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  1. #41
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    Oh Susan - that is fascinating. It was a different time then, I guess I can see how aunt 4 would not want to acknowledge the son, especially if she hadn't told anyone about him.
    It is unfortunate that his 1/2 siblings don't know him, but maybe in the future it will be possible.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by nerdycool View Post
    They could have been lured to the "land of promise" that the US was called during that time period. Because even if they were doing well in Germany, just imagine how much better they'd be off in America since all was golden!
    My great great grandfather was one of five brothers sent from Prussia because their father wanted them to avoid serving for the Prussian military. I don't know why. But of course they came to America and ended up as soldiers on the Union side during the Civil War. Go figure.

  3. #43

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    Prussia was a very heavily militarized country, and they weren't afraid to start/go to war to expand their borders. So maybe he wanted to avoid the eventuality of sending sons to war since military service was mandatory for men and gambled on only a possibility of it in a new country.

  4. #44
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    Well that makes sense: And as a Union soldier his unit rarely fought but his closest buddies all died of typhoid fever. He survived it. He kept a diary but it wasn't detailed. Just a line or two each day when he was well. One thing that surprised me was when he used the N word. It was said once and seemed to be without malice. He said he met a N woman who traded him bread for apples and he said "God Bless you" and she repeated the same to him. The N word threw me because I find it so hateful. But I didn't glean any hate or spite in his diary entry. In fact this happened after the fever and I think he was lonely and grateful for the exchange. Maybe I'm wrong.
    Last edited by Cachoo; 12-13-2011 at 03:16 AM.

  5. #45

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    Thanks everyone for sharing their families. I finally this year started doing some research. Nothing dark found. But still fascinating to do the research. I went to one cemetery and obtained key info. But the bonus was the employee of the cemetary spent 2 hours with me, walking around the cemetary and going through the internment books. Then I went to a church that had a cemetary and the pastor spent over an hour with me, and he showed me on his laptop his family tree.
    Such a bonus to be meeting such kind folks that are helpful. I knew finding information would be great, but the meetings/conversations have been wonderful. As I have time, I hope the journey will continue to be intriguing.

    The pastor (at an Episcopol church) was so funny, I was looking for my great great grandparents, with a German name. Besides researching his own geneaology he is looking into the history of the cemetery for his church. He said he had not heard/seen the name and we could not find any stones. He said he had not seen many German names in the records and was wondering why -- I told him the wife was born in England, so she got him to convert - and he just laughed.

    I love that so many here are interested in this. One of my friends asked me why I wanted to learn about dead people, they are gone. Even just finding out the name of a great great relative I find fascinating.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cachoo View Post
    One thing that surprised me was when he used the N word. It was said once and seemed to be without malice. He said he met a N woman who traded him bread for apples and he said "God Bless you" and she repeated the same to him. The N word threw me because I find it so hateful. But I didn't glean any hate or spite in his diary entry.
    The N term was super common then, and it wasn't seen as racist (well, to white people anyway). It was more akin to us saying "black woman" the way we do now. The N word was common probably up until the Civil Rights movement, and when people started to object to it, it became one of those things that people don't say anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
    One of my friends asked me why I wanted to learn about dead people, they are gone. Even just finding out the name of a great great relative I find fascinating.
    I know, right? Some of my friends don't understand, but being an American who loves history, I'm so curious about how all branches of my family came to America and when. When they came and where they came from can be a history lesson in and of itself because you wonder, okay, what was going on in Poland in the early 1900's that made my great-great grandparents immigrate? And then you find out that there really wasn't a Poland then, but a region divided up by Russia, Austria-Hungary and Prussia. Then you find yourself absorbed in all the politics & wars that happened because of it, and learn a little about living conditions of the average person & motivations to uproot entire families. It's really enlightening.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by screech View Post
    I actually researched mine a few months ago (went back about 1000 years!! however accurate it was...) and found out one of my noble ancestors from about 700 years ago murdered another noble ancestor in public because he slept with the first guy's wife. It's fun to find out you have nobility in your history because then you can wikipedia the names. I found out lots of juicy tidbits.
    I can do that with mine as well.

    ... let me see...I'm related to the lady who built the Winchester house but only by marriage,not by blood.We are very careful to point out that she is not a Winchester by blood. Hence her crazy is not part of our family

    My Great-great-grandpa was a guard at Alcatraz.

    My great-great 7x Lynn McGhee (who was half Scot and half Creek)carried out a blood revenge by joining the US forces after the massacre at Ft.Mim's.Someone who was siding with the hostile Creeks killed someone in our family who was taking refuge in the fort after our plantation was burned down.

    On the other side of the ocean...They say our clan is descended from one of the sons of King Malcolm III of Scotland,who killed MacBeth.

