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The Most Interesting Stories People Have Ever Learned About Their Ancestors

Elderly woman smiling
Photo by Danie Franco on Unsplash

CW: Suicide.

When it comes to our family histories, it seems like there are two kinds of people: those who have very little access to family documents and history, and those who know practically everything there is to know about what each of their family members has done since the dawn of time.

But even for those who seem to know everything, all families have their share of secrets.

And those secrets or more over-the-top stories can really enrich our understanding and appreciation of our families.

Redditor Careless_Put_4770 asked:

"What is the most interesting story you have of an ancestor (past your parent's generation)?"

A Dark Past

"The Uncle of my grandfather was part of Hitler's personal SS Corps."

- Eichelhaeher-Hermann

"I have a friend whose uncle of a grandfather was a bodyguard of Hermann Göring."

"He lost both his legs after he messed up and was sent to the Russian front as punishment, but still praised Hitler and the Nazis until he died."

"I also have an SS grandfather who dug up human remains at the Swiss border in 1941."

"Some general advice here: Don't ask your German friends about their family history. You're gonna have a bad time."

- Monarch-Of-Jack

Ranch Hand for Theodore Roosevelt

"I don’t know the date’s exactly off the top of my head but they’re written down at home."

"My Great Grandfather (Grandma's dad) was born in the Black Hills Germany. He allegedly killed a German officer and went on the lam to the United States."

"He worked as a ranch hand for Theodore Roosevelt for some years before he married my Great Grandma. He was gifted a buffalo rifle from Roosevelt which was taken by one of grandmas brothers after their dad died."

- Anonymous_Whale1

For the Woman He Loves

"My great grandfather killed my great grandmother's suitor and kidnapped her a night before her wedding."

"Apparently in the region of South India I'm from, women used to pick their future husband off a lineup of men wishing to marry her."

"My great grandfather was rejected by my great grandmother, and so he went about executing the dude chosen by her and kidnapping her, which apparently was seen as an extremely macho move."

"My Grandfather was born in 1896 so the time period would've been around 1860-1880."

- Glock_and_Dagger

An Impressive Gift

"My great-grandfather lost one of his arms during WW1, and right after the war, he decided to ask my great-grandmother to marry him."

"To show her how much he loved her, he decided to give her a really nice pair of shoes from a good shoemaker who lived in the countryside, and cars were not that common at the time."

"He took his bike and rode 70 kilometers (43 miles) to the closest big city to get her a really nice pair of shoes and rode 70 kilometers back with the box on his lap to give it to her. WITH ONLY ONE ARM."

"Pretty romantic, but that's not the end of the story."

"The shoemaker f**ked up big time and gave him two left shoes by accident, so my great-grandpa took his bike the next day, and did the 70 kilometers back and forth to exchange one of the shoes."

"And they lived happily married ever after."

"Every time I tell the story to someone married, they look at their husband with disdain, which I find pretty funny (I never told the story to any of my girlfriends, though)."

- Albescents

Family Lineage

"If you trace my family line back far enough you get to Norwegian royalty. It's a second son of a third son, kind of thing."

- LoveDistinct

A Supportive Family

"I come from a VERY conservative family, and when I realized I was gay, it terrified me to come out. I came out to my mom and she didn’t have an easy time handling it, but within 48 hours, she was my best friend and a strong advocate."

"The turnaround was very strange. She also told me to never be scared to tell anyone in the family, which again seemed like being set up for failure. But it really wasn’t. Everyone was super supportive and kind and very defensive of me."

"For years I wondered why and then one day I was at a family do with my grandmother and her four sisters, the Matriarchs of each branch of the family and the five most terrifying but loving women you ever met."

"They pulled me aside and we’re VERY interested in how I was doing if anyone in the family had been mean to me, and if anyone had given me a hard time about being 'special' as they called it."

"I said no, surprisingly everyone in the family had been lovely. They didn’t ask any more questions but told me to come to them if anyone was being mean."

"This was so overwhelming to see these elderly, super-conservative women being so supportive, so I cornered my mom and demanded to know why they were so nice."

