There are many things we can learn from our ancestors, whether it’s pearls of wisdom or captivating stories about them. Once you strike up a conversation with a representative of an older generation, they might share some quite unexpected tales (whether their own or something their predecessors have gone through), from happenings at the warfront to love stories that sound like something straight out of a movie.
Lots of fascinating examples were shared by the members of the ‘Ask Reddit’ community. The user Careless_Put_4770 asked them what was the most interesting story they have of an ancestor past their parents' generation and the redditors provided quite a few of them. Scroll down to find their answers, which might inspire you to delve deeper into the stories of your ancestors yourself.
#1My grandfather's grandfather was found wandering naked in a forest. He was estimated to be around 8 or 9 years old. He didn't speak but understood when spoken to. After a few years he started talking but was never able to recall anything about his life before he was found by the family that took him in; my great-great-great grandparents. They raised him as their own and all the stories say he turned out pretty normal.
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#2My Grandfather was posted as missing in action, believed killed (WWI). My grandmother was expecting their first child. That usually meant they were actually killed so Grandmother was certain that she would never see him again. Then there was a knock at the door and Grandfather was standing there in the hospital blue uniform soldiers wore to show they were receiving treatment. He had been knocked unconscious by the explosion everyone thought killed him and sent to a hospital close to his home, without being identified. When he came around and was otherwise unhurt they gave leave to go home before being sent back to the front. Grandmother went into slightly early labour caused by the shock! Grandad survived the war, my grandmother and the baby were both ok and all lived quite long and healthy lives.
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#3My great great** grandmother was Winston Churchill’s parlour maid. When she left service to get married, he begged her to stay as he was fond of her, and when she said no, he gifted her a table and chair from his own parlour as a wedding gift. My parents have the chair in my mum’s office, and the table is currently in storage.
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#4My great grandfather was from a wealthy family back in Greece / Albania in the 1890s. He had a tryst with a peasant girl who got pregnant. Rather than marry the peasant girl the family arranged for my great grandfather to be sent to America. Not to be outdone, the peasant girl and her family saved up enough money and sent her to America after him. She found him in New York, and they got married there.
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#5My grandfather (born in 1889) grew up on a farm. One day he and his brother were digging out a tree stump using mattocks, each one swinging alternately from the opposite side. His brother mistimed a downswing and clocked my grandfather on the head. His father put some kind of liniment on the wound and put him to bed.
When my grandfather woke up the next morning, he was blind. His father thought he was faking it to get out of doing his chores and told him to get to work. My grandfather felt his way out to the barn and fed the sheep, and by then his father realized he was telling the truth.
His sight returned in a few days. My grandfather went on to become a doctor and realized that the blow from the mattock had damaged the optic nerve -- fortunately, not permanently.
He served as an Army doctor in France during World War I, when he also had to deal with the great flu pandemic of 1918.
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#6My great great etc grandfather was the first convict sent to Australia to be freed after serving his time. He went on to develop the wheat that we grow here. (European wheat died. )
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#7Dutch here. My maternal grandfather was part of a group of people that hid Jews and Allies in a hidden village (underground house) made in the woods during WO II. They where later discovered by the SS but they still managed to save a lot of people. To this day you can visit the remains of the hidden village to see what it was like.
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#8My grandfather owned a hardware store in downtown Bogotá when the April 9th 1948 riots.
People burned and looted places.
He had to lay down among dead bodies simulating being dead to survive and not being killed.
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#9My great grandfather grew up super poor in Italy. He had an infection of some sort in his arm that would kill him if untreated, and because he was poor, it was left untreated. So one day, at age 14, he and a few friends found a bottle of liquor, a tree stump, and an axe. The only pictures I've seen of him, he only has one arm
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#10During the Partition of India in 1947, my grandmother and her family (Sikh) lived in a village with Hindus, Sikhs and 1 Muslim family.
During the brutality of it all, people in the village wanted to attack the Muslim family but my great grandfather intervened and stopped them from being hurt. He then helped them leave the village to make their way to Pakistan from the Indian side of the Punjab where my grandmother’s village was. We still do not know to this day what happened to the Muslim family and whether they survived.
