Surname Saturday 2.0: The Blairs

The Blair Family
The Blairs are another relatively new branch of my family tree. Like the Dunlop family, I discovered them only after finding my great-great grandparents' death records in Vancouver BC. For many years, I had three sisters in the Curran family, but had no clue who their parents were. Then I discovered Elizabeth (Curran) Park's death record, and there were listed Thomas Curran and Jane Blair. Plugging that into Family search gave me not only several other children, but also a wedding record which listed both bride and groom's father.

So at this time, my Blair ancestors number two: Jane or Jennie Blair, who had at least seven or eight, possibly even more children; and her father, John Blair. I know little about him except for his name and that he had one child, but it is far more than I knew before. I continue to look for more periodically at Family Search and other sites, but I think this is one branch that will likely require a subscription to the UK BMD site to really get much further.

Like two of the other three branches in my Irish heritage, Blair is a very popular Scottish name, so I do think it possible that the family may have come to Antrim from Scotland at some point, though it is known in Ireland, so it's also possible they did not. I'll definitely keep my options open with this one. Of all the names in this branch of the tree, I think Dunlop's the most likely to be Scots-Irish over the others, and Curran the least likely. But you never know.

My Blair line, for those interested:

* John Blair has one child that I know about. I am uncertain where or when he was born or died, or the name of his wife, or anything about any other children.

* His known daughter is Jane or Jennie Blair, who is listed as having been born in 1838 in Ireland on her wedding record. She married Thomas Curran in 1860, and they had at least seven children from what I can find on Family Search: Anna, Sarah, John, Sarah Jane, Joseph, Rhoda, and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, Rhoda, and Sarah are the three sisters I had before I found anything on Family Search.

* Jennie and Thomas's children, as I currently have them listed:
+ Elizabeth Curran was born in Antrim, Ireland in 1862. She married Robert James Park in 1883, and they emigrated to America about that same year. The two had nine children, two of whom died in infancy. The two returned to Ireland soon after their last child was born, and from there to Canada, where they lived until their deaths. Elizabeth lived long enough to meet three of her great-grandchildren before her death in 1954.
+ Anna Curran was born in 1865 in Antrim, Ireland. I know nothing else about her.
+ Sarah Curran was born 1867 in Antrim, Ireland. She married John Stevenson, and I believe moved to Canada as well. I know nothing else about her.
+ John Curran was born 1870 in Antrim, Ireland. I know nothing else about him.
+ Thomas Curran was born in 1872 in Antrim, Ireland. I know nothing else.
+ Sarah Jane Curran was born 1874, and like her brothers, I know nothing else about her.
+ Joseph Curran was born 1876.
+ Rhoda Curran was born 1878. She married John Carruth, and I believe they moved to Canada together and had at least one child, possibly more, and that there was at least one grandchild, though the person I am aware of may have been her child. Other than that, I know little else about this branch.

* Elizabeth and Robert's family can be read in detail on the Park surname post.

What I don't know:

* Where John Blair was born.

* Anything about the rest of the Blair family, even if that is only John's wife.

* I assume this branch was protestant, as is most of their descendants, but as of yet, I have no absolute proof of that.

More on this line:

