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View Full Version : Finding out information on family, does it upset you?



LorraineJ
27-03-13, 17:02
May sound a weird question, I have been researching my own and my husband's family for a while now and found out all sorts of things. What really saddened me was the death of a great, great aunt who died at the age of two and she lies like so many at that time, in an unmarked grave because her family were too poor to have a stone. I know in which burial ground she lies but not exactly where; I've never known the child and yet found this upsetting (or I am getting soft in the head lol). I also received notification of the death of a mutual cousin my family branch had lost contact with, she was the age I am now when she died, I was hoping to reunite the family but obviously this was not meant to be. It is said that anyone looking into their family history, has to be prepared to find a sheep stealer or something unsavoury rather than titles but I was not prepared for the emotional cost.

clematised
27-03-13, 18:41
Yes I have also found lots of deeply emotional experiences and have been touched by so many things in my research too, grandfather who lost both his parent and left an Orphan at a very early age in India, he managed to come to the UK as an adult and married a girl who had six children, then one was killed by fire age five, she was pregnant with sixth child when this occured then she lost her own life to cancer after giving birth, His daughter my Mother was only two when her Mother died, lost her first child at the age of two on Christmas Day while an unmarried mother, then she lost her father on New Years day two years later, all of this I have researched and none of it did she tell me.

Edna

Guy
27-03-13, 18:52
It was very common for people to be buried in a grave with no stone, there were many reasons for this. Sometimes it was due to finance, sometimes because there was no family to foot the bill.
Other reasons include the fact that many markers were made of wood or even soft stone and have not withstood the ravages of time. One of the most annoying reasons was many churchyards were cleared of many stones to allow mechanical grass cutting.
What I find sad is not a grave with no marker but reading a Parish Register and seeing the not uncommon sight of a couple losing child after child in infancy or early childhood.
Cheers
Guy

Stella
27-03-13, 18:53
Yes, found out that my paternal grandfather had a sister who was admitted to a lunatic asylum at the age of 21. She would have been my great aunt of course. She was never released from the asylum and died there in her 80s. Nobody in the family ever told me of her existence even though she was alive in the early 1970s. No idea why she was in the asylum or where she may be buried.

Janet in Yorkshire
27-03-13, 18:54
Well, many graves WERE marked at the time, but with a home-made wooden cross, which eventually rotted away, when there was no-one left to tend the grave. You would be surprised at how many "poor" families, in high Victorian days, did buy gravestones, even though the money spent perhaps could have brought the family more material comfort. Sadly even today monumental stones do have a limited lifetime.

LorraineJ
27-03-13, 19:16
I was told by a representative of the Jewish society where the child is buried (great aunt of my father in law) and the fact I would not find a stone as there never was one. I know how badly off the family was at that time and its amazing any made it to adulthood, obviously they did otherwise the family line would have died out. A cousin of mine married a Jewish man and her brother tells me that this man is the soul survivor of his family, as the rest perished in the camps.

Val wish Id never started
27-03-13, 20:28
I also often get upset at people not even related to me , find it very sad when somebody is blind as it was hard enough to survive, and to have a disability like blindness must have been awful .

Giddysue
27-03-13, 22:02
Hello Lorraine,
My late father-in-law's brother died aged 3 hours and was buried without a grave stone. My husband knew it was in a particular churchyard so we contacted the vicar who put us in touch with a person who could access the church records. By searching through the records we found the location of the grave (now flattened) but we were able to put a small memorial upon the relevant spot. Good luck with your quest.

greyingrey
27-03-13, 22:30
Yes, sometimes it is upsetting. Both of my maternal grandparents were badly disabled & I found it very sad to look at the census & to know what lay ahead for that generation in general.....2 World Wars & a Depression. And then finding those who obviously struggled for years, only to die in the workhouse. Sometimes I have to break off when I'm looking at things like that.

lennon2011
27-03-13, 23:41
I think the one that upsets me the most are my Granddad's siblings, there's 6 of them all under the age of 3 that are in a mass unmarked grave in the Durham Road Cemetery, the only comforting thing is that their Grandfather is with them.

PeteW1959
28-03-13, 00:25
I am not really an emotional person, my wife says that the emotion gene got missed when my genetic makeup was decided, so I don't tend to get upset about people who I have never met, nor could possibly have met.

However my wife gets upset by every single sad story, in my tree as well as hers.

We are currently looking at 2 of her great uncles who volunteered for the Boer war, survived that and returned to civvy life. They then volunteered for WW1 and were both killed in action, one in the 1st battle of Ypres and the other in the 3rd battle of Ypres. They are both on memorials in France, but have no grave. This has upset her enormously and she is currently reading all she can about the battles, and often ends up in tears. But as well as sadness, she feels immensely proud of their ultimate sacrifice.

A couple of months ago I visited my grandfather's grave on my own. I never knew him as he died before I was born, and the grave, although an individual plot, has no headstone. I found the plot, spent a couple of quite monents and left. She thinks it is sad that his grave isn't marked, and complained bitterly that I didn't leave any flowers, and thinks we should consider getting a stone for him.

But however much she gets upset, she still wants to know, because it is all part of the rich tapestry that led to us, and our children.

Christine in Herts
28-03-13, 01:04
I have been saddened to read of nasty accidents happening to members of my tree, but what upset me most (so far) was finding that the person I believe to have been my paternal grandfather was so casual with quite important bits of truth.

