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Thu Oct 27, 2016, 04:15 PM

Just Sent Mail to Find Out About Distant Relatives

I've been researching my family for about three years now (and just found this group). So Hi!!

There are different styles and goals in family research. Some want to find links to George Washington, join the DAR, find a Mayflower passenger. Some want to see how far back they can get. My style has been to find closet doors; throw the doors of the closets open; and to study the skeletons within. This makes for good story telling and is interesting, but does not always make one popular ("why would you tell people about that?".

So a distant cousin murdered his wife in 1908. I'm reaching out to people who would have been her grand nieces/nephews to learn if they heard any stories over the years that weren't in the papers. The couple had an infant son at the time of the murder. He died in the early 90s. The son accidentally killed someone sixty years after his parent's murder. So I'm also reaching out to a survivor of the accident by mail to see what he can tell me, as the newspaper accounts lack detail.

I'm not certain that I will get answers, but I won't know if I don't ask. I've learned from another investigations into the past that a person can get pretty hacked off about events that took place over 100 years ago, and it was useful to remember, and to remind that person to remember, that neither one of us had anything to do with those events. History is what it is.

Have any of you dealt with finding a previously unknown marriage, or finding distant relatives involved in crimes? How did that make you feel, and how did relatives react when you revealed this information.

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Reply Just Sent Mail to Find Out About Distant Relatives (Original post)
Algernon Moncrieff Oct 2016 OP
The Genealogist Oct 2016 #3
madinmaryland Nov 2016 #4
Algernon Moncrieff Nov 2016 #5
madinmaryland Nov 2016 #6
Algernon Moncrieff Nov 2016 #4
dgibby Feb 2017 #7
CanonRay Feb 2017 #8
LineLineReply
Dec 1969 #

Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Thu Oct 27, 2016, 08:20 PM

3. I've found a number of distant relatives who spent time in jail for their crimes

Most of the crimes are petty ones, but some were pretty serious crimes.

One story has come to light, fairly recently to me, and I am not certain I believe it, is that a great-great grandfather was involved in a murder in Tennessee and fled to Missouri. What I have seen is pretty flimsy in terms of evidence. He did come to Missouri, but a much simpler explanation was that his wife's (my great-great grandmother's) family was apparently adamantly opposed to their marriage. They left Tennessee almost immediately upon being wed.

My take on family scandals is this: often times what happened in the past was miserable, brutal and sad. Our ancestors were what they were though. The most valuable lesson is to learn from the past, lest we repeat the mistakes of the past.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Fri Nov 18, 2016, 04:53 PM

4. The sister of my g-g-grandfather murdered her three children and

then killed herself in 1890. She did it with a double barreled shot gun, so she had to reload. She did all of this while her husband was at church. He eventually remarried and had six children.

Another one was a g-g-aunt who was a bootlegger during the 20's and 30's until she got caught and sent to prison. She got out of prison when she was required to marry a blind man. Never quite figured out why the blind man.

Another one was a g-g-g uncle who died in 1924 and was buried with full KKK honors. Obvious a higher up in the Klan, they said he was a good Christian man. Sounds familiar doesn't it. This was in central PA. If he was alive today, he would definitely be a tRump supporter.

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Response to madinmaryland (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 20, 2016, 01:15 AM

5. That is an odd requirement

I'm not doubting you, but I've never heard of such a thing. I'm guessing it was the 1920s answer to social programs: a disabled man needing a help mate and life partner and a woman of marriageable age with a prison record.

I have to ask: did they end up having kids?

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 21, 2016, 05:55 PM

6. It was actually the late 1930's, she would have been near 50 and he was 60.

I don't think they were married for long and she ended up living to 92.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Mon Nov 7, 2016, 11:22 PM

4. Update

Sent 4 mailers. I received one response. However, the response was excellent.

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 04:54 PM

7. One of my paternal great grandfathers was the black sheep of the family.

He was actually my great grand uncle (by marriage) before he became my great grandfather. His first wife was my great grand aunt. After she and her fourth child died in childbirth, he hired a housekeeper/nanny. She eventually married him, but it took 13 years and a load of kids before they finally tied the knot (at the insistence of the state of Virginia).

One of his daughters grew up, married the great nephew of first wife, and they had a son who subsequently became my father.

After the 2nd wife(my great grandmother) died, he married a woman 40 years his junior. That marriage ended up in divorce when he beat and abandoned her, then got involved with "a woman of ill repute", with whom he had a child out of wedlock.

Needless to say, he was quite a character! I love the black sheep-they're the spice in the spaghetti so to speak!

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Response to Algernon Moncrieff (Original post)

Mon Feb 20, 2017, 06:05 PM

8. After my cousin hid out from the police in our attic when I was a kid

I don't have a lot of problems with ancient relations having criminal records!

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