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#11One of my great-grandmother’s grandma was an aristocrat. She fell in love with a peasant boy working on their lands.
Her father told her he would disown her if she wanted to be with that boy.
So one dark night the boy got my grandma escaped from their home and they ran away.
Needless to say she was disowned.
And that’s the story of why I have to work now, instead of just seeing my monthly allowance to show up on my bank account.
Omnia vincit amor.
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#12My grandmother’s grandmother walked the trail of tears. Her parents did no make the walk (assumed dead). When she reached Oklahoma she was adopted by a white couple. She was put down as half Cherokee, half white on the roll because of this.
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#13I come from a VERY conservative family and when I realized I was gay, it terrified me to come out. I came out to my mom and she didn’t have an easy time handling it, but within 48 hours she was my best friend and a strong advocate. The turn around was very strange. She also told me to never be scared to tell anyone in the family, which again seemed like being set up for failure. But it really wasn’t. Everyone was super supportive and kind and very defensive of me.
For years I wondered why and then one day I was at a family do with my grandmother and her four sisters - the Matriarchs of each branch of the family and the five most terrifying but loving women you ever met.
They pulled me aside and we’re VERY interested in how I was doing, if anyone in the family had been mean to me, and if anyone had given me a hard time about being “special” as they called it. I said no, surprisingly everyone in the family had been lovely. They didn’t ask any more questions but told me to come to them if anyone was being mean. This was so overwhelming to see these elderly, super conservative women being so supportive, so I cornered my mom and demanded to know why they were so nice.
Then my mom told me about Ravi. Ravi was a beautiful, charismatic, loving, kind, sweet teenager who was my grandmother and her sisters best friend in the 1940s. He was allowed to hang out with the women because he was “not a threat” (ie he was super gay but you didn’t talk about it). My gran and her sister’s absolutely adored Ravi, until one day his personality changed. He became dark and withdrawn. Eventually he killed himself.
My gran and her sisters were devastated and didn’t know why, until they found out that Ravi had fallen in love with a boy and his parents had figured out. Ravi’s parents destroyed him psychologically through isolation, berating and eventually questionable medical interventions. Ravi’s soul was broken so he took his life. My grand and her sisters never ever forgave their community or Ravi’s parents for what they did to him, so when my mother called my grandmother weeping and screaming that I was gay, my grandmother came down on her like a tonne of bricks with all the power and might that she could muster. She told my mother that if I was ever treated differently, If I was ever isolated or bullied by a member of the family, they would have to face the consequences of dealing with gran and her sisters.
Her sisters also told all their children to treat me with respect and love, all without me knowing, because they never wanted anyone to go through what their best most loved male friend had all those years ago.
I owe my happiness to that man, fly free my brother, wherever you are x.
TL;DR - a gay predecessor made my family supportive.
Image credits: Astro493
#14My great grandfather came home early from work one day to find his wife in bed with the milk man(or mail man. I can’t remember). Either way, there was a scuffle and the milk/mail man went out the bedroom window and died 2 days later in the hospital. This happened in the same house that I grew up in because the house was in my family for a very long time.
I tried looking up news articles and such on the incident but was never able to find anything. This was a common discussion at parties with my family and I always tried to learn more about my great grandfather. Turns out he was an undertaker. Go figure.
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#15Che Guevara taught my grandfather to play chess.
His father used to get into bar fights with Pancho Villa.
And my family’s last name exists because two Scottish brothers got drunk, stole a cannon from the local militia armory, and accidentally shot the steeple off the local church. While hauling a*s out of Scotland, they told their kids “if anyone asks who you are, just say you’re German and pretend you don’t know English” they didn’t know German either.
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#16My grandfather was born in Poland. He was around 16 when the wars broke out, and because he was a fit, healthy, blonde haired, blue eyed farmer boy, he was sent to work in German farms. Before that though, he was put into a concentration camp while they figured out where to send all their new slaves.
During this time, his older brother actually escaped. My grandfather says he stole a gun climbed the fence, tanked the cuts from the barbed wire, and just ran. He made the escape with a few other people, but all but two of them were killed. My grandfather was supposed to join them, but he said he just froze and chickened out. His brother later joined some battallion, where he later died fighting nazis.
