Family Legends



This weeks 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks topic is Family Legends.  My family has several, but not one makes a very long story.  So I have decided to list a few here.

Family Legends:

  1. We are related to Napoleon. First of all I don’t know why anyone would want to admit that they were related to Napoleon.  I’ve traced that line back to the early 1700’s and I can find no relation to Napoleon.  This story came from my maternal grandmother about her mother’s family.  My mother asked one of my grandmother’s aunts.  The Aunt said that she had never heard that story, however she had heard that someone had fought in the Napoleonic Wars.  My father used to joke that he believed it because my grandmother and mother were like dictators.  I believe the aunt was right and my grandmother was wrong.
  2. My 2nd great-grandfather was a captain in the German Army in the 1870’s when he deserted the German Army and came to the United States. Of course if you are running away from the German Army you bring your pregnant wife and your 1½ year old little girl along with you.  I believe he left Germany because he belonged to a religious faith that was pacifist, and wanted to avoid conscription into the German Army.
  3. My grandmother also believed that she was part Native American. How she ever came to this conclusion, I have no idea.  Her mother was born in Germany and her father in the US born to a father born in England and a mother born in Canada to parents who came from Scotland.  She had this information, so where does the Native American heritage come in to the equation?  I don’t think it does at all.  She might have wished it to be so because she admired the Native American’s.  DNA to the rescue, my DNA shows no Native American Ancestry.
  4. My grandmother said that her grandmother’s maiden name was Fischer, she came from Canada, and she was related to the people who owned the Fischer Body Company that make the Auto bodies for Chevrolet.  Remember the famous tag “Body by Fischer” displayed on the door still plate?  Fischer Body Company was started by Fred and Charles Fischer of Detroit Michigan in 1908.[1] In 1913 they became so successful they expanded their company into Canada, setting up a plant in Walkerville Ontario.[2] The only part true is that her grandmother was from Canada.  Her Grandmother’s maiden name was Frazier not Fischer.  Another story that was not true.
  5. My father had told me that we had some ancestors who were killed by Indian’s in Wisconsin.  I was able to debunk this story.  John Desens owned a farm in Clark County Wisconsin and was killed by his neighbor.  John’s son, Herman, accidentally shot himself and died.  I wrote about both of these incidents in previous blogs. See Where there is a will and Misfortune .  The truth is they were killed, but not by Indians.

Copyright © 2018 Gail Grunst


[1] Wikipedia Website at

[2] Ibid.