Mystery Monday: Dashing Gentleman

Another Civil War soldier, whose name I don't know. As with the first soldier I posted, I believe this gentleman is related to my husband's mother's mother's mother's family. In fact,I am a little more sure he is, as he bears a strong resemblance to Julius Ebenezer Barbour. I am sure it's not him though, as far as I know, Julius always had that fabulous beard.

PEDERSEN #3 (Denmark)

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

Origin: Danish

Variations: Petersen, Peterson, Pederson, Petersson, Pedersson, as well as –datter versions of both versions of the name.

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

i: Pedersen, Birthe, 1735 – ?, Vejle, Denmark; Soren Sorensen, 4 sons, 3 daughters

ii: Andersen, Peder, ? - ?, Denmark?; Karen Sorensen, 1 known daughter

Looking for:
Not a great deal known, but for now, not too pressing.

And after looking at everything, these are growing less and less relevant, so I'm thinking I'll stop with this generation, even though I was planning on going back ten generations. Makes little sense to keep going when what I want to focus on is the most recent stuff.

Mystery Monday: In Laws

This is a photo of my husband's mother's father's brother and his family, plus what I believe are his wife's sisters.
The people from left to right are Duvillo Cooper Holly, Forrest Holly, Ruth Reed (née Holly) and Olive Holly (née Patterson). The ladies in black are the ones I believe are her sisters, or other relations, as they have very similar features. I think this picture was taken at Forrest and Olive's home. I have birth locations in Mississippi for Forrest and Ruth, so that is likely where they lived. The only date I have for Olive is her death on June 25, 1934. Any information about the other two ladies would be appreciated.

NIELSEN (Denmark)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Nee-ul-sen Meaning: Child of Niel

Origin: Danish, but with possibly Scottish roots

Variations: The usual sen/son/sson and datter variations, and Neil/Nel/Niel versions as well.

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

i: Nielsdatter, Mette, 1746 – 1818, Brande, (Denmark?); Povel Jensen, 5 daughters, 3 sons; Niels Sorensen, no children

Looking for:
Not sure on this one. I don't have her parents at all, but plenty on her. I'm good with what I have for now, but anyone with any information, I'd love to trade info.

Finding Cousins & Re-meeting Relations

My sister and I have been working diligently on the Family Tree all year. She's been working on getting all the family photos we can get our hands on scanned in, and I've been working on gathering paperwork and facts and untangling some of the knots and filling in the blank spaces in our tree. When I've gone over to help her get faces labeled on the photos, I've really been startled how much working on them has helped me re-connect to those family members who have been gone for decades, and has helped me finally sort out some confusion in certain lines. It's even introduced me to new branches that I had no information on before.

I discovered a great-great aunt I knew nothing about on one my side of my dad's tree, and a bunch of aunts and uncles on the other side of that branch as well.

On my mother's side, the huge Welsh family tree is very slowly starting to come together, though I know we've a long way to go before that's all sorted out. But I've got more family that I didn't have in my tree finally tracked back to a common ancestor, so I know I'm getting somewhere.

It's been wonderful to meet them all so far.

And even more, to meet and re-meet my direct ancestors.

Dora, my paternal grandfather's mother, who I never really knew before—she died five months before I was born—has suddenly become a real person to me after only being a name on a page to me for years. She was a good Jewish girl who met her husband in Frankfurt shortly after the end of the Great War. The two raised six kids together there until 1933, when my great-grandfather decided it was best to leave for the family's safety. After their arrival in America, her husband fell ill, so she became the family breadwinner, working as a cook to make ends meet.

Mary, who preferred to be called May, was an Irish girl at heart, despite being born in Philadelphia. She returned to Ireland with her family in the early 1900s, and from there moved to Canada, where she met her Norwegian husband. The two of them had quite a small family, only two boys, the younger of which died in World War II. I was lucky enough to know granny for the first 15 years of my life, the longest of the three great-grandparents I was lucky enough to meet.