My grandfather was eventually moved to a small town in Germany, and was housed with landowners who grew some sort of crop. He was set to work.
This small town was actually secretly against the war though, and the family he stayed with used their house as a safehouse to smuggle Jews. They had the whole "hidden room under the floorboards" thing. Luckily, they were never discovered. They, and a few other families in the town, wanted my grandfather to marry their daughters and stay in Germany. He did stay in Germany for a few months, he said he also joined the peace corps. Once he had his full of that, he simply jumped on the first boat out of there with nothing but his tool belt and the clothes on his back. That boat went to Australia, which is where he met my grandmother, and yada yada yada, I was born.
He had such a fascinating, terrifying life, full of turmoil and danger. But one thing never left him: his passion for plants. Right up until the week he passed away at age 86, he was still climbing ladders to trim his trees, hand pollinating all his bean plants with a feather, and shooting Indian Mynas out of the tree with his slingshot to let the native birds have the nest.
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#17My grandfather during WW2. He was born in 1908 so lived through both WW, and since we live in Moselle (north east of France), he lived in occupied territory from the beginning every time, and spoke perfect german.
He was a mechanic so when Germany invaded the second time he was put to work fixing vehicules. Except he pretended to not understand a single word of german. The soldiers always took so long explaining him what needed to be done, he would mess up, whatever could be an honest mistake without being in too much danger. The commander hated him for all of this but needed the skills since he was good.
At the end of the war, when they received the orders to retreat, my grandfather gave them a farewell speech in the best, most well spoken german possible, basically saying "F**k you, good bye". The 2nd in command was so furious about being made a fool all this time, reached for his gun but was stopped by his chief because it was not worth it and they were running out of time.
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#18Great-great-great-great-great-great grandpa Andrew threw rocks through his landlord's windows in Cork, jumped onto the next ship to Canada, started a farm on the Ottawa River, changed his surname to MacDonald so people would think he was Scottish, and imprisoned the tax collector in his cellar when they came to demand land taxes from him.
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#19My great Gramdpa once got his hands on 10kg of tobacco because a smuggler threw it away while being chased by the border guards
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#20Maternal grandmother's parents met in a train wreck.
G.Grandpa was traveling second class, with a window seat. G.grandma was traveling Coach. Something was on the tracks causing a derailment and many injuries. G.Grandma, being seated further back, was fine and pitched in to help those in need. G.Grandpa had hit the window and his ear was cut very badly, almost sliced off his head (almost). She was tearing off strips of her petticoat the use as bandages (ooh la la!). Until he died he teased that his left ear was lower than his right because 'she put it on wrong'.
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#21I have two that are somehow connected
My great grandfather, during WW2, lived through some wild s**t. He was sent to gulag and escaped from the transport somewhere in today's Belarus. He then returned home on foot, to the middle of northern Poland where we live today (if you want more exact location, google where my town, Tczew, is). After few years, in middle of which my grandpa was born, he was taken to serve in German army. He was based somewhere in Norway and escaped once again, but not before he blew up the warehouse with weapons he was kinda in charge off.
On a lighter, funny af note. He was one of 13 children. His mother (my great great grandmother) named her second child Stanisław and named her last child... Stanisław. She had so many children that she forgot she already used that name lol. The second Stanisław sadly didn't live through infancy
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#22My grandpa beat Rod Laver in a tennis match when he was a teenager and was going to be sponsored by Dunlop but his parents were wealthy and thought tennis was silly with little money at the time so he didn’t pursue it… now there’s a stadium named after rod laver :(
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#23My grandma (mother's side) was abandoned in an orphanage by my great grandmother because she wanted to run off and marry another man, and he would not take her children. So my great grandfather, who was in the army during WW1, came to see them and promised to come back after the next battle. It was the somme, he died.
The same grandmother did not know how old she was, by the time she obtained a copy of her birth certificate later in life, she found out she was a year older than she thought she was.