In particular, I was brought up short to find that this man who was born in 1887 married in 1937, claiming to be 34; the young woman he married was claiming to be 19, but was actually not quite 15. The marriage lasted until 1949. It probably suited both at the time: he got his naturalisation two years later, in 1939, and the marriage probably got her out of a children's home when her older siblings were living with her grandparents and her younger siblings with her parents. (I still consider that an abusive relationship.) I was in contact with this lady, who generously replied to my attempt at contact, but did not agree that he could have been my grandfather - because her ex-husband had been too young, and hadn't had any family of his own... except that matching up information against his official records means that she must have been seriously misled. She may not have thought he was 34, but spoke of him being in his 40s. It took me a little while before I wanted to go back and research hi any further.

Christine

kylejustin
28-03-13, 04:46
i think it's human nature to be curious, and genealogists are more curious than most. how else do you explain some of us researching neighbours, and the family dog? i think it is this curiosity that drives us to learn all we can about our heritage. to not just have a bunch of impressive names, but to attach a face to them, a personality. i think we get so attached to the people we research, particularly difficult ones, that we 'feel' the emotions they had.

so when we come across the deaths of family, of children, we feel this pain. we feel the joy when something spectacular happens.

i have to admit, i have always felt like pete, i am constantly told a first impression of me is cold, ruthless and arrogant. but lately i have felt sad when i learn about some deaths in the family. my great grandmother got pneumonia in 1931, (was her own stubborn fault, but that's the full story) she gave birth to pop and died. story goes the doctor refused to come because it was a sunday. an uncle was murdered by bolivians during their civil war. various members died of cancer.

but at the end of the day, it is all gearing you towards an understanding of you, why your family is the way it is. i never used to understand 'who do you think you are', as in why they came away feeling the way they did. i guess it's because they learned of their identity. i guess since i did my tree while still a teenager, i wasn't 'fashioned' into an adult at that stage, so i was still learning who i was. doing the tree has made me understand why my grandparents were stuffy and seemingly cold, while my other grandma adored me openly.

bubblebelle
28-03-13, 10:35
I have similar stories to those above me on this page. I am fascinated by my ancestors, but have uncovered some pretty nasty things about some of their behaviours. Like Christine this has at times put me off continue researching them. And I find myself with any new relative discovery, wonder if they too were touched by these behaviours. Then I have to stand back and take stock, acknowledging that whatever happened, future generations have overcome these things and, I know in at least one case grown stronger by understanding some of the secrets that I have uncovered surrounding these people, which in no way absolves the behaviour but perhaps explains some of the factors behind it.

So KyleJustin I agree with your comment

'but at the end of the day, it is all gearing you towards an understanding of you, why your family is the way it is'

Recently I have stood back and looked at things from the Ancestors point of view, they had their secrets, which i am sure they thought went with them to the grave, whereas with a click of a button and the odd £9.25 we can uncover all too easily. I wonder what they would feel about this.

On a more positive note, I do become incredibly fond of some of the people in my tree and really worry for them as I research and build up their lives.

PhotoFamily
28-03-13, 15:06
I found a suicide in my direct line - and it was known to my living family members. I was hesitant to bring it up to them, but was grateful I did: they talked openly about the circumstances (advanced age, and existing illness). I was quite a bit upset when I found it, however.

Sylvia C
31-03-13, 00:34
I'm like Kyle and Pete ...........

......... I don't get emotional about what has happened to my ancestors.

I am emotional about living people though!!

My reaction to, eg finding out someone was blind, is to wonder how I would have got on in that situation ............ along with a realisation that I probably would have been almost blind if I had lived in those days.

I had extreme shortsightedness, which was corrected by wearing glasses ......... but that would probably not have been affordable to an Ag Lab or Lace Maker's daughter or wife.

Now, having had cataract surgery, and corrective corneas inserted ................ I am very long sighted :)


When I read about someone "dying in the Work House", I almost automatically make a correction to

"dying in the hospital attached to the Work House"


I know that the Work Houses had the only hospitals available for poor people ............ sometimes even for middle class ones. And that that is where someone would go when they were too sick for relatives to take care of them, or if they had no relatives.

chrisj1961
01-04-13, 15:57
I think I have only been emotional (so far) once in my family history. My great grandma had to marry my great grandad, she was 18 and he was 17, they married at the register office via certificate. They had their first child 2 months later, who died 8 months after that of broncho-pneumonia and exhaustion. Their next child was born 6 months after that (survived but died in world war 1), they moved houses twice between these times as well. Their 3rd child was born 10 months after the second after yet another house move (survived and died in 1949). Their 4th child was 10 months after and died 1 year and 363 days after of whooping cough (moved addresses twice between birth and death). The fifth child (born a year after the 4th child) died after 18 months of broncho-pneumonia and exhaustion and the 6th child (born 10 months after the fifth child) died aged 6 months of broncho-pneumonia and exhaustion. The seventh child (born 10 months after the 6th) and the eighth child (a year after and a further 2 house moves) both survived. The ninth child outlived his mother by 3 months but then died of broncho-pneumonia and exhaustion at 18 months. My great grandma died 3 months prior to this of placenta previa centralis and uraemia as a result of a further pregnancy. She is buried in an unmarked grave in Leeds with 15 other people. My great grandad, after 13 house moves in 13 years married again 18 months after his first wife died, had a further 2 children with his second wife and stayed in the same house for some 50 years, until he died in 1956.

The sad part about this is that my grandad and great aunt (seventh and eighth children) didn't know that they had a different mother to their 2 younger siblings and didn't know they had 2 elder siblings (who both left home to live with relations of their mother), they only had short birth certificates which didn't show any details of parentage and they were too young to remember their mother. This came out when a son of the third child came looking for his uncle George (my grandad) in 1975 (3 years after he had died).

Sad sad episode and yes I did cry.