What’s the biggest family history myth that you’ve destroyed?

@Dave_Lines challenge on #ancestryhour got me thinking. My mother was always telling us family stories. As children do, we ignored them. What surprises me is just how true these stories were. Details may have been wrong, but there was a grain of truth in each one. So, here are some of my family myths in no particular order:

Myth 1: My paternal grandfather, George, had a younger brother called James who emigrated to California and disappeared.

George had an older brother called James who appeared in the 1871 & 1881 census. I haven’t been able to find a birth or death record for him. He also had a younger brother called Frank, who emigrated to Manitoba, Canada in 1911. He fought with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during W.W.1. After the death of his wife in 1920, he emigrated to America, eventually settling in Los Angeles. He died there in 1962. One of my DNA shared matches is Frank’s 2x great grandson.

Myth 2: My maternal 2xG grandfather, Antonio Florenço, was a grocer. His 1st wife was from Antigua. She died after having a daughter, called Antonia.

My mother’s family were originally from Madeira. They emigrated to Guyana in South America in the 1800s. I had given up hope of ever finding them. There are no Guyanese records to speak of. I wasn’t sure where to start with Portuguese records. Then I discover the Madeiran Archive. A lot of civil records are indexed and I was able to find Antonio’s baptism and marriage. I also found his passport to Guyana!

Google Translate is my friend!

I thought Scottish records were good, but Portuguese ones are even better. Antonio Florença married Mathilde Augusta Teixeira on 24 August 1871 in the parish church of Nossa Senhora do Monte. Antonio is described as a ‘vendeiro’, a grocer. He was a ‘viuvo’ widower. His first wife was Maria Garciz of Antigua.

I haven’t found any more information about Maria or whether they had a daughter.

This document is genealogical gold dust. Dated 12 April 1875 and signed by the Portuguese embassy in Georgetown, Guyana. Not only does it tell me that Antonio was travelling back to Madeira with his wife Mathilde but, a son, Antonio, born in Antigua, was with them. This could possibly be the daughter, Antonia.

Myth 3: His 2nd wife, Matilda, (my 2xG grandmother) was from a village in Madeira called Monte.

Matilda was married in Nossa Senhorra do Monte and there in a parish in Madeira with the same name. I found Mathilde’s baptism certificate. She had been baptised in the same church on 18 March 1849.

We visited the church in 2013. It was beautiful.

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