My Dad's Grandfather was an advertising artist, semi famous at the time, there is an original of his passed down in our family, it is with my dad's oldest brother now. It is of a boy running down a famous road in my northern city past a famous theatre still being used to this day.
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#24My Great-Grandmother had two suitors - a man in America and a man in Manchester, UK. The guy in America bought her a ticket to to cross the Atlantic and be with him, and she was set to go, but at the last minute the guy in England proclaimed his love and won her over. And that’s how my great-grandparents got together, as opposed to my great-grandmother dying on The Titanic.
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#25Great grandad was a jewish shop owner in Italy in the1930s. One day a fascist March turns into a lynch mob chasing a communist. The communist slips away, finds my family's shop, and begs for shelter because jews are known commie sympathizers. But a gun welding fascist comes to the store looking for him, because he knew it was owned by jews and jews are known commie sympathizers. My great grand dad denies hiding the commie, but the fascist says if they don't bring him out immediately he'll shoot my great grand dad. So great grand dad snatches the gun and kills the fascist on the spot. He got acquitted for self defense but they had to escape Italy 24 hrs after the acquittal, the fascist party graciously sent a notice allowing them 24 hrs to leave before they killed all the men of the family.
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#26My dad's aunt was living in Messina, Italy in the early 1900. In 1908 there was a huge earthquake that destroyed half the city and she was stuck under the rubble for 3 whole days right next to the bodies of her parents and 3 brothers without being able to move an inch. When she was found she didn't even have a broken bone and went on to have 10 children of her own and die at 97 years old.
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#27Its not really a story, but once at a family gathering (I was around 14-15) we were talking about the church (not neccessarily in a good way) and my cousin (who was ~12 at the time.) asked us to switch topics cuz its boring, my grandmothers answer (80 at the time, and have only left her village a few times and never the country) was: “Listen to everything my child, if you like it, keep it, if you dont, just let it go, thats how you grow.” And that for me at the time, coming from her, was life changing for me, it opened up things I never thought I’d like. The sentence itself, made me grow, the consequences, I can not even describe. Life changing.
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#28My great grandfather lost one of his arm during WW1, right after the war he decided to ask my great grandmother to marry him. To show her how much he loved her, he decided to give her a really nice pair of shoes from a good shoemaker but lived in the countryside and cars where not that common at the time
He took his bike, rode 70km (43miles) to the closest big city to get her a really nice pair of shoes rode 70km back with the box on his lap to give it to her. WITH ONLY ONE ARM
Pretty romantic, but that's not the end of the story. The shoemaker f****d up big time and gave him 2 left shoes by accident, so great grandpa took his bike the next day, did the 70km back and forth to exchange one of the shoes. And they lived happily married ever after
Every time I tell the story to someone married, they look at their husband with disdain which I found pretty funny (never told the story to any of my girlfriends tho)
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#29My great great great grandfather was part of the first generation of black people to be free in my state
edit: my great great grandfather* I added an extra great on accident
#30My great grandfather killed my great grandmother's suitor and kidnapped her a night before her wedding.
#31My great grandmother was reportedly the oldest woman to ever live in Lebanon. Depending on who you ask she was anywhere between 112-118 years old. She’s commemorated on a stamp, so I guess the government acknowledged that the claim was true. Interestingly enough she was a short morbidly obese woman almost her entire life.
#32My paternal grandparents each had an interesting story about WW2 (note, I'm German).
My grandfather worked as a junior communications officer on an U-Boat rescue frigate, one day a fellow seaman asked him to switch shifts/tasks, and as he was leaving the comms room an enemy shell landed pretty much right where he'd sat just moments before, killing everyone in the comms room, he had shrapnel from the explosion all over his back until the day he died.
My grandma was born in East Germany, after the war ended and East Germany was pretty much swarming with Russian soldiers with payback on their mind, her mom decided to pack up what was left of her family (dad was missing/dead), abandon their home and move to one of the Western Allies' Zones. According to my grandma, her mom spent a lot of money and family heirlooms to get cigarettes to trade for safe passage, and one time on their flight they were caught in the woods by a squad of Russian soldiers. To paraphrase grandma, her mother went away with them to give them cigarettes so they'd let her family pass (Which is... possibly what happened, but, you know, the Russian troops occupying Germany after the war certainly had a... reputation), at any rate, they were indeed let go and safely made it to south Germany.
