Where We're From – Canada

Today's list is going to be much smaller than the US list. As far as I'm aware, my direct family really only lived in a few locations in Canada, but it's possible there were others that I'm not aware of.

Map of the locations in this list:

View My Canadian Roots in a larger map

1. Vancouver, BC
Two generations of my mother's side of the family were born here. Both of her parents, and she and all her siblings were born in the area.

My grandparents George Bordewick and Merle Jones met in Vancouver as teenagers, and married in 1939 before my grandfather went to war. Once he returned, they raised 4 children there before moving down to Washington state in the early 60s.

The Howells arrived in Vancouver sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Many of their children settled in the area with their families, and my great-grandmother Eliza eventually met her husband there. The two settled there and raised four children there, all of whom also settled in the area with their familes.

The Bordewick family, Henrick Bergthon and Leonharde Marie and their three sons came from England to live in Vancouver in the early 1900s, about 1910, and their son, my great-grandfather Bjarne settled there, eventually meeting his wife, Mary. They married there in 1917 and raised their two boys there together.

The Parks, Robert and Elizabeth and most of their seven children, came in the late 19-teens, I believe, where one of their daughters had moved from Ireland with her husband. Most of the children settled in and around the Vancouver area with their respective spouses. My great-grandmother Mary met her husband there, and lived there until the 1980s when my grandfather moved her down to a Washington rest home so he could be closer to her.

Daniel Jones came to Vancouver sometime before 1911, where he met and married Eliza Howells, and the two married and settled there together, raising their three children there and living there together until his death in the 1960s.

2. Winnipeg, Manitoba
After arriving in Canada in the late 1800s, my great-great grandparents Gabriel and Selina Howells settled on a farm with his brother, Lewis Howells, but after about a year, Gabriel decided farming wasn't for him and went to live in the nearest city (I believe), Winnipeg. My great-grandmother Eliza grew up there before moving to Vancouver as a young woman, where she met and married her husband.

3. Saskatchewan
After looking up my family in the Canadian Censuses that are available, it looks as though Gabriel's brother's farm was in Saskatchewan, and not in Manitoba as I believed, so I'm adding it as a separate location, though I'm not sure where in the provence his farm was, and I know my great-great-grandparents and their kids didn't live there too long. About a year.

And that's it, really. Those are the ones I'm sure of. This doesn't touch on Daniel's full trip through Canada. I'm not even sure all the places he stopped on his trip, though apparently he visited Winnipeg before Vancouver as well. If my family reading this knows more, I'd love to hear it.

Next up: Germany

ETA: Added Saskatchewan.

Heirloom Quilt

As I've mentioned before, I knew both of my great-grandmothers on my mother's side of the family growing up. So it was through memories more than objects that I knew them both. I know we have a number of heirlooms for each of those sides of the family, but for me what's always stood out was what I remembered of them.

This past year, with all the research I've done and photos I've looked at, that's changed a lot. And in the past ten years, I've started to become more aware of the heirlooms as well. I've mentioned in this blog that I have a necklace of my Nain's. I got it from my grandmother for my 21st birthday, and apparently my Nain got it from her parents for her 21st birthday. It's one of the few things I have of hers, so I treasure it dearly. I never thought too much about what I had from my other great-grandmother until this past month, though.

My granny (my grandfather's mother) lived in Vancouver with her younger sister when I was small. They did very well together until the late seventies, when my grandfather wanted her closer so that he could take care of her. He moved her into a nearby Masonic nursing home, here in Washington so that he could visit her more frequently.

She wasn't too happy to be there. Though she was born in Philadelphia, she didn't like the United States. It seems her parents, Irish immigrants, hadn't been treated too well here, so they left about 1910 and went back to Ireland. She never forgot her early life here in the states, and would have preferred to stay in Canada. Unfortunately, my grandfather was her only living child, and since he lived here in Washington, she had no other choice.

She spent her time in the home doing projects with the other ladies there, including quilting from cloth they'd been given to occupy their time. My sister and I each received a quilt from her for Christmas one year during this time. My pre-teen self wasn't too impressed at the time, as I recall. The one I received wasn't my favorite colour – it was yellow/gold/tan – whereas my sister's was hers. And I had never had a true quilt before. It was cool to have something she'd actually made, and when she died soon after, it became a bit more precious to me, but I spared it little other thought.

It's been well-used over the years, though it is still not my favorite blanket. The wear and tear is definitely beginning to show, thirty-odd years on. When I told my mother-in-law about it, she offered to look it over and fix it up for me, and I began to realize just what a precious artifact it is. This is something that was made by my great-grandmother, and something that connects me to her.

I think, once I can, I'll pass it on to one of my sister's kids. Given that she has the other blanket, they can each have one. And I can tell them both the story of why it's special, and where it came from. And who made it. And maybe they'll feel a bit more connected to her because of it. That's my hope, anyway.

Granny, me, sis, aunt D behind us--the blanket isn't the quilt, but I thought it appropriate.

Mystery Monday: Nice Dress

If the style of this dress wasn't from the latish 1800's, I would think this was my husband's father's mother, Anna Leona Matlack (née Walker). It could possibly her mother, Anna Leona Walker (née Potts), but I don't think it quite looks like her. Here is a picture that includes them both at a reasonably young age. my guess is that this is one of Anna Leona Walker's sisters. There parents were named Levi Boyer Pott and Sarah Potts, and the daughters I have listed for them are Cassadella Potts, Anna Leona Walker and Lila Potts. Anna Leona was born April 11, 1869 in MacLean, Illinois.

