One of the reasons people delve into their family history is to prove and/or disprove family legends. Almost everyone has a story or two that just don’t add up. In fact, that is why I got into genealogy in the first place – to prove we were Irish. More on that later!
This week I have declared myself the Snopes.com of our family history. Rather than going into each “legend” in detail, I’m simply going to classify them. Some of these “legends” have been discussed on my blog before. If so, you will see the item as a hyperlink to the original article. Others will be examined in the future.
So – prompted by Week 33 of the 52 Ancestors blog challenge “Family Legends”, let’s get started!
“We are Irish.” FALSE
So said my father. My DNA proves otherwise –
“We are related to Sir Samuel Montagu, a prominent English baronet in the 19th century.” UNPROVEN
I haven’t done much work on that one, but it’s pretty doubtful.
“We are related to Sheldon Leonard, the famous TV producer.” TECHNICALLY TRUE
We are related on my paternal side by marriage only.
“All the Holmans were given the middle name Winchester in honor of a beloved stepmother.” TRUE
“I could have been a princess.” WISHFUL THINKING
My mother never quite got over losing her upper-class status after fleeing Vienna in 1938. But, it’s pretty safe to say she would not have achieved “royal” status based on our pedigree.
“The Holmans have roots all the back to the Revolutionary War.” TRUE-
This claim is based on the application to the Sons of the American Revolution made by John W. Holman in 1951. I’m not 100% certain his application was ever approved, however, as he claimed our Revolutionary War patriot was Richard Winchester.** Everything I have researched indicates the Winchester connection is a step-mother and I’m not so sure that relationship qualifies!
**UPDATE: Scott just asked me whether I could tell if John’s application was ever approved. Apparently, on September 9, 2013, I wondered the same thing. In my folder for John, I found I had downloaded the ENTIRE booklet titled: The History of the New Mexico Society of the Sons of the American Revolution 1908-1978. Right there…on page 16, it states that John W. Holman was one of 44 charter members of the New Mexico SAR. So – yup! It’s TRUE!
“Our family was saved by a hamster.” 110% TRUE!!
So, there you have it. Seven family legends. I’m sure there’s more but if I keep thinking about it this blog will never get posted!!
Family – Please add to this list if there are legends you’d like me to research in the future!!
Readers- Think about the legends passed around in your families. Don’t stress about trying to prove/disprove them all but at the very least write them down!