#33My grandad was an engineer for the British army in Egypt during world war 2.
He and a buddy got drunk one time and slept in this small town, when they awoke they discovered the Germans had taken over the town. So they evaded capture and discovered an old plane that required matainence, the two ended up repairing the plane and flew it over German lines and into Allied territory.
#34I have an ancestor who, in Victorian England, spent time in an asylum for the criminally insane for having stolen diamond jewelry from his employer.
#35My mom and and my stepdad share an ancestor about four generations back.
Also somewhere in this range my great[x?]-grandma received a letter from her brother that had left Austria. He said "Come to America. If not for your sake, then for your children's sake." She talked her husband into it, they moved to the Midwest, and several generations later I was born.
#36One of my great-grandmother climbed on top of mount Blanc in 1942, during the German occupation of France.
On top of that, she did it while wearing a dress. We have pictures of it in my family
Edit because people ask for pictures: my grandparents have it in paper format and I don't have access to it easily, so I can't share it with you for now.
If one day I can obtain it in a numerical format, I promise that I will put it here (if I haven't forgotten)
Image credits: noecrrr
#37If you trace my family line back far enough you get to Norwegian royalty. Second son of a third son, kind of thing.
Image credits: LoveDistinct
#38The only famous relative I have was barred by an act of Parliament from ever again being the warden of a prison due to massive corruption. So you have any idea how corrupt you would have to be to be specifically called out for corruption in 18th century Britain? It's kind of impressive in its own way
#39Mountain goat pushed my great great uncle off a cliff
#40The woman who adopted my mother is part of the Vavasour family .. An ancient Norman family dating back to the time of William the conqueror..
Also found out my great grandfather on my mothers side was a serial bigamist (The more you know)
My Great uncle on my fathers side took a grenade to the face during the World War (Horrific Injury) and ended up homeless on the streets, Funnily enough the same streets i was homeless on a few years back but i didn't know at the time.
My life is very unusual, maybe i should write a book
#41Great grandfather was a samurai. He moved to America because samurai were becoming obsolete.
#42Not sure what his title would be (great great uncle? Great great great grandpa?) but my family went through a whole genetic testing/heritage phase a few years back and everyone was getting tests and looking into our families history.
Well apparently on my dads side of the family if I go back far enough I’m related to some kind of high ranking officer in the Russian military from before communism took power. We found *some* travel papers showing his path west and some more from US immigrations where he pledged his allegiance to the US and renounced his old loyalty to Tsar Nicholas.
I think his name got changed too I forget, I have some copies of those papers and a copy of a old picture showing the boat he used to get across the Atlantic
#43My grandparents lived in cologne in the end of war. During an attack my grandfather went back to the house, and was hit. Seems the wound caused an infection. Shortly afterwards the Americans took over cologne, and someone talked to them and told them that he had been against the Nazis, and had even lost his job because of that, and they gave him the medicine (penicillin) that probably saved him. I wish they hadn't, not being a Nazi was his only redeeming quality and he had a very negative impact on many lives.
#44Although she's not an ancestor, I have a couple of stories about Miss Ada, the woman who helped raise my mom.
She came from a very poor Black family in North Carolina. Her father had been a slave. They lived in a cabin with a packed-dirt floor. She still lived there when we visited her in the early '60s, and thinking back, I believe it might have once been a slave cabin.
When Miss Ada was a little girl, one Christmas Eve she peeked through a crack in the plaster between the rooms of the cabin and saw her parents setting out a doll that was to be her present from Santa. But her parents caught her peeking, and on Christmas Day she got nothing but sticks and ashes in her stocking, as a punishment for spying. This story broke my heart when I was little, but Mom said they finally gave her the doll on New Year's Day.
Another time she was walking along the railroad tracks to school when somebody told her the circus was in town. She wanted to see the elephant, so she stashed her spelling book by the tracks and ran off. When she came back, the book was gone, and she got a licking when she went home.
