Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finding Family

Social media is a funny thing.
You can connect with all kinds of people you used to know and people you currently know.
But every now and then something happens...
someone finds you who you don't know, but lo and behold, 
they're in your family and you never even knew they existed!

That's what happened with me a couple years ago.

A distant relative named Debbie, whose maiden name I recognized, found me on facebook and she wondered what part of the family tree I belonged to as she was piecing things together for herself.  You see, Debbie and I are both descendants of this woman.  

Meet Albertine - she was born in 1851 in Denmark {d. 1935 in Wisconsin}.

photo taken in 1900s in Wisconsin
Albertine in 1935 in Wisconsin

Don't you just love old photographs??

Albertine was married to a man called Neils Hansen {b. 1847 d. 1903 in Denmark}.  If you are facebook friends with me, you will know that my maiden name is Hansen.  These are my great-great grandparents on my father's side.  Neils and Albertine had a very large family in the latter part of the 1800s.  The information I have puts them all in Copenhagen, Denmark.  

One of their children, Jennie {b. 1878 in Denmark d. 1947 in the USA} would go on to marry a man named Carl.  One of Neils' and Albertine's sons, Karl {b. 1885 in Denmark d. 1962 in Michigan}, would marry a woman named Cecelia {b. 1899 in Pennsylvania d. 1986 in Michigan}.  Jennie and Carl would be my new facebook friend Debbie's great grand parents.  Karl and Cecelia would be mine.

Carl (driving) and Karl - Debbie's and my great-grandfathers - Carl had a successful parquet flooring business in Brooklyn, NY
Meet Jennie - she's Debbie's great-grandmother!

Jennie c. 1888 or 1889 - Brooklyn, NY - photo taken not long before wedding
Karl and Cecelia went on to have one son, John {b. 1918 in Michigan d. 1980}.  John would marry and have five children, one of whom is my father, also named John {b. 1947}.  Carl and Jennie had several children.  One son, Raymond {b. 1906 d. ?}, would have three children.  His son, Jack {b. 1928} is Debbie's father.

I just love family history.  Before meeting Debbie on facebook, I had quite a bit of family history but she was able to fill in several pieces from this particular branch of the family tree.  I'd still love to fill in with even more details if possible!

So, Debbie and I met on facebook a couple years or so ago.  She and her husband, David, have three children.  Their daughter, Staci, recently moved to our neck of the woods and they are in town!  Yesterday I got to meet them for the very first time!  To my knowledge, I am the only person in recent history on my branch of the family tree to have met anyone from Debbie's branch!!  That's pretty cool!  {I should say from my generation or my dad's - I'm sure someone in my grandfather's generation must have met someone from Debbie's branch way back when}.

It is pretty amazing to meet someone who may have forever just been an entry in the family history books if it weren't for the technology available today!!  I am very blessed to have met Debbie and part of her family!  I hope we can meet again soon!

Oh...for those of you wondering our exact relationship,
Debbie and I are third cousins
Staci {Debbie's daughter} and I are third cousins once removed
my children are Debbie's third cousins once removed
my children are Staci's fourth cousins
{courtesy of the relationship calculator on my Family Tree Maker software}

Debbie {center} with her daughter {Staci}, and her husband {David}
Debbie and I


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