Interesting or/ and Famous People

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There is nobody famous in my family, but my father-in-law designed street sweepers during his years as an engineer smiley

That is pretty neat, Penny! One of those things that we often forget how nice they are for the city to own (if you live where they have them).

I STILL love this thread.

This is a great thread- enjoyed reading- everyone has a story!

I had fun reading through everyone's comments. There isn't anyone famous in my family, more like infamous (on my dad's side).

On my mom's side, there is no one: Just a HUGE family from Latvia. A sister and a brother of my grandmother's (she had 12 siblings) were both murdered at the end of WW2 by the Soviets. Another brother was conscripted into the Latvian Legion (two infantry divisions solely comprised of ethnic Latvians), a division of the Waffen SS in Latvia, which fought the Red Army before the Nazis relinquished Latvia to the Soviets. Not that I really call that conscription, because if you didn't "volunteer," they'd kill you and every member of your family they could find. I was actually discussing all of this with one of my mom's cousins last week.

On my dad's side, that's a whole different story:

No one ever believes me about this because it is so far-fetched, but I assure you it's the truth: I'm the offspring of a long-line of Sicilian mafioso. I remember finding out as though it happened yesterday; I was 16, snooping around the house out of boredom while my mom was overseas in Latvia for a month. That's when I found the Italian newspaper clipping that would change my life (and my relationship with my mother, because she continuously lied to me about my father ... even up to the day she passed away) forever.

Since the clipping was in Italian, about two years after I found it, I took it to the Italian embassy in Hartford, Connecticut to get it fully translated, despite already knowing what it basically stated. Before the translation, I could only make out two names and one word: my father's, my grandfather's, and mafioso. Apparently, though, pretty much every adult male on my dad's side was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned on mafia charges in Sicily in 1972.

The story of my father is a very, very long one (including all the lies, the postcards, the letters, how I found the clipping, and so forth), so to make it short: My sister found him, talked to him and our grandmother with an international translator on the phone in 1995, a couple months after my husband passed away. We were making plans for us to go over there to meet the family during Easter 1996; however, that never happened. Shortly before Christmas 1995, he was murdered, execution-style, by a rival family. I never did pluck up the courage to write to him during those few months.

My sister and I inherited an olive farm with a gorgeous villa on it (my sister has a picture of the property, as well as the now infamous newspaper clipping), smack-dab in the middle of Sicily. Our cousin Lilo and his family live on the property and run it.

Another messed up (scary? strange? freaky?) part of this story is that my father knew I married and had a son. He told my sister on the phone that somebody had been "keeping an eye on us" for years. He had lots of photos of us at various ages, including some of my son when he was a toddler. My mother had refused all contact from him, so it must be true.

I should write a book! LOL

WOW! That is some family history that you have there, Vidia. Very interesting. I am not sure how I would react to finding out something like that.

@Kaleena I already knew about my grandmother's brother. I had seen a family portrait (him, his wife, and their daughter), decades ago, where he was wearing a Nazi uniform. He was one of the few who managed to flee before the Soviets took over Latvia (again) and sent everyone to the Siberian gulags. I don't have an issue with it; he had no other choice and only fought the Soviets in combat. People see WW2 through 20/20 hindsight, blinders and ignorance, as well as a serious lack of proper history teachings. Not this occurred during WW2, but hardly anyone even knows about the Holodomor; I never learned about it in school, and it still wasn't taught when my son was in school. The Soviets were even more ruthless than the Nazis, but we're not allowed to know or talk about that, because "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." (Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.)

As for the mafia issue, I don't have a problem with that, either. Before I found out, my friends and I used joke around about me being Sicilian because of the Godfather movies. LOL Everyone used to say things, such as "Don't make her mad, she'll get the mob after you." What I've always had a problem with is the fact that my mother lied to me about my father and made certain he stayed away from us.

This is where I would have a problem too, Vidia:

What I've always had a problem with is the fact that my mother lied to me about my father and made certain he stayed away from us.

The rest of it all makes sense to me. I know what you mean about not learning how ruthless the Soviets were and how history always gets watered down so that the people (in any country) only learn what those in charge want them to know about - and that is a very sad thing. The history of the world can be dark place but is something that needs to be taught in its fullness.

Fun to read everyone's stories. My grandmother on on my father's side was keen on genealogy and traced the family to John Alden of the Mayflower. She was so proud to be a member of the Descendants of the Mayflower Society (or whatever it is called), but I belong to enough things...though I guess I would qualify for membership.

Very cool Libby! I'm also interested in genealogy and am related to members of the Frankish aristocracy, Dukes of Normandy, Dukes of Burgundy, Dukes of Brittany, members of the English aristocracy and I'm also a direct descendant of the first recognized King of Denmark (Gorm the Old, 900-958AD).

I love this thread! Reading over everyone's stories makes me think of my Grandma. She has insisted over the years that we had a distant relation to John Wilkes Booth. Her niece who was big into genealogy tried to go back and find proof of the claim. The last name Booth did pop up and she tried to branch out the tree to make the link but wasn't able too. When she told my Gram, my Gram responded with "Why would you find that name in the family tree? Everyone disowned him and no one wanted to admit the relation... Duh!" Sooo we don't know if my gram was just telling tales or if he was the black sheep of the family smiley.