When she got pregnant at the age of 16, her father took all her clothes and threw them out into the road. I'm not sure what happened immediately after that, but her mother raised the baby until Miss Ada was older. Censuses show that after her father died, Miss Ada was living with her mother and son.
Not long after her son was born, she went to work for my grandparents. My grandfather was a doctor and was often away, and they had five kids. Then my grandmother died and Miss Ada continued to watch over the kids. She told me that every morning before my mom and aunts and uncles went to school, they lined up to kiss her goodbye.
I have a tape recording I made of her in the 1970s when we visited her in the hospital. She was one of the sweetest people I ever knew.
#45My grandpa almost died from an infection when he was 8 and only survived because the owners of the house he worked in (my grandpa would run errands for them) payed for his medicine (which was A LOT of money). My grandpa would visit them every weekend until they died.
#46My grandfather was was taken in by the Nazis to fight the US on the western front in WWII when he was 17 years old. His commanding officer was given the order to fight to the last man (or child) but refused and told his men to surrender.
So my grandfather was put in a POW camp where he became chess master of the camp and escaped during a transfer by rolling of the back of a truck. He tried walking back home to Germany but was caught on the border and put back in prison until he was 21 and then finally released.
He then proceeded to *walk* home where everybody lost their s**t because they thought he was dead.
#47My family hasn't found out the direct connection just yet, but I'm related to the dude who played the king in Abbott and Costello's version of *Jack and the Beanstalk*
#48I don’t know the date’s exactly off the top of my head but they’re written down at home.
My Great Grandfather (Grandmas dad) was born in the Black Hills Germany. He allegedly killed a german officer and went on the lam to the United States. He worked as a ranch hand for Theodore Roosevelt for a some years before he married my Great Grandma. He was gifted a buffalo rifle from Roosevelt which was taken by one of grandmas brothers after their dad died.
#49My grandfather went for Hajj (pilgrimage) to Saudi.
It is a religious requirement for men to get balded for pilgrimage.
The barbers were too expensive.
A random stranger outside the barber's shop offered to cut his hair for cheap.
The stranger took him to an alley.
He was balded from one side when a police constable yelled at him.
The stranger ran and grandpa had to run around the city balded only from one side.
#50I’ll put one of mine on here too. My great grand uncle had Down syndrome, so his mother asked one of his brothers to look after him and in return she would give him the house in her will. When their mother died, he pretty much immediately sent him to a care home and did not bother looking after him at all. Funnily enough, this turned out to suit both of them very well as at the care home my great grand uncle ended up getting on very well with another woman with Down syndrome, and his brother got the house to himself. All’s well that ends well I guess.
#51I recently did an Ancestry DNA test. I highly recommend to everyone. Very interesting. My grandmother’s side traces back mid 1600’s to the very first colonists of Canada. Turns out I’m part Native American too. I’m a descendant of a few people who have their own Wikipedia pages: chief great buffalo, Francois Dauphinais and Marie-Claude Chamois.
#52My family lived in Deerfield Massachusetts in 1704 when the town was attacked by Indians who were allied with the French. My many-times-great-grandfather’s wife was killed, his toddler daughter was killed, and his remaining children (along with about 100 others) were captured and marched to Canada where they were held captive for several years until their father and other members of the community ransomed them.
When they returned, they were often visited by Indians with whom they’d become close, and the town eventually awarded the son I’m descended from and his sister plots of land in appreciation for the goodwill that bought.
One daughter was 17 when captured and had been on the verge of marrying a young man from the town who wasn’t captured. Believing her dead, he married someone else. She eventually married and had a family.
But many years later, when they were both in their 70s, they both found themselves widowed and they married each other.
I’ve always loved that story.
#53My Grandmother on my Father's side recounted how she and her Sisters would scout for supplies way back during WW2. Apparently they had to survive on bread crusts alone for weeks... And I think she was a nurse on the field for a little while? I can't remember it well, and while she never objected to telling those stories, I don't think she's in a state where reminding her of that would do her health much good.
And I think my other Grandma's Brother (Uncle Grandpa?? I just call him Grandpa Sasha) ate way too much ice cream way back when, got horribly sick, and it messed up his voice, or something. Last we spoke, he did sound pretty raspy, too. Though it could be something he and Grandma made up as a bit to warn little me against eating too much ice cream...
