Friday, February 5, 2010

Family Lore Part II

On my first blog, I touched on the fact that one's mother, father, aunt. uncle, grandparents, etc. might provide you with some information that is not factually true. It is not because this person is lying but this person has incomplete information and has confused facts with other facts. In the example I included on my first blog, my mother confused the town to which her grandmother went to visit her relatives with the place in which her grandmother was born. I doubt that my mother ever asked her grandmother where she was born. My mother was simply confused. However, in other cases, the information is absolutely not true. Someone creates a fairytale that all would love to believe was true and presents it as fact. This situation occurred in several instances just before and shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. This was the period of mass immigration of people particularly from eastern Europe and Russia. During this same time, Cornelia Schermerhorn, wife of John Jacob Astor, controlled one's social standing in New York City. Organizations like the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, etc. emerged. And so did some people intent getting rich by exploiting the fear that some multi-generational Americans had of the recent immigrants. If you think scams are something invented since the Internet, think again. I came across two scams at the turn of the 20th century that were related to my family and some that had no connection to my family. However, the theme was the same, money by the perpetrator and social standing by the victim. I read several articles in The New York Times that were published during this era. I found the articles both interesting and quite sad.

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