Falsely Pretending to be Related to Someone Famous

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Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Location
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I've been learning much lately about the Lemp brewing family of St. Louis.

Adam Lemp emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in the 1830's. He established the Lemp family's brewery. His son, William Lemp Sr., served in the Union Army in the Civil War and then he went on to grow the brewery to the largest in St. Louis. The Lemp family was insanely wealthy in the late 1800's. William Lemp Sr. and his wife Julia had a significant number of children and many of them went on to marry and raise families of their own.

However, I read that the man in this article allegedly refers to himself as a "Lemp" descendant although confirmed Lemp family members deny this. From what I've read about this man, I am under the impression that he is not trying to claim any part of the original Lemp brewing fortune. No, nothing like that. Instead, he allegedly makes money from giving talks and doing historical tours about the Lemp family under the premise that he is himself a Lemp.

After I read the above article, I did another search on the Lemp family and I found this flyer advertising a tour of the Lemp Mausoleum that advertised the opportunity to "Meet a Lemp."

This led me to wonder how many pretenders are out there, giving historical tours and talks, while falsely claiming to be related to somebody famous.
 

archieclement

Captain
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Location
mo
I've been learning much lately about the Lemp brewing family of St. Louis.

Adam Lemp emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in the 1830's. He established the Lemp family's brewery. His son, William Lemp Sr., served in the Union Army in the Civil War and then he went on to grow the brewery to the largest in St. Louis. The Lemp family was insanely wealthy in the late 1800's. William Lemp Sr. and his wife Julia had a significant number of children and many of them went on to marry and raise families of their own.

However, I read that the man in this article allegedly refers to himself as a "Lemp" descendant although confirmed Lemp family members deny this. From what I've read about this man, I am under the impression that he is not trying to claim any part of the original Lemp brewing fortune. No, nothing like that. Instead, he allegedly makes money from giving talks and doing historical tours about the Lemp family under the premise that he is himself a Lemp.

After I read the above article, I did another search on the Lemp family and I found this flyer advertising a tour of the Lemp Mausoleum that advertised the opportunity to "Meet a Lemp."

This led me to wonder how many pretenders are out there, giving historical tours and talks, while falsely claiming to be related to somebody famous.
There doesn't appear to be shortage of those claiming to be related to Jesse James either, though haven't met anyone trying to profit from it.

I suspect in his case it goes back to prior generations making the claim and it being passed down, rather then a purposeful deception by current generations.
 

John Winn

Captain
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Location
State of Jefferson
I've certainly known, and known of, people who claimed to be related to someone famous (though usually more famous than Mr. Lemp) but haven't heard of one who tried to profit from it other than bragging rights and such.

I'm not related to anybody famous but my people were friends with some. Maybe I can supplement my retirement income :D
 
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lupaglupa

Sergeant
Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
Since I've never heard of the Lemp family and honestly am surprised there's a market for meeting a Lemp, I'm pretty much bemused by this story. But in a broader sense, I bet there are lots of folks who think they are related to someone famous and are not. My grandmother was sure we were kin to the Governor of Mississippi but when I looked into it I could not find a link - just a shared surname. On the other hand, she was right about us being kin to Tallulah Bankhead, so maybe I can market that!
 
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Zella

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May 23, 2018
I guess we all rush to claim the famous, the war heroes, the altruistic rich relatives; the celebrities in our family trees. We're not so fast to embrace the fact that we all possibly have murderers, robbers and various and sundry other classes of villains and other "scoundrels" alongside them...
I think there's a lot of truth to this.

Can confirm murderers, bigamists, and at least 1 failed cult leader in the family tree. :giggle: I figure if nothing else, they liven up the proceedings a little. . . .
 

lupaglupa

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Forum Host
Joined
Apr 18, 2019
I guess we all rush to claim the famous, the war heroes, the altruistic rich relatives; the celebrities in our family trees. We're not so fast to embrace the fact that we all possibly have murderers, robbers and various and sundry other classes of villains and other "scoundrels" alongside them...
Among the more interesting family figures I've done research on was a murderess and an embezzler! They certainly left behind a lot more information than the boring farmers I usually have to learn about.
 
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Virginia Dave

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Jan 3, 2019
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Waynesboro, Virginia
Among the more interesting family figures I've done research on was a murderess and an embezzler! They certainly left behind a lot more information than the boring farmers I usually have to learn about.
One of my more interesting ancestors was my gg grandfather that was captured and spent time in Libby. The was charged with murder and spent two years at Libby after the war. Finally released when it was noted that he had shot deserters and I guess that was not considered murder. I can't find an explanation in the records of exactly why he was released. However, I did discover that the one shot was one of his neighbors.
 

Lusty Murfax

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 18, 2017
Location
Northwest Missouri
There doesn't appear to be shortage of those claiming to be related to Jesse James either, though haven't met anyone trying to profit from it.

I suspect in his case it goes back to prior generations making the claim and it being passed down, rather then a purposeful deception by current generations.
There are examples of several people attempting to profit from Jesse James ancestry. Growing up I recall reading news stories in the St. Joe paper of one or two men even claiming to be James' son. As I recall, their claims were easily debunked by living James' descendants. Old Jesse's remains in the Kearny Cemetery have been dug up, examined and reburied I believe at least twice in my lifetime.

James' descendants maintain a genealogy website, including a Surname Index here: https://ericjames.org/html2014/surnames.html
I have no clue how accurate it is. It includes hundreds of surnames.
 
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diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
Falsely claiming to be related to somebody famous... Well, there's a whole family of Indians downriver who believe without a doubt U S Grant is their great-great-grandpa. The names Sam and Hiram were passed down. A few years ago they found their ancestor was really just a regular soldier who stole Grant's identity! But, they still believe it despite absolute proof to the contrary.

Then there's my great-grandmother, who firmly believed Robert E Lee was the famous ancestor on dad's side. She was from Virginia but the last I heard, Robert E Lee was not an Indian! Think he had a drop of Powhatan's in him from the Randolphs but that's about it. But great-grandma loved to be a lady - always dressed to the nines, no hair out of place, walked like an empress!

It's kind of the other way around with Indians. Native people tend to have a lot of imposters - and it's an odd thing. Red Thunder Cloud, who was the last fluent speaker of Catawba and helped restore the language...was everything but Indian! (And apparently a genius - he knew a number of Native languages without having been taught.)
 
Joined
May 12, 2018
Ugh, this guy disgusts me. He’s 100% a scammer (note how his dad apparently dosen't know what he’s up to), and just trying to live the high life solely off another family’s reputation. Everything from the supposed infidelity of his Lemp link to trying to impart celebrity to Pyrex screams “conman!”. Unfortunately the foundation of any good lie is a kernel of truth. He did indeed own many Lemp artifacts... they just weren’t ancestral.

It’s sort of disappointing that so many institutions were taken in by him, and it shows that we all need to be suspicious of extraordinary claims and do our research before we accept anything at face value.

A great bit of investigative journalism, thanks for sharing.
 
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