Don't Always Believe What You Hear / Read In The Family Bible
by Lori Joyce
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
I have a family lore, as I'm sure a lot of you do, too. Don't always take what Great Aunt LaLa told you as fact. Often, rumours stuck better than fact and you're getting some version of old gossip.
For example, I was told that one of my great aunts founded the Girl Scouts. While it's true someone with the same name was instrumental in that organization, it's not our relative.
Next example, I was told one of my distant male relatives, who was a ship's captain, married a Polynesian woman while on his travels, hence why one of my distant aunts looked "Indian". Turns out he actually had an affair with a local native woman, she had a child and for whatever reason, he had his wife raise her as their own.
I've also been told that my great great grandfather and his two siblings came to Canada after being disowned by their parents for switching religion (from Anglican to Born-Again Christians). So far, I've not been able to find much information on the previous generation, or any proof that their moving was anythingn other than a migration to Canada, along with thousands of other people.
Family Bibles are a great way to trace history, you know the front pages where you list your parents and grandparents... But who filled those out and when? I was very happy to find out the names of my great great grandparents, only to never be able to find them on any census. Turns out the wife's name is incorrect and/or somewhat wrong (hard to tell as her husband's name is John, so there are a lot of women named Mary married to a John Joyce.
Remember when you're getting information to keep an open mind. Don't be afraid to look outside the 'standard issue family' info box. And remember, graveyards are your friend!! Read a gravestone, find a relative.