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Scandals are my favourite!!!


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I love a good scandal in my ancestry! :mrgreen: Today I learned that from the looks of it, my great-aunt was born two months after my great-grandparents got married. Who knew? I suppose it's possible that the date was entered wrong (it said they were married in 1919, but it could have been 1918), but they had the name of the church, the licence number, and everything, so...I guess it's true, what they used to say: "The first child can come at anytime, but the rest take 9 months." ;):P

 

 

I know, I know...nowadays, nobody cares, but back in 1919? Scandalous! :o

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crazyforkate

I suspect they weren't the only ones in their community...but seven months is a long time to wait!

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I suspect they weren't the only ones in their community...but seven months is a long time to wait!

Oh, I'm sure they weren't. But yeah, that is a long time! That's basically the only thing that makes me wonder if the date is wrong. They got married pretty old, too--she was 36, and he was 41. That surprised me.

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samurai_sarah

Scandals in family history are great, aren't they? :mrgreen: I grew up in a small village, where the parish register noted everything. Some of my favourites:

1. The girl in the 1800s, who married three brothers in a row, and was quite a bit of a cougar. Judging on dates of birth. Oh, her husbands all died before she remarried.

2. The nun. Her birth was totally legitimate, until she took final vows. At that point, during the ceremony, apparently, her biological parents had to be named. As it turned out, one of my ancestors and her mother had been more than neighbourly.

3. The sheer amount of preemies. Pretty much every firstborn in my very Catholic family is a preemie. Our "record" is four months for a living, fully-fledged baby. The family joke, whenever anyone gets married is to ask if the bride is pregnant. If the answer is "no", the next question is "why are they getting married then?" No illusions about premarital sex in my family.

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PennySycamore

Two of my maternal grandmother's double first cousins robbed a bank in Walhalla, SC in the early years of the Twentieth Century due to a personal squabble with the bank president.

On my dad's side, I think we were related to the Short Brothers who were notorious pirates on the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee. I need to remember that on the next Talk Like A Pirate Day.

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GeoBQn

My first document victory was finding my great-grandparents' marriage certificate. As the euphoria wore off, I took a closer look at it. They were married in May 1909. My great-aunt was born in December 1909. Premature baby care wasn't what it is today, and by all accounts my great-aunt was a LARGE baby. When I told my mom, she responded, "There HAS to be a mistake! They were Orthodox Jews! Maybe we've been celebrating [great-aunt]'s birthday wrong all of these years!" Five minutes later, I found my great-aunt's birth certificate--December 1909, just like we've always celebrated. Everybody who knew them said there is no possible way my great-grandparents would have had premarital sex, but another explanation has yet to present itself.

On my dad's side, both sides of the family bootlegged alcohols in Eastern Europe--my grandfather's family did vodka, my grandmother's family did mead (or "moot" as they called it in Yiddish.)

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cindyluvs24

A great-great grandfather emigrated to the US and told his wife and children he'd work and send for the rest of them as soon as he could. After ten years or so, they saved up enough money and came over to find that he had several women and conveniently forgotten he had a family.

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Ahahaha! The scoundrels make the best stories!

I don't know what other naughtiness my ancestors got up to. In good time, in good time. I know there was a family rift on my dad's side. I have a bunch of cousins (not first cousins, though) that neither my dad or I knew existed. They also didn't know we existed.

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GeoBQn

My favorite "Who Do You Think You Are" episode was one where Kim Cattrall wanted to find her grandfather that abandoned the family in the middle of the night. It turned out that he had gotten remarried (illegally, since he never divorced from his first wife), moved the entire family to Australia, and stayed with them until death. Kim's mom and aunts grew up in poverty, and they were incredibly upset when they saw pictures of their father's 2nd family looking happy and well cared for.

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LaydNimue

Shotgun weddings and out-of-wedlock births were a lot more common than current media (and most history books) would have you believe. What is morally or socially acceptable fluctuated greatly throughout history, even specific to localities and social classes during specific points in history. But it is "fun" to learn these tidbits, I agree. Probably because it humanizes our ancestors, gives them some personality that we wouldn't otherwise know about.

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Joan of Snarc

On my husband's side, he has an ancestor who was a counterfeiter. He lived just outside of Chattanooga on the Georgia - Tennessee line. He was running on foot from the police and had to cross a river. He had his engraving plates on him and he weight of the plates dragged him down and he drowned!