    Also,my paternal Grandma was a McLaine..now the McLean/Laine's are a interesting clan.The variation in spelling is because there were 2 brothers who got into it and so one changed the spelling of his last name. One brother got into a battle with his nephew and beheaded him thus leaving his brother childless.It is said the McLaine's have their very own headless horseman that ferries the McLaine's into the next world. The childless brother was banished to an island with only an old hag as a neighbor...look up the rest yourself LOL

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cachoo View Post
    Wow that is fascinating---did your grandfather hate going to work each day because it was Goering he translated for? I'm so sorry about the family members you lost: I cannot reconcile the Germany that I love to that period when so much evil occurred.
    I think he did, because he will not talk about it. It took him many many years to go back to Munich with my great-aunt, and after he visited that one time he has never gone back.

    This is a pretty cool story: When my grandfather came down for my sister's bat mitzvah in 1995 my mother gave him a tour of the synagogue, which included going through the kitchens. At the time there was a man named Max working as a cook, and he was a Holocaust survivor. He used to come to my hebrew school to show us his tattoo and talk about his experiences. Anyways, my mom was showing him the kitchen and introduced him to Max. Max recognized my grandfather and burst into tears, then my grandfather began to cry, and they started speaking in rapid Yiddish. Turned out my grandfather freed Max from Auschwitz in 1945--and they met again 50 years later. Max died 2 days before my bat mitzvah in 1999 so that was the last time they saw each other.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracylynn View Post
    One of my mom's younger brothers was murdered along with their dog when he was about 9 years old, and to this day it is an unsolved case. I don't know much else about it because it's hard for my mom to talk about and my grandparents never talked about it, which is understandable.

    Also, on my mother's side of the family one of my ancestors was a slave owner and the family disowned him. All it says in our family tree book is his name, slave owner and disowned.
    If you want to find more information about your uncle's death look in the local newspaper shortly after it happened. The local police department or sheriff might still have a case file if it was never solved.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by KHenry14 View Post
    Sure, her name was Nancy Graves, and she was 9 years old at the time of the trip west.

    Here's a remarkable story....In 1996 they held a sesquicentennial celebration, where all of the many descendents gathered. My father decided to mingle and walked up to some rather dour people who happened to be of the Reed family. He introduced himself and commented about what a great thing it was that all these people came and were able to meet. This stern guy agreed, and said that they felt that this time they might actually talk to the Graves family!!! Evidently these people were carrying a 150 year old grudge!!! You can't make this stuff up!

    BTW, anyone interested in the Donner Party should read Ethan Rarick's "Desperate Passage", the definative work on the subject.
    Fasinating read.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scintillation View Post
    I think he did, because he will not talk about it. It took him many many years to go back to Munich with my great-aunt, and
    after he visited that one time he has never gone back.

    This is a pretty cool story: When my grandfather came down for my sister's
    bat mitzvah in 1995 my mother gave him a tour of the synagogue, which
    included going through the kitchens. At the time there was a man named Max
    working as a cook, and he was a Holocaust survivor. He used to come to my
    hebrew school to show us his tattoo and talk about his experiences. Anyways,
    my mom was showing him the kitchen and introduced him to Max. Max
    recognized my grandfather and burst into tears, then my grandfather began to
    cry, and they started speaking in rapid Yiddish. Turned out my grandfather
    freed Max from Auschwitz in 1945--and they met again 50 years later. Max
    died 2 days before my bat mitzvah in 1999 so that was the last time they saw
    each other.
    That gave me goosebumps reading it...
    You all make my family history seem so uninteresting!!!

  11. #51

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    I don't know of any "darkness" in my family's history, but there probably is some.

    But of course, there's always Nobunari Oda's great (x17) grandfather, the famous Nobunaga Oda:

    "Nobunaga is remembered in Japan as one of the most brutal figures of the Sengoku period. Nobunaga was the first of three unifiers during the Sengoku period. These unifiers were (in order) Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (also called Hashiba Hideyoshi above) and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Oda Nobunaga was well on his way to the complete conquest and unification of Japan when Akechi Mitsuhide, one of his generals, forced Nobunaga into committing suicide in Honnō-ji in Kyoto."

  12. #52
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    My father's mother was schizophrenic and killed herself when my dad was 17. That's all I can think of. Oh. My mother's mother had an affair with the governor of Louisiana in the 50s, apparently, but I think that's just rumor. She was a writer. And my dad's great uncle Tommy was a member of the IRA. He was somehow involved in assassinating Lord Mountbatten. He ran off to Australia for awhile then moved to the States where he died.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanie View Post
    My father's mother was schizophrenic and killed herself when my dad was 17. That's all I can think of. Oh. My mother's mother had an affair with the governor of Louisiana in the 50s, apparently, but I think that's just rumor. She was a writer. And my dad's great uncle Tommy was a member of the IRA. He was somehow involved in assassinating Lord Mountbatten. He ran off to Australia for awhile then moved to the States where he died.
    Your family certainly has had its colorful members. Your paternal grandmother's mental illness and suicide are tragic. However, the other stuff...possible adultery with a governor, IRA terrorist...this is the stuff of potboiler novels and TV mini-series.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kruss View Post
    We're supposed to be 9th cousins to the Kennedys...I always say they got the money and we got the integrity.
    Dark indeed.
    But got the lucky side.

