PEDERSEN (Denmark)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Pe-der-sen Meaning: Child of Peder/Peter

Origin: Danish

Variations: In this case, Pedersdatter. Also the usual Scandinavian variants.

Relation to me: This is my father's mother's father's father's mother's father's mother's surname.

i: Pedersdatter, Catrine, 1761 – 1840, Ribe, Denmark; Peder Christensen, 4 sons, 2 daughters

ii: Terkelsen, Peder, 1715 – 1773, Ribe, Denmark, Anne Andersdatter, 5 daughters, 2 sons

iii: Knudsen Dovr, Terkel, 1675 – 1744/1745, Ribe, Denmark, Johanne Jensdatter, no children, Kirsten Nielsdatter, 2 daughters, 1 son, Margrete Pedersdatter, 2 daughters, 3 sons

Looking for:
Not sure what I'm looking for here. I would like to firm up these links, but this starts the seventh generation of my family tree, so we're now getting into the murky recesses of my family. Still, any information on these three families would be quite welcome.

Thanksgiving Genealogy Fun

This was actually from last Saturday, but it's still Thanksgiving weekend, so it counts, right?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Genea-Musings:

1) Make a list of Genealogy-oriented people or things that you are thankful for. Any number -- 1, 10, 100, whatever.

2) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook comment or Note.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

1: I am thankful that so many of my family were already interested in genealogy and trying to trace my ancestors before I got my hands on the family tree.

1.1: I am thankful that my sister has been working so hard on getting our family pictures online. I've learned so much from the pictures that we have been scanning. So many who were barely even recognizable names are now faces that I recognize. It makes genealogy that much more fun.

1.1.1: I am thankful that Grumpy was such a shutter-bug that we have millions and millions of photos. Every one of them might not have been a work of art, but because of them, I know more of my family than I would have otherwise.

1.1.2: I am grateful to actually know what my great-grandmother Oline's handwriting looked like, and that she called my grandmother "Kylle," meaning little chick. It means so much to me to have little things like that. Makes the search more special.

1.2: I am thankful that my father's mother's side is so well-documented that I can actually piece it together and see how my grandmother and her sister put it together.

1.2.1: I am also thankful that my great-aunt above actually used to host get togethers every summer for our extended Danish and Danish-descended family, because it means I got to meet many of them over the years that I otherwise might not have even heard of.

1.3: I am thankful that my family is so supportive and helpful in my search to find out more. And that I'm always able to talk to them and ask them questions. There's so much I've learned from all of them.

2: I am thankful that I knew personally all my grandparents, even if I never told them enough just how much I appreciated them.

2.1: I am also thankful for getting a chance to talk with Nana about her family, and in particular her mother, because I learned so very much about our family when I did.

2.2: I am also thankful that I knew three of my great grandparents, even if they died when I was very young. It made getting to know them a bit more personal.

3: I am thankful for the great-grandfather who, when the Nazis were rising to power, and his businesses were failing, decided it would be best to leave Germany and got his family out before the mid-thirties.

4: I am thankful for those in my family who served in the armed forces to keep us safe. And I am so very thankful that so many made it home safe and whole.

5: I am thankful for computers that make this search so much easier in so many ways: for the programs that keep the information together for me, for the sites that give clues that I would otherwise have to travel halfway around the world to find, for the friends whom I have met who have helped me learn so much about places I have never been and dealing with a language I do not know.

5.1: I am thankful that sites like have so much information out there that makes it easier to narrow down the places I want or need to search.

5.2: And I am thankful that a site like JewishGen even exists, because without it, I would likely have no idea where to start looking for Grumpy's family.

Genealogy Advent Calendar 2010

Starting the first, I will be posting one post a day about my ancestors and linking it here. Check back on December 1!

ETA: Now posting. Each day on the calendar will become clickable as I post entries. Save this page and come back later for more!

