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Your sort-of-kind-of claim to not-really fame

Dan

Dear Leader
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I'll start.

* There's one degree of separation between me and the late U.S. President George H.W. Bush. (FWIW, I'm a Democrat.)

* Not too far away on my Mom's side of the family tree, there's a link with the Larkin family. These Larkins.

* My mom's elementary school is now a museum exhibit.

* Throughout his life, my dad lived in all four of Buffalo's historically Jewish neighborhoods -- Lower East Side, Hamlin Park, North Buffalo, and North Williamsville.
 

Doohickie

Cyburbian
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2,709
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37
Most famous guy I've heard about in my family is Uncle Priest. He was my dad's great uncle and obviously, a priest. As a priest he has no descendants so that means his sister's descendants are as close as it comes (which includes me).

I have the Virtuti Militari medal he earned during World War I. How did he get that? It's a long story but this is a message forum so either scroll down or read. Your choice.

He was born in Poland but moved as a young boy to Pittsburgh. He had one sister and a stepbrother. The stepbrother was orphaned when his mother died in childbirth and his father, a gamekeeper on an estate, was shot by poachers (the official family story. I think it's just as likely he was the poacher). The six-year-old orphaned boy was brought by his older sister to America, but she was newly married and didn't have the means to raise her brother, so the family in Pittsburgh took him in and raised him. Uncle Priest's sister and stepbrother eventually got married and were my great-grandparents.

Uncle Priest has been cited in several history books. He was named in a list of students from a Catholic school in Pittsburgh that later became priests. Apparently that school was well-known for producing priests. He went to seminary in Philadelphia and later France, before returning to the U.S. to enter the priesthood.

He was in his mid-30s when he enlisted to serve in "the Polish Army in France" an army raised in the US and Canada from the Polish community that fought for the government of France. Because he had an advanced degree, he was made an officer (colonel) and was a chaplain in the army. Prior to deploying to Europe, the army trained at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada (Woodrow Wilson allowed the recruitment of Poles in the US to fight, but allowing them to train on US soil before the US entered the war could not be allowed).

The story goes that during a battle, the commanding officer went down and Uncle Priest assumed command and they went on to win the battle. For that he was awarded the French Croix de Guerre and after the war (and with the restoration of Poland as a country) the Polish Virtuti Militari, which is comparable to the Congressional Medal of Honor. I've found his name in the list of those who earned that medal.

After the war he settled back in Philadelphia where the taught at a Catholic boys school. He later took a call in Toronto where he was preaching when the Great Depression hit. He stirred controversy when he demanded his parishioners tithe or they would be refused Communion. Although one book says he was reviled by the church, the parrish's official history recounts his heart of a soldier and his passion for preaching. After years of objections and protests to the diocese, he was eventually removed and assigned to a parrish in St. Catherines, Ontario. This is where he lived until his death.

He had a dog named Pączki (pronounced Poonchkee), a Polish word for a type of jelly donut. He had the same housekeeper, Lotti, for nearly 30 years :thinking: :censored: He published a few books of short stories and poems (in Polish, of course).

At his request, he was buried in a small cemetery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, alongside several soldiers who died from the 1918 flu pandemic while the Polish soldiers trained there. This small plot of a few dozen graves has been declared Polish sovereign territory.

My wife has toyed with the idea of writing a historical novel about his life. There's enough of a framework there, I think.
 
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luckless pedestrian

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I am Irish-related to Senator Patrick Moynihan (NY-Dem-deceased) and former Governor Jerry Brown (CA-Dem)

Irish-related means the family tree is enormously drawn whereby they are like a 4th cousin, thrice removed kind of thing but my Mom liked doing that

My Dad worked on the railroad and when Mario Cuomo was Governor of NY, he took Amtrak to meetings around the state and my Dad used to sit and chat with him

I was on an editing and research team for a campus planning textbook in 1990

that's all I got
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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Thanks to my work in radio, I've had several instances in places like supermarkets where cashiers or folks standing in line have remarked...wow, your voice sounds so familiar. Where do I recognize it from?

The weird part about that is the fact that I seldom use my own voice on the radio and typically portray characters with accents or other unusual vocal affectations.
 

Whose Yur Planner

Cyburbian
Messages
11,264
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39
Nada for me. I'm the descendant of game wardens, farmers, shoemakers and various blue collar types. Basically, there's a bunch of peasants in my background. I've made a point of flying as much under the radar as my job permits.
 

TOFB

Cyburbian
Messages
2,431
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29
My first cousin twice removed led the Irish fight for independence, negotiated the treaty which left Northern Ireland British, and was assassinated for it by his own people.

Here is the movie version, starring Liam Leeson

 

Gedunker

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39
My co-driver and I were assigned as the moving crew for Billy Crystal, from NYC to Hollywood in the early 1980s. The move was postponed and somebody else got it, though.

I think a 7th or 8th grandfather on my mother's side was a wealthy silktrader in Denmark. The story goes he loaned the King some money and the King was unable to pay him back in cash, so they created a widow's fund. Whenever a husband in the family died, the crown would pay living expenses for his widow. I have no idea how many (or few) widows were benefitted by this, but one day in the late 1970s my grandmother got a letter from the royal archivist, announcing she was the last living relative (with the genealogy to prove it, which I have in my possession) and that the account was nearly repaid in full. Mormor (mother's mother in Danish) then got a check for $900 or so, that my mother to used to pay for her flight to reunite with the family for mormor's 90th birthday, my mother's first trip back to her native country since 1948.

My paternal grandmother always swore we were descended from an Irish king, Bryan Boru. Apparently, many other Irish folk can also make this claim, as Bryan was known for his lack of marital fidelity.:ha:
 

ChairmanMeow

Cyburbian
Messages
211
Points
7
According to family lore one of my great uncles was involved with blowing up the crematorium at Auschwitz.

I went to hs with a certain presidential son-in-law. He was fairly unremarkable then too.
 

Bubba

Cyburbian
Messages
5,288
Points
34
Some of my cousins have a cousin on the other side of their family that's an incredibly successful country music artist...that's all I got.
 
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