Debunking a Family Story

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I’ve introduced you to my grandmother in this blog before.

Me with my grandmother about 15 years ago. I was telling her this really dirty joke, and she was laughing so hard the swing started to crack. She died not long after this photo was taken. I miss her terribly.

Me with my grandmother about 15 years ago. I was telling her this really dirty joke, and she was laughing so hard the swing started to crack. She died not long after this photo was taken. I miss her terribly.

My beloved Mamaw was Catherine Cecilia Brady. She was a hoot and a half. She was also one tough cookie: A badass IRS auditor (the only woman in that office, who also became the manager of said office in the 1940s), a great cook, and a woman who took care of everybody.

She was a great storyteller, and keeper of my family’s history. After she died, I was given her genealogy papers (she kept extensive family tree information for her side of the family, along with supporting documents, letters, certificates, the family Bible, and so forth).

I was going through one of the boxes this weekend, and came across a notation about Mathew Brady, and that we (my grandmother, mother, myself) were somehow related to him.

Mathew Brady, 1875. Source: LOC Prints and Photographs Division.

Mathew Brady, 1875. Brady is buried in Congressional Cemetery. He’s said to haunt that place because he is still angry at Congress for reneging on a photo deal. Source: LOC Prints and Photographs Division.

Whoa. Related to THE Mathew Brady, Father of Photojournalism.

When I was a teenager, I remember my mother talking about this, and I never thought to question it.

Now that I am in middle age, and I have power of technology and (I think) above average sleuthing skills, I had to confirm this.

I put aside poor old Emmett (sorry, fella), and dug in.

 

What I found was this:

My grandmother was not related to him.

But I am, by marriage. Check it out:

A threadbare connection! Source: Geni.com

A threadbare connection! Source: Geni.com

I showed this to my husband (who is also interested in genealogy); he considers this barely a connection — but interesting family lore, considering this was an old story passed around by my side of the family. It’s too bad I can’t share this information with Mamaw. She’d have loved all of this genealogy research, even though this disproves that old family story.

However…

I did find something else interesting in this side research excursion. Here I was (at my desk), looking through the list of U.S. Presidents, and I thought I’d check on a few things.

Here’s who I’m related to:

Meet my cousin. Martin Van Buren. Source: Geni.com

Meet my cousin. Martin Van Buren. Source: Geni.com

True dat. Fourth cousin Martin V.B. of the awesome sideburns. Kin.

Source: Geni.com

Source: Geni.com

Finally. An explanation for my lack of height.

===

And now, back to the manuscript!

 

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