SORENSEN (Denmark)

Something a little different today. I'm backtracking because of info I found in the records for Jorgen Larsen, given that I've always had his mother's name listed wrong. I've also gone back and fixed his father's name, which you can find if you follow the link. The rest of the information came from this record on, so take that as you will (which is to say, I have yet to verify this information completely, so don't accept this as absolute fact).

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Sor-en-sen Meaning: Child of Soren

Origin: Danish

Variations: Sorensdatter, I'd imagine.

Relation to me: This is my ather’s mother’s father’s mother’s mother's maiden name.

i: Sorensen, Birthe Marie, 1798 – ?, Vejle, Denmark; Lars Andersen, 6 sons, 2 daughters

ii: Sorensen, Soren, 1764 – 1838, Vejle, Denmark; Mette Christensen, 4 sons, 6 daughters

iii: Sorensen, Soren, 1734 -1811, Vejle, Denmark, Birthe Pedersen, 5 sons, 2 daughters

iv: Fastersen, Soren, ? - ?, Denmark?, Mette Sorensen, 1 known son

Looking for:
I have a record showing Birthe as my Jorgen Larsen's mother (same birthdate, same location, in a very small town in Denmark), so I'm 85% sure that this is the correct line, but I'd love more information if anyone has it.

This town in Denmark seems to be where much of this line is from for generations back, ending with my great-grandfather, so I will obviously have to look into the area more.

One of the treasures I received from my aunt after my grandmother passed this year was a huge sheaf of letters from my great aunt to her sister (my grandmother) and vice versa, along with other letters from other family members.

Every time I read one, I learn something new. So much to record. It will take me years to go through them all, but I was going through the documents this week looking for something else, and I found another letter that sheds light on my great-grandmother Oline's maternal grandfather, so I wanted to share it this week.

June 23, 1987

Dear Maggie and Sam:

We hope you are enjoying a lovely trip and visit to your Chicago family and an interesting Elderhostel experience. If the gods be with you, Chicago and the Midwest will not be sweltering in the dog days of high humidity, although lately they seem to be having a spell of it.

Maybe you know this, but Karen Fischetti will not be back in Chicago until July 18, if I remember correctly.

As for Uncle HANS, he still seems to be well and with it in spite of his age. It's really amazing that he doesn't seem to wander mentally or show any signs of such impairment. Evelyn thinks so too, according to her letter which I am enclosing. She does have her hands full with Elene and Marcel, doesn't she. Ingrid asked about Elene – she and Poul had met with her and Hans in 1973 but did not meet Marcel and Evelin. I tried to tell them that Elene is not in very good shape.

As far as I could fathom, the family in Denmark were very puzzled about the idea that Sophie's father had gone to Minnesota and had never heard of Oscar or Tina. I told them also that Hans had said Oline went to Minnesota and Northwood, Iowa, first when she came to America in 1914. Then someone came up with the story of the coffee urn that someone gave to Sophie, and they laughed about it as if it were a bit of family scandal – as if this fellow went away to America and left her "a little present." I took that to mean he left her pregnant – and I think Karen even understood it that way. The following week we all had dinner with cousin Katherine and she had the urn, polished to a fare-thee-well and displayed atop a china cupboard. In our strange way of communicating, she said something like "Farvel, Sophie, versagod," handing her the urn. Sophie said Farvel to her son Herman, and handed him the urn with Versagod. And Herman handed it to someone else when he died, and now Katherine has it.

I gave the local historian Mr. Hansen, two more jobs to do: 1) to verify Oline's birth date, and 2) to verify the business of Sophie's father homesteading in America.

What we need from Uncle Hans is more specific information about Sophie's father in Minnesota: What his name was, the location (town name) of his farm, something clearer about the relationships of Oscar and Tina both to Hans and to Sophie, and anything else you can come up with.

There seem to have been many Danes in that area of the country. Quite coincidentally, that is the area where Ingrid's husband Poul had two brothers who made their fortunes in farming. One of them, Axel Hansen, died a millionaire, but his kids have already spent all the money. Of course this was said with some disapproval. His other brother, Kai, still lives in Clinton, Iowa, but Axel and Kai had farmed in Albert Lea, Minn., and Northwood, Iowa, two names Uncle Hans had mentioned repeatedly. When Ingrid and Poul visited in 1949, everyone on the streets spoke Danish, it seemed, but that is not the case any longer.

