My Family’s “Odd” Story

I know I’m jumping in late in the process, but bear with me.  There was this odd story in my family – I suppose most families have at least one.  This one is mine.

Once there was a man named Napoleon.  No, not the Napoleon who conquered half of Europe.  This Napoloen was of more modest achievements.  This Napoleon was Napoleon Lamothe and he worked on the New York-New Haven-Hartford railroad.  One day he met a woman named named Mary Anna Grenier, known as Annie.  They fell in love and married.    They had children and those children had children and so on until I was born.  You see, Napoleon and Annie were my great grand parents.

So far so normal.  However, this is where the “odd” part of the story starts.

Because his job on the railroad kept him shuttling between two cities, he was able to pull off something usually only accomplished in the movies – he had a wife in each city.   In order to pull this off, he had to marry the second wife, Annie, under a different name.  So, he used the name “Lamont.” 

According to the story, neither wife knew about the other until Napoloen died.  When that happened, both wives tried to file with the Railroad for his death benefits.  That is when, why, and how they learned of each other.

OK, that story, with one or two very minor variations, has been told in my family since before I was born.  It turns out to be only partially true.  And, in fact, this story – and the help and trouble it has caused in my research – is the main reason I call it Genealogical Trekkings.

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