Author Topic: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby  (Read 12289 times)

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Margo

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #45 on: December 17, 2013, 08:38:04 AM »
;D DC Girl-I have some of those in my tree, too.

I've also found that some women had miraculous pregnancies that lasted only six months after the wedding  ::) .  Sometimes the wedding date was fudged to include the conception of said child.

As for the OP, I'd leave it out.
Yes, it's amazing how many "premature" first babies lived to grow up, isn't it?  Considering that even a modern NICU can lose one born that early...

I also have my eeeevul suspicions when the family records say that there were 3 or 4 kids, born about 2 years apart, and then no more for 10 - 12 years.  And then, surprise! -- a "bonus baby," born just about the time that an earlier daughter reaches her mid-teens.

That happened in my family. My little sister is 12 years younger then me and 14 years younger then my older sister and she IS my younger sister. I would be very insulted if someone insinuated that my little sister is really my niece. And I wouldn't think kindly on anyone who has nothing better to do then to count years and cast suspicions around.

I find it offensive as well.  Yes, teen pregnancies did happen, but so did secondary infertility, miscarriages, and still births.

I think it is offensive if you are speculating (other than in the privacy of your own head) about people who are around now. I think if you are looking at family history and reading census returns from the 1850s it is a perfectly reasonable, and legitimate speculation.

Illegitimacy was a big deal - it had a huge impact not only on the mother, but also on the child, so hiding it was common. I don't think it is offensive anymore than it is offensive to speculate about (for instance) the story behind any other family relationships you find during your research.

Alias

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #46 on: December 17, 2013, 09:39:29 AM »
Yes, it's amazing how many "premature" first babies lived to grow up, isn't it?  Considering that even a modern NICU can lose one born that early...

I remember reading a news article about a baby born at 23 weeks and surviving (so 4 months early) and someone on there claiming that their granddad was born SIX MONTHS early in the 1920s and he's fine - so why the shock?  Hmm think it's more likely greatgrandma had something under her wedding dress than a baby was born at 12 weeks gestation and survived

I've often joked that I was born '6 months premature' and most people get it (I was born 3 months after my parents marriage), but every now and then someone gets amazed that I'm so healthy :)

MommyPenguin

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #47 on: December 17, 2013, 10:11:32 AM »
I had a coworker whose older siblings were 23 and 25 years older than she was.  Of course, they were both boys, which makes the fiction fairly unlikely.  I think she actually has a nephew or niece who is older than she is.   It was always interesting to hear from a woman who was born in... maybe 1970 or so? about her parents who were young children during the Great Depression.

Kate

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2013, 01:54:38 PM »
;D DC Girl-I have some of those in my tree, too.

I've also found that some women had miraculous pregnancies that lasted only six months after the wedding  ::) .  Sometimes the wedding date was fudged to include the conception of said child.

As for the OP, I'd leave it out.
Yes, it's amazing how many "premature" first babies lived to grow up, isn't it?  Considering that even a modern NICU can lose one born that early...

I also have my eeeevul suspicions when the family records say that there were 3 or 4 kids, born about 2 years apart, and then no more for 10 - 12 years.  And then, surprise! -- a "bonus baby," born just about the time that an earlier daughter reaches her mid-teens.

That happened in my family. My little sister is 12 years younger then me and 14 years younger then my older sister and she IS my younger sister. I would be very insulted if someone insinuated that my little sister is really my niece. And I wouldn't think kindly on anyone who has nothing better to do then to count years and cast suspicions around.

I find it offensive as well.  Yes, teen pregnancies did happen, but so did secondary infertility, miscarriages, and still births.

I think it is offensive if you are speculating (other than in the privacy of your own head) about people who are around now. I think if you are looking at family history and reading census returns from the 1850s it is a perfectly reasonable, and legitimate speculation.

