Falsely Pretending to be Related to Someone Famous

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John Wilkes Booth's father also had a family he abandoned in England before immigrating over with his mistress (who was the mother of John Wilkes and his siblings.) I think one of the sons from the first relationship survived into adulthood, but I have no clue if he had children himself.
From what I understand, the patriarch, Junius Brutus Booth, left his first family in England in order to run off to America with Edwin and JWB’s (and their siblings’) mother. He was still legally married to the first wife. So, JWB and Edwin and their siblings were illegitimate. Years later, the wife and son from the first marriage tracked them down and sued the Booth patriarch for years of unpaid support.They threatened to cause a giant scandal that would ruin Papa Booth’s ability to ever earn a living again as an actor. Papa Booth had to pay them off in order for them to leave him and his second family alone and to finalize the divorce.

JWB got teased at school for being illegitimate when he was a kid.
 

Zella

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From what I understand, the patriarch, Junius Brutus Booth, left his first family in England in order to run off to America with Edwin and JWB’s (and their siblings’) mother. He was still legally married to the first wife. So, JWB and Edwin and their siblings were illegitimate. Years later, the wife and son from the first marriage tracked them down and sued the Booth patriarch for years of unpaid support.They threatened to cause a giant scandal that would ruin Papa Booth’s ability to ever earn a living again as an actor. Papa Booth had to pay them off in order for them to leave him and his second family alone and to finalize the divorce.

JWB got teased at school for being illegitimate when he was a kid.
Yes, that sounds about right. I remember reading about the family background a couple of years ago in Amefican Brutus and feeling like I was reading a Maury episode summary. :wink:
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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Yeah, people only seem to claim that they were people that they themselves have heard of. So many Lincolns, so few William Henry Harrisons... so many Cleopatras, so few Hetepheres or Hatshepsuts. (Of course, "Cleopatra" herself was actually Cleopatra VII-- so perhaps some of the "Cleopatras" were numbers one through six?) :laugh: Preposterous.

It reminds me of a Marine friend of mine who bought another guy a beer when that guy said he had been a Marine in fuel transport. He said nobody would ever claim to be in fuel transport that hadn't actually been in it (as opposed to all of the ones claiming to have been in recon, etc.). I guess there's some 'stolen valor' going around about 'past lives', too.
 

NH Civil War Gal

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Well, talking about being "related" to someone famous. Many years ago I was told that a group in Baltimore had a "come as you were party" where people were told to come as they were in a past life. The story goes that there were so many Lincolns and Cleopatras that it almost broke out in a massive fist fight.
What no chambermaids that emptied the chamber pots! :bounce:
 

unicornforge

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What no chambermaids that emptied the chamber pots! :bounce:
Nor anyone claiming to have been "Groom of the Stool", and no one claiming to have been cannon fodder in an army. Everyone, that I ever heard talk about reincarnation claimed to have been important/famous, more than one claimed to be disciples, and one claimed to have been declared the reincarnation of Christ by his followers.
 
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Nor anyone claiming to have been "Groom of the Stool", and no one claiming to have been cannon fodder in an army. Everyone, that I ever heard talk about reincarnation claimed to have been important/famous, more than one claimed to be disciples, and one claimed to have been declared the reincarnation of Christ by his followers.
I was joking to my husband that I am going to write a series of historical fiction stories about the following:

The guy who works in the Boston Customs House after the passage of the Stamp Act, but who doesn’t see the Boston Tea Party happen;

The mid-level bureaucrat who works in an office in ancient Rome;

etc
 

diane

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Yeah, people only seem to claim that they were people that they themselves have heard of. So many Lincolns, so few William Henry Harrisons... so many Cleopatras, so few Hetepheres or Hatshepsuts. (Of course, "Cleopatra" herself was actually Cleopatra VII-- so perhaps some of the "Cleopatras" were numbers one through six?) :laugh: Preposterous.