"Then my mom told me about Ravi. Ravi was a beautiful, charismatic, loving, kind, sweet teenager who was my grandmother and her sisters' best friend in the 1940s. He was allowed to hang out with the women because he was 'not a threat' (he was super gay but you didn’t talk about it)."

"My gran and her sisters absolutely adored Ravi, until one day his personality changed. He became dark and withdrawn. Eventually, he killed himself."

"My gran and her sisters were devastated and didn’t know why, until they found out that Ravi had fallen in love with a boy and his parents had figured out. Ravi’s parents destroyed him psychologically through isolation, berating and eventually questionable medical interventions. Ravi’s soul was broken so he took his life."

"My grand and her sisters never ever forgave their community or Ravi’s parents for what they did to him, so when my mother called my grandmother weeping and screaming that I was gay, my grandmother came down on her like a ton of bricks with all the power and might that she could muster. She told my mother that if I was ever treated differently, If I was ever isolated or bullied by a member of the family, they would have to face the consequences of dealing with grandmother and her sisters."

"Her sisters also told all their children to treat me with respect and love, all without me knowing, because they never wanted anyone to go through what their best most loved male friend had all those years ago."

"I owe my happiness to that man, fly free my brother, wherever you are."

- Astro493

Such a Punch Line

"My Great-Grandmother had two suitors: a man in America and a man in Manchester, UK."

"The guy in America bought her a ticket to cross the Atlantic and be with him, and she was set to go, but at the last minute, the guy in England proclaimed his love and won her over."

"And that’s how my great-grandparents got together, as opposed to my great-grandmother dying on The Titanic."

- BigRagu79

A Pirate's Life for Me

"My great great great great grandfather was abducted by pirates as a boy and raised as one… in Canada. They were river brigands. My mom has a book on him."

"Her parents were from Czechoslovakian and Germany though, so I’m not sure how that happened. I always told people I was part pirate, though."

- iluvgrannysmith

A Wild Story

"Great-great-great-great-great-great grandpa Andrew threw rocks through his landlord's windows in Cork, jumped onto the next ship to Canada, started a farm on the Ottawa River, changed his surname to MacDonald so people would think he was Scottish, and imprisoned the tax collector in his cellar when they came to demand land taxes from him."

- ImperialistDog

Aerial Escape

"My grandad was an engineer for the British army in Egypt during World War Two."

"He and a buddy got drunk one time and slept in this small town, when they awoke they discovered the Germans had taken over the town. So they evaded capture and discovered an old plane that required maintenance, and the two ended up repairing the plane and flew it over German lines and into Allied territory."

- DeviousMelons

Wild, Wild West

"One of my ancestors was Curly Bill Brocious, the leader of the infamous Cowboys gang which fought against the Earps in and around Tombstone Arizona in the 1870s/80s."

"He was killed by Wyatt Earp himself by a shotgun blast that reportedly tore him in two."

- EppurSiMuove00

Family Trees

"My grandma (mother's side) was abandoned in an orphanage by my great-grandmother because she wanted to run off and marry another man, and he would not take her children. So my great grandfather, who was in the army during WW1, came to see them and promised to come back after the next battle. It was the somme, he died."

"The same grandmother did not know how old she was, by the time she obtained a copy of her birth certificate later in life, she found out she was a year older than she thought she was."

"My Dad's Grandfather was an advertising artist, semi-famous at the time, there is an original of his passed down in our family, it is with my dad's oldest brother now. It is of a boy running down a famous road in my northern city past a famous theatre still being used to this day."

- dracolibris

The Consequences of Love

"One of my great-grandmother’s grandma was an aristocrat. She fell in love with a peasant boy working on their lands. Her father told her he would disown her if she wanted to be with that boy. So one dark night the boy got my grandma escaped from their home and they ran away. Needless to say, she was disowned."

"And that’s the story of why I have to work now, instead of just seeing my monthly allowance show up on my bank account."

"Omnia vincit amor."

- Healthy_Chipmunk_990

Connections, Connections Everywhere

"My mom and my stepdad share an ancestor about four generations back."

"Also somewhere in this range, my great-[ex?]-grandma received a letter from her brother that had left Austria."