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CallmeChaCha

My maternal grandfather was shot to death in 1965. Nobody would ever tell me why, except that he was in an argument. I found out a few years later that the argument with the other man was over the other man's wife. And my grandfather was already married to my grandmother! He also used to come work where I live now (thru a Mexico work program thing) so I've been searching for long lost relatives because I've been told he was a womanizer. Still haven't found any but I won't be surprised if/when I do.

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LaydNimue

While doing research for a client last week I found out their grandmother had 6 husbands, and I strongly suspect one more. Strangely she only had children with one of them, which begs all sorts of questions.

Another relative of theirs was listed in the 1910 census as being employed as a Prostitute. This was 10 years after her marriage; I was able to find a newspaper article stating that just a few months after the wedding the husband was arrested for theft. And in 1912 another newspaper article details her suicide attempt and states that she has one child living with a relative.

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Loveday

I've been researching my family for about two years now, but haven't found much in the way of scandal yet. I do have a 3x great grandfather who spent time in prison for stealing a gun. He's listed in the 1860 census right there among the rest of the prison population. And one great grandfather whose alcoholism and abuse of wife and family led to his eventual banishment from said family and a divorce. Otherwise, a fairly bland and boring family, which all things considered I guess is a good thing! :lol:

My favorite "Who Do You Think You Are" episode was one where Kim Cattrall wanted to find her grandfather that abandoned the family in the middle of the night. It turned out that he had gotten remarried (illegally, since he never divorced from his first wife), moved the entire family to Australia, and stayed with them until death. Kim's mom and aunts grew up in poverty, and they were incredibly upset when they saw pictures of their father's 2nd family looking happy and well cared for.

That was a good one, wasn't it? You could almost see the steam coming from Cattrall's ears, she was so pissed off by what he'd done to her mom and aunts. :x

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  • 2 months later...

I think I mentioned this in another thread, but there's also a rather mysterious scandal (sort of) about the father of one of my ancestors. The family story is that my ancestor, Elizabeth/Eliza (not real sure which name is correct), worked in a manor house as a servant or something. The manor lord's son got her pregnant, and then his parents shipped him off to Australia for awhile. She refused to give up the baby (Ruth) to his family. Part of the story also is that she (the mother) was a bit slow, so it sounds like he rather took advantage of her. I would so love to find out more about this!

I found someone on Ancestry.com with the same story and the same ancestor, except they had a first initial and a last name for the father. They are supposed to look into it and tell me where they got that name, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. So. excited!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Smokey-pony

Thus far I'm afraid I have found I have a fairly boring family, at least on paper, as far as black sheep or scandal goes. My dad's mother refused to speak about her side of the family but I've uncovered nothing to explain her behavior.

On my mother's side my great-great grandparents were first cousins. Apparently their parents approved from the family stories I've heard.

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Dinaberries

It's very interesting to hear all of these stories. I'm another one with a history of preemie first borns in the family. Nearly every woman in my family for the past 150 years or so was pregnant when she got married. And my family was Hawaiian "high society", so it seems odd! I guess they may have had different ideas about sexuality that carried over from their traditional beliefs.

Anyway, we don't have any really interesting skeletons in the closet that I know of, but there are a few. One was that an ancestor of mine from hong kong had another family. He left them behind but supported them financially, and went back to hong kong when he was elderly. He was pretty open with his family in hawaii about his wife and children back in hong Kong. Also, there's the icky story of my grandmother's aunt Louise, who she called "Aunty Grandma", because she was my great grandmother's half sister (same mom) and went on to marry my great great grandfather (her own stepfather) shortly after her mother died. The story is that she was coerced because my great great grandfather told her that she wouldn't have a home or be able to see her younger siblings if she didn't marry him. Sadly, most of her siblings turned against her for marrying their father, but she and my great grandmother remained close. She and my great great grandfather got divorced later on, and it was on the grounds of adultery, but he didn't say who she was having an affair with and neither did she. But it turned out that she was having an affair with a Catholic priest and that relationship lasted until she died. I guess that's pretty scandalous stuff, actually. Anyway, the crazy thing is that side of my family was traditionally the most religious...

