My immediate family on my dad's side is pretty small and there wasn't much history that trickled down to the kids. Much of what I have--genealogically speaking--is what I've found on my own.
My paternal grandfather (known as Buster to us) was an only child. His parents' siblings had no children either so he had no first cousins.
Buster lost both of his parents while he was in college. He had one grandmother known as Mollie. She was widowed twice before marrying her third husband, John Fraser Sutherland. He was Scottish and worked for a railroad doing masonry-type stuff.
Mollie had a daughter with her first husband. This girl was Buster's mom. Mollie had a daughter with her second husband. This girl was Violet, the same Aunt Violet my family knows.
Aunt Violet had a first marriage that ended in divorce. I don't know much about that. Aunt Violet's second marriage was to Robert Roy Vaughn, who is known in my family as "Uncle Roy."
Uncle Roy and Aunt Violet with their plane.
Why didn't I know they had a plane?
Knowing Buster's history as I do now, I understand why Aunt Violet and Uncle Roy were so important to him. That was all the family he had. Also, I'm pretty sure Violet is the one who convinced Buster and his new bride Doris (my grandma) to leave Oklahoma and start fresh in California.
Time passed and all this branch of my family died. Eventually I got curious about family history and started ordering death certificates. I noticed on Uncle Roy's death certificate, it said his mother's maiden name was Sutherland. Was that a coincidence? Or was he related to his mother-in-law's third husband?
I've tried to answer this question for years, but John Sutherland is a pretty common name. Also, Uncle Roy was in the Merchant Marines, which made tracking him difficult.
Finally, this week I found some online information that led me to the parents of John Fraser Sutherland. That led me to his siblings as well. I checked to see if any of his sisters married someone named Vaughn. Sure enough, Jennie Sutherland married Gus Vaughn. These were Uncle Roy's parents. John Sutherland was his uncle.
Sadly, it appears both of Roy's parents died when he was young. He lived with his grandmother in Winslow, Arizona. Roy also had a sister, Ruth Vaughn Hammerton, who married and lived a long life in the Los Angeles area. Did we know this, family?
So now I know how Uncle Roy fits in the family puzzle. I knew there was a connection, it just took a while to find it. Roy--like Buster--didn't have parents and relied on aunts and uncles for family bonding. He must have visited his uncle John Fraser Sutherland and Buster's grandmother Mollie in Los Angeles and met Violet that way.