Soon after, the man began describing his own father.
“My dad thought that it sounded a lot like his grandfather. The guy just said that his father died pretty young in an oil rig explosion in east Texas,” Emily recalled. She also drew the connection that she and her family lived in east Texas.
She then discussed the second mystery– when her grandfather passed away. As his wife, Emily’s grandmother began going through his things, she found photos from World War I.
In the pictures, her great grandfather was listed under a different name– David Haimson.
“We were all like, I’m sorry, what?” Emily narrated her confusion, “So about eight years ago, my whole family brought this information to me and said since I’m a historian, I should figure this all out.”
So, Emily signed up to Ancestry.com and found out tons of family secrets. She has since saved numerous documents, reports and even made a PowerPoint presentation with her findings in true teacher fashion. But, she also summed up the story for her followers.
“So my great grandfather was born David Haimson, and he immigrated when he was very young to New York with his family. They were Jews escaping persecution from Russia/Eastern Europe,” Emily said. He got married, left to fight in World War I, and never returned– or so they thought.
“But he does return,” Emily said while pointing at the camera, “Basically, at some point, he stopped using the name David Haimson and took on the name Alfred Jean Cippele.”
She does not know exactly why her great grandfather chose that last name, but she has a theory– some of the people in his military regiment had similar last names with different spellings. Regardless, his story only got crazier from there.
“So anyway, he showed back up in Houston and started another family– that’s the family of the guy my dad was talking to– then went up to work on the oil rigs in East Texas. He met my great grandmother, fell in love, and faked his death in an oil rig explosion,” Emily explained.
That marks two fake deaths and three families in Emily’s family history, making her family the third.