Surprise family history

I do infrequent google searches for the people in my family, and one day I was googling my grandfather, and found something I'd not seen before. The way the listing read at first sounded like a scraping site that had stolen the information from elsewhere—most likely this blog—so of course, I had to check it out to find out what it was and if I needed to find a way to complain. What I found was fascinating.

My grandparents came here in 1952. My grandfather had just gotten his accounting degree, and went to work for a series of different companies doing accounting work before eventually going into work for himself as a CPA. He was a bit of a pack rat, and that grew worse as he grew older. Towards the end of his life, my grandmother worked at getting him to let go of some of the things he had collected over the years.

I think this was how this entry was born. The entry, which I had thought was scrobbled, is a summary of a collection that now resides at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), along with a small history of my grandfather's life. It is called Sam Hillinger Rhodes Brothers Ten Cent Store Collection, 1910-1950. Apparently Sam came across these photos and cards while he was working for the Modern Home Builders company in Lynnwood when they purchased the Rhodes Ten Cent Stores. He kept them for many years, finally donating them in 1996.

I remember the family going through all his things after his death in 2000. It's nice to know that his collecting has managed to preserve some history that might otherwise be gone forever. Who knows what kind of use this might end up being put to in the future?

Hello again

I realize I haven't been posting much, but I've been a bit distracted. The last month has suddenly made me itch to play with my genealogy again, so I'm back. I think I have finished my Matrilinial Monday posts, but I do have a couple of the Brick Wall People posts left to put up. I also have a little something I found that I need to write up, so hopefully I'll get those all queued this weekend for you all to read.

If you're still out there reading, and you have anything to add to anything I've posted, please feel free to drop a note. Comments on posts old or new are welcome.

I hope you will enjoy what I have coming up, too. I've been inspired by my friend Foodie's cooking blog, Persnickity Cookery. She's been doing posts about her Saturday meals; doing one meal for each state in the US, and she posts stats and mini-histories for each of the cities she chooses for her meals. I'm going to do an offshoot of the idea, doing a series of posts about the places my ancestors were born, starting with my grandfather, Sam Hillinger. I'm calling them Hometown Histories. Some of my ancestors I won't be able to do, because I don't have locations for, but I have enough that this should be very interesting. And nearly all of the cities are outside the US, so that will be that much more interesting.

So I hope you all stick around to see what I have to post!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Ahnentafel Roulette – Harde Bordewick

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born?  Divide this number by 75 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel" - your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) NOTE:  If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then "spin" the wheel again - pick a great-grandmother, a grandfather, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!  Or pick any ancestor!

Here's mine:

1)      I chose my paternal-line great-grandfather, Alex Hillinger. He was born in 1883, which divided by 75 was about 25.

2)      I used the Roots Web Narrative Report, which told me that person #25 in my ancestral line was my great-great grandmother, Leonharde Marie Bordewich, aka Harde Bordewick.

3)      My facts about Harde:

¨       Leonharde was her father's 14th child, and his first legitimate child with his second wife. Her elder siblings, all but two of whom had been born to her father's first wife, did not wish for their father to remarry. The first time he had a child with another woman, they insisted he send her and the child away, and he did so. The second time, he did not marry the woman, but he also did not send her away. When she became pregnant a second time, he put his foot down and married her. They were married 5 months before Harde was born.

¨       As one of many children (her parents had two more after her), most of the people she knew were related to her. When she fell in love, it was with one of her elder half-brothers' sons. He was only a year younger than her.

¨       Harde moved with her husband and their children as well as a few nieces halfway across the planet. First to Belgium, then England, near to where her only full brother went to live. Then the family moved to Canada just before their eldest son was due to take his tests to get into Cambridge. They lived in Vancouver, BC, Canada until their deaths.

I couldn't resist doing this one when I saw who it was. Almost makes me want to do it again with my other great-grandfathers.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My Family in 16 May 1865

For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 16 May 1865 - 150 years ago.

2)  List your ancestors, their family members, their birth and death years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

My family on May 17, 1865:

This would have been my great-great grandparents and their parents in most cases. I've detailed as much as I know. Feel free to fill in details if you have them and would like to contribute.