#54My 11th. great grandfather, on my paternal ancestry line, was a sheriff and a blacksmith in a small town east of Norway. In the middle of the 1600s there was a witch trial where around a dosen people were accused of witchcraft. He had to arrest and hurry to make shackles for all of them. All of the accused was aquitted.
Another branch of my paternal ancestry can also likely be traced to a norwegian noble who was executed for rebelling against the danish king some time during the 1500s.
Also, on my maturnal ancestry side, several of my forfathers were executioners. One of last executions i Norway, was performed by my 7th. great grandfather, and it was the beheading of one of the countrys most notorious serial killer. It took for axe chops and sawing to get the killers head removed, because the executioner was old and likely had Parkinsons. This particular execution sparked a lot of controversy and was one of the catalysts for later abolishing public executions in Norway. After that my 6th. great grandfather took over as executioner.
#55My grandfather on my mother's side landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, combat medic who was pulled off the first landing craft because "they would need him later in the day". There's a newspaper article from the Times Picayune about him and 2 or 3 other guys, all from different perspectives. He then proceeded to work his way through France. Ended up meeting General Patton when he and another soldier accidently stumbled into the Officers mess tent. (There's a whole other story about that)
He ended up losing his leg just above the knee dragging another guy out of a mine field at the Battle of the Buldge. Made his way home. Taught my mom how to ride horses, drive a standard all the normal things. Had a farm and was also the Tax Assessor in the parish they were living in.
During the Civil Rights movement he was responsible for registering African Americans to vote and ended up having two FBI agents in his office for protection. The local Klansmen who naturally went to the same church as him, southern baptists go figure, threatened to horse whip him in the street.
The story goes that he was "summoned" and basically called them all out for being hypocrites. Told them that they can try and shake his hand in church every Sunday but he knew who every single one of the bastards was under those hoods. Then he produced a pistol from his pocket and told them that if any of em were feeling froggy then jump.
I've got more stories from my Ukrainian grandmother (dad's side) who passed away last year if anyone wants more.
Edit: spelling some words. I'm on mobile forgive me.
#56My grandfather was doing construction work in the midwest US in the early 60s. One day on a job site, he found a small tin box buried in the ground. He stuffed it in his coat or shirt, out of sight, and told no one until he got home, where he told my grandmother. For fear it had been a stash belonging to a nefarious character that might come looking, they decided to “keep it secret. Keep it safe.” (Gandalf the Grey)
They encased it in a closed cement cinderblock and left it in a corner of the garage. They never even told their daughter (my mother) what was inside the tin secreted away in the cinderblock in the corner of the garage.
Years later, in the late 60s, my grandfather passed away when my mother was 17 or 18. The cinderblock was forgotten, and sat for decades in the corner of the garage.
Now, skip forward to the early 2010’s. My mother, now married to my father for almost 40 years still did not know about the stash. My grandmother, now in her 90s, had a decline in health and had to sell her home and move into a senior living facility. Because of her poor health, she was not able to be present at her home for moving-day. She told my dad several times, in no unclear terms, “Make sure you take the cinderblock in the corner of the garage. It’s very valuable.” So of course, my dad very nearly forgets about it and/or shrugs it off as the ravings of an unwell 90-year-old woman.
At the last second, as we’re shutting the U-haul door, he remembers the block and his mother-in-law’s words. He sighs, opens the truck, and sets the block inside. The cinderblock eventually ends up, you guessed it, in the corner of my parents’ garage. Forgotten again.
Several years pass, and in September of ‘12 or ‘13, so does my grandmother. Thanksgiving comes around (late November) and my parents and all their kids are home. My dad tells us he has a surprise for us and takes us into the garage where there’s a cinderblock sitting on the floor with a hammer, chisel, a sledgehammer, and a few other miscellaneous tools.
The cement was old and pretty brittle and just a few taps in the right spot cracked it open. Inside? A dirty old rotted cloth, wrapped loosely around the dingy tin my grandfather found over five decades prior.