It reminds me of a Marine friend of mine who bought another guy a beer when that guy said he had been a Marine in fuel transport. He said nobody would ever claim to be in fuel transport that hadn't actually been in it (as opposed to all of the ones claiming to have been in recon, etc.). I guess there's some 'stolen valor' going around about 'past lives', too.
:laugh: One guy explained that to me - reincarnations being Cleopatra and not Jack the Ripper. He claimed that if you were really, really, really bad you were put in a jar God keeps under his throne and you didn't get to come back for a long, long while!
 
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:laugh: One guy explained that to me - reincarnations being Cleopatra and not Jack the Ripper. He claimed that if you were really, really, really bad you were put in a jar God keeps under his throne and you didn't get to come back for a long, long while!

"Green Darkness" by Anya Seton had an interesting take on reincarnation. In this story, people are reincarnated multiple times. In some of these lives, one might be reincarnated as somebody interesting; in other lives, not so much. It is possible to remember one or some of your lives but not ALL of them at the same time. So, you could be a guest at a dinner party in England in the 1970's and recall that time that you were a knight in that very same town in the 1400's. However, at that moment at the dinner party, you don't remember your life as a random person living on a farm in the American midwest in the 1800's, or that other time that you worked at a random factory in 1910. Etc.
 
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diane

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"Green Darkness" by Anya Seton had an interesting take on reincarnation. In this story, people are reincarnated multiple times. In some of these lives, one might be reincarnated as somebody interesting; in other lives, not so much. It is possible to remember one or some of your lives but not ALL of them at the same time. So, you could be a guest at a dinner party in England in the 1970's and recall that time that you were a knight in that very same town in the 1400's. However, at that moment at the dinner party, you don't remember your life as a random person living on a farm in the American midwest in the 1800's, or that other time that you worked at a random factory in 1910. Etc.
:confused: Now you've made me dizzy! :laugh:
 

Zella

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
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I was joking to my husband that I am going to write a series of historical fiction stories about the following:

The guy who works in the Boston Customs House after the passage of the Stamp Act, but who doesn’t see the Boston Tea Party happen;

The mid-level bureaucrat who works in an office in ancient Rome;

etc
This would be hilarious! Like the historical fiction version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. :laugh:
 

Peter Stines

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Location
Gulf Coast of Texas
My wife's grandfather was a BOOTH.
Here is a photo of one of her ancestors from mid-1800's.
View attachment 346486

During my early days of genealogy research, I did some research on the BOOTH and found a book on that family. They had a family tree for John Wilkes Booth and his father and showed that there were NO male descendants after 2 generations. It also stated that some of the BOOTH family changed their name to BOOTHE just to show there was no connection at all.
So there are no Booth descendants ? I read the UNLOCKED BOOK. Sad to say it sounded like hero worship. Will probably look at THE MAD BOOTHS OF MARYLAND next. Any opinions on this one ?
 
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No Booths in my family but we do have Garretts from Virginia and I remember my dad saying we were related to the Garretts who owned the farm where John W. was killed. Turns out we're not related to those Garretts (that line has been well documented). Oh well. But hey - several of our guys were friends and neighbors of Thomas Jefferson. Almost as good.:D

I've never really understood the idea that one somehow inherits 'credit' from ancestors (e.g. the whole DAR thing). Who our ancestors are is just a repeated flip of the genetic coin. What they did can certainly be very interesting and might have affected how we ended up being where we are but it doesn't reflect on our character. We all have to earn our own way. I find ancestor worship unattractive.
I don't see it as "family worship" as much as appreciating the sacrifices and stories of one's family members whether they be good, bad or ugly. I suppose this could lead to snobbery but it needn't. Family history is helpful to connecting to local, national or even world history. For example, I have an ancestor, Lt. Flournoy, who was wounded in the Battle of New Orleans. I knew his story from a family Bible, but I also uncovered he was well regarded by Gen Jackson in a book. My son (on his mom's side) is a direct descendant of Lemuel Cook, the last Revolutionary War soldier to die by some accounts. We were in the Museum of the American Revolution in Phila. when we came across old Lemuel's photo. As I read the stories of my civil war ancestor, I find it inspiring.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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I don't see it as "family worship" as much as appreciating the sacrifices and stories of one's family members whether they be good, bad or ugly

I can see that. Extremes tend to crop up anywhere, in any interest but my guess is most of us just, plain find it interesting. It can also feel somewhat anchoring, like we're not all floating around out here by way of some giant accident. Maybe it's the continuum, that part of us has walked through this thing called History.