Eliza, who was so known as Bessie that everyone assumed her name was Elizabeth, came to Canada from Wales with her family when she was still young. She was an active woman who liked to make hats, sang in choirs, always wore spotted dresses, and loved being a grandmother. I've even learned that she came down to Seattle in 1910 for the Yukon Exhibition in the same location where the University of Washington stands today. Nain (Northern Welsh for Grandmother) always had a smile for everyone, and I loved knowing we were going to see her. She died in 1980.

And then there's my Grandfather. This summer, he'll have been gone for twenty years. He survived World War II, and came home to Canada to raise a family with my grandmother. They had four kids together, and when work grew scarce, moved down here to Washington when he found a better job. After retiring, he stayed active as a Mason, even becoming Grand-Master for a time. And when he wasn't off doing Masonic things, he was working on his marquetry. He made gorgeous pictures which hang in many of his relations' homes today. I have at least four, myself. He was a hard-working man, and a good man. I was pleased to see how many came to his funeral when he died. I still miss him.

Without the pictures, the three I'd known had begun to fade from my memory. Seeing them in these photos, both photos I knew, or as I knew them, and those I did not, particularly those from before I was alive, really reminded me of who my family were. Made them more real, again. And reminded me of the stories about them. They even gave me new stories and facts to add to their lives.

So if you're finding it all tedious, I can highly recommend going out to search for those family photos you don't have access to. The people you'll meet, and the people you'll re-meet will remind you of just why you're doing it.

Mystery Monday: Civil War soldier

As we have been scanning photos a small but growing portion of them are people who are obviously related to our family, but the name has been lost to history. I plan to post them here, with the information I do have, in the hopes that somewhere on the internet is someone who knows. If you have any more information about the people in these posts, please let me know.

I know that this gentleman was a soldier in the Civil War, but I don't know which side he was on, and either is likely. He is related to my husband, but I don't know if he is related to the Walker, Boyer-Pott, Holly or Barbour side. I know that my husband's great great grandfather, Julius Ebenezer Barbour was a soldier in the Civil War, as was the oldest of his two brothers, but there isn't much of a resemblance to him.


Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Mor-ten-sen Meaning: Child of Morten.

Origin: Danish.

Variations: The usual Scandinavian variations.

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

i: Mortensdatter, Abalone, 1744 – 1826, Vejle, Denmark; Frants Mathiasen, 1 son known

ii: Jorgensen, Morten, ? - ?, Denmark?, 1 daughter known

Looking for:
At the moment, I'm happy with this branch, despite knowing very little.

Learning about Abalone came with information about how she was apparently born in a graveyard, which is always a fun story to tell.

I'd love to know more about her siblings or children, but I'm in no rush on this side.

ANDERSEN (Denmark)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: An-der-sen Meaning: Child of Ander or Anders.

Origin: Danish

Variations: The usual feminine addition of –datter, as well as son and sson versions.

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

i: Andersdatter, Anne, 1727 – 1773, Rinkobing, Denmark; Peder Terkelsen, 5 daughters, 2 sons

ii: Pedersen, Anders, 1692 – 1751, Rinkobing, Denmark; Mette Christensdatter, 3 daughters, 1 son

iii: Bertelsen, Peder, 1660 – 1720, Hoven, Denmark; Sidsel Andersdatter, 4 sons

iv: Pedersen, Bertel, 1630 – 1691, Denmark?; unknown, 4 sons, 3 daughters

Looking for:
Definitely have more here than I will need for a good long time, as Bertel would mark the 12 ancestor from me, but any more information on this branch would always be welcome.

My year in Genealogy 2010

I have been the family genealogist since 1991 or thereabouts. But until this year, I'd never spent more than a couple of hours here or there doing research. Most of my time was spent gathering what info I could from the family to update my tree.

My first post here at Oh, Spusch was well over a year ago, but it wasn't until this past year that I really started to post regularly. I had a few random things laying about that I wanted to blog about, and then I discovered Surname Saturday, and decided to do that as well, to work up a visual tree of the family.

Sis joined in, and the two of us (her more than me, though I helped as often as possible) scanned the family photos into her computer and did our best to identify as many people in the photos as we were able. It gave us an idea for a certain project we wanted to do, so much of everything I did on the family tree this year went towards working on that project—identifying locations, reading the letters between my great-aunt and my grandmother, who were sisters, and in the process, learning a great deal about my family tree, and how much had already gone into finding out what we already had.

