Happy Mother's Day!

Seeing everyone else's posts this morning inspired me, so I had to make a post. I'm very pleased to say that we have a ton of great photos in our family, both because my grandfather was a shutterbug and because we have a lot of photos from back in the old country. We even have lots of photos showing four generations of different branches of my family tree. Including one of my direct maternal line.

My mother, my baby sister, my mom's mother Merle, her mother Eliza, and me ca 1976.
In fact, from my sister's daughter back, we have a nice long line of photos, which ends with our furthest-back known female ancestor on that side.

Ellen and Hugh Roberts with my great-grandmother, I believe. They were her grandparents, which makes Ellen my third-great grandmother.

Hugh and Ellen's daughter Selina with her husband Gabriel Howells and four of their six children. My great-grandmother is sitting on her mother's lap. Selina is my second-great grandmother.
Their daughter, Eliza Howells, who went by Bessie, my great-grandmother.
Her daughter Merle Jones, my grandmother.
Me and Mom at Hood Canal ca 1970 or 1971.
My sister ca late 90s.
My niece.
With my niece, that makes seven generations. Not bad.

Happy mother's day out there to all the moms reading this. Especially to my mom. Love you.

My DNA Results!

So for my birthday, I asked for a DNA test for my genealogy. We have several spots that have questions, and I was hoping to prove or disprove some of them. I just got my Ancestry DNA results back this morning. A perfect week to get them back, because I'm home today and tomorrow, so I can really play around with it all. And tomorrow I go over to see my family, so I can show it to them. The mix was a bit different than I expected, but then I expected a few surprises, so I guess that's par for the course.

My Mix:
55% Great Britain
This one was one of my surprises. I have a grandmother who is full-blooded Welsh, and a great-grandmother who was Northern Irish, so I did expect some English, possibly even more than 25%, but more than half is shocking. Until I look at the map Ancestry provides about each grouping of DNA. This one includes Denmark and Germany. And given that Danish is another 25% of my Ancestry, 55% suddenly makes a lot more sense.

30% European Jewish
At first this one made sense, until I realized it's more than one grandparent's worth of DNA, which would only be 25%. Wow. This means that I have hidden Jews in my tree. A whole 5%, at least. More, really, given that the Jewish lines married into the area in many cases. And when I take into account two of the smaller strands in my tree below; the Iberian and Caucasus lines, that brings the percentage up to almost another 10%, if I am right about those also being Jewish in origin for my family.

4% Europe West
This includes the central body of Europe: France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, etc; but also bits of England, Denmark, Italy, and the Czech and Slovak regions of Eastern Europe. I expected this piece to be much higher, given that I have at least four different areas of my tree that link back to Germany, and one that links to France. I was hoping to have some proof for the Huguenot ancestry on my great-grandmother's side, but unfortunately, this doesn't help that at all.

4% Scandinavia
This was a major shocker, given that two of my lines are strongly Scandinavian. Nana was the daughter of two full-blooded Danish Immigrants, and Grandpa's father was "full-blooded" Norwegian. Until I remember that Danish is also included in the Great Britain results, at least partially, and that several of Grandpa's line actually came from Germany, but that still doesn't explain the Europe West part. Perhaps several of the Hidden Jews were in this line, and that's why they moved to Norway?

3% Ireland
This was one of the things I was hoping to prove. My great-grandmother was Northern Irish, which tended to be more Scottish and English than actual Irish, but now I know for certain we have a small amount of Gaelic blood, whether from the Scottish or the Irish, I'm not sure. The test doesn't separate out the two, which isn't a shock, given how close the two are related. Still, I'm very glad to have this confirmed. We are not just English Transplants.

2% Iberian Peninsula
And then there's this, which makes me even more excited. My family surname, Hillinger, was actually spelled Hilinger by my great-great grandmother. I know nothing of her line aside from her and her descendants. But when I look up the surname, I find that there are a larger percent of Hilingers in the Iberian Peninsula than anywhere else in the world. Which made me wonder if we might have some roots there. If this result is right, and not from some other line, this means that we most likely have some small Saphardic heritage. Very exciting.