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Ohh, just discovered the genealogy section! A few summers ago I was obsessed with building up my family tree. Not much scandal going on, I think, but here's what I've got:

An x-times great grandmother on my mother's side was a maid in England, back in the 1800s. Had a daughter and then 3 years later a son without being married. Both had her maiden name. She married 4 years later and had several children with her husband that had his last name. Perhaps her first 2 children were from a previous marriage and I just couldn't find a record/note from it, maybe to a cousin (bc of the last name), but I like to think she was just a scandalous lady who got it on with the lord of house or something ;)

Another ancestor was twice jailed for getting women pregnant without marrying them and not providing for the children.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Sobeknofret

I have one I suspect that there's a scandal attached to, but I can't prove it. The man in question is my 2X great-grandfather. One day, he just *poof,* appears. No past that anyone can discern, a relatively common name that make it hard to pin down. Only vague clues as to his family and his past, and only the slightest idea of who he is. There's one person in the census records that might be him before age 40, but I have no idea whether it's really him or not. No birth certificate, and his death certificate is shockingly blank. I do know that he was married again after the death of my 2x grandmother, but no idea what happened to his other wife. I'm beginning to suspect that he was on the run from something, but I don't know what it is unless it's another wife and family. Even his grandchildren didn't know anything about him!

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GeoBQn

When I was getting information from my dad, he was listing his cousins. When I asked if a particular cousin had a wife, he suddenly clammed up and said, "We don't talk about her." Then when I asked about children, he finally explained. The wife had run off with a lover while the cousin was away on a business trip. At one point, the cousin and wife's 2-year-old son was crying. The lover grabbed the son by the ankles and flung him into the wall to shut him up. The son lived, but was left with permanent brain damage and he has been living in an institution ever since. It really shocked me, and was one of those sobering moments when it hit me that as excited as I am to search and find new information, these names represent real people who sometimes lived through horrible experiences.

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crazyforkate

Recently my sister was visiting and accidentally let slip that I had a cousin I'd never known about. Turns out married uncle had an affair with married neighbor and a little girl was the result. Well, not little girl, she's the same age as I am. The more you know...

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Recently my sister was visiting and accidentally let slip that I had a cousin I'd never known about. Turns out married uncle had an affair with married neighbor and a little girl was the result. Well, not little girl, she's the same age as I am. The more you know...

That must have been a bit of a shock... :?

I sometimes wonder how many of my DNA relatives from 23andMe are due to situations like that.

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Dinaberries
When I was getting information from my dad, he was listing his cousins. When I asked if a particular cousin had a wife, he suddenly clammed up and said, "We don't talk about her." Then when I asked about children, he finally explained. The wife had run off with a lover while the cousin was away on a business trip. At one point, the cousin and wife's 2-year-old son was crying. The lover grabbed the son by the ankles and flung him into the wall to shut him up. The son lived, but was left with permanent brain damage and he has been living in an institution ever since. It really shocked me, and was one of those sobering moments when it hit me that as excited as I am to search and find new information, these names represent real people who sometimes lived through horrible experiences.

God, that's so tragic. I'm often struck by what you brought up the end of your post as well. I don't do much genealogical research because my family is really into it, but it interests me and I like to learn about their discoveries. It's the tragic ancestors and relatives I am most interested in because my family is sort of ashamed of that and tries to avoid thinking about them. I think it's so important to know they were people and they mattered.

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  • 4 years later...
CTRLZero

My husband and I recently gave samples and are learning about the 23 and Me system.  I found a first cousin on my DNA relatives list today and mentioned it to my sister.  She then told me that this same cousin had just discovered that she and her brother had different fathers through 23 and Me!  Who knew!?!  No one but their deceased mother, apparently.  Anyway, my cousin inquired of my mother (who is in assisted living, somewhat demented, and has no filter at this point) and my mom said, "Well, your mom *was* a slut, you know."  Ack!  Insult to injury!   Way to go, mom, lol!

Anyway, my poor cousins!  When the company warns you that surprises may be uncovered, I guess they mean it.  Now my cousin is wondering who her biological father could be.  My cousins are approaching 70, so the players are long gone.

We originally signed up because my husband and I both have grandfathers that walked out on the families and we were interested in if there are cousins out there in the world somewhere.  And now this!

Anyway, convoluted family story, but who knew we'd have this unexpected news in the family tree.  Fun times!

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