Brick Wall People – Part 3 – Benzion Kresch

No Known Photo
Name: Benzion Kresch
Birth: unknown
Death: before 1919
Marriage: Before 1890
Location(s): Czudek, Galicia (Poland); Czendei, Galicia (Poland) (location not found)
Relation to me: Benzion Kresch is my paternal grandfather's maternal grandfather, which makes him 5th generation before me.
Alias(es): none known
Parents: unknown
Spouse(s): FeigeGolda Reich
Children: Naftali Mendel, Dora, Minna, ?, ?
Other Family: No other direct family known.
I know very little about Benzion. He lived and died in Galicia, and made a living as a teacher of some sort, but I do not know what sort of teacher. He and his wife likely lived in Czudek most of their married lives, as I know at least two of their children were born there. I have heard from a family relation that they may have had as many as five children, but I am still uncertain of the names of their other two children at this time. As for his death, I found a report on Jewish Gen about an attack on the town shortly before his daughter left for Frankfurt, so it is possible he may have died in that attack, or because of it.
Other than that, I know nothing about the man, other than my great grandmother named her eldest child for him.
1)      Like the other branch of my Jewish heritage, I got all my information originally from my grandfather, who never met his grandparents except for his grandmother Feige. Up until recently, that information was all I had on Benzion.
2)      Benzion is also in the Hillinger Family book. It mentions Benzion was a teacher, and at least two place names: Czudek and Czendei in Galicia. Unfortunately, I don't know where Czendei might be, but I have at least found Czudek on a map.
3)      The last bit of information I have on Benzion is one of the most recent records I have found: his son's immigration record to Brazil. He is only mentioned on it, but it gives Mendel's birth as Czudek, so that is confirmed, at least.
Like Alex's parents, I have no BMD information on Benzion, so I can only speculate at those dates. I have no clue where to even start looking for information on him, given he lived in Galicia around the time when Jews were under attack by the gentiles around them. Likely few records existed even before the Nazis came to power, and the ones that did likely didn't after their regime.
I would also love better records about his children. I was lucky enough to find Mendel, and I know a great deal about Dora's life, but Minna I have only a couple of photos and a story of how the two sisters came to Frankfurt together from Czudek. Of the other children, I have nothing at all, though I fear that they likely went the way of so many Jews in their area—Trablinka, or similar. To be honest, it scares me to find out, so it stops me from looking. Until the next time I try, of course.
Even more, I would love to know about his parents, siblings, and the people he came from. Was he an only child? Was his father a teacher too? What kind of life did they lead? I tend to speculate that he was from the vague Rzeszów area, just north of where Czudek is located in Poland, but as of yet, I have no real proof he was from Galicia at all, and he could have just settled there because Rzeszów was a center for Jewish learning at the time.

And really, for now, that's it. I just have so little about Benzion, I have no clue even where to start. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

My Surnames Stats

I've got a great mix of surnames in my family tree, from the most-common Jones and Hansen to the least, Bordewick and Seneft. So I thought I'd go through my surnames and see what their popularity (and origin, if I can find it) are in the world. I used this site for the data.

The number after each country is rounded up, and the numbers for each country are based on how many people per million in that country have that surname. I was hoping to find a site that would give a more exact list, but then I'd have had to piece together a lot more information myself, so I went with this instead.