2% Caucasus
This is the middle east, basically, which implies that this is the origin branch of my Jewish Heritage, so unsurprising, but still nice to see.

So what does all this tell me? Well, I'm still very Northern European, which I knew before. But the Jewish Heritage (34% total if I include Iberian and Caucasus) is far larger than expected, so I will have to look into that, and I have definitely proved the Irish connection, even if it is way far back there.

Off to look into the connections they suggest now. Wish me luck!

Genealogy Stats Update

So it looks like I haven't updated my stats in some time. I was thinking it hasn't changed much, but looking back at the post I made in 2013, apparently it has. Significantly. I do need to update with a few things found at Family Search, but for now, here are the stats as compared to 2013:

Overall stats for Roots Magic File: 
• 4728 People – a difference of 238 from 2013
• 1631 Families – a difference of 50
• 7425 Events – a difference of 368
• 153 Alternate names – a difference of 4
• 1222 Places – a difference of 69
• 281 Sources – a difference of 51
• 23135 Citations – a difference of 763

I'm fairly certain most of the changes were deep in my tree over these past two years, though there have been a few natural additions, and one minor but significant discovery as well. I've had cousins on two separate sides (about equidistant cousins, actually) have babies. One on the Hillinger side, and one on the Jones side.

And then there was the email I got from a distant cousin in Israel. She added several more families and family members to a very sparse branch of my tree. While she didn't double the amount of people in that line, she definitely added to it and the information I had in a significant way. I now know for certain I lost only one family member in the extended line to the Nazi purge. I'm sure there were distant cousins or aunts and uncles who may have been affected in other ways, and I know that some of Alex's nephews died fighting in the war, but only one of Dora's sisters was taken by the Nazis, and none of Alex's family were in the country, and so they were safe from that fate. It's good to know. Still saddening, but I'm glad to finally have a name and a number for my family.

Numbers for each line: 
Hillinger line—
• 5 generations (plus one after me)
• 129 People (13 more people, with the addition of Dora's siblings' families)

Hansen line— 
• 21 generations (ending with my paternal grandmother) (either I miscounted last time, or I found a new branch, not sure which)
• Over 2000 People (Still not able to determine an exact number here. Someday I'll figure it out.)

Bordewick line— 
• 11 generations (ending with my mother)
• Over 1000 People (Again, not certain how to count these, either.)

Jones line— 
• 6 generations (ending with my maternal grandmother)
• 296 People (72 new people, mostly from being linked to the Gabriels's family tree online. Need to get back to that and add in my family's full information there.)

The Hansen and Bordewick lines are still the longest. Not that I expected that to change. The other are the ones that have changed most, though. And are most likely to change in the future, though I do keep working on the other two as well.

Goals for the coming year:

• Finish or at least continue the Hometown Histories Posts
• Add the Gabriels's line as I have it to the family tree online.
• Update my database with the info found at FamilySearch.
• Write letters to the UK—one to see if there is any information on the Seneft family's immigration there, and one to see if Leon served at the synagogue in London.
• Write a letter to the Red Cross in Geneva to see if they have information on Alex's time in Camp Douglas during WWI, and whether any of his brothers were there with him.
• Find Nana and Aunt Marilyn's letters and work on getting them scanned, along with other family documents.
• Work on a format for a new family tree book.

Wish me luck!

Hometown Histories – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA – Mary Park

My great grandmother Mary Park was born in 1891 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Aside from Frankfurt, it is likely the most well-known birthplace in my family history. Her parents, Elizabeth and Robert Park came to the US in 1883. They had nine children while living in Philadelphia; seven of those children survived to adulthood.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, and has the fifth largest population in the US. It was founded in 1682 by William Penn, and was created to serve as the capitol of Pennsylvania Colony. It currently covers an area of just over 141 and a half square miles. In 1890, the year before my great-grandmother was born the population had just passed the million mark. In 2014, it had reached 1.5 million, though at its height in 1950, it was over two million.

