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  1. #81

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    My father hails from Russian nobility. Some of his ancestors were working for the Tzar and apparently Alexander II. even died in the arms of one of my ancestors on the spot where the Church of the Savior on Blood was built later.
    "I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine."

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  2. #82

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    This was way before I was born, but one of my mom's cousins (distant, no closer than a 2nd or 3rd cousin) who came from a real hot-to-trot hoity toity family, who was married with 1 or 2 kids ended up committing murder... How and who you ask? He strangled a hooker with her own panty-hose... He's out of prison now, but lets just say that family got knocked off their high horse real quick...
    Kyle

  3. #83

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    I find this thread fascinating. There's no dark history in my family tree, that I'm aware of. Well, except my father's grandfather was in the Colombian senate, which is embarrassing enough. (and I happen to know this is actually true as opposed to my father's family' compulsive lying). But there's some very interesting characters.

    My oldest paternal uncle is definitely one of them. When he was younger, he participated in the Bogotazo riots. He served in the Colombian navy but went AWOL and was eventually arrested and sent to prison. My grandmother bailed him out and got him a job on some ship. Well, one time while it was docked in New York City, he stayed out too late drinking and missed his ship He then met some Puerto Rican lady and married her, the first of his many wives. She is the mother of his two oldest daughters. Needless to say, that marriage did not end well. He sued for custody (and won). Not loo long after, he met a woman on a plane, they started a long distance relationship and then got married by proxy - she was in Colombia, he in the US. That was actually the love of his life. They were married for 20 or so years, had twin daughters and were very happy until she passed away from cancer very young . He's been living in Mexico for many years now.

    He's been married about 6 times since the death of his second wife. He's also a compulsive liar, so he told one of his wives that he'd served in the Colombia air force and retired as a pilot from Delta (he's retired from Delta, but he's definitely not a pilot). So, if we called him, we had to ask to speak with "The Captain". He told another of his wives that his family in Colombia was very rich (NOT), and that we all dressed up in gloves and expensive dresses. So she shows up in all these fancy clothes, and of course, my dad showed up at the airport wearing shorts and a t-shirt

    He's also missing a finger, but no one knows what happened. He's said the following:
    a. He lost his finger because a North Korean shot it off while he served in the Korean War (not true)
    b. He lost it while hunting tapirs in the Amazon
    c. He started an illicit affair with an Indian girl, and her father shot him when he found out.

    No one knows and nobody probably ever will.
    Last edited by oleada; 12-14-2011 at 03:18 PM.
    Adelina Sotnikova is the 2014 Olympic champion!

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scintillation View Post
    Aw thank you, he really is an amazing man. I hardly ever see him anymore, since I can't afford to visit Denver that much these days.
    So I decided to google his name at random, and lo and behold I came across an article about him: http://http://www-contendo.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1260181020506&pagename=JPost%2FJPArt icle%2FShowFull
    His wife Dianne is my stepgrandmother. My maternal grandmother died from cancer when I was 6, although they divorced long before she died.
    It's funny, he never went into that much detail when I asked him about it, granted I was young and was doing research for a history project. My mother was also the one who told me he was Goering's translator, but here he says he couldn't face doing it, so he made his colonel give him other jobs. My mom's a damn liar.
    I should also mention that before he got his PhD in biochemistry, all he had was a bachelor's in animal husbandry. He set the record at the Univ of Chicago by getting his PhD in 5 years--a record that has probably since been broken countless times. Like I said, no one in my family has come close to his accomplishments--and no one has experienced that level of suffering either.
    That was a wonderful article and I like his humor (the remark about milk for coffee.) People like him are the reason I have such a favorable opinion regarding immigration. He was so young and alone and look at what he accomplished.

  5. #85

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    Letsee, I am a Trail of Tears descendant on my mother's side, and I married a man who is supposedly related to Andrew Jackson...so, I guess an argument could be made that I"m sleeping with the enemy...
    Last edited by Wiery; 12-14-2011 at 05:37 PM.