The fact that the family in Fjenneslev do not know about Sophie's father having gone to Minnesota might simply be because they have not been very much interested in keeping tract of the family until I came along trying to trace my roots. Now they are all hot for the subject and doing their best to come up with information.

It has now come back to my memory that someone was speculating on the possibility that Sophie had been left an orphan and was "farmed out" to live with another family. It seemed possible that her father abandoned the family to go to America, make some money, and send tickets home for the family to join him and then never did. That seemed to have been the case in numerous instances in those days. I know from Tante Margrethe telling me that that was the plan when Uncle Jack preceded her to America, and everyone in Denmark told her that she'd never see him again. Luckily, he kept his word and did send for her and the children.

Well, if you can make head or tail of this gibberish, I congratulate you. I shall be writing to Uncle Hans very soon and will try to put a bee in his bonnet that will start him thinking about this mystery so you can glean from him what you can.

Our weather in Idyllwild is gorgeous and I have gotten over jet lag. A and B are in their new home and painting it; M and D will move into theirs the weekend of the Danskefest picnic (July 11) so will not be able to attend. But Norman Kirk and his new wife may be with us.

Thanks again for your newsy letter, and have a good time. My love to Uncle Hans.


Handwritten on the last page by my grandmother:

Grandfather Olsen came here w/brother who married a ? + children were Tina and Oskar.

Homestead in Kassen Co in Minn.
20 mi N of Albert Lea.

Died when Hans was little.

So, when I add this to what I have from their conversation with Hans before, and what little I've been able to glean from online records, it sounds as though Sophie was either abandoned, or her mother died when she was young, and/or she was sent off to be a farmgirl to another family, which was the custom in Denmark at the time.

Sounds like this is why I had no information on her parents, given the fact that people tend to not talk about these sorts of scandals while anyone touched by them is still alive.

Doesn't conform the parents I have for certain from the records on Family Search: Birthe Marie Schrøder and Ole Larsen, but it gets me closer to certain that I have the right ones.

Also sounds as though Tina and Oskar/Oscar were the brother's children, and not a new wife Ole married.

Still, always exciting to get more information!

EVAN (Northern Wales)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Ev-ann Meaning: Child of Evan

Origin: Welsh

Variations: The most common form of this would be Evans, but there is also the older form of ap Evan, and likely others as well. So far, this is the only form in my tree.

Relation to me: This is my mother's mother's mother's father's father's mother, if my hunch is confirmed.

Ancestors: (in ascending order from most recent with name)
i: Evan, Gwen, ? – ?, Northern Wales?; Gabriel Howell, 2 sons 1 suspected, 1 known

Looking for:
Gwen Evan is a very new addition to my family tree, but looking at the succeeding generations, I'm inclined to believe what I have found is correct. Her spot in my tree is not perfectly verified yet, but I did find two birth records for my great-great-great grandfather listing her as Gwen Howel (the spelling his father would have had for the surname) and Gwen, and another for an Evan Howel with her listed as Gwen Evan.

As we're talking early 19th century, the records are much sparser, but I am hoping to get some confirmation of this side of the family if I can just get in touch with the Welsh branch of the family.

Anyone who knows more about Gabriel Howel, Howel Howel (or Howel Gabriel), or Gwen (Evan) Howel, I would love to exchange information.

For Veterans Day: Henry Norman Bordewick

My family had many who went to serve in the armed forces during World War II. Three of my four grandparents and many of their siblings went to serve. We were lucky enough that we lost only one.

My grandfather's younger brother, Henry aka Harry Bordewick, was born in Vancouver BC, the younger son of a Norwegian immigrant and an Irish immigrant. His older brother, my grandfather George, shipped off first, and Harry soon followed suit, signing up right out of school.