A panting supposedly showing William Penn and the Lenape signing a treaty
Before Europeans arrived in the area, it was the home to the Lenape (more commonly known as the Delaware) Indians. They had a meeting place which is within the boundaries of the current city that was known as Shackamaxon, from the Lenape term Sakimauchheen, meaning "to make a chief or king place." It was where the tribe crowned their sakima (their term for chief) and kitakima (clan chief). Some suggest it means "the place of eels," as it was an important summer fishing spot for the natives. Accounts say that William Penn signed a treaty with the Lenape in 1682 for the land, though no absolute proof has ever been provided. The Lenape were soon pushed out of their homelands, heading north and west as the Europeans pushed inland. Both the US and Canada have formally recognized the tribe. The tribe split into groups, and are now settled in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and southwest Ontario. New Jersey has also recognized two Lenape tribes within their boundaries, and Delaware has recognized one as well. There are other Lenape groups throughout the northeast and midwest, though they have less recognition than the others.

Philadelphia was instrumental in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the US, and served as one of the nation's capitals during the Revolutionary war. The city hosted the First Continental Congress, which was an important step in the War, and the Second Continental Congress, at which the Declaration of Independence was signed. It also hosted the Constitutional convention, which was a vital step to founding the US government as it now exists. After the war was over, it also became the fledgling country's temporary capital while Washington DC was under construction. It served as the Capital from 1790 to 1800.

The city is home to many of the US's firsts: It was the birthplace of the US Marine Corps; home to the first library, which was built in 1731; the first hospital, built in 1751; first medical school, founded in 1765; first stock exchange, built in 1790; first zoo, built in 1874; and first business school in 1881. It also boasts over eighty colleges, universities, and trade schools, including the University of Pennsylvania that claims to be the oldest university in the US. It is also home to many national historical sites relating to the founding of the United States, including Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, along with homes of many well-known figures such as Edgar Allan Poe and Betsy Ross.

Due to its location on the east coast, many immigrant groups came to the city, a number of whom stayed in the town, making it a major industrial center. Textiles, locomotive works, shipbuilding companies, and even the Pennsylvania Railroad were centered there. The first major immigrants were German and Irish, The boom caused by their settling in the city lead to an extension of the city area by another two square miles. Unfortunately, with immigration came a rise in nativism, which is a form of prejudice that suggests that those coming from other countries to live in a new area are less good or important as those who have lived there for a longer period of time. This was used particularly against the Irish immigrants to Philadelphia. At first, the backlash was more against the new Catholics fleeing the Irish Potato Famine, but it quickly encompassed all Irish in the Philadelphia area. The Irish and fugitive slaves were the bottom rung of Philadelphia society for many years, which lead to several riots, including the Lombard Street Riot in 1842 and the Philadelphia Nativist Riot in 1844. Today, Philadelphia has the second largest Irish American population in the US. Its Saint Patrick's Day parade is the second oldest in the country.

An engraved image of one of the riots in Philadelphia
By the time my great-great grandparents arrived in the area, this had died down a little, as more diversified groups had come to settle in the city, but the attitude did not fade for many years. When things became difficult in the early 1900s, Irish were one of the groups who were lashed out against once more. Though my family were Protestants, the fact that they were Irish meant they faced as much backlash as their Catholic neighbors. So finally, sometime in either 1910 or 1911, the family left the country and returned to Ireland, settling in Belfast.

When my great-great grandparents Robert and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Park came to Philadelphia, it was doing very well as a city. The worst of its growing pains after the Civil War had ended, and opportunities were open for all. Unfortunately, the life of an immigrant is never easy, even in an established community. Robert and Lizzie started their family soon after arriving. Unfortunately, their first two children were lost within only a few years. It took them four years to truly get their feet under them, when their son and Robert's namesake was born. The rest of their children were all born healthy, and Robert began to make good money as a carpenter in the area.