  6. #86

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    My mom's side of the family is supposedly distantly related to Dr. Samuel A. Mudd (the doctor that treated John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated Lincoln). It's probably BS though because nobody seems to know anything about how they're related to him.

  7. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moka-Ananas View Post
    My father hails from Russian nobility. Some of his ancestors were working for the Tzar and apparently Alexander II. even died in the arms of one of my ancestors on the spot where the Church of the Savior on Blood was built later.
    Ha!. interesting-s...
    When Alexander II was knocked down by the 2nd blast, and layed down bleeding, the person who attended him on the ground was Police Chief Dvorjitsky. Then bleeding Alexander was carried to the Winter Palace, his private study-room, where he was attended by Dr. Sergey Petrovich Botkin until death which came 12 minutes later.

    So-s are we-s talking-s to M-mselle Dvorjitsky or M-mselle Botkin?...

  8. #88

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scintillation View Post
    I 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.
    Except Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviets, not the Americans. Is it possible they met at another camp? A lot of Auschwitz prisoners were moved to other camps which were liberated by Americans.

  9. #89
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    I have been researching our family for the past three years, and one of the most fascinating things I have learned, is to take everything I have heard from family members with a grain of salt. My grandmother was convinced that her grandparents (William & Margaret) met on the boat from Ireland. One was supposedly Catholic, the other Protestant. Makes for a rather romantic story, but the truth is Margaret's family had been in North America since the 1700s. I have a copy of William & Margarets's marriage registration and she was definitely born in Canada. William did come from Ireland and was a member of the Orange Order, but I can find no evidence that Margaret's family was Catholic. No one was ever able to convince my grandmother though. She clung to the story she had heard as a child.

    On the other hand, there have been other family legends that have proven to be quite plausible. On a recent family history research trip to Southern Ontario, we learned that it is quite likely that my husband's ancestors assisted the black slaves arriving in Canada by the Underground Railroad.

    For me personally, learning about a family member's role in historical events, makes those events so much more meaningful, i.e. The War of 1812, the American Revolution, the birth of Canada, just to name a few.

  10. #90

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    On the Holley side, we come from a line that did NOT include the Holley Carburator folks, unfortunately. We come from the poor redneck upstate South Carolina Holleys. Some of them, in 1760-ish, took the law into their own hands when they couldn't get a British judge to come upstate for their legal needs. They called themselves "The Regulators" and did a bit of hangin' because some folks just needed hanging. They were acquitted though.

    This branch also includes my uncle who was a decorated Army aviator who flew out 3 times over Normandy on DDay, or something to that effect.

    On the Baugh side (my maiden name) I have people from Texas. Before they moved west, the first Baugh of my branch immigrated in 1865 to Tennessee from Manchester, England, where he had married a Butterworth. He was originally from Wales. I think it was one of "the" Butterworths he married, because we have old, faded photos of them standing in front of a huge house with all their servants. I am sure by the time they arrived in post-war Tennessee, it was a culture shock. I can only suppose their travel had to do with the textile industry.

    However, for the "dark" side...one of my Baugh GGGuncles was hanged for stealing horses in Texas. This is also the branch that includes the legendary football player Sammy Baugh.

    Also on the Baugh side are Freemans and Boones, and yes, Daniel lurks there but only by marriage. However, my snobbiest factoid is that my dear grandmother on my Dad's side, Berta Lee Freeman, was named after her GAunt who was one of Robert E. Lee's aunts. Or something. I have it written down. I like to joke that I am vaguely related to Robert E Lee...I did have two great-great grandfathers die as Confederate soldiers. (No, none of my family ever had slaves.) One of these was named Rufus Freeman, and he and I share the same birthday, so I kind of feel close to him somehow. He died at the Battle of Atlanta up around Rome, Ga.

    The other GGGrandfather who died in a Virginia Prisoner of War Camp run by the North had a daughter whom I love to tell about. Her name was Laura. They were from Kennesaw, GA. After the war, she and her invalid mother and young brother came to live in Atlanta. My Atlanta roots go back that far. She fell in love with a 35 year old parolled captain of Confederate Cavalry named John Hawkins, and she eloped with him one night by climbing out of the kitchen window. Her mother would not approved of the age difference. She was 15. They had 8 children, and every son was named after an American President.

