Thursday, February 5, 2009

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave, When First We Practice to Deceive

Sir Walter Scott was probably thinking about the problems this causes in our present day lives, but it is especially true when it comes to genealogy. I am trying to unravel such a tangled web now.

Story has it that my great great grandfather had children with a mistress in addition to the children he continued to have with his wife. And when his wife died, he married his mistress but changed her name to that of his late wife so that no one would know which children were legitimate and which ones weren’t. All of the children's birth records show the name of that first wife. However, the death certificates of each wife showed the correct names.

Since my great great grandfather went to such lengths to muddle the parentage of his children, it’s become fairly difficult to find out which wife gave birth to my great grandfather, especially since he is one of the middle children born in the years overlapping both women. He always said the name that was common to both wives, which was actually the name of the first wife. But he looks like his youngest brothers, which leads my mother and I to believe he was actually a child of the second wife.

Until next time, may you have blessings and clear records,
Marti

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