I'm mostly Russian, with a bit of Polish mixed in, and some Lithuanian. In the 1800's, some of my family came to the United States to work in the coal mines. There was a time when my family was very wealthy, about 100 years ago. Then, in the early 1900's, my family somehow became deeply involved with the mafia. After a while they ran for some reason and changed their surname so they could hide. (My grandfather ended up changing our surname to the original one later on.)
My great grandfather also had throat cancer. Unfortunately, the pain became unbearable, and he hung himself, and committed suicide. My great grandmother burned all of his possessions, pictures, and anything else you could think of. It's like she tried to erase his existence, and it's sad because now our family doesn't even know what he looked like.
So yeah, if you know anything about your family's background, please share it.:)