Illegitimacy was a big deal - it had a huge impact not only on the mother, but also on the child, so hiding it was common. I don't think it is offensive anymore than it is offensive to speculate about (for instance) the story behind any other family relationships you find during your research.
I find it interesting to ponder the stories behind the record. A distant relative of mine did a very extensive family tree and in one case he commented on a great, great uncle of ours who died in an accident in middle age. The census record shows two more offspring born after he died, the first legitimately within a few months,  the second two years later....our historian comments that "it is not known how he fathered a child two years after his death"  LOL
I noticed  the child had two older teen sisters, and in a later census, she is found living with a sister and BIL, who named her on the census as his "niece", not his "sister in law", which confirmed my suspicions that she was not the child of the great uncle's wife.

kherbert05

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2014, 12:33:00 AM »
I had a coworker whose older siblings were 23 and 25 years older than she was.  Of course, they were both boys, which makes the fiction fairly unlikely.  I think she actually has a nephew or niece who is older than she is.   It was always interesting to hear from a woman who was born in... maybe 1970 or so? about her parents who were young children during the Great Depression.
My parents were young children during the Great Depression and Sis and I were born just either side of 1970. My parents just married a little older than most in their Generation. I have an Aunt younger than my oldest cousin. She is not the daughter of Mom, Oldest Aunt, or sister born after mom - They were all married and 2 were living in other countries. Next oldest girl was 10. There was a gap Oldest 5/Youngest 5 - the gap was the length of Pop's service in WWII and recovery from losing an arm and eye.
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guihong

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2014, 12:38:53 AM »
I had a coworker whose older siblings were 23 and 25 years older than she was.  Of course, they were both boys, which makes the fiction fairly unlikely.  I think she actually has a nephew or niece who is older than she is.   It was always interesting to hear from a woman who was born in... maybe 1970 or so? about her parents who were young children during the Great Depression.

My parents were both born during WWI, and I was born in 1963.  My oldest brother was born in 1941. 



Psychopoesie

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2014, 01:02:41 AM »
Agree that not every family is cut out with the same cookie cutter.

My mum is the youngest of five kids, born when her mother was 42 years old. Her eldest sister was 18 years her senior.  Mum's eldest nephew was only 4 years younger than mum. That nephew is my first cousin, yet we're different generations: his firstborn daughter was 1 year older than me.

It's not that uncommon an age mix for all sorts of reasons, even today, with lots more people getting divorced, subsequently repartnering, and starting new families. 


metallicafan

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2014, 06:40:59 AM »
I had a coworker whose older siblings were 23 and 25 years older than she was.  Of course, they were both boys, which makes the fiction fairly unlikely.  I think she actually has a nephew or niece who is older than she is.   It was always interesting to hear from a woman who was born in... maybe 1970 or so? about her parents who were young children during the Great Depression.

My parents were both born during WWI, and I was born in 1963.  My oldest brother was born in 1941.

Count me in too.  My parents were born in  1930 and 1931 and I was born in 1971, with brothers who were 7 and 14 years older than me.  My parents were married 20 years when I was born.  When I was a kid,  it seemed like I was the only one with older parents.  My mother was mistaken for my grandmother a few times,  that both embarrassed me and made me feel bad for my mother.   Strictly because of my own childhood experiences, I always said that I would never have a kid at age 40 or older.   I will say though, that my parents stories about their childhoods, before tv,  an icebox instead of a refrigerator, no airconditioning,, etc.,  have always been fascinating,  and I loved listening to them.  Still do.

lkdrymom

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2014, 07:35:45 AM »
I used to tease my mom because my parents were married in October and I was born in March. It wasn't until after my mom died that my father told me that I was born in March...THEN...my parents got married in October. I was very upset that this was kept from me.

Lynn2000

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2014, 10:47:14 AM »
As mentioned earlier, I do family history research, and many of my people come from poor rural farming backgrounds. It wasn't uncommon for people to get married at 18 and have 10 kids, every two or three years like clockwork, with the last being born when the mom was over 40. I think biologically if you start early and you're good at it and you do it regularly, it's not the same kind of "big deal" to have a child at 44, even in the 1920s, as it would be today for someone having their first child at 44. Plus, I suspect the standards for a good life were unfortunately lower back then as well.  :-\

Anyway, these huge families completely mess up the concept of "generations." There could easily be 20 or 25 years between the oldest and youngest child. Most likely the eldest children will be married and having kids of their own while their mom is still having her youngest kids. Plus everyone tends to marry their relatives (because that's who's around in their small rural area with bad roads) so you get couples like "second cousins once removed"--the "removed" refers to different generations relative to their common ancestor. For example, there's my first cousins, and their children are my first cousins, once removed. (My kids would be second cousins to those kids.) At least that's my understanding of it.

