June 14, 2023 at 8:44 pm

What’s the Most Interesting Story You Have About One of Your Ancestors? Here’s What People Said.

by Matthew Gilligan

That Hurts Ancestors Lost Fingers copy What’s the Most Interesting Story You Have About One of Your Ancestors? Here’s What People Said.

I’ve been doing a lot of family research lately and it is absolutely FASCINATING.

Finding naturalization records from when my ancestors came to this country from Ireland, checking old newspaper articles, census records, etc.

It’s so cool!

And every family has interesting stories in their past: here are some good ones from AskReddit users for you to check out.


“My grandfather (born in 1889) grew up on a farm.

One day he and his brother were digging out a tree stump using mattocks, each one swinging alternately from the opposite side. His brother mistimed a downswing and clocked my grandfather on the head. His father put some kind of liniment on the wound and put him to bed.

When my grandfather woke up the next morning, he was blind. His father thought he was faking it to get out of doing his chores and told him to get to work. My grandfather felt his way out to the barn and fed the sheep, and by then his father realized he was telling the truth.

His sight returned in a few days. My grandfather went on to become a doctor and realized that the blow from the mattock had damaged the optic nerve — fortunately, not permanently.

He served as an Army doctor in France during World War I, when he also had to deal with the great flu pandemic of 1918.”

That hurts.

“My grandfather lost three fingers that were reattached.

He and his brother were playing with an axe and his brother dared him to put his hand on a log and let him swing the axe.

My grandfather accepted, thinking my great uncle was bluffing, and my great uncle swinged the axe thinking my grandfather was gonna remove the hand

We’re not the smartest family around…”

Clash of the classes.

“My great grandfather was from a wealthy family back in Greece / Albania in the 1890s. He had a tryst with a peasant girl who got pregnant.

Rather than marry the peasant girl the family arranged for my great grandfather to be sent to America.

Not to be outdone, the peasant girl and her family saved up enough money and sent her to America after him. She found him in New York, and they got married there.”


“My Grandfather was posted as missing in action, believed k**led (WWI).

My grandmother was expecting their first child. That usually meant they were actually ki**ed so Grandmother was certain that she would never see him again. Then there was a knock at the door and Grandfather was standing there in the hospital blue uniform soldiers wore to show they were receiving treatment.

He had been knocked unconscious by the explosion everyone thought ki**ed him and sent to a hospital close to his home, without being identified. When he came around and was otherwise unhurt they gave leave to go home before being sent back to the front.

Grandmother went into slightly early labour caused by the shock! Grandad survived the war, my grandmother and the baby were both ok and all lived quite long and healthy lives.”

The riot.

“My grandfather owned a hardware store in downtown Bogotá when the April 9, 1948 riots.

People burned and looted places.

He had to lay down among d**d bodies simulating being d**d to survive and not being k**led.”

Quite a story.

“My great great etc grandfather was also arrested and exiled to Australia when it was a penal colony.

The story goes that he led a successful prison break on the ship and they sailed to North America where my distant relative made off with the valuables from the captains quarters, purchased a slave as a traveling companion and eventually settled somewhere in Canada and freed his companion.

The only evidence I could find to support my family’s story was a family of famous black pro athletes with my families aggressively Welsh last name. I’d like to know more, but the remainder of the family has either passed or is estranged.”

A bad ending.

“My great grandfather came home early from work one day to find his wife in bed with the milkman(or mail man. I can’t remember).

Either way, there was a scuffle and the milk/mailman went out the bedroom window and d**d 2 days later in the hospital.

This happened in the same house that I grew up in because the house was in my family for a very long time.”

Feral child.

“My grandfather’s grandfather was found wandering naked in a forest. He was estimated to be around 8 or 9 years old. He didn’t speak but understood when spoken to.

After a few years he started talking but was never able to recall anything about his life before he was found by the family that took him in; my great-great-great grandparents. They raised him as their own and all the stories say he turned out pretty normal.”

Trail of Tears.

“My grandmother’s grandmother walked the Trail of Tears.

Her parents did no make the walk (assumed d**d). When she reached Oklahoma she was adopted by a white couple.

She was put down as half Cherokee, half white on the roll because of this.”

A love story.

“Maternal grandmother’s parents met in a train wreck.

Great grandpa was traveling second class, with a window seat. G.grandma was traveling Coach. Something was on the tracks causing a derailment and many injuries. G.Grandma, being seated further back, was fine and pitched in to help those in need.

G.Grandpa had hit the window and his ear was cut very badly, almost sliced off his head (almost). She was tearing off strips of her petticoat the use as bandages (ooh la la!). Until he d**d he teased that his left ear was lower than his right because ‘she put it on wrong’.”

It was a different time…

“My great grandfather grew up super poor in Italy.

He had an infection of some sort in his arm that would k**l him if untreated, and because he was poor, it was left untreated.

So one day, at age 14, he and a few friends found a bottle of liquor, a tree stump, and an axe. The only pictures I’ve seen of him, he only has one arm.”

Wow… those were some stories, right?

The past was WILD.