People Share The Saddest Thing They've Ever Learned About Their Family History


Being curious about our histories is second nature for most people. But not every secret is a good one- in fact, there are the ones that you can't even bring up. The elephant in the room is unrelenting, and sometimes it's just too tough to face.

u/mgov999 asked: What is the saddest thing in your family's history?


My grandfather was a Nazi Soldier. This isn't really a sad story, it's more like a true love story with a sad story. My grandfather married my grandmother who was a Jew. He saved her from getting captured and brought to Bergen-Belson.

They then went on and immigrated to the U.S to get married. They stay with us now since they are growing old, and every Wednesday we go to get ice cream. It's the cutest thing.


Not too late to break the chain.

My great great grand dad hung himself.

My great grand dad drove his car off a bridge.

My grandad stuck a shotgun in his mouth.

My dad threatens suicide constantly. Everyone In the family expects it.

Edit: Man people are nice. I just want to assure everyone that I'm okay, actually doing pretty good, I like where my life is headed. I also don't really believe in curses. But thanks everyone for the support, you're all great.


What the f

My grandmother used to lure girls away from their homes in Mexico, then kidnap them, and sell them. Also, my mother, aunts, and uncles all for the most part have different fathers.

My grandmother was not a good person.


An interesting history.

My direct ancestor was a General in the American Civil War for the Confederacy and I am named after him. Well, I'm named after my uncle who was named after his grandfather who was named after him. There are statues of him to this day.

Prior to the civil war our family were big time slave owners, like the 1% of the 1% rich; US Senators in your back pocket powerful. Despite being a white guy, I have a very commonly black last name; I feel sorry for people that don't put it together right away when they notice why a white guy would have a black person's last name.

A large portion of that half of the family is still very... well stereotypical Ozarks racist that speak of the Confederacy in a positive light.

For my immediate family that has nothing to do with the rest: It's a dark part of our history but I feel strongly that it should not be hidden because to pretend it didn't happen is almost as bad as attempting to justify it.


Not a happy birthday.

A great aunt had a sweet sixteen birthday dance. It was her first important day in her life. Because it was on the plains people had to come in by wagons to attend. Because it was winter and no lights, people had to stay for two days. It was a big deal.

Also, from here she could start courting. She danced, would get sweaty, go outside to cool off, and then come back inside. She caught pneumonia and died a few days later.


That's dark.

After my grandma died, she ended up buried somewhere, and my father and grandpa not only had to spend 3 weeks trying to find her body, they had to dig her up themselves and take her body to her lot in the graveyard.

She was buried in a mass grave in someone's yard, so they had to find her amongst the other bodies buried there.
War really is hell.



My great grandmother grew up extremely poor (think 10 kids in a one room house poor). When she was 8 her parents saved up and bought her a new church dress. The night before she was supposed to wear it for the first time her house caught on fire.

They didn't have fire departments in that area at the time so she had to watch her house burn down with her new dress inside of it. It's not the most "tragic" thing in my family history but that story has always stuck with me.



I had a middle sister but my mom miscarried.

The crazy thing is that when my parents successfully had my living sister, they gave her the name they were going to give to the other one. Efficiency, I guess.



When I was a teen, my grandma was murdered.

Her body was found in a ditch just outside of town. She had an ice skate identical to mine dig deep into her torso. Because of this incriminating evidence my dad thought it was me who killed her.

He grabbed the family cat (who was sleeping) and launched it at me. Whilst I was distracted by a fury black floof ball attacking my feet, he pulled out I nail and swung at me, I managed to dodge a push him out the second story window. He was knocked unconscious and dragged to the hospital. The next day it came out that he was the murderer, and the cat still hates me to this day.


That's insane.

My uncle killed a fellow soldier in Vietnam. I'm not supposed to know the full story but alcohol and family reunions are a thing. I hardly know my uncle as he has driven trucks cross country ever since I can remember. I was always aware he fought in Vietnam and had PTSD but nothing else.

He was drafted to serve in Vietnam (presumably early 70s) and was placed in an infantry unit. The new guys weren't received particularly favorably as he had to always go in front on patrols and the new guys were hardly spoken to and referred to as "Corpse 1, 2 etc...". He didn't see much action in the form of firefights, apparently it was nothing like the movies. Now and again they were shot at but no lengthy exchanges, but often someone was killed or severely wounded. Most of the casualties came from mines or explosive devices that my uncle's unit encountered on patrol.