Surname – Generation – Origin – Top two countries per million – US # per million
Hillinger/Hilinger – 1 – German – Austria (84), Hungary (7) – 0.52
-- When I looked up the 1-l variation, it says the surname is Hispanic. I'll have to look into that some more…I suppose it's possible that her branch has its origins in the Sephardic Jews. It gave no stats for the US
Bordewick/Bordewich – 2 – German – Norway (3/4), Germany (1) – 0.71/0.08
-- The Bordewich variant it suggests is Swedish, but I'm pretty sure in this case it's German.
Hansen – 3 – Danish – Denmark (42499), Norway (14100) – 646.82
Jones – 3 – Welsh – United Kingdom (9298), Australia (6132) – 4954.1
Kresch – 4 – German – US (1), Germany (.5) – 1.26
-- The site had no guess as to the origins of Kresch, but I'm fairly certain it’s a German surname.
Park – 4 – English – New Zealand (661), Australia (319) – 288.63
-- This site lists Park as English, but I'm fairly sure it's Irish/Scottish, though I could be wrong.
Howells/Howel – 4 – Welsh – United Kingdom (267/2), Australia (75) – 13.14/0.37
-- Howel lists as English, but I know it's a variant of Howells.
Seneft/Senft – 5 – German – Canada (43), Germany (42) – 8.16/0.01
-- No stats as Seneft, but I've paperwork with both.
Reich – 5 – German/Hebrew – Germany (278), Austria (197) – 65.22
-- Interesting. The only name in my Jewish line to actually be listed on this site as a Hebrew name. Never mind the connotations definitely feel anti-Hebrew…
Larsen – 5 – Danish – Denmark (22911), Norway (9532) – 258.48
Olsen – 5 – Danish – Norway (12890), Denmark (10114) – 284.92
-- This is interesting. First Danish surname to actually show bigger in another country. Ole must be more popular in Norway, I guess.
Curran – 5 – Irish – Ireland (1885), Australia (259) – 112.07
-- Just a fun tidbit—Curran also showed as having about 2 per million in Denmark.
Griffiths – 5 – Welsh – United Kingdom (1579), Australia (1040) – 62.18
Roberts – 5 – Welsh – United Kingdom (3235), Australia (2613) - 1474.64
Knudsen – 6 – Danish – Denmark (6278), Norway (1542) - 43.53
Jensen – 6 – Danish – Denmark (51992), Norway (5725) - 529.39
Christensen – 6 – Danish – Denmark (23588), Norway (1438) - 323.85
-- The site actually lists this as a Norwegian name. Interesting, that. But I think all three major Nordic countries shared names back and forth, so really, it's not uncommon in all three countries.
Nielsen – 6 – Danish – Denmark (50139), Norway (1455) – 191.37
Rasmussen – 6 – Danish – Denmark (18487), Norway (1642) – 168.7
-- This one also says it's Norwegian, but the same rule applies as with Christensen, really.
Schroder – 6 – German – Germany (1750), Denmark (509) – no ranking
Angell – 6 – English – Norway (127), New Zealand (61) – 34
Roness – 6 – ? – Norway (20), Canada (.5) – 0.41
Dunlop – 6 – Scottish – New Zealand (225), Australia (210) – 19.65
Blair – 6 – Scottish – New Zealand (478), Australia (334) – 306.05
Gabriel – 6 – English – Austria (372), Switzerland (322) – 79.21
Pugh – 6 – Welsh – United Kingdom (368), US (156) – 156.26
Pedersen – 7 – Danish – Denmark (32691), Norway (8523) – 96.64
Matisen – 7 – Danish – Denmark (.3), Germany (.04) – 0.02
Andersen – 7 – Danish – Denmark (29852), Norway (9283) – 167.42
Sorensen – 7 – Danish – Denmark (22300), Norway (2529) – 118.04
Ivarsen – 7 – Danish – Denmark (19), Norway (15) - 0.13
Linkhausen/Linckhusen/Linkhus – 7 – German – No stats found
Tiller – 7 – English – Norway (113), Canada (41) – 29.06
Evan – 7 – Welsh – Slovenia (17), US (6) - 5.62
Lewis – 7 – Welsh – United Kingdom (2484), US (1881) – 1880.74
Madsen – 8 – Danish – Denmark (13102), Norway (864) – 76.94
Frandsen – 8 – Danish – Denmark (1736), Norway (18) – 11.42
Poulsen – 8 – Danish – Denmark (6749), Norway (88) – 15.51
-- Another listing as Norwegian instead of Danish.
Brunn – 8 – German – Germany (33), Hungary (28) – 5.39
-- This one actually lists as English, but I'm quite certain it's German.
Torresen – 8 – Norwegian – Norway (30), US (.17) – 0.17
Edwart – 8 – Welsh – no data found
Jepsen – 9 – Danish – Denmark (1700), New Zealand (22) – 13.24
Therkelsen – 9 – Danish – Denmark (224), Norway (25) – 0.95
Mathiasen – 9 – Danish – Denmark (761), Sweden (15) – 2.09
Mortensen – 9 – Danish – Denmark (5952), Norway (791) – 40.9
Brue – 9 – German – US (4), Argentina (2) – 3.98
-- This one's listed as French, which I find interesting.
Arntsen – 10 – Danish – Norway (450), Sweden (10) – 1.36
-- This is the first of my Danish surnames to not show Danish at all in the stats.
Michaelsen – 10 – Danish – Denmark (363), Norway (177) – 4.25
-- Listed as German.
Jorgensen – 10 – Danish – Denmark (17572), Norway (2698) – 97.42
Faestersen – 10 – Danish – no data found
Grot – 10 – German – Poland (33), France (6) – 0.34
Harm – 10 – English? – Austria (31), Germany (26) – 5.38
-- This one's from my Norwegian branch, so I'm more inclined to believe it's a Germanic surname than an English one.
Sebech – 10?Denmark (.33) – no other data