Harry was nineteen when he was shipped off to the front. He had made it as far as Maine and was setting off for the front when his pilot lost control of their plane on take-off, and all hands on board were lost.

I grew up knowing of him, but never much about him, other than my grandfather had lost a brother in the war. It wasn't until I started working on my family tree that I began to really learn about Henry.

One of the things I received for my search was a scrap book that my grandmother made in the early years of her marriage with cards, telegrams and clippings of things that happened during those years. Included is a notice about Harry's death right next to a Christmas card sent the day that he died.

So today, I remember him. For my family, and for my grandfather. I hope they're up there right now, raising a glass together.

An article about his death:

City Flyer Killed In Plane Crash

Sgt. Harry Bordewick, R.C.A.F., killed in an air crash near Howlton, Maine, December 5, was the son of Mr. And Mrs. Bjarne Bordewick, 1472 East Tenth.

Bordewick, 19, had just recently been posted to the ferry command as a wireless air gunner, and was on his first flight across the Atlantic when his plane crashed.

In addition to his parents, he leaves a brother, Sgt. George Bordewick, now serving overseas with the 3rd Canadian Division.

Sgt. Harry Bordewick attended Alexander public school, then Vancouver Technical School, where he graduated in June, 1941. He enlisted in the R.C.A.F. here on leaving school, and received his wings as a wireless-airgunner in Winnipeg.

And a shorter notice with slight details of the crash:

Sgt. Henry Bordewick, son of Bjarne Bordewick, 1472 East Tenth avenue, Vancouver, was reported killed on active service in the United States. He was killed in the crash of an R.C.A.F. plant at the air base near Houlton, Me., last Saturday.

Though Grandma didn't record the names and dates of the paper on the articles themselves, I believe both were likely from the Vancouver Sun.

Photos of my Uncle Harry:

Henry, his father Bjarne, and his brother, George

George and Henry Bordewick

Sergent Henry Bordewick, shortly before shipping off in 1942

TILLER (Norway)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Till-er Meaning: An old job-name meaning maker or layer of tiles, from either Old English, or possibly Latin.

Origin: For me, this name comes from Norway.

Variations: Currently this is the only variation of the name I have in my database.

Relation to me: This is my mother's father's father's mother's father's mother's surname, as far as I have been able to determine

Ancestors: (in ascending order from most recent with name)
i: Tiller (or Johnsdatter Tiller), Anna Magdalena, 1769 – 1846, Sor-Trondelag, Norway; Hans Heinrich Bordevick, 3 sons

ii: Tiller (or Olsen Tiller), Jon, ? – 1801, Norway, Marit Torresdatter, 4 daughters, 2 sons

iii: Anderson, Ole, 1715 - ?, Norway, Magdalena Arntsdatter, 3 sons, 1 daughter

Looking for:
Recently found the furthest back generation here with information on the Bordewick and Linchausen lines, though received no response to my email when I contacted the person, so I have no way of verifying this bit yet. My line came to me complete through Jon Olsen Tiller, and I've no information beyond the basics for his wife, so any information on this line would be very welcome.

Holger Hansen

My great-grandfather, Holger Hansen, lived from 1891 to 1977. I have one vague memory of going to the airport with my grandmother to pick him up for a visit. It was likely the last visit he ever made here to the Northwest. I'm actually lucky enough to have several photos of myself with him, though I have only vary vague recollections of that one visit.

His has always been the line most thoroughly researched in my family tree, because my grandmother and her sister spent a great deal of time with their extended family, visiting during the war, and continued those visits long after, including a family get-together for a time down in California in Idyllwild where my aunt lived.

Despite this, though, I really didn't know much about him until I started to research a paper on my grandmother and her mother for a Women's Studies class at the University of Washington. And even after that, I didn't know a whole lot more. This year, I've finally begun to truly learn who he was from the papers my grandmother left behind. Stories about her father, her mother, her life.

This was part of a letter my grandmother got from her sister shortly after their father's death in 1977. The first is the letter to her, the second the piece my aunt wrote up, and the third an article by my aunt's husband about my great-grandfather and another of their relations.

