Mysteries in your family.

1. I’m 47. My mother is 74. She has two sisters, all of whom are alive.

My mom’s side of the family has always been a big mystery to me. Her dad died when she was young, and she has never talked about him. I vaguely recall she once said he “drank a lot,” but that’s it. Her mother (my grandmother) died a couple of years ago. They were never close despite living not far from each other.

I have a nagging suspicion my mother’s childhood was not pleasant. I have a feeling bad things were happening in her household when she was growing up. Abuse of some kind? Not sure. And I will never know the answer because I would feel weird asking her about it.

2. According to my genealogical research, my great great grandparents had 13 children. They lived in and around Dayton, Ohio throughout most of their life. After my gg grandfather died in 1913, my gg grandmother (at the age of 63) abruptly moved to Oakland, CA for a few years, and then moved back to Dayton. As far as I know we didn’t have any family in California at the time. Why did she move out there? An old love interest? I’ll never know.

Why my great-grandparents came here from Ukraine and changed their name from one common Ukrainian name to another common Ukrainian name. Their new name was no more “American sounding” than their old name.

What actually killed my great-grandmother. She died in the early 1920s while was in her 20s, and her death certificate only shows ‘paralysis’ as the cause of death.

What our last name would be if my paternal great-great grandfather hadn’t changed it when he immigrated from Scotland. On the run, he came to the US and changed his name. And that is as much as we know.

It also might be nice to know about my paternal great grandfather’s second family from while he was a bigamist.

Our mystery is–what is our ACTUAL patrilineal last name. We can trace it back to around 1860 in Kentucky, and then it disappears. Meanwhile, apparently there is some bit of family folklore that my great grandparents knew of that their grandparents or great grandparents used to tell about how when they were kids, they recall one of my ancestors hiding under some stairs while confederate soldiers came looking for him.

So it looks like probably we have a deserter in our ancestry, and that he changed his name. So we have no idea what our “real” last name is.

Too bad too since our “fake” last name would have meant we’re descended from Welsh nobility. :wink:

Where my paternal grandfather came from, as he was adopted. He, my father and I had/have dark, curly/wavy hair, olive skin, big noses (not Greek, Roman or Jewish, just big) and dark brown eyes.

Crafter_Man, I know my maternal grandmother died when mum was a child, and the only time she spoke of her she burst out crying, my paternal grandfather was in the military and dad rarely speaks about him, and never in a kind way.

Families, eh? Sheesh. :rolleyes:

In my family, the name remained spelled the same but the pronunciation changed. In Cyrillic H sounds like N and there were some other changes as well. We seem to have followed a pattern for several generations; the men would come here, work for 20 years, and then go back home and buy a wife and a potato farm, roam the Russian frontier, and raise the next generation to do the same. I can trace relatives who were here all the way back to the American Revolution.

The mystery comes after the White Revolution. In spite of having family in the US and ties to the US, none of the ones caught “back home” at the time came directly here; all came through England and then to Canada. And from Canada here. I’ve looked at immigration laws and patterns and was even able to talk to a lot of the people involved but the only explanation I got was “that’s just how we did it”.

They changed their last name and the old man changed his first name as well. This is purely conjecture on her part, but my wife (who is from Ukraine) hypothesizes that they might have been involved in nationalistic/separatist activity in that pre-WWI era. When they came here, the puzzling name change might have been out of fear that the authorities in Galicia would search for them even in the US. I never new the old man and the old woman died when I was pretty small. From what my dad and grandparents told me, if one of them was involved in such intrigue, it was more likely the old woman.

My grandmother’s oldest brother, Charles, ‘disappeared’ one day in 1922. He had told his wife he was going into New Hampton, IA, to the feed store one day and never returned. A search was mounted and local police looked for him for years, but never a trace. After the obligatory seven years, he was declared dead. My great–aunt Lenore eventually remarried and life went on.

In 1982, I received a phone call from a private detective employed by an attorney in Washington state. He was trying to locate any living relatives of a Charles ___. I had heard of Great-Uncle Charles before, of course, but was sure, like the rest of my family, that he was dead.

Turns out Uncle Charles had lived to the ripe old age of 92 and died when he drove his car off a steep mountain road in Washington. He had a small estate of about $20,000, which we eventually divided up among the surviving members of the family.

I really wish I knew what had caused Charles to ‘disappear’ that day in 1922 and what he had done throughout the intervening years until his death in 1982.

I suspect we have one of these in the family - some great-great-grandfather came from Scotland to Canada to the US, and then one day just disappeared. 10 years later, they heard he’d died in Canada, but nobody who is a live now knows what the deal was (or if they know, they’re not telling and doing a great job of playing dumb).

On the other side of those tales…

My direct line male ancestor appeared out of nowhere in Wisconsin in the mid 1800’s. We are unable to find any birth records or anything else indicating who he was related to, where he came from, etc. My theory is that he moved to Wisconsin and changed his name.

What’s weird is you not asking. She’s your mom. You are her closest living relative. Normal adult parent/child relationships should be able to handle the questions you have.

My grandmother was a doctor and surgeon in WW1. She never told anyone about her experiences.

Granddad ran away from an orphanage when he was twelve. He took his two younger brothers with him. We today do not know how they all managed as children on their own in the streets. They did and grew into productive men with families.

Some type of schooling perhaps? Maybe nursing school or normal school? Perhaps she felt that, as a widow, it would be a good idea to get a degree or career training. Did she ever have a career outside the home? It’s possible that if she had a career before marriage, she might have needed (or felt the need to) to go back to school to upgrade her qualifications in order to re-enter it. For example, in my parents’ youth, it was pretty easy to become, and stay, a schoolteacher with a bachelor’s degree in more or less anything, especially in a small town. Nowadays, you more or less need a master’s degree if you want to advance past “wannabe provisional temporary” status.

What ever happened to my wife’s grandmother’s sister. There doesn’t seem to be any reliable information on what happened to her after a marriage and divorce in the 1940’s, no idea if she’s alive or dead (if alive, she’d be about 90 years old), if she ever re-married, had children, what have you. Basically, it’s possible that my mother-in-law has first cousins she knows nothing about.

Anyone in the family who was alive around that time no longer is. We only found out about her existence after my wife’s grandmother died, through a relative on that side who is a genealogy buff, but even she hasn’t been able to get any info on her ultimate fate.

Almost certainly Polio.

There was a lot of mystery (and still some) surrounding the death of my great aunt.

Her name was Alma Lou Craft, and she died when she was just 24 years old (b. 10-Sept-1907, d. 15-Apr-1932). Alma had been the stylist/fashion editor at the Dayton Daily News (DDN) for a number of years. At the time the DDN was published by James M. Cox, and rumor has it she was… having an affair with him. When she died, there was a lot whispering within the family on the cause of death. Some suspected she was poisoned. No one talked about it openly.

Last year I sent away for a copy of her death certificate. It says: “Principle Cause of Death: Chronic parenchymatous nephritis, duration = 1 year. Contributory cause: Hypertension over period of four years.” I have no idea what any of that means.

I have one ancestor whose cause of death is listed as “lost at sea”. Never found out the circumstance.

I had 4 years of high school Latin and my dad was a research chemist, so I can help you out a little. Your great aunt died of kidney disease complicated by high blood pressure. The Parenchyma is a section of the kidney and nephritis refers to an inflammation. And of course chronic means is was constant and ongoing. Hypertension is the medical word for high blood pressure.

I’m sure some of the medical folks on here can give you a few more details, but this is a start.