There can be a handful of family stories told by just one individual, possibly to hurt or for revenge on that person. A real-life example of such a story, communicated to other relatives by a younger sister, was about her older, more popular sister. Sibling rivalry has existed since Cain and Abel with each trying to prove they were better than the other. This can last into adulthood as when in this case, the younger sister, Lee, well into her sixties, told other family members that her older sister, Alice, was not really a full-blooded sister, but a half-sister. Her version was that their father’s first wife, who lived in California, was pregnant at the time of their divorce and that his new second wife, Mae, living in Maryland, had agreed to pass the baby off as her own when it was born. This baby was supposedly, Alice, the older sister. The story told by the younger sister further stated that the birth certificate had been written with the second wife’s name so no one would question the parentage.

The parents, younger sister or any other direct relatives were no longer alive to question about this story. So to rely solely on a state birth certificate was not the answer to seek the truth. The handwritten church records in Maryland, where the second wife’s family had been members for decades, did reveal the correct birth and baptism dates. Also written in the church records, by the minister, were the full names of the parents as Mae and Richard. It confirmed the infant, Alice, as their daughter. Next, there were written notes and the paid bills by Mae of her two-week stay in a Baltimore hospital for the birth and recuperation. Lastly, in checking the marriage records for when Mae and Richard married, it was in February 1921. Alice was born on December 14, 1921, a full ten months after their wedding. So this family tale was truly a myth possibly fostered by a jealous sister. Sources used included, Family Birth Record, Trinity Lutheran Church Records in Manchester, Maryland, Maryland marriage records and Notes written in the family baby book.

Photos: From the family baby book.

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