Now, in my family, amazingly enough the majority of babies in these big families tended to survive to older childhood at least, and be caught on a census or remembered by the other children. But infant/young child mortality was so high in some places, that a five-year gap between kids might indicate two or three babies who died very young. :( And although I'm sure the parents remember those children in their hearts, the official documents *I* have access to could be spottier, and if the surviving children were very young themselves, they may not have much memory of those babies to pass on either. That's what *I* tend to first suspect when I see a big gap between kids--kids in between who died young; or, one parent was away from home for a while or had a long illness, neither of which might be caught in the records.

I think in all my research I've only seen one case where a modern researcher suspected a young "child" was actually a "grandchild." What I find much more in my tree is grandchildren living with grandparents, as fully acknowledged on the census records, and then I have to try and figure out what child they belonged to, and where that child is now instead of with their own kid. One of my direct ancestors had something like six daughters and then finally a son, and then one day there's a grandson living with them, with their last name, only their son is not old enough to have fathered him. Must have been one of the girls who had the child out of wedlock. I figured out which one it was by checking who wasn't married when the child was born--and it turned out she was now married with new kids living just down the street. But her oldest child out of wedlock (presumably with a different guy than the one she was now married to) couldn't live there, he had to live with his grandparents. I think that must have been an interesting story.
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Ms_Cellany

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #55 on: March 24, 2014, 10:50:40 AM »
Unless that letter has been trimmed by Abby or her editor, she's made an interesting assumption. The letter writer does not say how the date was altered. The couple could have been secretly married before the actual wedding.

My grandparents did this.
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Minmom3

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #56 on: March 24, 2014, 01:48:33 PM »
My mother, 87 in May, has a cousin 13 months older than me (59 next month).  He has 2 older sisters who are much closer in age to my mother.
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VorFemme

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #57 on: March 24, 2014, 02:44:19 PM »
;D DC Girl-I have some of those in my tree, too.

I've also found that some women had miraculous pregnancies that lasted only six months after the wedding  ::) .  Sometimes the wedding date was fudged to include the conception of said child.

As for the OP, I'd leave it out.
Yes, it's amazing how many "premature" first babies lived to grow up, isn't it?  Considering that even a modern NICU can lose one born that early...

I also have my eeeevul suspicions when the family records say that there were 3 or 4 kids, born about 2 years apart, and then no more for 10 - 12 years.  And then, surprise! -- a "bonus baby," born just about the time that an earlier daughter reaches her mid-teens.

That happened in my family. My little sister is 12 years younger then me and 14 years younger then my older sister and she IS my younger sister. I would be very insulted if someone insinuated that my little sister is really my niece. And I wouldn't think kindly on anyone who has nothing better to do then to count years and cast suspicions around.

I find it offensive as well.  Yes, teen pregnancies did happen, but so did secondary infertility, miscarriages, and still births.

I think it is offensive if you are speculating (other than in the privacy of your own head) about people who are around now. I think if you are looking at family history and reading census returns from the 1850s it is a perfectly reasonable, and legitimate speculation.

Illegitimacy was a big deal - it had a huge impact not only on the mother, but also on the child, so hiding it was common. I don't think it is offensive anymore than it is offensive to speculate about (for instance) the story behind any other family relationships you find during your research.

Mom is 15 years older than her baby sister.  There were several miscarriages.  And Aunt Bebe was originally diagnosed by the family doctor as a case of stomach flu instead of morning sickness..because a woman ALMOST forty  couldn't possibly be PREGNANT in 1951!  Due date ended up being January 1952, the same week that Grandma turned 40. 

