I'm sure many of us who pursue our family history get those questions, "Are we related to...?" As far as my brother's experience goes, I think the one line from which he got the most questions would be the Aktabowski family. Since I've been casting about for ancestors to research for the last three of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2023—all comprising family members from my father's line—for Ancestor #11, I'll turn to this most-often questioned surname.
There may be a reason why my brother got so many questions about his possible relationship to the Aktabowski family of New York City: he was an actor. While not widely known, for a few years of my childhood before he moved to California, he was quite popular in the wider New York metropolitan area due to a children's television series which he hosted. Apparently, there was a distant relative who kept telling her children and grandchildren that they were related to him.
Of course, I know now how we connect: through a collateral line. Before I could figure that out, though, I had spotted a mention of that surname on the death certificate for one of my direct line ancestors. It turned out to be a mistaken report, immortalized on a government document—which will forever be my reminder to always consider reporting parties for death certificates to be guilty until proven innocent.
The aura of verified truth, however, is hard to dispel. Something is nagging at me to double check those relationships. Perhaps that Aktabowski line is interwoven into my own direct line just one generation beyond reach. We'll take the eleventh month of this year to examine what we can find on the extended Aktabowski family in New York City, just how they are connected to my own family, and wherever that immigrant line may lead us.