Frighteningly familiar

For genealogists, whether amateur or professional, coming across photos and portraits of ancestors can be, well, quite frightening. Take the latest knowledge that Scott Brown, the latest interloper in the US Senate is actually The President's 10th cousin. Don't think either of them wants to be.
Probably the same way my husband felt when I said, "hey, guess what," "you're George Bush's 10th Cousin!" "How far removed?"  he asked. "None!" I said. "Can we remove him?" he replied.

In all fairness to my husband's side, I have traced them pretty far back, ergo, they can be much scarier. So we'll start with one from my side. My great grandmother.

She was my Great Grandfather's second wife. He died in a terrible accident. Well, so they say. The somewhat discombobulated story the family tells (I have to piece it together) is that he was a Religious man, always lost in thoughtful contemplation. Other versions claim he was Chief Rabbi of Minsk. Funny thing about that. There was actually an unusually large number of former Chief Rabbis of Minsk on the Lower East Side of New York who owned Butcher Shops back then, circa 1890.

Anyway, he was walking down the street and fell into a manhole and died. That's one version.
The Death Certificate I managed to procure says he fell down the stairs at the butcher shop. Hmm.

Now, here's the photo of my Great Grandmother.
 
Is anyone else thinking he had help down those stairs?  Now, hopefully my wonderful cousins that I've found while researching will not take this too seriously. Though Cold Case Files may want to take a look.

Now this is fairly scary. But, then we move to Doug's side. I have turned up some wonderful lineages for him. All the way back to the Mayflower, and far beyond our shores. However, he too has some scary looking skeletons in his closet. I'd like to introduce his ggggg grandparents, the Armagosts.

 
Wow. What can one say.  I am sure they were fabulous people. They lived well into their 90's. But is anyone else wondering if these were taken while they were still walking among the living?

With Genealogy, you never know what you'll uncover. Take this for example, I stubbed my toe on what turned out to be Doug's gggg grandmother. We'd be searching two cemeteries for half a day for it. And I literally stumbled upon it. I'm thinking other forces were at work. Really, here's the creepy part. This photo of Doug taken with her (headstone) looks eerily similar to the photo above of Jacob Armagost. (He'd be the fellow above on the Right)

It all fits together somehow. And then you have those real skeletons you dig up.

Doug's gg grandfather was a war hero. A POW in the Civil War, who survived the explosion and subsequent sinking of the Sultana. Luck of the Irish. He married twice and had 12 children in all. But it was his second wife who caught my interest. Buried deep in the CW Pension files, are actual divorce papers from the early 1880's for her. Seems her first husband got drunk and chased her with a cleaver, then ran off, never to be seen again. Hmmm. She got her divorce. But what ever happened to him? And where did that cleaver go anyway?

So if you happen to be thinking that genealogy is all about family unity and bonding and reunions and quilts...and heirlooms of course...you'd be only a little teeny bit right. Mostly it's about uncovering all those secrets buried long ago so you can  begin appreciating the incredibly richly woven fabric of your family.


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