  15. #55
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    My mother's father's mother's father was a self made millionaire in the early 1880s. Not quite a robber baron, but nearly. He was president of a bank in NYC. Got involved with an unscrupulous business partner who started a brokerage firm involving Ulysses Grant and his son. The bank made loans to the brokerage, which was basically a Ponzi scheme. Eventually the brokerage fell and brought the bank down with it. Great great grand pappy went to jail. US Grant was financially ruined and so finally decided to write a memoir of the Civil War. As soon as he started writing, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. He wrote hard and fast to finish the memoir in about 9 months, just a few days before he died of the cancer. The memoir is still in print, and it rehabilitated Grant's reputation in a huge way. Proceeds from it also supported his large family after his death. If my great great grandfather and the unscrupulous business partner hadn't ruined Grant, the memoir would never have been written.

    There's a lot more to the story (a young actress, a love child, a mysterious trunk, etc.). The unscrupulous business partner is an ancestor of Geoffrey Ward, distinguished historian who has been the first author on many of the books that accompanied the Ken Burns series on PBS. Ward has now written an account of this scandal, "A Disposition to Be Rich" which will be published next spring. I contributed some photographs to it.

  16. #56

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    When I was in high school it was popular for a while to wear a kilt, in your family's tartan if possible. My grandfather had said his grandmother had immigrated from Scotland (she is where the red hair in my family came from) but he never could remember her maiden name. About 15-20 yrs ago I had a cousin who researched & found out she was a Campbell. If you know anything about Scotland's history, that wasn't what I was wanting to hear since apparently they were traitors. Of course that was the mid-1600's. I hope that's all been forgiven now in Scotland.

  17. #57
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    I've never been able to verify any of the whispered deep, dark "secrets" in my maternal family so I put them down to imagination and embellishment through the years. I'm sure there were scandals in the hills of Alabama but nothing particularly noteworthy.

    Since I was only 15 the last time I saw anyone on the fraternal side (except for my grandmother) I don't remember anything much. They are French-Canadian, though. Must be some scandal in there.
    3539 and counting.

    Slightly Wounding Banana list cont: MacMadame.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriajh View Post
    Fasinating read.

    That gave me goosebumps reading it...
    You all make my family history seem so uninteresting!!!
    It gave me goosebumps as well: Compared to this my family history is uninteresting too. But think of how much pain Scintillation's grandfather endured. Maybe he would prefer being uninteresting and still have loved ones rather than have lost so many to the camps. I'm glad to read about the happy reunions. And I'm glad to read of his remarkable life. And triumphant in a way---Hitler did not get what he wanted after all. Surviving is victory.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cachoo View Post
    It gave me goosebumps as well: Compared to this my family history is uninteresting too. But think of how much pain Scintillation's grandfather endured. Maybe he would prefer being uninteresting and still have loved ones rather than have lost so many to the camps. I'm glad to read about the happy reunions. And I'm glad to read of his remarkable life. And triumphant in a way---Hitler did not get what he wanted after all. Surviving is victory.
    This brings to mind two memories of mine:

    1--At a conference for teachers on the Holocaust in Washington D.C., a survivor spoke to us. She brought a photo of all of her 18 grandchildren together. She had taken the same photo with her when she visited the camp she was held in a few years before. She told us she held that photo up to the sky at the camp and yelled at Hitler that he had lost. Because that was her proof.

    2--Summer before last, I helped with a community service event at the State Holocaust memorial with over 2500 Jewish teens from all over the country and around the world. At the end of the day, all of them and their sponsors were sitting on the hillside facing the memorial at this cemetery listening to a survivor speak. As an organizer of the event, I was near the front and able to look out at this huge crowd of amazing Jewish kids from everywhere--and I remembered the woman in D.C.'s words--"You lost, Hitler! You truly and really lost".

  20. #60
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    Lady Figureskates' great Uncle is Stanford White, the architect.

    He was murderd by the husband of Evelyn Nesbit with whom White had had an affair with...the Girl on the Red Velvet Swing.

    This event was covered in the movie, "Ragtime".

    My great great uncle was the chief financier of the Society of the Secret Six which funded John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. If any of the participants in the raid had ratted out the secret six, they would have hung as well.
    Happiness is being married to your best friend!

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