I believe that the TC she is referring to in her letter was the Paper she and her husband ran—the local Idyllwild newspaper.

Feb 1 [ed: 1978, I believe]

Maggie –

A quick note the accompany these papers—which I mislaid.

We have an inquiry on the TC. Lu is eager.

M had a marvelous Christmas trip—Randers and then France, Austria and Switzerland. She + Tina swam where Mark Spitz won all his medals! Then she came home to a pile of mail, too much about 3 family deaths ("Now I don't have any grandparents" she wailed) plus the death of a Swedish friend. Poor kid. She keenly feels what can happen in a short time, especially if you go away.

Personnel changes again at TC. I changed past-up artists—the old one went to Vegas. Lu's asst, the reporter-photog John Ponce is moving to bigger things next week. A new printer starts Monday, + tomorrow Jan Hansen, of our front office goes to the hospital for a week—knee surgery. When it rains it pours.

I got a perm + a short hair cut + feel much better. Also a new suit + shoes!! Lu got a new suit, too.

Rain, rain, rain. No snow. Are you skiing?


untitled – by Marilyn Hansen Weare

A person's lifetime is his legacy in the way he touches other peoples' lives or changes the course of events, great or small. I would like to recount the course of my father's life and be glad that we knew him rather than to mourn that we have lost him.

Holger Hansen lived 86 years, was a citizen of two nations and was loyal to both. He married twice – to Oline and to Rose – and outlived them both. He fathered three children, Margaret, me (Marilyn) and Torben and was stepfather to Rose's two daughters, Ruth and LaVerne.

Dad was born on a farm in Denmark, one of 9 children of very poor parents. Karen Margrethe Fischetti, Dad's niece, recounted a story that she learned from a grand aunt of ours, Dagmar. When Dad was little, perhaps about 5, he was very ill with pneumonia. His mother carried him in her arms several miles into town to the hospital – they were so poor there wasn't even a cart for the trip. When Dad was well enough to leave the hospital, he went to live with his grandmother nearby until he was strong enough to walk home. His aunt Dagmar was still at home then and remembers that Holger was such a nice little boy that his grandmother wanted him to stay, and she kept him for 5 years.

Home with his parents on the farm later, Dad was given the duty of tending the milk cows when he was old enough – to take them out to pasture in the morning and tether them and bring them in at night. He had the opportunity for schooling until he was 14 and then his father taught him his own trade – that of being a mason, or bricklayer. They did small jobs together – basements, chimneys, etc – around their little town of Thyregod, and then, about 1912 or 1913 good fortune struck. The railroad line was extended to Thyregod and Dad and Grandpa got the contract to build the station. That gave my father enough money to buy his passage to America in 1914. I once asked him how much money he needed, and he thought it was about $50 for the boat fare and $25 in his pocket when he reached Ellis Island. Dad said his only requirement for entry to the United States then was that $25 in his pocket and the ability to read – in Danish. The inspector gave him a book in Danish and had him read just a few lines.

Dad did not know a bit of English and had to learn the language after he came to the United States. But he had an aunt and uncle in New York – Jorgen (or "Jack") and Margrethe Isaaksen. They were doing well in this country, and their example encouraged dad to come to the United States, for greater opportunity. And he found it. Dad was able to find work and save enough money to return to Denmark for a visit in 1916.

In later years, I visited Tante Margrethe and Uncle Jack many times when I was a WAC in Washington, DC. One time they said to me, "Your father was the nicest, the finest and the most pleasant young man we have ever known, even taking into account our own 2 fine sons."

On that first trip back home, Dad met Oline Hansen, a young Danish woman who had been working in Chicago and was also returning to her home in Denmark for a visit. But in 1916 the United States had entered World War I and travel back to the US was prohibited for six months, so Dad had a chance to court Oline in Denmark.

