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Sad stories, odd stories, anything happen in your family history?

(29 Posts)
TheMagicKeyCanFuckOff Sun 30-Jun-13 18:16:02

I have found someone born in 1702. She married aged 20 and gave birth to 14 children! Of them, 8 died before the age of 10 and a further one died aged 13 (the same age as DD2). So, of 14 children, only 5 survived childhood. She lived a good age, and a further two children died before she died. She was left with three living children. Of the 9 children who died in childhood, 7 died within the same week sad Life must have been so tough.

Does anyone else have sad, strange, mysterious etc; stories in their family history?

SinisterSal Mon 01-Jul-13 00:34:00

Jesus Christ imagine living through that.
I reckon that's why faith was so strong in those days .
You had to believe there was a better place where you would be reunited. Or is this a modern sensibility? Maybe they had a different mindset.

DrCoconut Wed 31-Jul-13 21:13:25

My great great aunt had a baby outside marriage during WW1. Her and her DP presumably DTD before he left for the somme, as you would. They planned to marry when he came back next but it never happened. She found out she was pregnant and he had been killed more or less in the same week. She got no state help as she was not a widow officially and people were dreadful to her. Her parents didn't throw her out but they were not pleased. Her DD was "not right" (contemporary term not mine) and people said it was punishment for what she'd done. Sadly the little girl only lived to be 10. We found a photo of her that her mum had lovingly kept among my grandma's things after she died. She looks to have Down's syndrome which I guess was not recognised then. Very sad and all the evidence we need that a return to the good old days would not be all it's cracked up to be. sad

1944girl Sun 04-Aug-13 00:20:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

joanofarchitrave Sun 04-Aug-13 00:25:49

An ancestor was one of only two survivors of a famous (at the time, not now) maritime disaster.

Another ancestor was one of the first British people to visit a particular area and his diary is in the British Museum. It is full of dullness and is noted by historians to be viciously racist even by the genocidal standards of his era.

A relative had her husband and children die around her in a road traffic accident. She was the only survivor... but she was pregnant. She went on to see her grandchildren born and was a calm and apparently happy person.

1944girl Sun 04-Aug-13 00:31:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrazyHamsterdisguisedasatree Sun 04-Aug-13 00:42:53

This will out me to my family on here but anyway .

My DGD was German & was forced to join the army at the age of 14 & had to drive a Tank , eventually he was captured & held as a POW at Eden Camp in the UK where my Dm's Grandad worked as a guard & looked after him as he was only 16 & had received need that his entire family had been killed by a bomb that had dropped directly on their home sad

He stayed in England for the rest of his life & never went back home .
Even changed his surname at the end if the war so their is no trace of him or his family & never told anybody his real name sad sad

CrazyHamsterdisguisedasatree Sun 04-Aug-13 00:44:39

*German Grandad was my Dfs Dad & Grest grandad that looked after him at POW camp was my Dms Grandad & they lost touch & met again 40 years later smile

Theas18 Sun 04-Aug-13 01:01:29

my grandma, born in 1901 was the eldest of 6 - her sisters were 2 sets of twins, who all survived. must have been a miracle in those days, but ruined grandma's childhood as she wad a 2nd mum to them. o.j. think she always resented them for it. her brother-the youngest and most precious son died in infancy though:-(

(dads side of the family)

mums side of the family-her mums mum drowned herself in the canal presumably due to post natal depression leaving 2 small children, one only a few months old, father re married-to her sister I believe, and there were a lot of younger step siblings.

FarelyKnuts Sun 04-Aug-13 01:56:00

My grandfathers father (my great grandfather) ran off and left him and his younger brother when they were only wee boys. Last seen heading for America. My grandfathers mother died shortly after and he was left to be raised by an aunt who did him and his brother out of their inheritance and turned them out at 16yo to join the Irish Army.

FarelyKnuts Sun 04-Aug-13 01:58:55

His brother did go on to be a lovely bloke who rescued women from the Magdelene Laundries and hid them in his home until he and his wife could get them on a boat to England. It is estimated that he snuck out 10-15 women away from that hell hole and never got caught.

Primrose123 Sun 04-Aug-13 02:21:49

My lovely grandmother married the man of her dreams. She was 24, he was 34. They wanted children but didn't have any. After 8 years of marriage, my GM became pregnant and they had a little girl, my DM. When she was a year old, her father died. There were no benefits. My GM, obviously devastated at the loss of her husband, had to work full time and leave her baby daughter with her grandparents.

My GM remarried a few years later, and sadly suffered a number of miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy. Her second husband died about 10 years later. She was so lovely, I wish she could have had a better life. She was clever, and wanted to stay on at school and go to university, but her parents wouldn't allow it because she was a girl.

My MIL had an older brother who drowned in a local river when he was about 16.

Secretswitch Sun 04-Aug-13 02:42:31

My great great great great great grandmother was hung as a witch in Salem, Ma. So weird to visit Salem with all the tourist flocking through, knowing a distant relative of mine was tortured and died there.

MrsHelsBels74 Sun 04-Aug-13 11:02:42

Not mine as such but MIL was always told that her father had been killed in WWII in Canada. She recently found out he was married with a family in Canada before being stationed in the UK & actually died in about 1967. She never met him.

throckenholt Sun 04-Aug-13 11:18:47

great great grandmother - had 5 sons - one fell out of a pram and died, on choked on a gob stopper given to him by a sibling, two (twins) died in the first world war. Also have 6 daughter who all lived to old age.