Robert & Lizzie Park and friend ca 1917
Unfortunately, by the early 1900s, things were beginning to be rocky in the US again. Robert hoped that Roosevelt becoming president would help things, but it only seemed to increase the nationalistic fervor for some, so the family left and returned to Ireland. The family chose to settle in the Belfast area, as both Robert and Lizzie had been born in Antrim, and I believe still had family in the area. However, this was a tense time in Ireland, too. Even before World War I, sentiment against the English was already bad. Between the Famine and constant pressure from the English, particularly when it came to religion, many were desperate to separate from England. Luckily, one of their girls had married and moved to Canada. The family still felt angry over how they had been treated in America, so they weren't too quick to want to return, but she assured them that Canada was nothing like the US in that respect, so they soon followed her and settled in Vancouver, BC.

Mary Park
It was there that my great-grandmother Mary met and married her husband, Bjarne. The two raised two boys there together and lived mostly happily until his death in 1950. Afterwards, she lived in the house she'd bought with her husband, moving in her sister so she would not be alone. When the two grew too old to be living on their own, her remaining son (the other had died during World War II) moved her down to Washington so she would be nearby. She was never happy about the move, though, hating to live in the country that had treated her family so badly.

Park Family History
Park Family Tree

Hometown Histories – Henningsvær, Lofoten Islands, Norway – Bjarne and Henrik Bergithon Bordewick

My great grandfather Bjarne Bordewick, was born in Henningsvær in 1888. His father, Henrik Bergithon was there born in 1862.

Henningsvær is a small fishing village off the coast of Norway in the municipality of Vågen. It is part of the Lofoten Islands, an archipelago of small islands located between the 68th and 69th parallels north of the Arctic Circle. It is located primarily on the islands of Himøya and Hellandsøya. It is 74 acres (just over a tenth of a mile) large, and in 2013, had a population of 444 people.

It is a popular tourist destination as a fishing spot, and also offers climbing and diving for other tourist activities. Most stay in cabins called Rorbu. They small houses built for fishermen. They are built on land, but overhang the water, using posts to keep them up over the tides. This allowed access to the fishermen's boats when the cabins were in use. Cabins of this sort have been numerous in the area since as far back as 1100. Now they are used largely to house the tourists who come to the area, as most fishermen live on their boats when fishing in the area.

Henningsvær is the most famous fishing village in Lofoten. In 1842 (twenty years before Henrik was born), the village was bought by squire Henrik Dreyer. At the time, the town was less than 100 homes, including almost 80 fishermen's cabins. He quickly developed the village into a center of trade and fishing. He also established an infirmary with a resident doctor, as well as a chapel and a lighthouse. He also had a great deal to do with the first telegraph line being established in the Lofoten Islands. He passed away in 1882, and an English man attempted to buy the village. The public fought the purchase, leading to a political movement which led to the Nordland County Council taking control of the village by the middle of the next year. Unfortunately, soon after, fishing began to decline in the area, and the cod run seemed to dry up, not returning until 1920. It was this change that led to my family's departure from the town, leading to a long journey that would lead them halfway around the world.

The town is referred to as the "Venice of the North." Its major industry, aside from tourism, is cod. It is the center of the world's greatest cod fishery. During the winter, the harbor is filled with fishermen and transports to take the cod to their destination. The area has been considered one of the best fishing areas for centuries. North Atlantic cod congregate nearby to spawn, which draws anglers from all over the world.

one of the Henningsvær bridges
It is connected to the rest of the islands via the Henningsvær bridges. The two bridges are called Engøysundet Bridge and Henningsvær Bridge. Engøysundet Bridge is to the north. It is 636 feet long. Henningsvær Bridge is to the south. It is 843 feet long. They were opened to traffic in 1983. They are part of a chain of bridges which connect the Lofoten Islands together. They are box girder cantilever bridges made of prestressed concrete.

Henningsvær church is located on the island of Himøya. A church was first built there in 1852, just ten years before my great-great grandfather was born. Likely the family attended services there for much of Henrik's life, at least until he and his wife moved away.