Leon Seneft may have been born or not, but given that his wife was born about 1851, it seems likely he was. However, I know nothing about his childhood, his parents, or even where he was born. I suspect he may have been born in Galicia, as that is where his children were born.

Mindel Hilinger was born about 1851, so she would have been 14 or thereabouts. But like Leon, I have no information before her children were born, so I don't even know where she was born, let alone how many siblings she had or the names of her parents. We'll just call these two "Eastern Europe" for now, and leave it at that.

Like the Senefts, I have little on Benzion Kresch aside from a location and general date of death. His wife was born in about 1870, so it is possible he wasn't even alive yet. If he was, I'd venture to say he lived somewhere in Northern Galicia, possibly in or around Resezow.

Jens Christian Hansen was born in 1858 in Vejle, Denmark, which would have made him about 7 years old. His parents, Hans Knudsen (born 1824) and Christine Jensdatter (born 1834) would have been 41 and 31 respectively. I believe they had a farm in Vejle, and lived there with their children. At the time, there would have been three: Jens, Ane Marie (born 1860), and Karen (born April 1865). His paternal grandparents Knud Knudsen (born 1794, died 1866) and Ane Marie Hansdatter (born 1797, died 1876) and his maternal grandparents Jens Christian Pedersen (born 1798, died 1876) and Mette Matisdatter (born 1804, died 1898) were also still alive at that time. Knud would have been 73 and Ane Marie 70. Jens would have been 69, and Mette would have been 61. Both sets of grandparents also lived in Vejle. I believe all of the rest of the previous generation were gone by that point, though I could be wrong, as I do not have all the death dates for that generation.

Else Larsen was not alive yet, as she was born in October of that year, but her parents, Jorgen Larsen (born 1837) and Ivare Kirstine Christiensen (born 1845) had just married two years before in 1863. In 1865, Jorgen would have been 28, and Kirstine 20. They also lived in Vejle, Denmark. At this time, I do not have death dates for Jorgen's parents, so they may or may not have been alive at the time. Lars Andersen was born in 1794, which would have made him 73, and Birthe Marie Sorensen was born in 1798, which would have made her 69. If alive, they would also have been living in Vejle. Kirstine's parents, Kresten Hansen (born 1809, died 1890) and Else Katrine Ivarsdatter (born 1815, died 1893) were definitely alive at that time. Kresten would have been 56, and Else only 50. I do not have a complete listing of their children, but it seems the other daughter I do have listed for them, Katrine, was born about this time. And even if I am wrong, it is likely their younger children would still have been living at home. The Hansens also lived in Vejle. I only have one death date for the previous generation, which is well before 1865, so I will assume most or all of the ones I have names for were gone.

Rasmus Hansen was born in Soro, Denmark in 1845, which would have made him 20. He had a farm there he inherited from his parents, which I am certain he was living on at the time. I do not believe he had inherited it yet, however. His parents, Hans Nielsen and Maren Rasmusdatter would also have been living on the farm at the time. Hans was born in 1816, and so would have been only 49. Maren was born in 1817, so she would have been 48. Of the children I have listed for them, two were older than Rasmus, but I do not have records for either of them after 1860, so I am uncertain if they were alive at the time. I also have records for three younger children, but again, nothing after 1860, so I am uncertain if any were alive or not. Hans' parents were both gone more than ten years by this time. I have no record of Maren's parents at all.

Maren Sofie Olsen was born 1855 in Soro, Denmark. She would have been almost 10 years old in May of 1865. Her father Ole Larsen was born in 1812, which would have made him 53 or so. According to the family story, Ole left Denmark around the time Maren was born and came to America, settling in Minnesota with his brother Oscar. If that is true, at this time, he would have been living in Minnesota, though I do not have evidence yet to back this up beyond the family stories I have gathered. His wife, Birthe Marie Schroder (born 1819) would have been 46. He left her behind and never sent for her, so she and her daughter (or daughters—she had two from a previous marriage, though I am uncertain if they were alive at this time) remained in Denmark, struggling to make ends meet. I have no information on his parents, and no death date for her father, but her mother had been dead for more than thirty years by this time.

