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Since beginning your research, have you come across proof that Uncle Joe really was NOT the scoundrel that your family believed he was, or that your cousin Mabel really DIDN'T run off with the married neighbor from next door...

Everyone has skeleton's in their research, but what are stories that have been relayed to you through the years, and you were able to say..."Ummm - I don't think so, and here's the proof!"

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My grandmother has been working on our family for years...I only begun a few years ago. She is very much "old-school" (strictly travel for research - doesn't own a computer), I'm very much relying on the internet.

At any rate, she had told me that my great-grandfather had been born in southern Ohio - in particular Lawrence Co. She didn't give me any sources for this information, but seeing as it was her father-in-law, and certainly my grandfather would know where his own father was born, right??


I (by pure luck) ran across his actual birth record from West Virginia , correct birthdate & parent's names listed.

I gave her a copy showing her that he had NOT been born in Ohio. She looks at it, and simply says, "well that's one resource - I have some too showing he was born in Ohio."

Where's the brick wall I can slam my head against in frustration?? Oh...and no, she didn't provide her resource to me either. It was at the moment, I chose to look carefully at the info my grandmother had given me in the past, and step lightly around her when it came to disproving her research!
Having done family history off and on for the last forty years I have run into the same thing.. Family lore is 15% TRUTH, 85% EXAGERATION. Although it does lead you down some unnecesary paths at times it also has it's usefulness if you can glean the 15% out.
Memory also comes into it...a prime example was my brother-in-laws comments when I showed him his grandfathers attesation papers. He read it and then commented "that's wrong he was a very tall man and this says he was only 5' 9"."
Carole Stone
LOL I have rattled some skeletons myself in the past month or so. Most of my information came from my mom and my aunt. Turns out their mother told them some wild fairy tales!

1. Story- Great Aunt Ann was widowed when her children were very small. She had to put them in Angel Guardian Orphanage for a short time because she had to go to work and could not afford them.

Fact-Great aunt Ann did indeed have to small children to raise, However, she was divorced from the father of her children NOT widowed. . She only put them in the orphanage after her EX husband passed away and the child support stopped.

2. Story-My great Grandmother had a baby that died. It was her Fifth child.

Fact- My great grandmother did have a baby that died when it was 7 days old. But it was her FIRST baby not her LAST and this child was born a scant 6 weeks after my grandmother was married. She was married in late Nov 1904 and the baby was born in the first week of Jan 1905.(kinda a shocker since she was a pillar of the Catholic church)

Laurie, on #2 there, have you checked if she was married and widowed prior to baby 1 being born?  It happens.  And back then, they seemed to remarry quickly, knowing the fate of women and children without a husband.  So this woman who was a pillar of her church still could have been if there had been a short lived marriage prior to the marriage that happened right before the baby was born. 

My great grandmother apparently had 4 different fathers raising her until she married.  Each of those fathers except the last one died while she and her mother were still fairly young.  She had 5 half siblings from the second marriage of her mother, and 4 step siblings from the 4th husband.  She outlived all 4 of them eventually.   The same think sort of happened with my great grandmother's marriages as well.  Get married, have a child, and husband drops dead.  In her case, the child died at about 2 years old.  Then she married my great-grandfather who was also her step brother, and possible 1 cousin as his mother and her mother were possibly sisters.  This is still something we are looking for but so far cannot find either lady's parents names.


The oddest family fable I've come across was the one concerning my granduncle Leon. According to my uncle, Leon had gone off to Chicago as a young man, in the thirties, and had fallen in with Buggs Moran's gang and was "rubbed out" by none other than Al Capone himself in 1933. Well, years later, further research proved that this whole story was false. First of all, Leon had never been to Chicago. He was down on his luck, during the depression, and followed his wealthy father to Florida, where his father had retired in the early twenties. The details are sketchy, at this point, but the gist of it is that Leon had apparently asked his father for money, was refused and then, despondent, committed suicide in Lakeland, Florida. So, my uncle, rather than telling me the truth would rather have had me believe that Leon was murdered by a famous gangster.



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