How can real life people have fictional relatives or relatives that doesn’t exist. Why is that?

  • 4
    Can you give an example of what you're referring to?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 0:21
  • I meant Wynonna Earp.
    – Tony Byrd
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 0:30
  • 1
    Wynonna Earp is not 'real life people'. Voting to close. This question needs clarity.
    – wetcircuit
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 12:30
  • Because fiction is fiction. You can do what you want to in it.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 12:54
  • 3
    @wetcircuit You have it the wrong way round; Wynonna Earp is a fictional relative of Wyatt Earp, who was a real-life person.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


I, myself, am a real life person, and one of my alleged ancestors who would have lived only about 300 years ago has been called a legend. I supposedly descended from Hans Herr, the leader of the Mennnoites who settled in Lancaster County Pennsylvania about 1710. The house he allegedly lived in is certainly sold enough.

But I have sometimes overheard a genealogist talking about his belief that Hans Herr was legend, created by confusing several members of the Herr family with each other.

So I am a real person with a possibly imaginary ancestor.

A few generations of the Vernet family were well known artists.

In Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", fictional detective Sherlock Holmes claims that his grandmother was the sister of the French artist "Vernet", without identifying any specific member of the family so that he could have been referring to Claude Joseph Vernet, Carle Vernet or Horace Vernet.


Most historical fiction involves real historical characters interacting with fictional characters. And sometimes that involves fictional relatives of real people.

The movie Broken Arrow (1950) was set in Arizona in the year 1870 acording to the opening narration,even though only a short ficiitona time seems to elapse during the story, which ends with the real peace agreement between Cochise and Genral Howard which was in October 1872.

The prequel movie Battle at Apache Pass (1952) is losely based on the Bascomb affair of January 277, 1861 to February 19, 1861, and the Battle of Apache Pass on July 15-16,1862 greatly condensing the time between the events. In the movie Cochise has a wife named Nona, even though Cochise's real wife was named Doh-teh-seh, the daughter of the great Mangus Coloradas.

During the Battle at Apache Pas, Chochise's wife Nona gives birth to a son, and the reaaction of Cochise indicates the baby is his first.

In Taza Son of Cochise (1954) the opening narration says:

In 1872 the long, bitter war fought between United States cavalry troops and Apache bands led by Cochise came to an end. The peace treaty signed by Cochise and General Howard brought peace to the Arizona territory. But three years later the mighty leader of the Chiricahua Apaches grew ill and came to the end of his days.

Three years after soem time in 1872 makes Cochise die in 1875, 1876, or 1877, even though Cochise really died on Une 8, 1874.

So Cochise's son born probably in 1861 in The Battle at Apache Pass 1952 would be about 14 to 16 when Cochise dies in Taza Son of Cochise (1954).

But in the movie Cochise has two sons who look older than that, Taza and Naiche. Rock Hudson was born November 17, 1925 and so was about 27 when his scenes as Taza were filmed, and Rex Reason/Bart Roberts, born November 3, 1928, would have been about 24 when his scenes as Naiche were filmed.

The real Taza was born about 1845 and so was about 29 when Ccochise died in 1874, while the real Naiche was suppoosedly born about 1857, making him still a teenager in the fictional date range of Taza Son of Cochise (1954).

Even though Battle at Apache Pass (1952) and Taza Son of Cochise (1954) were both Universal productions, and even though Gerald Drayson Adams wrote the story and sreenplay for the first film and the story for the second one, the imaginary son of Chochise in Battle at Apache Pass was never mentioned in Taza Son of Cochise.

And there are many more examples of real people ahveing ficitonal relatives in fiction.


Because someone wrote a story set in a fictional universe, and their universe is like the real universe but with a few differences.

For example in the fictional universe of Wynonna Earp, there is a fictional character called Wyatt Earp, who is very similar to the real life person of the same name. But make no mistake, Wyatt Earp in the story is a fictional character. And there is a fictional character "Wynonna Earp", who is a relative of the fictional Wyatt Earp.


Because in real life, lots of people have famous ancestors, if you look back far enough. As of time of writing, 45 out of the 46 U.S. Presidents were descended from King John of England (You know, the King who signed the Magna Carta? No? How about the guy in Charge of England when Richard the Lionhearted was on Crusades, and the Big Bad Villain of Robin Hood.). And even though Martin van Buren was not a descendant of King John (No, seriously... Obama is descended from King John.), van Buren is descended from William the Conquer, who is King John's ancestor as well. It helps that European Aristocrats tended to have more children back in the day (and King John was a rapist but got away with it because, even though he was a terrible King of England, he still was King of England in the 12th century and thus his word was way more credible than his 12 year old accusers'. Yes... you read that right. Some of his victims were older, but it really shouldn't.).

This isn't as unrealistic as one would believe... blood lines tend to either explode or die. Another famous ancestor is Ghengis Khan, who is believed to be an ancestor to as much as 25% of all humans alive today! There's even a concept of "Genetic Adam and Eve" who are the most recent male and female ancestors of all humans alive today. This isn't to say they are the first man and first woman. Genetic Adam is believed to have lived 200,000 to 300,000 years ago, while Genetic Eve lived about 155,000 years ago. Nor does it imply that these two were the only humans during their time. All it implies is that none of Adam's peers had family lines that patrilineal survived to modern era and none of Eve's peers had Matrilineal lines that survived today.

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