Henrik Bergithon Bordewich was born 1862 in Nordland, Norway, so he would have just turned 3 in February of that year. He was his parent's second child, and one of two living children at that time. His parents, Hans Henrik Bordewich (born 1834) and Karen Dorothea Angell (born 1835) would have been 31 and 30 respectively. Hans's father, Johan Petter Bordewich (born 1802) was still alive at that time, and would have been 63, living with his second wife, Henrikke (who we will get to in a bit here…). His first wife had died almost 20 years before. Karen's father had also been dead about 20 years, but her mother, Rechardina Hendricha Klaeboe (born 1795) was still alive, and would have been 71.

Leonharde Marie Bordewich was born in 1861, also in Nordland, Norway, so she would have been 4. Her father was Johan Petter (the same as Henrik's grandfather), her mother was his second wife, Pauline Henrikke Roness (born 1828). She would have been 37 years old. Three of their four children would still have been living in the household with them: Ida Amalie Bernhardine (born 1858), Leonharde, and Anna Magdalena (born 1862). Their youngest was not born for another two years. The whole Bordewich family lived in the Lofoten Islands in Norway. Johan's parents were both gone by this time, and I do not have dates of death for Henrikke's parents. Henrik Hansen was born in 1793, which would have made him 73, and Susanne Pedersdatter was born in 1787, which would have made her 79. I believe they lived in So-Trondelag, Norway, or would have if they were still alive.

Robert James Park was born in 1851 in Antrum, Ireland. He would have been almost 14 in 1865. I have almost no information on his family, but it's likely one or both of his parents, John Park and a Miss Dunlop (I still suspect her name was Mary) were alive at that time. I do not know when they were born, or where, or when or where they died. Nor do I know how many other children they had.

Elizabeth Curran was born in Antrum, Ireland in mid 1862, so she would not have even been 3 at that time. She was the eldest of her siblings, and was about to become a big sister in fall of that year. Her parents, Thomas Curran (born 1840) and Jennie Blair (born 1838) were 25 and 27 respectively. From the few records I have been able to gather, Thomas's father, Francis Curran (born 1814) was also still alive at that time, and living in Antrum as well. He would have been 51. I have no information on his wife, or their other children at this time. And I do not have enough information on Jennie's father, John Blair, to determine if he was alive or his age at that time, and absolutely no information on the rest of her family at all. All of the family seems to have been born or lived in Antrim.

Benjamin Jones was born about 1837 in Southern Wales. He would have been about 28. The earliest record I have found for him is a 1871 Welsh Census with his brother Joseph, who was 13 years younger than him, and their mother, Mary, who was 58 in that Census, and therefore would have been 52 in 1865. I am uncertain where they would have been living in 1865 aside from saying Southern Wales.

Hannah Griffiths was born in 1849 in Southern Wales. She would have been 16 or so in 1865. I have absolutely no information on her parents or siblings.

Gabriel Howells was born in 1849 in Northern Wales, so he would have been almost 16 at that time. His parents, Howell Gabriel (born 1822) and Catherine Jones (born 1825) would have been 43 and 40 respectively. They had six or seven children at the time: Gabriel, Evan (born 1854), Edward (born 1856), Lewis (born 1859), Catherine (born 1862), and Hugh (born 1864). Howell (listed as born 1865) may also have been born at this time, and one more was born after as well. The family lived in a farm in Dolgelly Wales, that was later inherited by Edward, I believe. For Gabriel's grandparents, I have only spotty information. His grandfathers are both listed as deceased by this time, but I have no birth death dates for either Gwen Evan, or Catherine Evans, so they might have been alive.

Selina Roberts was born in 1846 in Northern Wales, so she would have been just shy of 19. Her parents' names were Hugh Roberts and Ellen Pugh (or possibly Griffiths) I have no information on her parents' birth or death dates, but I do know they survived long enough to meet at least one of her children, as I have a shot of them with one, so they were likely alive at this time as well.