BRUE (Norway)

Meaning/Pronunciation: Pronunciation: Brew Meaning: May possibly come from French origins, a location name.

Origin: Norwegian.

Variations: Bru

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

i: Brue, Anders Olsen, ca 1759 – 1824, Sunnfjord, Norway; Anna Maria Anderstatter Brunn, 2 daughters, 1 son; Marta Kjellsdatter, 2 sons, 1 daughter; Sophie Dikke, no known children

Looking for:
I know almost nothing about this branch. It's one of the newest discoveries on my tree, so I already have more than I need at the moment. It's also so far back there that it can wait a little longer before I start to work on it.

Looks like he was trying to compete with his granddaughter's husband. Still, didn't even come close… ;)

Where We're From – United States

So now that my Surname Saturday posts are wrapping up (the last will be posted tomorrow), I've been trying to decide where to go next. I've been working up lists of things to do like the Visual Family Tree and the Surname posts that can be series, as those sorts of things seem to keep me going.

So one new idea I had was to highlight the places my family was born/lived around the world. I'm going to start with the most recent locations and work my way back. We'll see how this goes.

Map for the locations (and a couple others not really on this list):

View My US Roots in a larger map

1. Seattle, Washington
Most recently, all our direct line has lived in or around Seattle, Washington.

Dad's parents, Sam and Maggie, moved here in the early 50s (1952, I believe) after Sam graduated from Ohio State with a degree in accounting. Their second son was already on the way, but neither liked the cities their families lived in. Chicago and Cleveland were too industrial and grungy, and they just didn't feel at home there. After narrowing down their choices, they chose Seattle because they'd heard good things about the growing city, and because of its close proximity to Ski Slopes—the two had met on a trip to Switzerland while still in the service, and had learned to ski together.

Mom's family didn't move down from Canada until the early 60's. George was looking for a new and better-paying job, and found one in the Brewer Company, where he did the books and eventually became a vice president in the company. It didn't hurt that Bellevue (a neighboring city to Seattle) was so close to the Canadian border, where all the rest of their family still lived.

2. Chicago, Illinois
Sam's family moved to Chicago after several locations throughout the US, finally settling here shortly before Sam was drafted into the Army. Most of his family still lives here today, and both of his parents died there, Alex in 1948, and Dora in 1969.

However, before the Hillingers lived there, my family had another connection to Chicago. Oline Hansen, my grandmother Maggie's mother, lived there for a time, working for families as a housekeeper, cook, and occasionally a seamstress, until she moved to Cleveland and married in 1918.

3. Hot Springs, Arkansas
Before Chicago, Sam's family settled in Arkansas. Dora worked for a hospital to make money because Alex was no longer able to work. It was here that Sam graduated from school. (he's the second picture on the first row) It was the same school that President Clinton would later graduate from.

Also, one of the locations my grandmother was stationed during the war was here.
Other places she and my grandfather were stationed in the US: Him--Camp Crowder, Missouri. Her--Des Moines, Iowa; Daytona, Florida; and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Both were then sent to Europe (he much sooner than her).

4. Memphis, Tennessee
After arriving in the US in 1933, the Hillingers lived with a relation in Memphis (Alex's sister and her husband, I believe) for a time. Unfortunately, after their arrival, Alex got sick, and had a stroke, and Dora had to go to work to support their family.

5. Cleveland, Ohio
My great-grandparents, Holger and Oline married and settled in Cleveland, and raised their three children there. My grandmother Maggie, their eldest daughter, remembers growing up in a fairly tight-knit community of Danes, several of which were men who worked with her father building houses in the area.

6. New York, New York
The Hillingers passed through here, and I believe one of Alex's brothers lived in the city until his death, but my true connection to New York was Holger Hansen. After leaving Vejle, Denmark, he settled her with his mother's sister and her family, and began to take work as a brick layer, making quite a bit of money. It was enough to let him visit Denmark in 1916, and it was on that trip he met the woman he was to marry, Oline.

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Irish branch of our family came over in the mid to late 1800s and settled in Philadelphia. Robert and Elizabeth Park were from Northern Ireland, and seeking a better place to live. They had 9 children there together before things got bad in the early 1900s, and returned to Ireland around 1910.

8. Kassen County, Minnesota
My earliest known American ancestor was Ole Larsen (uncertain of the spelling at this time, but this is my presumption based on his daughter's given surname, and how Danish naming practices work). He was Oline's maternal grandfather, and came to the US in the early to mid 1800s, and set up a farm in Minnesota. We know very little about him because he had almost no contact with his wife (at least I assume she was his wife) and daughter after leaving Denmark.

And that's where my ancestral line has lived in the United States.

I may be missing a few locations – where Oline first lived when she arrived in the US, and ditto if Holger lived elsewhere between New York and Cleveland, and I didn't include my grandparents' military postings in the states, or Sam's first job out of school, because I'm not sure where he was living at the time. There's also the period while he was at Ohio State—I'm not sure where he, my grandmother and my dad lived then, though I assume it was near campus.

Family—feel free to offer info if you've got it. :)

Next: Canada.

ETA: Sam and Maggie's posts in the US during the war.

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.