Several years ago my older sister was complaining about how we weren’t related to anyone famous.
“There’s no one we can brag about,” she said. “We’re just a bunch of farmers and teachers.”
“Au contraire,” I said in my worst French accent. “We are indeed related to someone famous.” (Or rather, infamous.)
I gave her the name, she looked him up in the encyclopedia (this being pre-Google days) and read his entry. Then she closed the book solemnly, looked at me and said, “Maybe you’re related to him, but I’m not!”
Sadly, I find I can’t continue sharing my family history on this blog without mentioning this relative of mine (the one I’m related to but apparently not my blood sister). As I comb through all the papers listing my family from both sides, the name is there. Like, heavily there. From way back. And as it would be folly to ignore it, ignore it we shan’t.
But I’m not going to just tell you his name either, cause that would be boring. Instead, I’ve devised a little game for you. Below are six clues, with illustrations!, to help you figure out his name.
To begin with, you need to remember that half my family is Norwegian and the other half is German.
Got that? Okay, let’s play!
He was born in 1887 to a prominent, wealthy family
2. He may have been a bigamist; he was definitely a fascist
3. At the end of WWII he was tried for war crimes, found guilty, and was executed by firing squad
4. Afterward, nearly all his relations changed their name
5. His surname is now a word
And now for the last clue…
6. He was not German
If you know your WWII history, this should be a snap. Just write his name… no wait, don’t do that. We want the non-history buffs to have a sporting chance.
How ’bout this: Put the first letter of his last name in your comment, that way I’ll know that you know, and our non-historians will get an extra clue. I’ll give the answer on next Wednesday’s post, and give a shout out to all the people who guessed correctly (with links to their sites if they have one).
PS: My apologies to Older Sister. You can run from the truth, but you can’t hide. Not when your little sister has a blog.
39 thoughts on “Guess My (In)Famous Relative!”
I don’t have a clue, but sure would like to know. Looking forward to having this riddle solved!
I have both stout Nazis and stout resistance fighters in my family tree, the one being about as proud about fighting for Fuehrer and Country as the other was for defending what he felt to be right and true against the Nazis. The former died on the Crimea just as the war was just about over, while the latter lived on to try his hand at building a better Germany.
Wow, you’ve got quite the family drama there! Nice!
I suppose we shouldn’t feel too bad about our skeletons, at least they make for an interesting story. 😉
I surely don’t feel bad about them. Conviction is always compelling, even if you don’t agree with what people so strongly believe(d) in. And indeed, our nice ancestors don’t make for nearly as interesting stories, haha.
Geez… I just told my husband all your clues and he immediately said “Well, that must be Q…!” Looks like I am the Dummy here… 😛 Now I will go look him up. 🙂
Haha! Well, kudos to your husband then!
That’s a tough one and I would think only leaves Mr. Q as the main suspect …
Ding, ding ding! Bravo, Andrew!
Your prize is on the way, please allow 4 to 6 weeks for shipping. 🏆
I would also guess Q, but I did some research as I hadn’t a clue before! I’m sure we all have skeletons in our closets!
Indeed we do, and it’s probably for the best as we’d be insufferable with family pride if they weren’t.
I just spent a couple of hours on U Tube looking this up and one thing leads to another and all kinds of German war films. This needs to be a weekly event… jc
For those who love conducting research (raising my hand here), that’d be a great idea. Plus it would help me get better at drawing — the scribblings you see above had about four or five revisions before it was deemed “good enough” for print. 😉
This must be Q. Your sister won’t be happy.
True, she won’t be happy at all, but isn’t it the duty of baby sisters to annoy their older siblings?
Ha. i confess to Not having the time to do any research here, so i jumped right to the Comments for the additional clue. Now that i’ve seen the letter “Q” i KNOW. Of Course! i’m pretty sure there’s even at least one song with his name in it. (And i’m equally certain we All have folks in our own histories of whom we’d be less than proud).
Okay, now I’ll have to do some research and find the song! I’ve heard there’s a musician (probably punk rock) who goes by his name.
As far as our skeletons go, whenever people tell me of their shameful ancestor, I admit to finding some pleasure in sharing mine. I think of it as a public service, as they always leave feeling a little better about their family. 😉
I haven’t a “Q” who it is really, but I’m very curious about all this hoopla about Ancestry.com, etc. We know how your sister felt knowing more about your ancestry. What I know to know is do you (who I know and love) actually feel any differently about yourself than you did before you knew more about that element in your bloodline?
Ah, well you’ll have to wait until next week when all will be revealed. Including my feelings on the matter and man. 😉
Well, even with the helpful revelation of the letter, and a rare one at that, I’m still in the dark. I’m hoping that at the Big Reveal I’ll go “ohhh, how could I forget him?” and not “I clearly went to the wrong schools”….
I think I was about 14 or so when I learned about him, but it wasn’t at school. We had a house guest who was real big on genealogy and so Dad was showing him our “chart.” The guy pointed at a name and said, “You’re related to HIM?!”
Naturally I pestered Dad until I heard the full story. 🙂
This was a really good post! Even though I haven’t got the foggiest idea about history (I winged my gcse) it was fun to read!
Hey, thanks! Nice to hear even the non-historians found it fun! 😀
No idea who Q is. Quasimodo?
Well, dang you got it! Now you understand why I have a hump! 😉
Anyway, it really doesn’t matter, because who YOU are is not who any of your ancestors were. Unless of course, you wish to shock people with who you are descended from 🙂 Then go for it!
Choices are individual and each one leads us somewhere different. (Being a sci-fi person, I like the idea of all those multiple paths diverging from a choice.)
Oddly enough, I typically withhold this bit of ancestral drama — in real life anyway. In print it’s anything goes, but face-to-face I tend to be much more cautious.
Tracing the results of our choices or the choices of others can be either fascinating or maddening. Only one thing is certain: it makes for a great story. 🙂
Excellent clues! Pop them all into a search engine, and your VQ is at the top of the list. If he did in fact compile a family tree, that would be a valuable asset to your family genealogist.
No kidding? Wow, I didn’t think to test the Google-worthiness of my clues. Sure glad they worked!
Actually, I didn’t Google it – I ‘Ducked’ it. (I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine because they don’t track you like Google does.
I’ve never heard of this Duck before, I’m intrigued! Thanks for the tip!
I’m quite sure I know who this is. I took some WW II courses in uni.
Looking forward to finding out if I’m right. 🙂
And I’m sure you know it too! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂
Wow! Love the game of truth!
Well, you know what they say. The truth shall set you free and provide much entertainment for your blog. 😉
I looked him up in my encyclopedia. Handsome fella.
Yeah, for a fascist he wasn’t too bad. I guess that explains the two wives? 😉