Thursday, August 16, 2018

Family Legends-Do You Have These?

This post was written for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks a series of blog prompts by Amy Johnson Crow

Photo Credit: CC0 Licensed

Most families have a legend. A story that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Many a family tale has been proven untrue, while some are lucky to be based on a particle of truth.

Such is the tale of Indian princesses, links to royalty, famous people, and war heroes, and the popular theme of three brothers coming to America-one stayed in the area of arrival, one went south and the other to the west.

Do you have these stories in your family tree? I do!

George and Hattie Brazell Roberts Family
Hattie's Brazell line is said to include a Native American
Copy owned by Cheri Hudson Passey-original whereabouts unknown

First is the Indian Princess.
My mom's paternal grandfather. William Treadford Roberts ( 1894-1958) used to tell her he had a grandmother who was a full blood Cherokee, No documentation has been found to prove any in his paternal Roberts line or maternal Brazell line. There are questions about and narratives written mentioning a native American somewhere in the line that appear in some research done by other Brazell family members. No one seems to know who or what generation this was supposed to have occurred. If it is the case, it was most likely several generations further then my great grandfather believed.
Testing shows a small amount of Native American DNA in my mom's admixture from more than one testing companies. Is this "white noise" meaning a fluke in the results, or was there indeed someone of Native American heritage in my family tree?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Public Domain 

Second, the famous relative.
When I first began researching, I was told I was a descendant of Francis Marion "The Swamp Fox" Being a South Carolina girl, this sounded so exciting! There was only one problem, a very big problem - Francis Marion had no children. Turns out, I am related to the Swamp Fox but because my ancestor and his were brothers.

In addition to one of the biggest heroes of the Revolutionary War, I recently ran across an interesting claim from someone researching one of my paternal lines. The assertion is that an ancestor was the biological father of Abraham Lincoln! According to this researcher, the biological father is in question, and our ancestor was known to have had a "relationship" with Abe's mother,  Hmmmm,,,, now that is an interesting story. Is it true? I have no idea, No documentation other than them living in the same area at the same time as conception is offered. Maybe DNA could answer the question!

Photo Credit: CC0-licensed

Third, the three brothers story-
Several of my lines have a version. Many others I have researched for clients do too. Perhaps it was the deal before three brothers could enter the county, Yes, you may come but one of you can stay near the area you arrive, but one has to go South and one West. And? The one that goes West will most likely never be heard from again. Ha! Who knows why this story is so prevalent in genealogy research and maybe it did happen, but in my family, it has not been proven the case. I have found those 'brothers" who went other places usually were either from a different line or generation or not related at all!

Family stories and legends should be recorded and passed down through the generations, but we need to be careful with our claims,
Are our legends fact or fiction?
Or are they myths to enjoy and share with the understanding they can not be proven?

I may not have an Indian Princess, a famous person, or be able to confirm the story of the three brothers in my tree, but I can use these stories as a way to entertain, create interest and explain the problem with each legend to my family,

What legends do you have in your family tree? Have you been able to prove their authenticity?
We'd love to hear about it!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Helping you climb your family tree,

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