I am also a genealogist and have really enjoyed reading everyone's stories. I haven't found any famous people in my own family research, but I did trace one line in my husband's family to Richard Nixon, although it is a very very distant relation. My mother-in-law swears that one of her husband's relatives told her they were related to Elvis Presley many many years ago, but I have recently contacted this relative and she was never able to find the connection. There are also rumors that there was an Indian in her family lineage, and her father was very dark skinned with jet black hair, but I have never been able to substantiate this claim either.

Nothing famous (that I'm aware of), but the family line is kind of long...and equally confusing. My great-grandfather was William W, from the James and (Nancy) Anna Dean pedigree. I haven't really sat down and put pieces together, but basically I'm seven generations from Ireland. It's nothing too exciting--but maybe somebody (down the way) owned a castle or something!

I don't know for sure if I am related to anyone famous.
What I do know is that I am a "near miss" to Tom Selleck.
He married a cousin of a cousin and is not related to me. (RATS!)

I don't know if there is anyone "famous" though we do have someone fun history in our family.

1) I am related to a woman who was charged with "practicing medicine without a liscense" (she had been TRYING to go to med school but they told her women can't practice medicine) The charges were dropped when her brother (a lawyer) told them that they either had to ADMIT in a court of law that women CAN practice medicine and therefor let her into medical school or stick with that women can't practice medicine.

2) I am related (directly) to a man who had his own private navy and gave the English Crown some of his navy vessels. The family was very much in favor with the Crown (for obvious reasons). The family however fell out of favor with the crown after one of his sons, who was a priest, ended up being jailed and then sentenced to death for is zealous religious beliefs. When we found out the first part my mom and I were both like "Oh that's super cool." Upon finding out the second part we were both just like "Oh.. well.. Um.. Okay then." LOL

So yeah those are the only two major ones I can think of right now. smiley

No one famous here, though that doesn't deter my love for our history. There was a murderer (over a horse) and my great X3 grandfather had a shooting accident that left his hand severely mangled.

I'm loving all your stories!

Nothing on my dad's side as far as I know, and the Kentucky record house that had all of my mom's side of the family's records burned down some time ago...

Whilst doing genealogy, I learned some absolutely "shocking" information about a family member (through old newspapers online) that had been arrested and was sentenced to 5 years in jail... NO ONE would have EVER guessed this particular thing about this particular family I said absolutely "shocking". Some of the family called me an absolute liar. smiley I tried to find evidence (other than the paper clipping) but the place (jail) which only existed for about 20-30 years back in the 30's was condemned and no one seems to have records for this place of past inmates.

There's not really too many (if any) really famous people in my family. My dad's family is pretty modest (many of which, were preachers, teachers, song leaders, and so on-- I do have a 3rd cousin who is a theology/philosophy author though). My mom's family is from Appalachia though. Rumor has it my maternal grandfather was able to leave (and relocate his family to the south side of chicago and scoring a job in a metal plant) after making enough money being an illegal moonshine runner on top of being a coal miner.

There are a lot of stories (good and bad) in my family. There are amazing people like my paternal grandma, who roughed it being a single mom in the 1950's, and sometimes (because she's such an independent person) still has to be reminded that she's not wonder woman because she still tries to "do it all" at 87. She's my last surviving grandparent. She's who I get the creativity from, or at least she fostered it greatly (since it seems to come from multiple places in my family, but she actively spent time teaching me art and so on).There's of course, the bad, like the ancestor from my mom's side who was so paranoid that he shot and buried people in his yard. Or of course, the great-great-grandfather on my dad's side who was abusive, that my great grandparents lied on their marriage certificate about my great grandmother's age in order for her to escape hell at home when she was 14 (that great grandmother, passed when I was 8, but those great-grandparents were so gracious). There are weird stories, like the person from mom's side, who was fighting for the south, was captured, and started fighting for the north. And at least it would've helped me when I was younger if I knew there was a definite family history of depression and mental illness and stuff would've been taken seriously better and sooner (from all the stories I heard about LATER about struggles people in my ancestry had). And that's really just the start of it! (so much more where that comes from story-wise, not even touching on the late maternal grandmother of mine, nor the deadbeat paternal grandfather--weird since I only knew half of my grandparents). It's kinda weird when some people have all this class and prestige with their ancestry and the laundry list of famous people they're related to,... and then there's MY family.

Also, I'm not sure how we got to the topic, but I'm 1/8th cherokee because of a great-grandmother on my mom's side (to humor people fascinated by native/indigenous history, she's also on the Baker roll) . I don't know what clan she belonged to (of the 7 clans). I know what her father's clan is because he was a medicine man. But, in cherokee culture, people inherit their clan maternally, and they can't marry in the same clan afaik, so it wouldn't be the same as her dad's clan.

Pretty much the symbolic image representation of my family is that image you see on the internet that says "what my plans were" with a straight arrow and below it it says "what really happened" it it squiggles the arrow all over the place in knots. There's really no other way to explain my family history.

Although--- OP, my boyfriend is related to you somewhere, as he's also related to Robert E Lee (on his dad's side) (there must be a million people related to him it seems, as I keep finding them).