* Top Ten US Surnames: Jones, Lewis, Roberts, Hansen, Jensen, Christensen, Blair, Park, Olsen, and Larsen.
* Bottom Ten US Surnames: Matisen, Ivarsen, Torresen, Grot, Roness, Hillinger/Hillinger, Bordewick/Bordewich, Therkelsen, Kresch, and Arntsen. I think for the Scandinavian names, it's more spelling than rarity in some cases, and others have mostly disappeared as modern surnames, but the others—Grot, Roness, Hillinger, Kresch and Bordewick are all pretty uncommon in general.
* Countries listed as most populous for my surnames: Norway (25), Denmark (24), Germany (8), Australia (7), US (6), UK & New Zealand (5), Austria (4), Canada (3), and Hungary and Sweden (2). Also mentioned are Ireland, Switzerland, Slovenia (which surprised me), Argentina, Poland, and France. I'll definitely have to see if I can find people in these areas looking for these surnames. Never know what you'll find, right?

Overall, this has definitely given me a few things to think about. Only a couple of the countries really surprised me, and only one completely. Others were just surprising in that they were so prominent. I'll definitely have to keep these stats in mind when looking at my surnames in the future. An interesting experiment, and definitely worth trying out if you're trying to find new leads, I think.

Surname Saturday 2.0: The Dunlops

The Dunlop Family
I have mentioned many times on this blog about my grandfather's death, and how it was his side of the family I was most concerned with losing, particularly his mother's side. This is the dimmest line in her family, and one that at this time I have no idea how to start finding.

For a long time, all I had was my grandfather's grandparents further down on this branch. His grandfather, Robert park, was as far as I could go in his line for a long time. Then I found the BC, Canada death records on Family Search, and was delighted to find the information I had been looking for for almost two decades. There on his death record were listed his parents' names. Unfortunately, they get me little further. John Park is about as common in Ireland as John Smith in England. And even more unfortunately, it only gave his mother's surname. Dunlop.

Robert's mother is the only connection I have to this line, though he named two of his children for this line. My great-grandmother, Mary Dunlop Park (later Bordewick), and her younger brother, George Dunlop Park. My great grandmother's name being Mary Dunlop leads me to believe there is a possibility her grandmother's name was Mary as well—one of the two children Robert and his wife lost in infancy was named for her mother—Jenny Curran Park—so it leads me to speculate that my grandmother was named similarly for Robert's mother.

At this time, of course, that is only speculation, and even if it is true, it gets me little further, as Mary Dunlop would also be incredibly common. Still, at this time, it is the only connection I have to this family, so all I can do is keep looking.

My Dunlop line for those interested:

* Miss Dunlop may have been born in either Ireland (likely Northern Ireland, as that is where the rest are from) or Scotland (as it's a very popular name there). She married John Park sometime before 1851, when their son Robert was born. I have no idea how many children they had, or when she died.

* Robert James Park was born 1851 in Antrum, Ireland. He married Elizabeth Curran in 1883, likely in Ireland before the two emigrated to America. The two had at least 9 children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, before emigrating back to Northern Ireland in the early 1900s. Robert died in 1930.

* Robert and Elizabeth's children were all born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
+ Jennie Curran Park was born 1884, and died in 1885 in Philadelphia.
+ Helen Brown Park is unconfirmed as the second child they lost in Philadelphia. She was born 1885, but I am uncertain when she died.
+ Robert Curran Park was born 1887. He died 1912 in Vancouver at the age of only 25. He never married or left any heirs.
+ Elizabeth Park was born 1889. She married Louis Phillips, and died in 1966.
+ Mary Dunlop Park was born 1891. She married Bjarne Bordewick 1917 in Vancouver, BC, Canada. The two had two sons, George Robert and Henry Norman. George married and had four children with his wife, eventually settling in Seattle, Washington, where his descendants, including two great grandchildren of his own, all still reside. Henry died during World War II. Mary lived a great long life, and lived to meet both of her great grandchildren, dying in 1982.
+ Rhoda Park was born 1893. She married Wesley Standlick. She died in 1982 in Vancouver, BC.
+ Margaret Park was born in 1895, and never married. She was the longest-lived of her family, living in Vancouver until she died at the age of 106 in 2001.
+ George Dunlop Park was born 1897. He married Florence Williams, and died in 1993, a few years after his nephew George.
+ Florence Park was born in 1903. She married Ross Sexmith, and was the only one of the Parks to settle outside the BC area after their move to Canada in the early 1900s. She and Ross had four boys, and I have record of several grandchildren for her, but little else.