I got a lot more organized because of it. I resolved to work on our family tree at least once a week, sometimes just working on posts, sometimes doing research, sometimes over at my sister's to scan and identify more photos.

I also started a new filing system for my paperwork. When I first began to work on my family's genealogy, I had a very simple system—I had folders in my file cabinet for each branch of the family—one for each grandparent, and one for my husband's family.

As I began to work on my genealogy this year, I decided to upgrade my system. I had a file-box with a handle that I could take with me if needed, and used that for putting all the folders I'd used before. It grew more complicated from there as I began to gather paperwork—both from printing stuff off the internet, and gathering papers from my family for the family tree. I'm now so overwhelmed with paperwork I may never catch up, but I'm hoping to try, at least. One of my Christmas gifts this year was a new storage box that I can put everything into and only use the carry-box for what I absolutely need to take with me.

I also started using sub-folders in each family name, and printed out a full version of each branch of the tree in two forms—as a pedigree chart in sections of four generations, and as family group sheets. Of course, with everything I've discovered in this past year, I need to update it again, but I think I'll make that a once yearly project, rather than redoing it every time I find something new. Otherwise, it will be too much work. Unfortunately, with everything that has happened, my printer is now on the fritz, so I will have to wait until I can get a new printer so that I can do that this year.

I've even started to use colour-coding to tell the branches apart visually, though mostly in the computer forms I've made for myself. Because otherwise, the long lists of names starts to blur after a point.

My actual progress for the year:
I started out my search writing out what I had on three of the biggest Brick walls in my family: My father's father's side of the family, my father's mother's mother's side, and my mother's father's mother's side. I am proud to say that I have made major progress in all three branches, though I have yet to actually get any further generations back on my grandfather's side.

The first brick wall, my paternal grandfather's side is the hardest to get further back with, because they were Ashkanazi (German) Jews from Eastern Europe. But I learned a great deal more about them, to the point where I now have the names of most of my great-grandfather's siblings, and birthplaces for both himself and his wife. I also learned a great deal more about his journey from Galicia to England, then Germany, and finally to America. And I learned about Galicia itself, which while depressing, was fascinating. I also learned that my grandfather's twin sister was named for their mother's sister, who I'd never even heard of before. I really feel like I connected to this side this year, and someday hope to learn more. Possibly even manage to get another generation back—or more.

On my paternal great-grandmother's side, I have learned so much, and then discovered that I was re-tracing the steps my grandmother and her sister had already taken. I may have managed to get a few more names, thanks to, but most of what I've found has just confirmed what they learned from their uncle, who they met again in the eighties shortly before his death, and from my great aunt's trip to Denmark around that time.

I've even learned more about their father's side, though I'd never thought to look into it until I got the paperwork about the family tree after my grandmother's death this last year. Particularly about how their father came to the US, and how he and his wife met.

And I've done so much research on that side, Denmark has sped to the top of my "genealogy places to go" list. As well as becoming one of the spots on my tree that I know a lot of tricks about how to find information. I even connected with a cousin of my grandmother's over there who has quite a bit of her paternal side mapped out on a genealogy website.

On the other side of the family, my paternal great-grandmother's side has always been of interest to me. I knew they were Irish, but I'd never been able to find my great-great grandmother's parents' names, even though I had the names for three of their daughters. As of now, I know not only their names, but both of their fathers' names, as well as several more likely children, and I know that my great-great grandfather's mother's maiden name was the same as my great-grandmother's middle name. It's so much more than what I had before, and also made me realize that that side of the family is what is known as Scotch Irish here in the states. Very cool. And a wall that I'm glad I finally managed to break through that wall, given that it was the branch I'd always been most interested in from the start.

I had so much luck with those three branches of the family that I even took a stab at sorting out the Welsh branches of my family tree, for which I unfortunately have the least documentation at this point, though it's getting better. I even managed to find one of the "missing" wives of one of my ancestors on Family Search, so I think I'll be able to manage something. I might even be able to connect one of the branches to the rumours about one of those lines being Huguenots. I think I've figured out which, but I have not conclusive evidence—yet.