The Bordewick clan's history in the Lofoten Islands begins with Henrik Bergithon's grandfather, Johan Petter Bordewick. He lost his father in a shipwreck when he was only three, and he began doing clerical work for a man who ran a trading post in the islands when he was old enough to make his own way. He eventually became the owner of the business. He was already married with two young children at the time, but the family grew quite quickly after that.

In 1846, Johan's wife, Leonharde Linkhausen, died in childbirth complications with their eleventh child. The eldest children took over care of their siblings, but eventually their father began to look for a new wife. First his eldest son, and then his second son, my great-great-great grandfather, Hans Henrik, left his household, despite promises that they would take over the business when time came for Johan to retire. When Johan finally remarried in 1860, Hans took his family and left the town to find his own way. So it was that he and his wife Kaja (born Karen Angell) moved to Henningsvær, where all their children were born.
Henrick Bergithon, aka Henry
My great-great grandfather, Henrik Bergithon, was raised away from his grandfather's household. I do not know if they had much contact with them during his childhood, but it is obvious to me that they had at least some contact. His father's third-half-sister, Leonhard Marine was only a year older than Hans, and at some point after Johan's death, the two fell in love and married. They, too, settled in Henningsvær, where they had three sons.

Leonharde, aka Harde
However, soon after their youngest son was born, Henrik and his brother Eivind made plans to make more money in a poor fishing economy at the time. They decided to try to set up a direct-route fish-selling venture. Eivind would stay in Henningsvær and fish, then send the goods to Henrik in Belgium where he would sell them to the locals. So Henrik and Leonharde moved their sons away from the islands. It was the beginning of a long journey for the family.

The Bordewick boys and a cousin who traveled with the family all the way to Vancouver
They moved to Belgium, but were quickly reviled by the Belgians, though the family story as to why is a bit garbled. Either they seemed to German or too English. Either way, the plans fell through, and the family moved again. This time, they settled to live near Leonharde's younger brother, who had established himself in Hull, England. They lived across the bay from him in Grimsby for several years as the boys grew up. My great-grandfather, Bjarne, was just taking his tests to enter Cambridge when the family moved again. One of her sisters had settled in Vancouver, and so the family settled there as well. It was there they finally settled for good. Two of their three boys married there, though my great-grandfather was the only one to have children.

Bordewich family history by Pat Bordewich
Bordewick Family tree

Hometown Histories – Fjenneslev, Alsted-Flinterup and Knudstrup, Denmark – Oline Hansen and ancestors

My great-grandmother, (Julie) Oline Hansen, was born in 1886 in a small farming community a little to the southwest of the middle of Sealand called Fjenneslev. Her father's line goes back at least two generations in that area. The area is directly on the border between two areas of Denmark, Sorø and Roskilde, and is the confluence of three small towns called Alsted-Flinterup, Knudstrup, and Fjenneslev.

Fjenneslev currently has just under 800 people living there now. As stated above, it is located almost directly between Sorø and Ringsted, but it is considered part of the Sorø Municipality. It has a train station and a very famous church. Oline and her siblings attended school near the church until their confirmation, then began working to support the family. There is a second church in Alsted, where Oline and her siblings were all confirmed and where both of Oline's parents were buried.

The Fjenneslev church was built in 1130, and features a large double tower. It is one of the country's most famous churches due to the legend of how the towers were built, and the land upon which it was built. Absalon and Esbern were the sons of the couple who built the church. Legend says that the towers on the church represented the two brothers, but fact seems to suggest the boys built the towers, possibly in honor of their parents.
Fjenneslev Church
The legend goes that Asger and his wife were still building the church when he was sent to war. She was pregnant at the time, and so he asked her to build a tower if she had a boy, and a steeple if she had a girl. When he returned home from the war, he saw two towers, and that was how he knew he had twin sons. The truth is that the boys were a few years apart in age, so it is far more likely they built the towers to memorialize their parents. An ancient stone was found at the church cemetary, which was uncovered in 1830 during the demolition of a dike there. It was re-erected in the churchyard in 1910. The text reads "In memory of Asger Ryg, Absalon and Esbern's father, this stone was erected to testify where Hvide land once was." Little remains of their family land today.

