Don’t Always Believe What You See

posted in: Family History, Genealogy | 0

When we look at census records or other primary sources, it can be very easy to become confused.

There are occasions when things are not always what they seem.

early census records did not give relationships

For instance, we look at a census records that provides a mother, father and children.

But what if one parent remarried after the death of a spouse?  That is very common in these records and we do not always know which wife a child belonged to.

But then we have more complicated stories.

For instance, this true story from a great-great aunt of mine.

She was married to a man who abused her.  She was married young and they had a number of children together.  {Why didn’t she leave?  Women at that time couldn’t because they had no way to support themselves}.

So, her husband went to jail, she had a relationship with a man and a son and the man took the son to raise.   The husband came home and they had another child together before he was sent back to jail. The wife and her lover then had a second son together, whom he took to raise as his own.

The lover was married and his wife raised both of his sons as her own.  Why she did this we don’t know?  But if we were to view the census records we would believe she was the mother.

Only on the obituary and death certificate, was their birth mother listed.  Only after her husband died, did she have a relationship with the two sons she gave up to be raised by their father.

So, while we want to believe what the records show, there are times when they are wrong.

Sadly, without the family stories and proof that has been passed down, these types of stories are lost to time.

While this occurrence is rare, these situations {or a variation there of} did occur.

What interesting family stories have you discovered?