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.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Cousins!

I have not posted here in far too long. But I couldn't resist this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge:
Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to: 
1)  Take both sets of your grandparents and figure out how many first cousins you have, and how many first cousins removed (a child or grandchild of a first cousin) you have.

2)  Extra Credit:  Take all four sets of your great-grandparents and figure out how many second cousins you have, and how many second cousins removed you have.

HINT:  Make a Descendants Chart with your genealogy software program!

3)  Tell us the grandparents and great-grandparents names, but don't give the name of living cousins unless you want to.  

4)  Are there any of those lines that you don't know all of the cousins names?  Do you care?  
5)  Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post of your own.  Be sure to drop a comment to this post to link to your work. 

So here's mine.

First cousins are easy. My Mom's side of the family, she's the only one of my grandparents' children to have kids, so there are no cousins there, just me and my sister. My dad's side of the family, his brother had two sons, and his younger sister had twins, a boy and a girl. So I have four cousins there. My uncle's  eldest son has two children, so I have two first cousins once removed there as well. 

Count of First cousins: 4 First, 2 First once removed.

Second cousins are where it gets complicated for me.

My dad's dad's parents were Elias and Dora Hillinger. They had six children: 
Ben, who married several times, but has no children we know of. 
Mina, who had two daughters, The elder of which had three sons, and the younger of which had a son and a daughter. The eldest of those five cousins has two children, a son and a daughter. (count 5 second, 2 second once removed)
Sam, my grandfather, already covered above, four kids, two sons two daughters, six grandkids, four great-grandkids (my sister has two as well). (count 4 first, 2 first once removed)
Helena, who had one son before her death at the age of thirty. We're uncertain what happened with him, but I don't believe he had any children, as he was sent to live in a home because he had developmental issues.
Peppi, who had three sons, each of whom had two children. (count 6 second)
Selma, who had four children. The first had two sons, the second had five children, and the third had three. The second child's third child also had one son. (count 10 second, 1 second once removed)

Sub total of cousins for this branch: 21 second cousins, 3 second cousins once removed.

My dad's mom's parents were Holger and Oline Hansen. They had three children:
Maggie, my grandmother, already covered above, same count of kids and cousins as Sam.
Marilyn, who had two daughters. The elder daughter had two sons, the younger had four children, her second child has two kids as well. (count 6 second, 2 second once removed)
Torben, who had two sons, neither of which had children.

Easy branch to calculate.
Sub total of cousins for this branch: 6 second cousins, 2 second cousins once removed.

My mom's dad's parents were Bjarne and Mary Bordewick. They had two sons:
George, my grandfather. He had four children, two sons and one daughter. My mother was the only one to give he and my grandmother grandkids. No cousins in this line as said above.
Henry, who died at the age of 19 during World War II, and therefore never had a chance to marry or have kids.

Another easy branch to calculate.
Sub total of cousins for this branch: None!

And then we come to the hardest branch...
My mom's mom's parents were Daniel and Eliza (Bessie) Jones. They had four children:
Marjorie, who had three daughters. Her eldest daughter had five children. The first had five, and now has a grand-daughter. The second had three, as did the third, and the youngest two had two each. (count 5 second, 14 second once removed, 1 second twice removed)
Her second had two children, a girl and a boy. The girl had three children, and the boy two. (count 2 second, 5 second once removed)
Her third had four children by her first husband, and two by her second. Her eldest daughter has six including her husband's eldest son, her eldest son has three, and her youngest daughter by her first marriage just adopted her husband's five to raise. (count 6 second, 14 second once removed)
Subtotal of Marjorie's descendants: 13 second cousins, 33 second once removed, 1 second twice removed.
Edwina, who had one son, and helped to raise her husband's two sons by his first marriage. The eldest son had two girls, the older of which has three girls. The second son had two boys. The youngest had developmental problems, and never married. (count 4 second, 3 second once removed)
Merle, my grandmother, detailed above with George.
Ivor, who had two daughters before his first wife's death, and no children after. His elder daughter had a son and a daughter. The son has three sons, and the daughter has two sons and a daughter. His younger daughter had two daughters, the elder of which now has two sons. (count 4 second, 8 second once removed)

Full total of my second cousins through Daniel and Eliza's descendents: 21 second cousins, 44 second cousins once removed, 1 second cousin twice removed.

Grand Total: 4 first cousins, 2 first cousins once removed; 48 second cousins, 49 second cousins once removed, 1 second cousin twice removed.


I'm pretty sure my tree is at least 90% up to date. I haven't  heard of any cousins having more, though I haven't asked around in the last few months, so that may have changed. Family, if you have any comments/additions, do let me know.