    History is always so much more fun than fiction!
    Last edited by Holley Calmes; 12-14-2011 at 09:32 PM.

  11. #91
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    Well, my father's family is one of the "aristocratic" families of Argentina (those families who came to the country in the 16th and 17th centuries and "freed" Argentina from the spaniards in the 19th century), anyway, as a result of that at the beginning of the 20th century his grandfather took his family to europe on vacation, a vacation that lasted seven years. When they came back, his french mistress also came on the same ship, and he send her to live in the familie's estate. When my great-grandmother found out, she simply went to the estate house (400km from their home in Buenos Aires) and torched it.
    Also, I'm a descendant of the General Urquiza who re-united the country in the 1860s and finally gave my country a constitution; of 2 spanish governors of the, then, territory of the Río de la Plata, one of which was the one that founded the cities of Buenos Aires and Santa Fe; of several governors of the provinces of Santa Fe and Entre Ríos; of the founders of the cities of Mendoza and Catamarca; and a long etc...
    Finally, while investigating my ancestors a few months ago I found out that I'm a descendent of the castillian king Sancho III, through one of his ilegitimate daughters, María de Meneses.
    I don't know much of mother's side of the family, other than the fact that they came to Argentina from their native Italy just before the beginning of WWII.
    D&S 2006 and 2007 World Gold Medalists

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    Except Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviets, not the Americans. Is it possible they met at another camp? A lot of Auschwitz prisoners were moved to other camps which were liberated by Americans.
    It's possible, that's all I remember my mother telling me. Once again, she could have her camps wrong. I wish I could remember more details of Max's experiences in the camps, he came to my hebrew class at least twice. I was not there for the reunion, just my mother, grandfather, and Max. I do know he was there to free him because before Max died, he asked me if my grandfather would be coming back for my Bat Mitzvah. Of course he then died, and the rabbi mentioned during my bat mitzvah that my grandfather helped free him from the concentration camps. I just remember screaming at my mom when I found out "WHY DIDN'T YOU CALL CHANNEL 5 NEWS?!?!"
    Last edited by Scintillation; 12-15-2011 at 12:46 AM.

  13. #93
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    Wow, great thread!! You all have pretty cool family trees! Most of my stuff is recent. My Mom's side of the family has always be very tight lipped about the family (other then the good things). My 2nd cousin played for the Black Hawks, Red Wings (was on the production line and also did color for Hockey Tonight up until the 80s), and he played for Vancover. My Grandfather on my Mom's side was the dentist to all the major sport teams in Detroit until the 80s. He was a good friend of Houdini's. There was a newspaper article about my Grandfather doing something with the body as a favor to his wife. I'm pretty sure they were drinking buddies.
    My Grandmother was a model. I found old photos of her from the 1920's in a skimpy bathing suit at the Detroit Auto Show.
    Then when my Grandparents died back in the 80's my Mom found out my Grandfather had been married before my Grandmother (my Grandparents were 20 years apart in age). My Mother doesn't want to know anything about it. I did. Still can't get marriage or divorce records for him. But after going to where he was born in the 1800's I found out he was not an only child. He had 3 older brothers. I've traced them to the 1940s but lost them. I did find out that my Grandfather's brother did have a son who came back to his Dad's hometown (a small farming town) and died there. My Mom has no idea about any of this. So something is up there, since she told me her Dad refused to talk about his family.
    My Dad's side was easy. Turned out we are french and not German. Our family was chased out of France after one of our ancestors was king for a few days back in the 1300's and was killed after 2 days. But there is a castle and town with the family name.
    My Great Great Grandfather was sheriff of Wayne Co MI and was good friends with Henry Ford. He loaned Ford money for a stake in Ford, but had to get his money back right before Ford hit it big. My other Great Great Grandfather owned a large beer company and sold it. Some how they ran out of money in the 1940's. My Dad said it was due to the war and there was a huge race riot in Detroit, and the family was forced to move to the suburbs.
    I'm pretty sure my Great Aunt was gay. She traveled and did everything with the same woman for over 50 years. She never married. More I look back, the more I'm sure it was true.

