PARK (Ireland>US>Ireland>Canada)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: PaRk. Meaning: Dweller in, or near a park or enclosure; a park warden or gamekeeper.

Origin: Apparently this is an English surname, which is unsurprising coming from an Irish family of this time. We only have this part of the family traced back three generations, so…

Variations: None in our family line.

Relation to me: This is my maternal grandfather’s mother’s maiden name.

i: Park, Mary, 1891–1984, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US; Bjarne Bordewick, 2 sons

ii: Park, Robert, 1852-1930, Ireland (Dublin?); Elizabeth Curran, 2 sons, 5 daughters

iii: Park, John, ?-?, Ireland (?), ? Dunlop, only 1 son known

Looking for:
Any information on Robert Park’s family. I recently found his death certificate, which listed his father’s name and his mother’s maiden name, but I know nothing else about the family before they came to the US.

In Memory of Margaret Hansen Hillinger, 1919-2010

My grandmother passed away this week. I’m lucky. I had forty years with her, and the chance to interview her about her mother and her life.

She had a pretty impressive life. I know she didn’t think so, but I’ve always been proud to be her granddaughter. Not only was she a WAC in World War II, but she reached the rank of First Lieutenant, and went over to Europe after the war to help with the cleanup, where she met my grandfather, who was doing the same.

The two had four great kids together, and those kids between them had six children, and my grandmother was even lucky to live long enough to meet two of her great-grandchildren.

She died Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by family. And I know now that she is at peace. I miss her very much.

So I just want to share a selection of pictures of my beautiful, amazing grandmother.

Maggie with her parents Oline and Holger:

Maggie at home—the outfit was made by her mother, the house was made by her father:

Maggie and her sister and brother:

Maggie in the army:

Maggie and her sister:


Sam and Maggie:

Wedding day:

Sunbathing with their firstborn (my dad)

Maggie and her second-born:

More skiing:

The whole gang:

Maggie and her daughters:

First grandbaby (me):

Even more skiing:

Sisters again:

Four Generations—Maggie, her father, her son, and her granddaughter:

Maggie and her granddaughters in the 70s:

Sam and Maggie:

The gang in the 70s

And even more skiing:

Maggie and the grandkids in the 80s:

Maggie and her sister with their uncle Hans:

Maggie and Sam with all the grandkids in the 90s:

Maggie’s 80th Birthday at the Space Needle Restaurant:

And even more skiing:

Sam and Maggie’s 50th Anniversary:

Maggie and her sister with their respective husbands:

Maggie and (most of the) family with her sister and her niece:

Four generations again—Maggie and her son and her granddaughter and great-granddaughter:

Maggie’s 90th Birthday, August 2009 (with her great-granddaughter):

A link to my sister's post about Maggie.

HANSEN (Denmark>US) – Part II

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Hans-son/Hans/sen. Meaning: Patrynomic name meaning “Son of Hans,” or Johannes, which is the Danish form of John.

Origin: Danish

Variations: In this family, none, but there are enough forms of this name that everyone knows a large number—Hanson, Hansson, Jones, Johnson, etc… I’ve actually got this name in several spots on my tree—both the Bordewick spouses and the Hansen spouses have variations on the name, and will be covered on their own.

Relation to me: In this case, this is my father's mother's mother's maiden name, which is one of those Family Tree Maker annoyances, as her maiden name was the same as her husband's, and it warns you each time you use the same last name for both spouses.

Ancestors: (Most recent to least)
i: Hansen, Oline, 1886 – 1929, Fjenneslev, Denmark; Holger Hansen, 2 daughters, 1 son

ii: Rasmus Hansen, 1845 – 1895, Knudstrup, Denmark; Maren Nielsen, no children, Maren Olsen, 3 sons, 3 daughters

iii: Nielsen, Hans , abt 1816 - ?, Denmark; Maren Rasmussen, 5 sons
(this connection has not yet been confirmed)

Looking for:
Conformation that Hans and Maren are Rasmus's parents, or any alternate family information that would prove a different family ancestry. Everything from Rasmus and his wife and down we are certain of, so it is only their ancestry that is in question, and any siblings they might have had. I have been told that Oline and her brother Hans came over to the states in the 1800s with family, so I assume that is either one of Rasmus or Maren's siblings's families.

Brickwall Update #2

As I have said in the past, the reason I got into genealogy in the first place was because of my grandfather’s death, and realizing that I would never be able to ask him questions about his family. Luckily, my grandfather was a bit of a genealogist himself, and did some research on his father’s name, so we have information on his family going back several generations. He was also kind enough to write up the story of his family, which talks about where his parents were born, and how they arrived in Vancouver, where my grandfather was born and lived until he and my grandmother moved their family down to Seattle.

However, because he was the only remaining child of his parents (his only other sibling, a younger brother named Henry, died in a plane crash during World War II, when he was being sent to Europe), that meant that there was no one else to ask about his mother's side of the family. We knew what little my grandfather had written about them, but nothing beyond that. So, ever since, I have been working on finding the Parks (her father's family) and the Currans (her mother's family). All we knew was that they were from Ireland, and that one or both were from the general vicinity of Belfast.