When Dad returned to the United States he could not find work in New York. Hearing there were jobs in Cleveland, he moved here. Oline left her Chicago domestic job and took work in Cleveland as a seamstress. They were married in 1918 and made Cleveland their home. Dad became a contractor, bought a few lots and built and sold several homes. His young brother Alfred came over from Denmark to try his luck in the land of opportunity. Neils Kirk was one of his pals, and another was Otto Nielsen, 10 years his junior and now a part of our Danish family clan in California. Otto told me that he worked for my Dad in those early years in Cleveland, and he said to me, "He was fun to work for – Holger could always see the funny side of a situation."

And that reminds me of an evening about 20 years ago in my home in California. Dad and Mom were visiting, so I invited their old friends in for the evening. Neils Kirk, Otto Neilsen, Alfred and Holger were together at the table reminiscing about their youth in the old Country, and they fell to talking about shoes – or the lack of them. Of course, they said, they could easily go barefoot in the summer, but if they had no winter boots, they simply tied straw around their feet and made out that way – but Oh! it was so darned cold! – and the men began to laugh so hard they rocked in their chairs. They could see a funny side to a situation.

I loved to watch my father lay bricks. I remember the grace of his movements, his large strong hands holding the bricks, the choreographed, rhythmic way he used his pointed trowel to dip and smooth the cement, the clear sound of the tapping of his trowel to trim a brick or to settle it into place. He was an artisan.

Oline died in 1928 and Dad married again later. He married Rose Basch, and she and her daughters, Ruth and LaVerne, merged with us into a large family of 7. Then the depression struck, and the difficult years that followed were a struggle for everyone. With Rose's business acumen and ability to work hard, they weathered those years, and we always had food on the table.

When I called my cousin Elsa Sunday night to tell her Dad had passed away, she wept and said, "He was such a GOOD man."

And so he is remembered – fondly and generously as a good man, a nice person, a fun-loving fellow, a master at his craft – overlooking his human failings (and of course he had them) and leaving a legacy of so much good will that we are happy his life was part of ours.

My husband and I own and publish a small weekly newspaper in California. Luther writes a column of his personal observations, and I read the galley of his column for this week's paper before I left for Cleveland. Luther's family also lost one of its members over the holidays, and in his column Luther Sums up so much of what I feel, too. I would like to share it with you.


Death struck our family twice, not unexpectedly, over the holiday. In each case a lesson could be derived for the rest of us.

My nephew lived under a two-year death sentence from leukemia. What does one do under such circumstances? Some of us fear that we would fall apart emotionally, but it has been my observation that that usually does not happen. Nature provides us with strength and emotional resources we normally are unaware of. And so this youngish man lived his last two years with gusto and enthusiasm. His seeming good cheer made us cheerful. He gave us an example of grace under terrible pressure. We in turn had the opportunity to express our affection and to say goodbye – something that is denied to those who lose loved ones by sudden accident.

The lesson Richard taught me is to accept life's tragedies as well as triumphs and not feel sorry for oneself.

(left - Holger Hansen sometime after 1919)

My father-in-law was an old man whose work was done. A north European farm boy, he had come to the United States as a young man – one of the millions of post-World War I European emigrants who still envisioned America as a promised land. He had a trade and a strong body and he was willing to work. That was all that America asked of her new citizens; in return she promised rewards, and lived up to the promise.

He saw good times here and bad, as most of us have, but on balance it was good and he lived out his days in comfort. When his time came, it was the passing of an era. He was the stuff of which this great country has been made and he did his work well. He showed us that life provided opportunities for those who are capable of seizing them.

My wife is in Ohio, gone there to bury him. But she plans no mournful farewell service. Rather she pictures his passing as the completion of a story and she wants to celebrate his life. He and millions like him helped to make this nation great.

(Left: Holger surrounded by the three generations following him: his daughter to his left, his grandson and great-granddaughter to the right)

God rest your souls, Richard Perkins, who gave us an unforgettable example of gallantry, and Holger Hansen, who made us understand what America is all about.

LW (Luther Weare)

(Segments of the above article were read at Holger's memorial service, according to the notes on my copy.)

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.