"He said, 'Come to America. If not for your sake, then for your children's sake.'"

" She talked her husband into it, they moved to the Midwest, and several generations later I was born."

- CrumblingInInverse

Anything's Possible

"I'm 34 but my paternal grandfather was born in 1895. He got shot through both knees sideways in Belgium during World War I then had to limp miles to safety... Sounds impossible but I have a newspaper article about it!"

"His brother also survived WWI, only to die in the Spanish flu pandemic. Sadly my grandfather died quite a while before I was born."

- Fit_Peanut_8801

It's amazing how far back some of our families go and how far back some families are able to trace their family's history. Knowing a little more about what our family has done can really tell us where we have been, so we can decide where we will go next.

If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at

People Reveal The Weirdest Thing About Themselves

Reddit user Isitjustmedownhere asked: 'Give an example; how weird are you really?'

Let's get one thing straight: no one is normal. We're all weird in our own ways, and that is actually normal.

Of course, that doesn't mean we don't all have that one strange trait or quirk that outweighs all the other weirdness we possess.

For me, it's the fact that I'm almost 30 years old, and I still have an imaginary friend. Her name is Sarah, she has red hair and green eyes, and I strongly believe that, since I lived in India when I created her and there were no actual people with red hair around, she was based on Daphne Blake from Scooby-Doo.

I also didn't know the name Sarah when I created her, so that came later. I know she's not really there, hence the term 'imaginary friend,' but she's kind of always been around. We all have conversations in our heads; mine are with Sarah. She keeps me on task and efficient.

My mom thinks I'm crazy that I still have an imaginary friend, and writing about her like this makes me think I may actually be crazy, but I don't mind. As I said, we're all weird, and we all have that one trait that outweighs all the other weirdness.

Redditors know this all too well and are eager to share their weird traits.

It all started when Redditor Isitjustmedownhere asked:

"Give an example; how weird are you really?"

Monsters Under My Bed

"My bed doesn't touch any wall."

"Edit: I guess i should clarify im not rich."

– Practical_Eye_3600

"Gosh the monsters can get you from any angle then."

– bikergirlr7

"At first I thought this was a flex on how big your bedroom is, but then I realized you're just a psycho 😁"

– zenOFiniquity8

Can You See Why?

"I bought one of those super-powerful fans to dry a basement carpet. Afterwards, I realized that it can point straight up and that it would be amazing to use on myself post-shower. Now I squeegee my body with my hands, step out of the shower and get blasted by a wide jet of room-temp air. I barely use my towel at all. Wife thinks I'm weird."

– KingBooRadley


"In 1990 when I was 8 years old and bored on a field trip, I saw a black Oldsmobile Cutlass driving down the street on a hot day to where you could see that mirage like distortion from the heat on the road. I took a “snapshot” by blinking my eyes and told myself “I wonder how long I can remember this image” ….well."

– AquamarineCheetah

"Even before smartphones, I always take "snapshots" by blinking my eyes hoping I'll remember every detail so I can draw it when I get home. Unfortunately, I may have taken so much snapshots that I can no longer remember every detail I want to draw."

"Makes me think my "memory is full.""

– Reasonable-Pirate902

Same, Same

"I have eaten the same lunch every day for the past 4 years and I'm not bored yet."

– OhhGoood

"How f**king big was this lunch when you started?"

– notmyrealnam3

Not Sure Who Was Weirder

"Had a line cook that worked for us for 6 months never said much. My sous chef once told him with no context, "Baw wit da baw daw bang daw bang diggy diggy." The guy smiled, left, and never came back."

– Frostygrunt


"I pace around my house for hours listening to music imagining that I have done all the things I simply lack the brain capacity to do, or in some really bizarre scenarios, I can really get immersed in these imaginations sometimes I don't know if this is some form of schizophrenia or what."

– RandomSharinganUser

"I do the same exact thing, sometimes for hours. When I was young it would be a ridiculous amount of time and many years later it’s sort of trickled off into almost nothing (almost). It’s weird but I just thought it’s how my brain processes sh*t."