Mid 1800s - family had one son buried at 5 weeks, and then almost exactly two years later another drowned in the canal beside where they lived age 4.

When you get back to the 1600s it is common to find child after child bapt and buried in close succession with only 1 or two surviving to adult hood. It is really sad when you see a bunch die all about the same time - obviously something infectious. And very sad to see baptism, rapidly followed by burials of child and mother (especially if twins - I have twins and it makes me realise how dangerous that was in the past).

TallyGrenshall Sun 04-Aug-13 11:33:54

The oddest thing to me is that for about 200 years, nobody left the county. All my relatives (dads side) come from 2 places in Norfolk and they only started moving away in the 1950s.

One relative died in a workhouse infirmary but left a substantial amount of money in his will. I found out it was also used for the 'insane' so I'm guessing it was probably dementia because they were in their 80s when they died

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 04-Aug-13 11:39:22

MIL's SIL did the family tree and found in the late 1800s a toddler who died after falling in the fire. sad sad sad I wasn't told anything else about what she found out because I couldn't stop crying.

burberryqueen Sun 04-Aug-13 11:45:20

my grandmother was a married schoolteacher who left the family home in Brum and stayed in London for a few weeks where she gave birth to my mum before hotfooting it back to Brum without her, leaving father's name blank on the birth lines.
still the fact that the extra details like her job were on the birth cert when they were not requested made me wonder if she wanted to be found.
sadly she died during the time that it was not possible for adopted children to find out who their real parents were.
its all a bit sad really.

MrsCosmopilite Sun 04-Aug-13 11:46:09

So many sad stories here!

My Gt Grandmother married at 21, had 22 children - 9 died in infancy, and another couple in their teens). She died at 49. The day before my grandmother got married. My grandmother had no wedding photographs 'as a mark of respect'.

Another relative and her family were due to emigrate to the US. Her eldest son had already gone out there. She and her other two sons and daughter travelled out, later joined by her husband. Some time later, the husband and two sons returned. She and her daughter travelled back on the Lusitania and were lost at sea.

A Gt-Gt-Gt grandfather committed suicide by cutting his own throat. A week later his eldest son did the same, leaving a wife and family. Three weeks later, the next eldest son was found dead in the stable (he was an Ostler), trampled by a horse.

Yet another relative killed by a horse - Gt-Grandfather killed when the horse that was pulling the omnibus he was driving shied. He was crushed by the bus.

Oh, and a great aunt gassed herself when her husband was found to be having an affair.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 04-Aug-13 11:51:46

Maybe slightly off topic but many of the stories in the thread remind me of a quote from Philippe Aries from the 1970s.

"The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only just begun to awake"

He was a historian and one of the first to write seriously about children's lives.

VelvetStrider Sun 04-Aug-13 11:57:18

One of my ancestors died after an operation to remove her appendix at home! shock

On a happier note, another one was the first white man to cross a particular desert (can't remember which one).

anothershittynickname Sun 04-Aug-13 13:27:22

My DGM was brought up in an orphanage after her mum left her / died (we're still not sure which).

She went on to have 6 of her own children and took on her DH's 3 to be her own and them being siblings that got on was so important to her as she grew up with no-one.

When I started to research my tree, about 15 years after she died I discovered that she actually had 4 half siblings who were being brought up by their paternal side as their mother (my GGM) had done the same to them.

Coincidently she went into the orphanage at around the same age her maternal DGM died!

We actually had a reunion of all the first cousins which was very bitter sweet.

The same GGM married bigamously and then disappeared off the face of the earth (without the new DH)!

I absolutely love this sort of thing but it makes me feel so sad, humble and wry very lucky!

throckenholt Sun 04-Aug-13 21:05:20


my grandad's sister died after her nightdress caught fire - she was about 8 and it must have been in the early 1900s. Very sad.

trice Sun 04-Aug-13 21:47:42

One of my ancestors was a chartist who spoke out recommending bloody armed revolution. He escaped prosecution by fleeing to the USA where he ran a boarding house helping other chartists to emigrate.

Another ancestor was a sea captain on one of the first steam powered ships sailing from Hull to Rotterdam.

DaleyBump Mon 05-Aug-13 01:00:07

I don't know much about my relatively recent history, but I found out a couple of years ago that my ancestors include Mary Queen of Scots, King James the Fifth, the Earl of Huntly and someone else royal but who I can't for the life of me remember.

I also found out today that my DGM had an older sister who died when she was a baby and before my gran was born. My gran has never mentioned it to me and only mentioned it once to my DM when she was about 8 years old, and even then she wouldn't answer any questions about her and hasn't spoken of it since.

My DGM was also engaged at about 18 and her fiance died after he drowned in a pond rescuing his nephew. She never, ever got over him and hates my DGF as a result. I even remember her telling me as a child that her soulmate had died so she married my grandad because she felt sorry for him, and that she didn't care who she married after her fiance died because she knew he was the one for her. It's really sad I think. For both my DGM and DGF, stuck in a loveless marriage because they're really religious and "promised to be together forever in front of god" according to my DGM.

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