The Hvide family is a very important Danish Noble family from Danish history, of which Absalon and Esbern are two of the best-known individuals. Esbern (known as Esbern Snare) was born in 1127, and Absalon was born in 1128. They were raised with the future king of Denmark, Valdemar the first. Esbern helped to fight for Valdemar's right to gain the Danish throne while Absalon was learning theology in the University of Paris. When he returned to Denmark, he too became involved in the fight to put Valdemar on the throne, and was nearly killed when King Svend (also known as Sweyn)  attempted to poison Valdemar to get rid of him. Svend was defeated in 1157, and Valdemar ascended the throne. In reward for his help, Absalon became the Bishop of Roskilde when the old Bishop died.

Oline was born on a little farm in Fjenneslev called Stubbegaard. According to the census records I have been able to find, and the stories I have passed down to me by my grandmother and great aunt, it was owned by at least three generations of her family. In the 1870 census, it shows Rasmus, her father, as the farmer, with both his first wife (he was married before he married my great-great grandmother) and his parents in residence. They are not in the 1880 census there, but are located elsewhere. And after Rasmus's death, the farm then passed on to his eldest son Herman. It is no longer owned by the family, but I like that we can trace it back at least that far.

Oline (back left) and her siblings, ca 1900 or so
Oline's life was a simple one when she was young. Likely she helped out at the farm when she was not at school, along with her siblings. However, when she was still a girl, her father grew ill and died of a respiratory illness. She was eight, according to my notes. She and her two siblings found their work load at home greatly increased. Oline soon decided she was not cut out for farming, and found a job with one of the neighboring families. The name of the man who was the head of that household was Ole Hansen, who was already heavily into the politics of the area, if not already Minister of Agriculture.

Ole Hansen
Ole Hansen was the first non-noble to act as Minister in Denmark. He was born in 1855, and died in 1928 in Copenhagen. He was the son of Hans Olsen, who had been Mayor of the area he was born in. In 1883 he started his rise in politics. He was elected to the Bringstrup Parish and from 1886 to 1891 he was the chairman. In 1895 he became a member of the Sorø County Council. He served there through 1910. In 1890, he was elected to the parliament. He was Minister of Agriculture from 1901 to 1908, when he resigned, but was elected again in 1914 and served there until his death in 1928.

Oline's father died in 1895, so she likely began to work for the family before Ole became Minister. I know that she moved with them to the outskirts of Copenhagen, as she lived in Frederiksberg for a short time before moving to America. She settled in Chicago for a few years before travelling back to Denmark to visit her family in 1916. It was on that trip that she met the man she would marry, Holger Hansen. After returning to America, the two continued to court, and in 1918, they married and settled in Cleveland together. My grandmother was born just a year later.

Oline, my grandmother, and Holger, ca 1920
The couple had a good life together, adding two more children to their family, and living in a small community of Danes in the suburbs of Cleveland, which included both friends and family. Unfortunately, their happiness did not last. In 1929, Oline grew sick, and soon died of pneumonia. Mv grandmother was only nine. I'm sad to say that the family lost track of Oline's side after that. Holger lost touch with her brother, the only family member here in the states, and her children were too small to be in touch with her family back in Denmark on their own. However, in the 1980s, my great aunt decided to reconnect to the family, and she and my grandmother and their brother were able to visit their Uncle Hans (Oline's brother) in Omaha before his death in 1989. My great aunt also went and visited the family back in Denmark soon after, and got to see the family farm and meet the remaining family in the area.

Absalon (Danish to English)
Esbern Snare (Danish to English)
Fjenneslev (Danish to English)
Fjenneslev Cemetary (Danish to English)
Fjenneslev Church (Danish to English)
Fjenneslev Church (Danish to English)
Hvide (Danish to English)
Hansen Family Tree
Ole Hansen (Danish to English)
Sweyn III of Denmark

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.