Friday, April 1, 2011


When I was a child, my grandmother used to always tell me about my great, great, great grandfather, who was a famous author. I never believed her story. How could little ol’ me be related to someone famous? Yet, my grandma was persistent, and actually, it wasn’t just her. Soon enough my parents, aunts, and uncles, kept telling me the same story. The story never changed. Even now when my grandma or any other relative tells me the story, the details remain the same.

The story goes that in the early 1800’s, an author by the name of Honore de Balzac came to Prussia while on vacation, and from there he stumbled through what is now Belarus and to Lithuania. While there, he had a secret little love affair with a great, great, great grandmother of mine. When his little vacation came to an end, he left, and soon after that my great, great, great grandmother realized she was pregnant. With no real way to contact him, and knowing that he had a life that didn’t involve her and that she was just a fun time, she didn’t even try to inform him of his secret love child. Instead, she gave birth to her baby and gave the baby his last name, minus the last letter.

I don’t know how much truth there is to that story, if any. I tried asking my grandmother a few things that bothered me, like how did my great grandmother pull it off? I don’t know what life used to be like back then in Lithuania, but I assume like in the rest of the world, a woman would be shamed to have a baby out of wedlock. Or how could she give the baby a last name that she didn’t have? My grandma didn’t have the answers to any of my questions, but her guess (and it’s just a guess) that she moved to a different part of the country with forged documents claiming the baby belonged to a deceased husband. I guess that’s possible, although it is just a guess.

I’m a skeptic by nature so I always took that story with a grain of salt. However, last year, my mother bought a book about Horore de Balzac’s life. Upon reading it, she said she noticed a few similarities between him and me. I don’t know what the similarities are. And really, aren’t all people similar in a way? (Hey, I just said I’m a skeptic).

A few years ago, I did try looking up the information and trying to trace my last name online. I didn’t find much information except that my last name is really rare with less than 600 people in the whole world having that name, that it was traced by historians to one of the three wisemen who came to see Jesus after he was born, and that I’m related to Marie Antoinette in some way or another. However, there is a lot of misleading information online so once again, I’m taking that with a grain of salt. I can’t possibly be related to that many famous people!

I would love to find out for sure if I’m related to anyone famous. However, until I have real documented proof, I’m likely to continue being a skeptic about this story. It does make good party conversation if I’m trying to impress people, and I do share it sometimes, but if someone were to offer me information that would contradict what my family told me, I wouldn’t be shocked.

So, who are you guys related (or supposedly related) to?


  1. That is a cool story. It would maybe even make a cool novel/novella??

    I'm not related to anyone famous, although my Dad has always been more famous to me than any celebrity.

  2. Hey Angelina ~~ I found your link on the A~Z Challenge list . A great , thought-provoking first post ~ it's something that everybody wonders about at some time or other : What are my roots ? I think it's an integral part of ones identity ...
    You have potential "blue blood" ? Marie Antoinette ? You should really check it out when you have some time !


  3. Me, I'd just accept the story at face value and take the credit. How cool is that! Nice to "meet" you.

  4. French aristocracy. The story goes: Two brothers were hidden away by the servants during the French Revolution and secretly taken to Italy. They then migrated to Canada. One of them became a priest and the other had eleven children, one of which is my ancestory. My great grandmother apparently recieved a deed to the land in France under the condition that she pay the back taxes (which were far too much to pay). That's the story and my grandmother sticks to it. But no one has ever seen the paper from the french government. And after a little research, I traced all of her ancestors back to when they first arrived in Canada. In 1592. Two hundred years BEFORE the french revolution. So poo on that. LOL

  5. How cool is that! Even if you don't think the story is true, it's still a great story. :P I'd like to find some famous ancestors as well.


  6. My daughter's been researching our family history, but so far no one famous has shown up. :-)

    Even if you're not related to Balzac it still makes for a good story!

  7. I'm supposedly related to a renowned German general. Whether that's true or not, I have no idea.

  8. My father's uncle was Red Pollard, the jockey who road the real Seabiscuit.

    We're also distantly related to Hannah Duston and the Dalton Gang.

    I've also heard Carlton Fisk and President Taft.

  9. That's a neat story either way.

    I'm not related to anyone famous or infamous. I'm fairly certain our family comes from a long line of horse thieves and bootleggers. :)

  10. Wow, that's an awesome story, if nothing else!

    My mother went head over heels digging into genealogy a few years before her death. Long story short, we're suppose to be related to someone who fought along side William Wallace. We're also suppose to be related to Daniel Boone. I don't give two flicks about Boone, but I personally think the Wallace thing is awesome. 75% Scottish by birth and proud of it! McClellan Clan!

  11. Hahaha I'm related to four heads of state. Four South African presidents/prime ministers (two of who were presidents brave enough to take England on in the reign of Queen Victoria) and...

    Queen Victoria.

    The presidents are documented. Queen Vic wasn't, so I always took the family legend with a grain of salt. And then my cousin's nose started to bleed so bad that she went to the hospital. Turns out we have a genetic disorder that we inherited from her when her son came hunting and having a good old time. Luckily it isn't full blown hemophilia though.


  12. Does it really matter if it is true or not? You can make a great story about, and maybe not as much for the part where your great, great, great grandmother had her short but intense romance but your side of the story, or maybe something like "green fried tomatoes" where both stories are told at the same time.
    I love books like that where you look for who really you are, just to discover that each of us is unique and amazing.

    Good luck on your search.