– Kolkeia

If Only

"Even as an adult I still think that if you are in a car that goes over a cliff; and right as you are about to hit the ground if you jump up you can avoid the damage and will land safely. I know I'm wrong. You shut up. I'm not crying."

– ShotCompetition2593

Pet Food

"As a kid I would snack on my dog's Milkbones."

– drummerskillit

"Haha, I have a clear memory of myself doing this as well. I was around 3 y/o. Needless to say no one was supervising me."

– Isitjustmedownhere

"When I was younger, one of my responsibilities was to feed the pet fish every day. Instead, I would hide under the futon in the spare bedroom and eat the fish food."

– -GateKeep-

My Favorite Subject

"I'm autistic and have always had a thing for insects. My neurotypical best friend and I used to hang out at this local bar to talk to girls, back in the late 90s. One time he claimed that my tendency to circle conversations back to insects was hurting my game. The next time we went to that bar (with a few other friends), he turned and said sternly "No talking about bugs. Or space, or statistics or other bullsh*t but mainly no bugs." I felt like he was losing his mind over nothing."

"It was summer, the bar had its windows open. Our group hit it off with a group of young ladies, We were all chatting and having a good time. I was talking to one of these girls, my buddy was behind her facing away from me talking to a few other people."

"A cloudless sulphur flies in and lands on little thing that holds coasters."

"Cue Jordan Peele sweating gif."

"The girl notices my tension, and asks if I am looking at the leaf. "Actually, that's a lepidoptera called..." I looked at the back of my friend's head, he wasn't looking, "I mean a butterfly..." I poked it and it spread its wings the girl says "oh that's a BUG?!" and I still remember my friend turning around slowly to look at me with chastisement. The ONE thing he told me not to do."

"I was 21, and was completely not aware that I already had a rep for being an oddball. It got worse from there."

– Phormicidae

*Teeth Chatter*

"I bite ice cream sometimes."


"That's how I am with popsicles. My wife shudders every single time."


Never Speak Of This

"I put ice in my milk."


"You should keep that kind of thing to yourself. Even when asked."

– We-R-Doomed

"There's some disturbing sh*t in this thread, but this one takes the cake."

– RatonaMuffin

More Than Super Hearing

"I can hear the television while it's on mute."

– Tira13e

"What does it say to you, child?"

– Mama_Skip


"I put mustard on my omelettes."

– Deleted User


– NotCrustOr-filling

Evened Up

"Whenever I say a word and feel like I used a half of my mouth more than the other half, I have to even it out by saying the word again using the other half of my mouth more. If I don't do it correctly, that can go on forever until I feel it's ok."

"I do it silently so I don't creep people out."

– LesPaltaX

"That sounds like a symptom of OCD (I have it myself). Some people with OCD feel like certain actions have to be balanced (like counting or making sure physical movements are even). You should find a therapist who specializes in OCD, because they can help you."

– MoonlightKayla

I totally have the same need for things to be balanced! Guess I'm weird and a little OCD!

Close up face of a woman in bed, staring into the camera
Photo by Jen Theodore

Experiencing death is a fascinating and frightening idea.

Who doesn't want to know what is waiting for us on the other side?

But so many of us want to know and then come back and live a little longer.

It would be so great to be sure there is something else.

But the whole dying part is not that great, so we'll have to rely on other people's accounts.

Redditor AlaskaStiletto wanted to hear from everyone who has returned to life, so they asked:

"Redditors who have 'died' and come back to life, what did you see?"


Happy Good Vibes GIF by Major League SoccerGiphy

"My dad's heart stopped when he had a heart attack and he had to be brought back to life. He kept the paper copy of the heart monitor which shows he flatlined. He said he felt an overwhelming sensation of peace, like nothing he had felt before."



"I had surgical complications in 2010 that caused a great deal of blood loss. As a result, I had extremely low blood pressure and could barely stay awake. I remember feeling like I was surrounded by loved ones who had passed. They were in a circle around me and I knew they were there to guide me onwards. I told them I was not ready to go because my kids needed me and I came back."

"My nurse later said she was afraid she’d find me dead every time she came into the room."

"It took months, and blood transfusions, but I recovered."