Then there was the second grader in DD's class who was adopted by her grandparents when her "older sister" had her (I did NOT ask as about the circumstances - so I have no idea what happened - just that they adopted her so that their DD/her mother/older sister could "finish her schooling"). 

There were probably almost as many scenarios & justifications in real life then as you'd see in books, movies, or TV now....

+++ETA+++

Fictional story, but one character quoted what seemed to be a common "proverb" at a nosy person.  She was holding two babies and trying to conceal the presence of an escaped slave who'd left her baby behind at their place (they were supposed to be part of the Underground Railroad before the 1860s).  Everyone knew that she lived with her brother & his wife and that HER suitor had recently married someone else....

The comment was along the lines of "many a child has called his mother his aunt and his aunt his mother" - which gave her the reputation of having had a child by her suitor & the family doctor (also on the Underground Railroad) altered the birth records to give the married woman "twins" (one the slave's but assumed by the locals to be the sister's). 

The family records (diary, family Bible, letters, etc. of which was which) were destroyed or changed to make it impossible to figure out which was which in an era before blood tests or modern DNA testing.  But, if you've read Alex Haley's books about his family's background, there were a lot of children born to slaves that were part of the slave owner's family tree - just not acknowledged.  And mistresses in New Orleans might produce acknowledged children out of wedlock who still weren't going to be allowed to come to "family reunions" until some time in the late twentieth century...because it was "ignored" in polite society. 

I would hope that the fathers of men looking for a mistress told them who might be too closely related to be a good choice....but have never wanted to write a story where I would NEED to do the research to find out for sure.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 03:00:23 PM by VorFemme »
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MommyPenguin

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #58 on: March 24, 2014, 02:56:59 PM »
I had a coworker whose older siblings were 23 and 25 years older than she was.  Of course, they were both boys, which makes the fiction fairly unlikely.  I think she actually has a nephew or niece who is older than she is.   It was always interesting to hear from a woman who was born in... maybe 1970 or so? about her parents who were young children during the Great Depression.
My parents were young children during the Great Depression and Sis and I were born just either side of 1970. My parents just married a little older than most in their Generation. I have an Aunt younger than my oldest cousin. She is not the daughter of Mom, Oldest Aunt, or sister born after mom - They were all married and 2 were living in other countries. Next oldest girl was 10. There was a gap Oldest 5/Youngest 5 - the gap was the length of Pop's service in WWII and recovery from losing an arm and eye.

There's also the case of John Tyler, president before the Civil War, who has two living grandsons still alive.  It's a case of elderly men being widowed (is it still being widowed if you're male?) and remarrying much younger women, who were then able to have children.  So John Tyler had several children in his 70s, and then at least one of his son did the same thing, and then you end up with two (octogenarian?) grandsons still alive today.  Pretty amazing.

Sometimes a big gap can also be stillbirths or miscarriages.  My very elderly grandmother (95) was just telling me the other day about how she had her children every 2 years.  But there are four years between my father (child #4) and his big sister (child #3), and another 4 years between my father and the next younger brother (child #5).  There were 8 children in all, but there were gaps.  Somebody told me (I forget if it was my father or an aunt) that Nana had had several miscarriages on either side of my father, and a few elsewhere as well.  I think in the past, particularly, when people had so many children and when it wasn't uncommon for a child to die young (my grandmother lost a 2-year-old brother to polio), miscarriages and stillbirths weren't quite as lamented and recorded as they are today.  Not in any way meaning to minimize the loss, just that it wasn't as shocking and unexpected, just like losing a child wasn't quite as shocking and unexpected then. 

I was just reading a book of John and Abigail Adams letters, and the part about his beloved toddler daughter dying and his never mentioning her again just made me so sad.  She was just the age of my youngest when I was reading it, so I kept finding myself looking at her sweet baby face and curls and struggling with tears for their loss, even though it was over 200 years ago and they're long dead themselves.

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Re: Obit-Maintaining a fib Dear Abby
« Reply #59 on: March 24, 2014, 03:03:57 PM »
It's a case of elderly men being widowed (is it still being widowed if you're male?)

Men are considered widowers so he would be widowered. But I don't think that word is used very often.