As you can see, my family was pretty spread out at this time. Ireland, Wales, Denmark, Norway, Eastern Europe, and even America. Of my great-great grandparents that I know exist, all but one were born by this time, which makes 15 ancestors alive.  Of the parents I know for those ancestors, I have record of another 21 living. And a possible 15 more the generation before that. For a total of 51 known ancestors living at that time.

Genealogy TV shows

I'm glad to see that the number of Genealogy TV shows seems to be slowly expanding. There have been a handful here and there over the year, but this year, I've been following four, and it's been nice to have the variety, especially since the US version of Who Do You Think You Are was very disappointing this year. White, white, and whiter, mostly. I was glad to find other shows that allowed for a greater variety of stories.

1) Who Do You Think You Are (US)
Cynthia Nixon, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Rachel McAdams, Valerie Bertinelli, Kelsey Grammer, and Minnie Driver (a repeat of a UK episode)
The episodes themselves weren't too bad, though I think that Kelsey Grammer's was of most interest to me. I don't really know Jesse Tyler Ferguson, but his story was certainly interesting. All of them were, really. But I would have liked to see more stories that didn't revolve around the US or Western Europe. We have so many fascinating stories here in the US. Why are we focusing only on the same stories every single time? Why haven't we gotten one on a Native American Ancestry? Or how about an Asian American or Hispanic? Heck, why not one about someone born in Hawaii? There's just so much about America that the show hasn't covered yet. It wouldn't be too hard to cover some of it, if they just tried a little harder.

2) Who Do You Think you Are (UK)
Julie Walters, Brian Blessed, Tamzin Outhwaite, Brendan O'Carroll, Sheridan Smith, Mary Berry, Martin Shaw, Reggie Yates, Billy Connolly, and Twiggy
Unlike the US series this year, the UK episodes cover quite a bit of the UK and other lands, including Brendan O'Carroll, Reggie Yates, and Billy Connolly's stories. It was fascinating to see Reggie Yates' story, especially as I know very little about the UK in the sixties and seventies. I love watching the UK version of this show, as they never seem to flinch from the stories they find, regardless of how dark they get. The only issue I've had with it is that I have yet to see a Welsh story on the show.

3) Finding Your Roots
Stephen King, Courtney Vance, and Gloria Reuben; Billie Jean King, Derek Jeter, and Rebecca Lobo; Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper, and Anna Deavere Smith; Ben Affleck, Ben Jealous, and Khandi Alexander, and Tom Colicchio, Ming Tsai, and Aaron Sanchez.
Hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr, Finding Your Roots is everything I wish that Who Do You Think You Are could be. The variety of stories and of families the guests come from are far more varied. They're not all just stars (though that is less true of the UK version than the US, which seems only to focus on actors) I love that they make up a book and a family tree for all the guests they have on the show, and that they do DNA if the guests are interested. I have to say that the last episode with Colicchio, Tsai, and Sanchez was my favorite. I also like that Anderson Cooper's story so intrigued him that he encouraged CNN to do the same.

4) CNN: Roots - Our Journey Home
Michaela Pereira, Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper, Erin Burnett, Don Lemon, Christine Romans, Wolf Blitzer, Sanjay Gupta, Kate Bolduan, John Berman, Anthony Bourdain, and Fareed Zakaria
CNN decided to do a series with many of their reporters, and the variety here is tremendous. These are great because they're only about fifteen minutes each, and the stories are all fascinating. I'm particularly fond of Wolf Blitzer's and Don Lemons, each of which tell a unique story. Not sure how long these will be around, so definitely check them out while you can.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Best Genea-Prize in August 2014

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music):

1)  Did you do some genealogy research during August 2014?  Did you find a great record or story pertaining to an ancestor or family member?

2)  Tell us about the BEST genea-prize ("record") you found during August 2014.  What was it, where did you find it, and how does it help advance your research?

3)  Share your genea-prize in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.  

3)  NOTE:  If you didn't find one in August, tell us about a recent genea-prize from another month.

Here's mine:

Well, I did find a bunch of my family in the 1921 Canadian Census finally this past month, so that would have worked for this post...until last weekend. Last Sunday I went into my email to pull up a bill to pay when I discovered a new email with the header "Information on Benzion Kresch." As anyone who follows this blog knows, my Jewish line is one that I have very little information on. The Kresch family in particular. Because of this, I have tried to find things in a number of ways. Including posting on the Roots Web message boards. 

