My Norse ancestors seemed fixated on death, with superstitions including:
My father was stationed on the island of Corsica in World War II. His unit flew dangerous bomber missions, and most planes never made it back to base. A local woman told my father to get a replica of the Bell of Capri for good luck. On his next no-fly day, he got a small brass bell to put in his buttonhole.
Amy Murphy-DeMeo, Ormond Beach, Fla.
My maternal grandmother’s superstition helped me in my genealogical research. Sissy (as we called her) thought it was bad luck for a pregnant woman to go to a funeral.
Jane Thursby, Sykesville, Md.
The superstition in our Dickson family was that you’ll always have money if you fold the bills in this manner: Fold in half lengthwise, then fold end to end. It’s worked for me for 82 years. I even have a special billfold sized for them.
Linda Smetzer of Walnut Creek, Calif., wrote Family Tree Magazine about an unusual death in her husband’s family tree. “Lovell Rousseau was my husband’s great uncle. My husband had heard a story of Lovell’s wife, Desdemona, being killed by ostriches, and we thought it odd. But we recently found his great-aunt’s death certificate and newspaper articles to corroborate the tale.”
While researching my own family tree, I teased my friend about her husband’s last name, Cogburn. Was he related to Deputy Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, portrayed in the movie True Grit by John Wayne?
Terry Spear, Crawford, Texas