Take Me Back

"Overwhelming peace and happiness. A bright airy and floating feeling. I live a very stressful life. Imagine finding out the person you have had a crush on reveals they have the same feelings for you and then you win the lotto later that day - that was the feeling I had."

"I never feared death afterward and am relieved when I hear of people dying after suffering from an illness."



The Light Minnie GIF by (G)I-DLEGiphy

"I had a heart surgery with near-death experience, for me at least (well the possibility that those effects are caused by morphine is also there) I just saw black and nothing else but it was warm and I had such inner peace, its weird as I sometimes still think about it and wish this feeling of being so light and free again."


This is why I hate surgery.

You just never know.



"More of a near-death experience. I was electrocuted. I felt like I was in a deep hole looking straight up in the sky. My life flashed before me. Felt sad for my family, but I had a deep sense of peace."



"Nursing in the ICU, we’ve had people try to die on us many times during the years, some successfully. One guy stood out to me. His heart stopped. We called a code, are working on him, and suddenly he comes to. We hadn’t vented him yet, so he was able to talk, and he started screaming, 'Don’t let them take me, don’t let them take me, they are coming,' he was scared and yelling."

"Then he yelled a little more, as we tried to calm him down, he screamed, 'No, No,' and gestured towards the end of the bed, and died again. We didn’t get him back. It was seriously creepy. We called his son to tell him the news, and the son said basically, 'Good, he was an SOB.'”



"My sister died and said it was extremely peaceful. She said it was very loud like a train station and lots of talking and she was stuck in this area that was like a curtain with lots of beautiful colors (colors that you don’t see in real life according to her) a man told her 'He was sorry, but she had to go back as it wasn’t her time.'"


"I had a really similar experience except I was in an endless garden with flowers that were colors I had never seen before. It was quiet and peaceful and a woman in a dress looked at me, shook her head, and just said 'Not yet.' As I was coming back, it was extremely loud, like everyone in the world was trying to talk all at once. It was all very disorienting but it changed my perspective on life!"


The Fog

"I was in a gray fog with a girl who looked a lot like a young version of my grandmother (who was still alive) but dressed like a pioneer in the 1800s she didn't say anything but kept pulling me towards an opening in the wall. I kept refusing to go because I was so tired."

"I finally got tired of her nagging and went and that's when I came to. I had bled out during a c-section and my heart could not beat without blood. They had to deliver the baby and sew up the bleeders. refill me with blood before they could restart my heart so, like, at least 12 minutes gone."


Through the Walls

"My spouse was dead for a couple of minutes one miserable night. She maintains that she saw nothing, but only heard people talking about her like through a wall. The only thing she remembers for absolute certain was begging an ER nurse that she didn't want to die."

"She's quite alive and well today."


Well let's all be happy to be alive.

It seems to be all we have.

Man's waist line
Santhosh Vaithiyanathan/Unsplash

Trying to lose weight is a struggle understood by many people regardless of size.

The goal of reaching a healthy weight may seem unattainable, but with diet and exercise, it can pay off through persistence and discipline.

Seeing the pounds gradually drop off can also be a great motivator and incentivize people to stay the course.

Those who've achieved their respective weight goals shared their experiences when Redditor apprenti8455 asked:

"People who lost a lot of weight, what surprises you the most now?"

Redditors didn't see these coming.

Shiver Me Timbers

"I’m always cold now!"

– Telrom_1

"I had a coworker lose over 130 pounds five or six years ago. I’ve never seen him without a jacket on since."

– r7ndom

"140 lbs lost here starting just before COVID, I feel like that little old lady that's always cold, damn this top comment was on point lmao."

– mr_remy

Drawing Concern

"I lost 100 pounds over a year and a half but since I’m old(70’s) it seems few people comment on it because (I think) they think I’m wasting away from some terminal illness."

– dee-fondy

"Congrats on the weight loss! It’s honestly a real accomplishment 🙂"

"Working in oncology, I can never comment on someone’s weight loss unless I specifically know it was on purpose, regardless of their age. I think it kind of ruffles feathers at times, but like I don’t want to congratulate someone for having cancer or something. It’s a weird place to be in."

