Question of the Week: What's a unique challenge faced by an ancestor?

+12 votes
What's a challenge faced by an ancestor? Please tell us about it here by clicking the "answer" link below.
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
No information available. I’ve tried all sorts of things, even had others try. Can’t get past my grandfather Alford Franklin Buxton born 1862. No where can I find his parents or siblings. He’s my brick wall.

I have many ancestors who faced challenges, but Lt. Robert Deane (Deane-1139) of the Royal Navy stands out. In 1869 Robert and his young family, including four children, set sail from British India for Brooklyn, New York City, USA. While in India, they found themselves in the midst of a cholera epidemic that was raging in CalcuttaThey departed in haste  to escape the epidemic, which was getting worse, in any available vessel. They obtained a small small schooner, which Lt. Deane either purchased or on which Lt. Deane obtained passage for his family. The family went from one hazardous situation to another. Having escaped cholera, the next challenge was to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, because the Suez Canal was not yet complete. Evidently, the "good hope" part consisted of the many prayers uttered in desperation by the crew and passengers amid horrific storms in the vicinity of the "screaming 60th parallel," where strong winds whip the waves into mountain-sized monsters, as no land mass stops their progress. Their small schooner nearly foundered and the storms continued even when the vessel finally rounded the Cape and entered the Atlantic Ocean. Imagine how terrified the children must have been. Another storm forced them to land in Boston, Massachusetts, USA on their way to New York City.

By the grace of God, having survived six months at sea, under what many people would consider to be rather uncomfortable (not to mention life-threatening) conditions, the family was loathe to embark on another sea-going voyage. Consequently, they never returned either to England, or to India. After having survived such an arduous journey frought with danger, Lt Robert Deane's son, William Deane, may have been the "first Deane who did not mind staying on dry land."

9 Answers

+9 votes
Immigrating to a foreign country on the other side of the world as refugees (Denmark to New Zealand)
by Richard Shelley G2G6 Pilot (248k points)
From memory, yesterday, refugee from the Napoleonic Wars?   Jack
Not quite, the involvement in the Napoleonic Wars was a couple of generations before them. The cause was the Second Schleswig war.
+9 votes
Surviving the Clan Lamont Massacre.
by John Thompson G2G6 Pilot (360k points)
Known as the Dunoon Massacre (Wikipedia), on the Cowall Peninsula, when over 200 men, women and children were Limond ancestors would appear to be a start over of survivors in Ayrshire.
John, I had read the Wikipedia article and saw your family tree and figured this was your Limond family. It is very interesting, thank you for sharing.
Alexis, I was touched by your story and especially one you didn't tell at this time.......I just found, on Nelda's profile, the words I've been looking for....."You only live as long as you are remembered"........Thanks Nelda.     Jack
+15 votes

My 8th great grandmother Mary White Rowlandson was captured by Indians on  10 Feb 1675. Mary wrote a book "A True History Of the Captivity & Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, A Minister's Wife in New England." For three winter months, she traveled by foot about  150 miles, was nearly starved, and the first nine days she carried her dying child that had been shot. Her book became one of the 17th and 18th century's most popular reads, and earned her a place in the history of American literature. I think that if I had been in Europe and read about her challenges she faced--I would have stayed home.

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (861k points)
Your story takes the cake - even more challenging than many challenging life episodes that we experience today. However, if you had been a Swiss Mennonite (my husband's ancestors) or a French Huguenot (my mother's ancestors) who was facing death due to religious persecution, you might have decided to take your chances in America rather than remain in Europe and be killed.
Marion, thank you for your comment. I have always wondered how people could be so cruel to their fellowman. So sad for people who have been victims of religious persecution.
+14 votes
In May 1945 the paternal grandfather of my wife was captured in the the first days of May 1945 in Kurland (today Latvia)  by the Soviet army. He was prisoner of war until January 1950 in Podporoshje near Leningrad (today st. Petersburg, Russia).

On the 4th Jan 1950 he was allowed to sent a small cable to his wife: "On the way home. Gustav"
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (3.1m points)
I'm glad he survived!
+11 votes
My nth great grandfather, Jonathan Pitts, ran naked through the woods to escape from an Indian attack.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
David thank you for sharing Jonathan Pitts and his story. You have a great profile for him, and reading about him is certainly interesting.
+10 votes
My great grandmother immigrated to Canada with two children as a result of widowhood.
by Greg Webber G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
+9 votes
Robert Benham, my 5th ggmother's brother, was in an attack by a raiding Indian party on the Ohio R. in 1779, near Cincinnati.  Most of the party was killed, but Robert and his boat mate Basil Brown, survived.  Brown was injured in his arms, but could walk, so he would kick back to Benham the birds or animals that Benham could shoot with his good arms. His legs were injured, so he couldn't walk. Several weeks later they were rescued. He became an early settler of Newport, KY, and a member of the first elected legislature of Ohio.  There are many accounts written about his adventures.

If you are related, come find me!!
+9 votes
Politics was sometimes very risky many years ago. For some reason, my ancestor Molesworth-120, ended up entertaining Queen Elizabeth (I), in his home until the family was broke. Apparently this was something she did to families she was less than fond of.
by Ben Molesworth G2G6 Pilot (164k points)
edited by Ben Molesworth
That sounds perfectly awful. I can't imagine staying with a family I did not like just to bankrupt them.
+8 votes

One of my 3rd Great Grandfathers, was a Civil War vet. He suffered from depression and possibly PTSD in a time when little to nothing was known about mental health. Sadly, he didn't survive it.

Arthur Simpson

by Chandra Garrow G2G6 Mach 7 (71.1k points)
Chandra, thank you for sharing the story of your 3rd great grandfather. Sad that many veterans have gone though such terrible things. I read the newspaper articles, and I am glad you have so much compassion for him.
Patrick Stewart (aka TV's Captain Picard) did an excellent documentary on the history of his father, a WWI and WWII veteran, and the impact of his father's untreated PTSD (or "shellshock" as it was called back then) on himself and his family. I highly recommend it.

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