  14. #94

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    Not so much a dark character. But a dark moment in my family tree is my great grandmother on my Mom's side burned to death when she was washing clothes with gasoline, and something sparked the gas and she went up in flames. Just awful.

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    I have to say, reading this thread has given me tons of fun history research to do.

    It has also made me wonder about my mom and her ability to keep her memories straight, but thats a whole other thing.

  16. #96
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    I've heard conflicting reports as to why my Swiss ancestors emigrated to the USA, including a story where one of the ancestors murdered somebody and had to flee the country.

    My third cousin was a key figure in the Watergate scandal. I also had a great uncle who was a vaudeville performer and did a blackface act.

  17. #97
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    I think every family has dark episodes, although some families talk about them and others try to bury them.

    One of my great aunts on my dad's side killed herself very painfully at the age of 18 very early in the last century (by drinking lye) because she was pregnant. There is a family rumour that in the same generation a great uncle was the biological father of his brother's daughter.

    My mother went to visit American relatives in her 20s, and asked who a man in a picture was - "oh, that's your mother's husband". Turns out she had been married, but never divorced - although she and my grandfather spent 50 years together. The family also sat shiva for her when she left her husband for a gentile. (and the reason she was never divorced was that her husband remarried, and couldn't admit that in fact he was a bigamist)

    We have found an FBI interview on line with the same grandfather from 1919 - he was a socialist political and labour activist. Virtually everything he said about himself in that interview was a lie (but very interesting nonetheless). He deserted the Russian army as an officer in about 1910 - for political reasons; cut off part of his trigger finger to avoid US military service in WW1; and he and my grandmother returned to Russia in 1921 in search of a perfect socialist state, but then spent several years trying to find a way to leave and wound up in Canada because he was not welcome back in the US.

  18. #98
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    I've written about him before, but my 9th Great-grandfather was a real pain in the ass. He was born around 1592 in Ostrobothnia, Finland. The records of the common people from that far back are mostly in the church records and the court records.

    Well my ancestor shows up all over the court records for over 60 years (He lived to be well over 80). He was accused of, among other things, bilking a widow out of her money, beating up his neighbors (At least one of which was a great-grandfather in another line!), stealing other neighbors' tar pits (Tar was a money-making industry to supply the shipbuilding industry in Vaasa). He also beat up a servant girl, failed to maintain his roads, illegally changed his boundaries to claim more land (and tar pits), general property damage and stealing another neighbour's harvest (which he had to return). He last shows up at the age of 81 for not maintaining a bridge near his farm over the Vetil River.

    I descend from two of his sons.
    I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
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  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moka-Ananas View Post
    My father hails from Russian nobility. Some of his ancestors were working for the Tzar and apparently Alexander II. even died in the arms of one of my ancestors on the spot where the Church of the Savior on Blood was built later.
    It's been over 30 years since I studied Russian history in college but iirc, Tsar Alexander II didn't actually die at that site. He was gravely wounded by the bomb fragments however, he survived long enough for his guards to carry him to the Winter Palace. He died there later that day with his family present. Do you know in what capacity your ancestor worked for the Tsar?

    Edited to add: Tinami beat me to the punch. So, Moka-Ananas, are you descended from Dr. Botkin, Police Chief Dvorzhitskii or some other courtier?
    Last edited by Civic; 12-15-2011 at 06:33 AM.

  20. #100
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    My maternal grandfather was born in Mississippi in 1896 but grew up in Oklahoma. His father was principal of the Negro vocational school in their small town. He walked out on his family and left town when my grandfather was a teenager. No one in the family seems to have seen or heard from since.

    My maternal grandmother once told me that a family friend reported he had seen my errant great-grandfather in Panama several years after he left. It's possible this is true since many the Army Corps of Engineers hired thousands of men to help build the Panama Canal between 1904-1915.

    His wife, my great-grandmother was a full-blooded, Cherokee Indian according to family lore. She had a wicked temper and once hit my grandfather with a log when she was angry with him. He was left with a permanent lip as a result.

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