We opened the tin and what we discovered… it was completely full of gold coins. My brother-in-law was a bit of a coin collector and identified a few right then, saying they had some significant value. I don’t know how much it really added up to—my parents kept financial information to themselves and it was their property—but just on the weight of the gold alone, we estimated their value around $250,000. It would be more if any of the coins had any value for collectors.
I guess my grandma actually had this story left to my mom and dad in a letter when she passed and that’s how we learned the full details of how it happened when the cinderblock had seemed forgotten for so long.
Hope you enjoyed!
#57My great great great great grandfather was abducted my pirates as a boy and raised as one… in Canada. They were river brigands. My mom has a book on him. Her parents were from czechoslovakian and germany though so I’m not sure how that happened. I always told people I was part pirate though.
#58My great grandfather hunted down and killed 3 men who were responsible for killing his brother.
My family on my grandmothers side comes from somewhere in Italy. Well way back in the day, my great grandfather and his brother owned a renovation and restoration business. The were hired to do some work in the Sistine chapel along with a second team that was meant to set up the equipment they would be using; scaffolding and stuff like that. Well at one point they had gotten in an argument and the other contractors chose to roll back some of their safety features on their scaffolding and when my great uncle was working the scaffolding gave out and he fell and died on the floor of the Sistine chapel.
The 3 men on the other crew fled before the accident prompting my great grandfather to hunt them down across Italy and kill them off one by one. When he finally returned home several days later and confessed everything to his mother, she ordered him to flee to the United States so he wouldn't get arrested. And he did.
That's how that part of my family came to America.
#59A great uncle lied about his age (too young) too join WW1. He again lied about his age (too old) to fight in WW2
#60My grandfather escaped Residential school (Canada) on horseback
#61My great-nan's surname was Bligh, and she was descended from William Bligh who was in command of HMS Bounty during the mutiny, and later a Governor of New South Wales.
I can't remember exactly, but my family has ancestral ties to Jonathan Swift who wrote Gulivers Travels.
When we were cleaning out my grandfather's house after he died we found schematics, parts and a thank you letter for the car that Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was based on. Turns out his dad was an engineer who built it for the Lord who raced it.
#62great grandpa's father was a soldier during WWI. As they were often out of resources (that includes ammo), due to Russian Empire's failure to meet logistic needs, they'd hide under small wooden bridges and wait for germans to patrol over it, then stab their feet through the gaps on the wood with their bayonets. The soldier obviously would fall to the ground, then to be quickly killed.
#63I had an ancestor who was a witch and people used to come see her to treat their ills
#64I'm 34 but my paternal grandfather was born in 1895. He got shot through both knees sideways in Belgium during World War I then had to limp miles to safety... Sounds impossible but I have a newspaper article about it! His brother also survived WWI, only to die in the Spanish flu pandemic. Sadly my grandfather died quite a while before I was born.
#65My Grandfather came from a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and had rarely left the state when he volunteered to fight in WW2.
Pretty soon he was on a plane to Midway from Pearl. He’s sitting next to a man he doesn’t know for an hour before the copilot comes back and asks the man next to him, “Admiral Lindbergh would you like to fly the plane?”.
At that time Charles Lindbergh was possibly the most famous man on earth. It is on brand for my Grandpa to be fairly unimpressed by him.
#66One of my ancestors was Curly Bill Brocious, the leader of the infamous Cowboys gang which fought against the Earps in and around Tombstone Arizona in the 1870s/80s. He was killed by Wyatt Earp himself by a shotgun blast that reportedly tore him in two.
#67Grandpa was shot in the head on the russian front (he was german).
He was declared dead and put on a pile of dead bodies. A friend of him (who grew up in the same village as my grandpa) went to the pile to give him the last goodbye. And he saw my grandpa was shaking a little bit. He yelled at the doctors "this man is not dead!".
And yea, the doctors got him out of the pile and actually rescued him. But they couldn't remove the bullet in his head. It was too dangerous.
So my grandpa lived with this bullet in his head his whole life.
He was not able to make a driver's license due to the risk of epileptic shocks.
He named his son (my father) after the man who rescued him.