from census.
Of course back then, women would go to great lengths to cover up an unwanted pregnancy. <snip>
Yep, my Grandmother, until the day she died (2011), stuck by her story about my mom being "premature".

My Grandmother even went so far as to take a pen and scratch out / alter dates or other info referencing her marriage date or my mother's birth weight on various documents/papers/letters, when it was pretty obvious what she'd done. She insisted my mother (born 1942) was "very premature" (supposedly 3 months early!) and "very small" (like 4 or 5 pounds). All official records indicate she was a normal, healthy, full term and normal sized baby! It's crazy though, it's like she told herself that story so much she really believed it herself. All because she did the deed a bit before being legally wed. Or because she got married due to being pregnant, either way. We'll never know if she was engaged before or after!
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:39 AM
68 posts, read 102,086 times
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I'm from the UK and all my life I'd been told my grandfather's mother died during child birth when he was four and that his father committed suicide and that he was taken in and brought up by neighbours.

So when I started researching and could find nothing I applied for his birth certificate, and from that was able to research his mother, who had married and had 2 sons (both with the same surname), then she had my grandfather who had a different surname and different father listed to that of his brothers. On his birth certificate it said his mother was married to his father - at the time divorce was virtually unheard of in the UK. Then his mother went on to have a further son to her original husband....

He was taken in but it was by his aunt - his mother's sister.....all of her sons were brought up by different relatives.

I told my sister, who told my aunt (grandfather's daughter) and she was amazed and slightly bemused.....she'd believed the same story all of her life.

Family folklore.....we had a relative who was sent to Australia for being involved in the derailment of the train the Flying Scotsman in the 1920s......he did go to Australia but he went the year before the derailment happened. Another myth bites the dust. It's a shame really as the story was quite romantic.......

I guess there'll be more.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:23 PM
Location: Memphis - home of the king
26,130 posts, read 22,790,774 times
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Originally Posted by Wmsn4Life View Post
My paternal grandmother does deliberately say, "I don't remember..." when asked about her side of the family. Her only sister died in 1944, and she is the last one. I guess that's better than providing false information, but I'm not sure.

When I asked one of her nieces about it, she mentioned my grandmother's FIRST husband, which was a surprise to my parents and me since we all thought my dad's dad was her first husband.

Nope, she had been a teen bride in her home state and conveniently left that part out since she felt it did not fit in the narrative of her life.

I understand it. I just wish she didn't worry so much about being judged for it. But I completely get why many people want to forget about certain parts of the past.

Census info has alerted me to babies who died young that I never knew existed. I usually ask relatives who might have been around but not directly involved about it since it's not often something the older generations want to bring up.
Yes, previous generations can be leery of revealing information that would have caused them to be frowned on in their earlier days. Even if something is not seen as bad by their grandchildren, they may still retain the sensibility of earlier days and not want to think about such things.
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Old 07-21-2013, 06:25 PM
Location: Memphis - home of the king
26,130 posts, read 22,790,774 times
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Originally Posted by theoldnorthstate View Post
Wasn't really my experience at all. Everything my Dad told me about family history turned out to be true or have a nugget of the truth. There was a lot he didn't know, but his information was largely accurate and through time I learned to start with whatever he said and look from there.

Now my Mom has a big case of "I don't remember". so I have to take it a generation back at a time. Then when I find it she say "Oh yes, Uncle John" or something. that is frustrating.
I've found with some older relatives if I approach it as "I'm gathering genealogical information" they freeze up and become too self-conscious to remember much that's useful. If I simply engage them in conversations about the past and their families, little nuggets of information will rise to the surface of their memories. As a result, I've learned to let the recall happen naturally.
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Old 07-22-2013, 10:24 AM
1,511 posts, read 768,872 times
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My aunt always said that her mother (my grandmother, whose mother and father were both primarily of German lineage) could trace her family roots "clear back to the Bismarcks in Germany". After I got interested in genealogy and started researching for myself I found out there was absolutely NO connection to the Bismarck line in Germany. However, I did discover that one branch of my grandmother's line led back to William Bradford, second governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony and apparently no one in the family ever knew that before.
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Old 07-22-2013, 11:50 AM
Location: Wisconsin
7,215 posts, read 7,569,518 times
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I've encountered the "Yes, we're related to that famous person" thing, too. I've had a couple family members who were sure that side of the family is related to a certain famous conservationist, but I've never found any sort of connection other than the coincidental shared Scottish surname.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:13 PM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 7 days ago)
Location: Cushing OK
14,423 posts, read 16,691,770 times
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Originally Posted by bjh View Post
Yes, previous generations can be leery of revealing information that would have caused them to be frowned on in their earlier days. Even if something is not seen as bad by their grandchildren, they may still retain the sensibility of earlier days and not want to think about such things.
This is true. There was my mom's cousin. He was the last and similar to the rest but not so much as they were to each other. He'd always been 'different' and left out. Then after a prank (he was a prankster) one of the adults of the family said it was no wonder since he'd been adopted.