I'm glad to say that I've recently found my grandmother's parent's death certificates in a database containing Vancouver death records, and was pleased to find that both listed their parents' names. For me, just having the names is a huge leap, as it's something I've been looking for for nine years now. It's one of those times when you kick yourself for not trying it sooner. I always ignored Vancouver because we "had all that info anyway." I'll say it here for those reading, though I know you will someday find yourself doing the same thing and kicking yourself for it later, because I read it many times myself and still didn't consider the meaning: Ignore Nothing. Deaths are just as important as births. Even if you think you know the whole story, you don't. Look it all up. You never know what you'll find.

My new information, which really only gets me one generation further back:
* My great-great-great grandfather's father was John Park and his wife came from the Dunlop family (all that was given was her last name, so I'm still unsure of her full name at this time). I'd always suspected a connection to the Dunlop family, because my great-grandmother's middle name is Dunlop, but I was never sure which side that was from. So now I know. I have nothing beyond my great-great-great grandfather's full name, and his wife's maiden name. Any further information here would be quite welcome.
* My great-great grandmother's parents were Thomas Curran and Jennie or Jane Blair. I know they had three daughters, Elizabeth (my great-great-grandmother), Sarah, and Rhoda, and possibly as many as four or five other children (I've found birth certificates for John, Rhoda, Joseph, Sarah, Thomas, and Anna, but none for my great-great grandmother). Beyond this, I know nothing for certain, so any more information (confirmation of the names of Thomas and Jennie's children, birthdates, marriage dates, etc) is quite welcome.

I was also lucky enough to find the Park family in the 1900 US Census, which was quite fascinating, because while we knew they had been there, we'd never been able to find records because the records hall had burned down. So now I have the birthdates of all the Park children aside from the youngest daughter, who was likely born after 1900, along with a few other interesting tidbits. Apparently my great-great grandparents had married either right before or right after immigrating to the US, and lived there more than 17 years before returning to Ireland. Not to mention that there had been two more children who had not survived to be listed on the census at the time.

So the lesson here? Ignore nothing, and even the highest brick walls can be climbed with time, patience, and perseverance. As they say in one of my favorite movies: "Never give up; never surrender!"

For more information on this family line, see these posts:
Brickwall Ancestors
Surname Sunday: Bordewick
The Bordewick Family
Four Generations Photos (the first photo is me, my mother, my grandfather, and his mother)

And for those who want to know what database I used, I used the new Family beta site. I highly recommend it, as it allows visual access to the actual records if they are available online, and allows you to download them or print them out if you wish.

KRESCH (German/Prussian)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Kresh is how I’ve always pronounced it, though I am uncertain of the true pronunciation. Meaning: 1. German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): unexplained; perhaps an altered form of Krat(z)sch, a habitational name from Kratschütz, recorded in 1378 as Kracz. 2. German: from a personal name cognate with Old High German grātag ‘greedy’. 3. German: from the Czech personal name Kreč (Kretsch).

Origin: German/Prussian, I believe.

Variations: From the above, Kratsch, Kracz, or Krec, but we only have it spelled in our tree as Kresch.

Relation to me: My father’s father’s mother’s maiden name.

i: Kresch, Dora, 1892 – 1969, born in Germany, Poland, or somewhere thereabouts; Alex Hillinger, 2 boys, 4 girls

ii: Kresch, Benzion, born before 1882, died after 1892, unknown birth location; Feige Reich, at least 1 son and 1 daughter

Looking for:
Any information on Benzion and Feige (Golda)’s family—where they lived, their birth/death dates, how many children they had and where they were born, or their parents, would all be welcome.

SENFT (Poland?>England>Germany>US)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation – Sen-FT (I believe) Meaning - 1: Means "mustard seller" from the German Senf(t). 2: A nickname for a helpful, kind person from the Middle High German senfte meaning "soft, accomodating".

Origin: The farthest back we are able to trace our branch is the Prussian states somewhere.

Variations: I am uncertain of the exact spelling of this name, as some documentation I have lists the name as Senft, and some as Seneft. There are other variations I have seen online but those are the only ones I am aware of.

Relation to me: My paternal grandfather’s grandfather’s surname. The story on why our name is Hillinger rather than Senft can be found here.

Ancestors: (Most recent to least)
i: Senft (Hillinger), Elias (Alex), 1883 – 1947, Germany?, Dora Kresch, 2 sons, four daughters

ii: Senft, Leon – likely born before 1863, died before 1922, unknown birth location, Mindel Hilinger, 3 sons, 2 daughters

Looking for:
Everything here is open to question, unfortunately, as I have previously blogged about. We are uncertain where Leon and Mindel were born, how they met, or why they moved to England. We know they had at least five children, though I have names for only four, all of which appear to be Anglicized: Alex (Elias), Annie, Jennie, and Jack. I have no dates for any of the other children, and only limited information on that side of the family tree, so any help would be more than welcome. Especially when it comes to the Senft ancestors.