I even managed to make some headway on the other branch of the tree, to the point where I found marriage records for many of them, and connections that led me even further back. Including finding out the origin of my maternal grandfather's line in Norway. Now I just have to find out who his parents were.

I've had a lot of help this year. The photos have helped me learn more about the connections between people—both from the stories we've learned from family members, and from the notes on the backs of the photos, as well as the photos themselves. It's been a revelation.

Software and websites:
Then there were the websites and programs I've been using. was of course the number one site, especially when they started to test the latest version on their beta site. So much new information there these days. And far more outside the country than ever before.

But I also decided to upgrade my software, only to find that the latest version of my current software was not something I wanted to purchase. So I began to test out other software, only to discover that there really isn't anything that will replace Family Tree Maker exactly. I ended up with two new programs, though neither is exactly a perfect replacement. The Master Genealogist is what I was hoping I could use to replace FTM, but now I'm less sure than when I first got it. I like it, but it feels like it needs a major overhaul. It's like it's stuck in the 80s, which is never a good thing. The other program is a free one called Family Tree Builder, but while it's much more modern, it's missing some of the basic things that most genealogy programs have—most specifically, a merge function. But I think if it gets one, that could well become my main genealogy software. I've also still got a free version of Legacy on my computer, which has a lot of nice functions, particularly when it comes to merging—so we'll see…I haven't made up my mind yet.

In using Family Tree Builder, I've found several connections, and several new websites. I also finally signed up for Jewish Gen, which hasn't led to any new discoveries yet, but I do keep hoping. The Ellis Island site yielded info on my paternal great-grandmother's Ellis Island record, as well as one of my great-great aunt's records for when she came to the US.

Then there were the other things the internet has helped with: Google Reader, and tips and stories from other genealogists; Google Bookmarks, which has made it so much easier to back-track all the info I've found over the last year; Google Maps, which has shown me at least one of the places my ancestors lived if I am right; and even Geni, though I'm less enamoured of that site than I was when I was first shown it. I like being able to connect to others, but it feels a bit pushy in some aspects. Possibly because only my sister and myself are on it in our family circle, though we've sent invites to several folks in the family, a few of which who even joined, though they never added anything much.

And then there was Drop Box. I dithered on that for a while, because I was worried that others would have access to my information. But having two computers at home made it rather a vital convenience. I've still not been able to get all of my software to read from that folder, but having duplicates of all my writing, and of my Family Tree Maker files definitely makes having it worth it. I highly recommend it to anyone who has more than one computer that they use regularly.

Then, of course, there was Picasa for the photos, which was both great and problematic, but definitely a wonderful resource for keeping track of the family photos, especially so that I don't have to download them onto my computer as well as having them on my sister's.

And one last site that was only set up at the end of this past year. Tapestry. I've only played with it a little, but it looks as though it could become a great asset to the genealogy community, given time. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to do research into their family tree. From kids on up.

Events in my tree this year:
As far as genealogical events, there have been quite a few for my family this year, both close and more distant. The largest, of course, was my grandmother's death in May, and the second most would have to be my cousin's son being born in March. Other highlights included a second cousin's marriage in Canada, my brother-in-law's marriage in September, and a few other things, some of which I'm not quite ready to talk about, and others I am sure I have already forgotten.

Shortly after my grandfather's death, I spent an afternoon with my grandmother, talking to her about her mother, and about her own life. I don't want to go into too much detail here, aside from saying that I'm glad I did. Because she's the one grandparent that I really got to talk to their family about before their health declined. It makes me feel a little closer to her. And I do miss her every day.

After my grandmother's death, my aunt gave me a few different stacks of papers, and from those papers I have learned so much more—not just about her and her family, but also about my grandfather's family, including many things I'd never known before. I know I have barely scratched the surface. I think, if I manage the time, this coming year could be just as fascinating. I suppose I'll see.

There's so much more I could talk about, but I've already gone on far too long, so I think what I have is enough, and I'll do my new genealogy resolutions/wish list in another post.

But beyond everything else—it really was quite a year. I can't wait to see what the coming year will bring. Hopefully more good than bad.

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.