Family Mysteries.

My great-uncle Al was a packrat and a copious and mostly accurate notetaker. After his death, my mother uncovered boxes of photos and documents that Uncle Al kept all his life, along with a mystery! It seems that when my great-grandfather Naif emigrated to this country, he left behind a wife (and children?) in Lebanon. Naif, in the 50s, returned to Lebanon and there are photos of him there with the people he visited.

Are these people our family? Are they friends? We don’t know! It’s all a mystery. We also discovered, from looking through some papers, that our great-great grandmother was actually born in France. (A Lebanese friend explained that Lebanon was colonized by France at one point in history.)  I loved the part of the novel, Bittersweet, where the main character, May, is holed up in the attic, delving into old family documents, trying to make connections between all the details she uncovered because my sister and I try to do the same thing! Our story is hopefully not sordid, as the story of Winslows turns out to be. 

Naif and Sarah

I love looking through these artifacts with my mom and my sister, and trying to put the story together. We have quite a bit of research to do but we have a good beginning. My sister and I now live in the town where Naif and Sarah settled, and where my grandfather and great-uncle were born. Here’s a story we were interviewed for:

And just for kicks, here is a baby picture that reveals the origin of Micah’s crazy hair:

Baby Al
This post was inspired by Bittersweet, a novel by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore that exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty, and an outsider’s hunger to belong. Join From Left to Write on May 20 we discuss Bittersweet. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes. This post contains affiliate links.

14 thoughts on “Family Mysteries.”

  1. Those are awesome pictures! What a great mystery, I hope you and your mom and your sister can piece it all together. Sometimes I see pictures like this in a thrift shop or yard sale and I just feel so bad for the person that is missing out on having these treasures! Nice way to tie in the book!

  2. My Great Aunt passed away a couple of years ago, and I was lucky enough to get all (most) of her photo albums. I LOVE looking though all of the old lack and white photos. Some photos give you answers… and some leave you wondering. It's all just so interesting.

  3. Very fun and exciting to uncover old family mysteries – seems like that only happens in books and movies. I didn't know Lebanon was colonized by France… love learning something new from LOBS! Baby Al is TOO CUTE!!

  4. My mother-in-law wanted to dig through albums because she said that Des might look like her grandfather! That's cool to see. I haven't seen proof and so far he's a dead ringer to me from everyone on my mom's side.
    I wonder how it will be for our children's children. Will photographs be beamed into outer space for storage by then?

  5. I don't know but I'm not taking any chances! I have photos everywhere–my hard drive, Facebook, etc and I need to print out hardcopies because what if we have a post-apocalyptic energy crisis and we go back to doing things analog?!

  6. Oh my word, that hair! That HAIR! I love it. How fun to find a family mystery like that. No one in our family kept much of anything, sadly.

  7. I love that you have so much family history you can actually research off of! And those family secrets…so fun to uncover (most of the time)! The photos are priceless, what gems!

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