Fairly quickly the other 2 new guys were killed by booby traps leaving my uncle as the only new guy. He was bullied quite badly, beaten up a few times when he requested a move to a less dangerous position, and was told he was just there to be killed so that the other unit members could survive.

He started having nightmares and would wake up screaming but that just led to the other guys in his unit tying him up and bandaging his mouth.

He basically cracked and one day when back at a base he shot dead the "worst one" in his unit and just walked up to an officer and told him what he did.

My uncle must have had a good lawyer or something as he served just under 10 years in prison before he was released.


What a horrible history.


My mom is the most tragic person I know.

Her mom forced her to have an abortion when she was 15 (this was about 1975). She is schizophrenic and the forced abortion drove her into a mental institution for a while.

She had me when she was 17. My biological dad was ran off by my grandpa wielding a shotgun and I never knew him.

When I was about 7, I had terrible asthma. This, on top of me being autistic, made me a target of a lot of insults from my mom. My mom would get very annoyed at me and would constantly be saying "stop that hacking". She worked a late shift and me, her, and my sister usually ended up sharing a bed since we were very poor. Well, one night I was coughing really bad and mom starts hugging me. Only, she was hugging me so tight that I couldn't breathe. This goes on for a little bit and she finally lets go. She starts crying and I feel bad for her and tell her that I love her, and she starts crying more. When I got older I figured out that she wasn't just hugging me then; she was trying to crush me to death that night. I was always treated like the black sheep of the family and this just drove me further from my family of origin.

Mom's next notable craziness was her husband hooking my younger 12 year old sister up with a 23 year old man. I didn't find out about this for years (as I said, I was shunned in the family and I mostly kept to myself anyway). They ended up getting married when my sister turned 18.

Fast forward to when I got married at 25. Mom of course fought with my wife and this led to us cutting her off. It went like this for a number of years with us having no contact. After my kid was born, I tried reconnecting with her, but this just led down the same old paths so I ended up cutting all ties with her after my stepdad (who I was very close with) died of prostate cancer at just 57 years old.

After this happened, I was harassed by mom because my grandfather left my sister and I everything and excluded everyone else out of his will. I thought this was strange because, as much as I loved my grandpa, I never considered myself very close to him. Turns out that the biggest reason why my mom and my younger brother were excluded in the Will was because they had murdered my grandpa's dogs.

My sister was made executor of the Will, and my mom harassed her so much that my sister cut ties with her as well.

Last thing I heard about mom was that my brother was taking care of her. He was always the one who could get along best with her, although before I finally cut ties with my family he told me that one day he hauled off and slapped the shit out of mom because she was going off on him. She has a bad cocaine habit now (maybe always did for all I know, apparently it is common for schizophrenics to self treat with cocaine) and is working as a nurse at a veteran's center.

There is a lot more I've left unsaid. But my family is straight up nuts and I'm better for leaving them.

But mom is a tragic person, some because of her own upbringing, some because she is mentally ill, and some by her own actions.


How tragic.

My great-grandfather was a severe alcoholic. He was living in a flophouse and got drunk, fell down the stairs, and broke his neck.

It was the beginning of the Great Depression, and my great-grandmother was trying to work things out because they had 5 children. The oldest were 16, 14, and 11. Those three went to work in the textile plant to feed the family. The youngest two (my grandfather - 7, and his brother - 5) went to a home for orphaned boys. My great-uncle ended up coming home a couple years later, but my grandfather stayed and graduated from the school that was part of the orphaned boys school.

My grandfather's brothers were both killed by the same alcoholism that killed my great-grandfather. My grandfather was an abusive alcoholic who damaged three of his kids (My Mom and two Uncles) so thoroughly that they are incapable of having healthy relationships with anyone - including their kids. Four of the five kids have addiction problems.

So, familial alcoholism is the saddest story.


That's infuriating.


My dad had a younger sibling that died of a respiratory infection when he (the sibling) was around a year old.

The doctor that tended to him (small town, early 1940's, one doctor that did house calls) stated later that the baby could have been saved, but that since the family was very poor and already had 8 children that "they had enough children already."


May he rest in peace.

Late to this one, but the story is worth telling.

I had a cousin who committed suicide because he was gay and trapped in a family that was ready to disown him completely the moment he turned 18. He didn't make it that long.

His family burned everything that belonged to him. Destroyed every picture. They still buried him, in an unmarked plot.

Roger is his name. May it live long past the s**t family that all but murdered him.


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