Matrilinial Monday – Ivare Kirstine Larsen

Photo of Kirstine & Jørgen found in a Vejle museum
Name: Ivare Kirstine Christensen
Called by Grandkids: I have a feeling my great-grandfather may have called her Bestemor. Apparently she was very fond of him. Otherwise, he and his siblings would have called her Mormor, as she was their mother's mother.
Birth: 1845 Vindbjerg, Denmark
Death: 1932 Vejle, Denmark
Spouse: Jørgen Larsen
Marriage: 1863 Vejle, Denmark
Children: Else Katrine, Kirstine, Birte Marie, Mette Margrethe, Lars Kristian, Maren Kirstine, Søren, Dagmar Augusta, Ane Marie
Parents: Kresten Christensen and Else Katrine Ivarsdatter
Siblings: I only know of one, though I know she had more: Katrine
About: Kirstine was born into a farming community, and I assume her father was a farmer, though at this moment, I know almost nothing about him, so that may not be true. At 18, she married farmer Jørgen Larsen, and the two proceeded to have nine children together, the oldest of whom was my great-great grandmother.
The one actual tale I have of her is when my great-grandfather was ill as a young boy. She lived in a house in town by that point, but they lived out in the countryside, and couldn't even afford to take him to town by cart, so his mother carried him all the way to town, and after he was discharged, he was sent to live with his grandparents until he was well enough to return home. According to his aunt Dagmar, this ended up being more than a year because Kirstine was so fond of him, and continued to insist that he stay.
She lived until the age of 86, and at the time of her death, her children had given her at least 18 grandchildren (I have limited info on several of her children's lives, so it is possible they had children that I do not know of), and at least 15 great-grandchildren.

Kirstine (right) with her daughter (left, grandson's wife, grandson, and their eldest daughter, ca 1926

Brick Wall People – Part 19 – Henrick Hansen

No Photo
Name: Henrich Hansen
Birth: 1793
Death: unknown
Marriage: 1819, Trondheim, Norway
Location(s): Trondheim, Norway
Relation to me: Henrich Hansen was my mother's father's father's mother's mother's father. Which makes her 7th generation before me.
Alias(es): none known
Parents: unknown
Spouse(s): Susanne Pedersdatter
Children: 1 known – Pauline Henrikke Roness
Other Family: none known
Details: Henrich Hanson is one where the names start to get blurred in my family tree. Given his daughter's name, I assume the Roness was a location appellation, and that he likely had it too at one point, just not on the records I have found. But because I have not found it in the records I have that show him, I am still a bit unsure if he is the father I am trying to find in this instance, as he is not listed in the family record that was compiled by one of the Bordewich family in Minnesota. He is listed on his daughter's marriage record, but the name is such a common name, it's hard to be certain I have the correct one.

I know nothing of his life, though I assume he was born in Norway, and will until I am proven otherwise wrong. Beyond that, I have almost nothing. I don't know what he did for a living, or where he lived, though it is likely he was located in Trodheim for a time, as that is where his daughter was born. I'd love to know more about him and his family, both with his wife, and what siblings he may have had.
1)      My first proof for Henrick is his daughter's marriage record. Without that, I would have had no clue even who to start looking for. It gives only his name, however, which got me little further.
2)      The second proof I have for him was Pauline's birth record. This gives only a bit more information, but it also lists his wife, which made it possible to find the third bit of proof.
3)      With his wife's name, I was also able to find a marriage record for the couple, though that gave me only a little more information, and got me no further back in Henrich's line.
As with most of my other brick walls, I have little BMD info, so I would love to get that better recorded. As I said above, I'd also love to know more about his life with his wife, and how many children they had, and who his parents were, and if he had any siblings. I'd also like to understand the Roness name better, as I'm sure there's something there that I am missing.

As always, if my family or anyone out there has any more information on this family, I'd love to talk to you about them. I'd love to learn more on any of them, if at all possible.

Matrilinial Monday – Christine Knudsen

No Known Photo

Name: Christine Jensdatter
Called by Grandkids: I assume my great-grandfather would have called her farmor, as she was his father's mother.
Birth: 1834, Thyregod, Vejle, Denmark
Death: 1918, Thyregod, Vejle, Denmark
Spouse: Hans Knudsen
Marriage: 1854, Thyregod, Vejle, Denmark
Children: Jens Christian, Ane Marie, Karen, Mette Marie, Knudmine, Jens Skov, Knud Peter Ingvard, Hans Christian
Parents: Jens Christian Pedersen & Mette Matisdatter
Siblings: Ane Cathrine, Christine, Mathias, Petrea Ane, Peder, Poul Christian, Christen, Karl
About: This is the level of my genealogy where I start to run out of substantive information. I know more about the other branch of my great-grandfather's family than I do about this one, and have three photos of his grandmother on that side, but none of this grandmother. Obviously, she lived in Vejle her whole life, and was surrounded by family until her death. Her husband was a farmer, so I imagine their lives were busy, and that they struggled quite a bit. Especially with eight kids to raise and feed.
She lived a good long life, though; she was 83 when she died. At her death, all 8 of her children that I know of were still very much alive, and all had started families by then. She had just welcomed her 44th grandchild into the world. She also had at least one great-grandchild before her death, and at least three more were born in the following year.

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.