– LizardofDeath

Unleashing Insults

"I remember when I lost the first big chunk of weight (around 50 lbs) it was like it gave some people license to talk sh*t about the 'old' me. Old coworkers, friends, made a lot of not just negative, but harsh comments about what I used to look like. One person I met after the big loss saw a picture of me prior and said, 'Wow, we wouldn’t even be friends!'”

"It wasn’t extremely common, but I was a little alarmed by some of the attention. My weight has been up and down since then, but every time I gain a little it gets me a little down thinking about those things people said."

– alanamablamaspama

Not Everything Goes After Losing Weight

"The loose skin is a bit unexpected."

– KeltarCentauri

"I haven’t experienced it myself, but surgery to remove skin takes a long time to recover. Longer than bariatric surgery and usually isn’t covered by insurance unless you have both."

– KatMagic1977

"It definitely does take a long time to recover. My Dad dropped a little over 200 pounds a few years back and decided to go through with skin removal surgery to deal with the excess. His procedure was extensive, as in he had skin taken from just about every part of his body excluding his head, and he went through hell for weeks in recovery, and he was bedridden for a lot of it."

– Jaew96

These Redditors shared their pleasantly surprising experiences.


"I can buy clothes in any store I want."

– WaySavvyD

"When I lost weight I was dying to go find cute, smaller clothes and I really struggled. As someone who had always been restricted to one or two stores that catered to plus-sized clothing, a full mall of shops with items in my size was daunting. Too many options and not enough knowledge of brands that were good vs cheap. I usually went home pretty frustrated."

– ganache98012

No More Symptoms

"Lost about 80 pounds in the past year and a half, biggest thing that I’ve noticed that I haven’t seen mentioned on here yet is my acid reflux and heartburn are basically gone. I used to be popping tums every couple hours and now they just sit in the medicine cabinet collecting dust."

– colleennicole93

Expanding Capabilities

"I'm all for not judging people by their appearance and I recognise that there are unhealthy, unachievable beauty standards, but one thing that is undeniable is that I can just do stuff now. Just stamina and flexibility alone are worth it, appearance is tertiary at best."

– Ramblonius

People Change Their Tune

"How much nicer people are to you."

"My feet weren't 'wide' they were 'fat.'"

– LiZZygsu

"Have to agree. Lost 220 lbs, people make eye contact and hold open doors and stuff"

"And on the foot thing, I also lost a full shoe size numerically and also wear regular width now 😅"

– awholedamngarden

It's gonna take some getting used to.

Bones Everywhere

"Having bones. Collarbones, wrist bones, knee bones, hip bones, ribs. I have so many bones sticking out everywhere and it’s weird as hell."

– Princess-Pancake-97

"I noticed the shadow of my ribs the other day and it threw me, there’s a whole skeleton in here."

– bekastrange

Knee Pillow

"Right?! And they’re so … pointy! Now I get why people sleep with pillows between their legs - the knee bones laying on top of each other (side sleeper here) is weird and jarring."

– snic2030

"I lost only 40 pounds within the last year or so. I’m struggling to relate to most of these comments as I feel like I just 'slimmed down' rather than dropped a ton. But wow, the pillow between the knees at night. YES! I can relate to this. I think a lot of my weight was in my thighs. I never needed to do this up until recently."

– Strongbad23

More Mobility

"I’ve lost 100 lbs since 2020. It’s a collection of little things that surprise me. For at least 10 years I couldn’t put on socks, or tie my shoes. I couldn’t bend over and pick something up. I couldn’t climb a ladder to fix something. Simple things like that I can do now that fascinate me."

"Edit: Some additional little things are sitting in a chair with arms, sitting in a booth in a restaurant, being able to shop in a normal store AND not needing to buy the biggest size there, being able to easily wipe my butt, and looking down and being able to see my penis."

– dma1965

People making significant changes, whether for mental or physical health, can surely find a newfound perspective on life.

But they can also discover different issues they never saw coming.

That being said, overcoming any challenge in life is laudable, especially if it leads to gaining confidence and ditching insecurities.