What I don't know:

* Robert Park's mother's name, though I suspect it may be Mary, as I said.

* Anyone outside of her in her family.

* If and when this family may have come to Northern (?) Ireland from Scotland, though it's likely during the period when a lot of Scots were pushed out of their land by the nobility.

* Really, anything on this branch at all.

More on this line:

Brick Wall People – Part 2 – Mindel Hilinger

No Known Photo

Name: Mindel Hilinger
Birth: about 1851, likely in Germany, Austria or Galicia
Death: 1913, London, England
Marriage: before 1883, probably in Galicia
Location(s): Galicia; London, England
Relation to me: Mindel Hilinger is my paternal grandfather's paternal grandmother, which makes her 5th generation before me.
Alias(es): According to the grave entry I found for her, it seems she may have gone by the name Minnie. But Mindel is a very Jewish name (I have it on the other side for one of my great-grandmother's brothers), and Hilinger/Hillinger (the English spelling) is very common in Austria, and there is a Jewish branch, according to someone I spoke with on the Hillinger Name facebook page.
Parents: unknown
Spouse(s): LeonSeneft
Children: Alex, Jennie, Annie, Jack, ?
Other Family: No other direct family known.
Details: While I have a few details for Leon, I have almost nothing on Mindel. But I do have more exact dates for her, unlike him. I am uncertain where she was born, but I do have a likely source of information for her birth and death dates, so I have that, at least. Unfortunately, beyond that, I have little else about her. I know that she came to London with her husband when he emigrated from Galicia, and that she died there, but beyond her having at least five children, I have almost nothing else about her.
I would probably know even less if it weren't for the fact that my great-grandfather, her son Alex, was forced to take her maiden name by the German government when he moved to Frankfurt after the war because they did not recognize Mindel and Leon's marriage because it was a religious ceremony. So since my great-grandfather, the family surname has been Hillinger (the English spelling) instead of Seneft.
1)      Like Leon, Mindel has always been part of my family tree that was given to me by my grandfather. Unfortunately, aside from the name-change story, she was still just a name on a chart to me.
2)      My second piece of proof on Mindel is in the letter my grandfather wrote to Belgium. She is mentioned even less than her husband, but she is mentioned, reinforcing the information I have from the family tree.
3)      She is also mentioned in the Hillinger family book, though far more than her husband, given she is considered his only legal parent by the German government. She is not one of the entries in the book any more than her husband was, but it gives details of her life as reference for Alex.
4)      The last piece of proof I have of Mindel's life is a gravestone marker for a Minnie Seneft. While not an exact match, I am fairly confident it is hers, because the writing on the stone says "Loving daughter Jennie," and is in a Hebrew cemetery. I think it likely that this is my Mindel, as it fits the other facts I have of her life.
While I have a vague birth and an exact death date for Mindel, I cannot be certain they are right until I receive more exact BMD information. The information from her grave seems right, but I've no other way to determine those dates, so they are still only tentative until I can find something more on her. I imagine her birth records are either non-existent or in Hebrew, but I keep looking. I also need to know her emigration information, just like Leon. I imagine those records must be somewhere, in England if nowhere else.
Beyond that, I have no clue where to even start looking for Mindel. I don't know if she worked or not. It seems unlikely, but then again, they were immigrants, so you never know. She did have five children, and I imagine most or all were quite young, so a job seems unlikely to me, but I'm not going to assume anything until I have more info.
But that means I still have nowhere to even start, really. I have no clue how long they lived in England, so I'm not even sure where to begin to look. I can look for a death certificate, but that might be in Hebrew, too. And who knows if anything else on her exists at all?

And that is all I have on Mindel. Again, if you've any information on her that is not listed here, please contact me. I'd love to get further on this branch of the family.

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.