They weren't supposed to, of course. The parents had traveled elsewhere and told them at home she was pregnant, and then retruned with a baby. He confronted parents and they said he was but would never tell him who the true mother was. Speculation was it was a more distant cousin. Back then kids our of wedlock was considered a discrace in middle class society.

If that adult relative had never spilled the beans, then maybe nobody would have every known past that generation.

He ran away and came back and was always a prankster and 'different' but was also still family. My guess would be his mother was too as they were so careful to protect the mother.
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:33 PM
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good technique bjh, I find that getting out the photos helps too.
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Old 07-23-2013, 08:50 PM
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,136 posts, read 21,133,751 times
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I was told for years that my great grandfather's brother rode with Jesse James. I don't know how that was possible since he was barely born when Jesse James died. LOL

I have also been told that my great grandfather on my father's side was half Indian. My Grandfather's Dad was a traveling salesman that came into town and left his "seed" and traveled on again. I had assumed that he was the American Indian source. Not! It was really his mother that had the American Indian blood and it was Cherokee. I answered a query on a genealogy sight and ended up with the whole family line except for my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather. None of us can find her grave. The American Indian information basically lets us know the line back from that point though. There was only one woman in the area that was a Cherokee married to a white man. The children were never considered American Indian until Cherokee got a casino. They all get their share now, except for our bunch. There are just no definite records of these two wild people. I have found three people named the name of my Dad's grandfather. We know his Grandmother's maiden name but have no idea what happened to her. My mother thinks she ended up married to someone rich in Chicago. My aunt had a picture of her wearing pearls and fur. Judging by the lifestyle, I wonder if she might more likely have been a saloon girl. The query I answered was asking for where her grave is located. We are still looking for Grandpa's bio. parents.

This lady left our grandfather with friends and moved on. My sweet grandfather was raised by a wonderful Christian couple who treated him like their own. By the sound of his parents, I think we are all lucky he ended up living with these people. The census lists him as a servant in their home. Guess they could not figure out how to classify him. He is one of the two most gentle kind people I remember from my childhood. Started out with nothing and ended up with a farm, home with beautiful cherry furniture and a beautiful location that can be seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The other really wonderful person I remember is my Great Grandfather on my mother's side. He was a Baptist minister and you could see Jesus in both these men. They were loving, kind, gentle and always had a positive outlook and seemingly no worries. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling just thinking about them.

Last edited by NCN; 07-23-2013 at 09:04 PM..
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Old 07-24-2013, 05:38 PM
Location: Scrapple country
1,226 posts, read 1,080,238 times
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Yes, I've had very similar experiences with a family member.

Every famous person I grew up thinking I was related to - it wasn't true. Immediate family history (that my mother had been married once before she married my dad, that my dad was actually adopted) was withheld from me, and these things were denied when I stumbled on the proof. Nationalities were inserted into my family tree that were put there because it would make us look more "interesting". Great-grandparents that were supposed to have come from Europe were actually born in America. A certain family lore hard-luck story had an important detail changed that made it seem like a much more interesting story.

I'm not mad, per se (just another thing on a huge pile of dysfunction from this family member). But it is embarrassing when I think of how many friends over the years I repeated those "we're related to such and such" stories to. They were all lies (I mean not just passed down and distorted, but deliberately made up with a certain purpose in mind). But, you know, reading these stories helps. It seems to be much more common than I realized. The story about the mother-in-law who insisted on Spanish lineage, when the family had been in Mexico for generations, is wild!

Last edited by Hallouise; 07-24-2013 at 06:07 PM.. Reason: Needed to be shortened.
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