Genealogy sites link list

There are so many great sites out there these days that it can be daunting for someone to know where to start, or what to look for in a site to find what they need.

Then there are the pitfalls of sites that require an account with them. Some are free and some pay, and some limited-access free with full access for pay, but often one can look a great deal like the other to an outsider.

This, then, is a list of my favorite sites (all free for use) for those of you who want help in finding more information on your own family.

Site: My
Features: Free downloadable software, ability to record your family tree online with no software needed, search function
Type: Free account needed, free site, but software is upgradable to premium for a fee
Comments: I like this site, tough I don’t use their online family tree, as I already have an account at that several family members use. The two most useful aspects to this site are the free software—which is nearly equivalent to Family Tree Maker in ease of use and function—and the search function both on the site and incorporated into the software itself. The search function in the software is actually of a higher quality than that of the site, so if you are in the market for genealogy software, I highly recommend checking out this site.

Features: No free software, but the site itself is a free online genealogy program which allows you to link your tree to other users’ trees if you find a connection.
Type: Free, with premium upgrade options.
Comments: Aside from Family Tree Maker, this is my major piece of Genealogy “software.” Most of my family as I know it is recorded on this site, and I’m constantly doing my best to keep it updated. An excellent site for those who wish to do without software, as they’re constantly updating the site to make it more user friendly.
Warning--the search functions on this site seem disabled if you try to use them, but they are accessible with a free account, just not the complex search functions.
To get around the “premium only” search warning, here’s what you do. If you are searching for someone on your tree, type the name in the search box at the top right of the screen. When it starts to fill in the name, merely blot out the words that describe their relationship to you by pressing space after the end of the name. Once the relationship tag disappears, press enter, and that should take you to the results page.

Site: GenCircles
Features: Searches multiple family archives.
Type: Free
Comments: Searches through family trees submitted by users. Also has a connection to Family Tree Legends, a free genealogy software, though I have not tried this one out (yet). Judging from the screen shots, it is remarkably similar to Family Tree Maker, and includes a merging function not available in the Family Tree Builder program.

Site: Family
Features: Searches the LDS records for any records using a number of variables.
Type: Free site
Comments: This is probably the best place to start when looking for family information. LDS records are constantly being updated, and provide as much information from the original documents referenced as possible.

Site: Tribal Pages
Features: Allows for search of many family tree sites, with far more international representation than most other sites out there.
Type: This is a free site, but many members chose to hide some or all of the information there to keep the information private.
Comments: This can be a great resource for those looking for other family members to collaborate with. Sometimes all you’ll find is a name or two, but sometimes, you can find whole branches you didn’t know before. My second most-favorite site to look through.

Site: Family Tree Searcher
Features: Searches multiple databases using the information you provide, similar to the search done with the Family Tree Builder program that My provides.
Type: The site itself is free, though it accesses pay-only sites for information.
Comments: Many of the sites it searches on are partial or full-pay sites, so the information you get in return is often minimal at best. That said, it does save up to ten past searches so that you do not have to enter them again.

Site: Genealogy Today
Features: Another multiple-site search engine, though this one focuses mostly on American sites, with some Australian and Canadian sites as well.
Type: Free, though it does access some paid content
Comments: A good site, but a bit American-centric if your family hasn’t been in the states long.

Features: Searches multiple databases and sites.
Type: Mostly pay, though it does still access a few free Family Tree Maker Sites that went up before took over both.
Comments: Most of the records here are pay, but the personal family trees make it worth looking at this site every now and then, though the information gets less accurate as time goes on.

Site: Ellis Island
Features: Free search of all passengers recorded from 1892-1924.
Type: Free
Comments: A great site that has now extended the search function to just allow for search of a particular vessel.

Site: The World Bride Index
Features: A listing of brides and their maiden names for those looking for an elusive female ancestor.
Type: Free
Comments: This site is more miss than hit, but sometimes gems do turn up. Good when looking for a particular female ancestor.

Obviously, there are other sites out there, and I may add to this from time to time, but these are the sites I find myself going back to again and again for one reason or another.

Good luck, and happy searching, folks!

JONES (Wales>Canada) - Part I

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Joenz. Like Hansen, this name means “Son of John.”

Origin: Welsh

Variations: This is the only Welsh form I’m aware of, but it is a Patrynomic name like Hansen, which means once you get past a certain generation, the name changes every generation.

Relation to me: My mother’s mother’s maiden name.

i: Jones, Merle, 1915, Vancouver, BC, Canada; George Bordewick, 2 sons, 2 daughters

ii: Jones, Daniel, 1882-1964, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, UK; Eliza Howells, 3 daughters, 1 son

iii: Jones, Benjamin, 1865-1915, Caio, Wales, UK; Hannah Griffiths, 5 sons, 2 daughters

Looking for:
Any information on Benjamin and Hannah’s children or parents. As you can see, this branch doesn’t go out far, so any information would be quite helpful.

I can't help but giggle that my first two surnames (my grandfathers' surnames) are pretty uncommon, while my second two (my grandmothers') are two of the most common surnames in the world... :P

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.