The story goes that there were so many Lincolns and Cleopatras that it almost broke out in a massive fist fight.
That just made me flash to an image of Lincoln and Cleopatra duking it out.
 
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John Winn

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I don't see it as "family worship" as much as appreciating the sacrifices and stories of one's family members whether they be good, bad or ugly. I suppose this could lead to snobbery but it needn't. Family history is helpful to connecting to local, national or even world history. For example, I have an ancestor, Lt. Flournoy, who was wounded in the Battle of New Orleans. I knew his story from a family Bible, but I also uncovered he was well regarded by Gen Jackson in a book. My son (on his mom's side) is a direct descendant of Lemuel Cook, the last Revolutionary War soldier to die by some accounts. We were in the Museum of the American Revolution in Phila. when we came across old Lemuel's photo. As I read the stories of my civil war ancestor, I find it inspiring.
I am very much interested in the life stories of the ancestors and certainly admire many of mine. I also do a lot of research on persons buried in the historic cemetery where I volunteer and I love to discover their histories. My comment was because I think the reason many people want to claim that they're related to someone famous is the same reason many join groups like the DAR: they feel they are somehow 'better' for being related. Some are less obnoxious about it than others. I contend that one doesn't inherit any sort of credit from the lives of their ancestors; that's all.

So, I'm always interested to discover that ggg grandpa knew a president or was wealthy or performed exceptional military service. I just don't think that reflects on me.
 

Peter Stines

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FWIW I contacted the Chalmette Battlefield Museum and asked them if they knew who the last veteran of the Battle of New Orleans was. Come to find out it was a black man who had been a drummer. He later served as a drummer for the Union. I've seen photos of this chap in uniform and I have his name and some data in my notes. I'll dig it up and post.
 

Peter Stines

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Location
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I am very much interested in the life stories of the ancestors and certainly admire many of mine. I also do a lot of research on persons buried in the historic cemetery where I volunteer and I love to discover their histories. My comment was because I think the reason many people want to claim that they're related to someone famous is the same reason many join groups like the DAR: they feel they are somehow 'better' for being related. Some are less obnoxious about it than others. I contend that one doesn't inherit any sort of credit from the lives of their ancestors; that's all.

So, I'm always interested to discover that ggg grandpa knew a president or was wealthy or performed exceptional military service. I just don't think that reflects on me.
I tend to agree. Our ancestor's actions, good or bad don't reflect on us. They were a product of their time. (Not making excuses for horrid behavior) If g-g-grandpa was a moon-shiner that was HIS CHOICE. I tend to think survival was more of a priority back then than legacy for future generations. Besides some of these shenanigans are pretty interesting.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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f g-g-grandpa was a moon-shiner that was HIS CHOICE.

Ok, now I'm distracted, was he or were using that as an example? Think I'd get a kick out of a moon-shiner in the tree. At the least you'd know he was an interesting character. I admit to finding it entertaining discovering my grandfather once swiped a train, if only just to see if he could drive the thing. Guessing his family at the time wasn't happy.
 

RobertP

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I am very much interested in the life stories of the ancestors and certainly admire many of mine. I also do a lot of research on persons buried in the historic cemetery where I volunteer and I love to discover their histories. My comment was because I think the reason many people want to claim that they're related to someone famous is the same reason many join groups like the DAR: they feel they are somehow 'better' for being related. Some are less obnoxious about it than others. I contend that one doesn't inherit any sort of credit from the lives of their ancestors; that's all.

So, I'm always interested to discover that ggg grandpa knew a president or was wealthy or performed exceptional military service. I just don't think that reflects on me.
I was told that my grandmother when young said she wanted to marry a smart man because she wanted smart children. She ended up marrying a math professor and they had four really bright, creative ones. Some traits are clearly inheritable but it’s still up to the individual to make the most of it.
 
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