A few years ago, I posted there about my great-great grandparents hoping to find more specific information that might get me further back. I messed up the post, and accidentally kept posting it (it turned out the send page was open in another browser, and every time I opened that browser, it posted again), so I tended to avoid the boards thereafter. I got some responses in my email, but nothing that really helped much.

Sunday, I had so long ago forgotten about that post that I figured it was just another spam email from some genealogy site promising me information that would turn out to be about a Benjamin Krouch or something like that. However, when I opened the email, I discovered it was not only information I didn't have, it was from my great-great grandfather's granddaughter by his youngest son. She'd come across the post, and so she had decided to email to see if we were truly connected. I was thrilled. Where before I had three of the Kresch children, now I know the names of all six (though one is a bit murky), and have so much more information about the family than I ever did before. 

The line as it developed for me:
Benzion Kresch married Feige Golda Reich, likely in Galicia. I knew that they had at least five children, one of which was my great-grandmother, Dora. At a family gathering, I then saw a picture of Dora with her sister Minna, so my family tree gained one more name. While researching our family tree for family books my sister and I created, we learned that some of the Kresch family escaped to South America. Upon finding a record set about immigration into Brazil, I decided to check and see if I could find any Kresches that might match. In doing so, I found Naftali Mendel Kresch, Dora's elder brother, and also his wife, their daughter, her husband, and their young daughter. Also from our research, I knew that Benzion had died sometime in the early 1900s, and that Feige had died shortly before 1930 in Frankfurt, where she'd gone to live to be near her daughters.

My new cousin filled in the rest of the blanks for the names in this line. Mendel was the eldest, and given his birth date and Dora's, I believe she was the second-eldest. Minna was either next or fourth, and there was another son either before or after her whom my cousin believes was called Haim. He disappeared after the First World War, and no one knows what happened to him. After Haim came Erna or Esther, and finally my cousin's father, Aharon. All of them managed to escape the country (except for my great-great grandparents, who were already gone by this time) except for Esther, who sent her family ahead to Israel, but was caught by the Nazis. I have always known that I might find stories like that in my family tree, but I have to say how relieved I am that there is only one of them in this line. It's not easy to hear, but far better than more.

My new cousin is a very lovely person, and I look forward to talking to her more in the future. (*waves at her if she's reading*) And who knows? Maybe now that I have a few more names, I might have a bit more luck in finding more records on my family.

Saturday Night Genealogical Fun: My Paternal grandmother's Paternal Line

1) What was your father's mother's name?

2) What is your father's mother's patrilineal line? That is, her father's father's father's ... back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

3) Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father's mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that  patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.

4)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, or in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook or Google Plus post.

1)      My Father's mother was Margaret Hansen, later Margaret Hansen Hillinger. She was born in 1919 to Holger and Oline Hansen in Cleveland, Ohio.

2)      Holger's line:
* Holger was born 1891 and died in 1977.
* His father was Jens Christian Hansen (1858-1919), who married Else Katrine Larsen (1865-1934).
* Jen's father was Hans Knudsen (1824-1902), who married Christine Jensdatter (1834-1918).
* Hans Knudsen was born to Knud Knudsen (1794-1866) and Ane Marie Hansdatter (1797-1876).
* Knud Knudsen was born to Knud Madsen (born about 1730, died unknown) and Karen Pedersdatter (born about 1752, died unknown)
* Knud Madsen's father was likely Mads something, but we have no actual information about him or his wife, so Knud Madsen is the end of the information I have on this line.

3)      Nana (my grandmother) had one brother, who is now deceased. He did, however have two sons, both of whom are still alive, or were last I heard.

I have to say, I haven't considered the DNA testing yet because I still have so much to go through with all the papers that I do have. Moreover, I probably wouldn't test this line as this one goes pretty far back (18th century is better than several lines I have…) The one I am interested for Nana is her mother's line, so I'd have to go one generation back on her mother's side. I do think there are some there, but I don't have any contact with them at this time, so that would take a little doing. Still, it could be interesting.

About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.