Monday, January 30, 2012

Family history ADHD: glancing at my Danish heritage

Never fear - I am still in the midst of my FHC/Stutzmann research - I've just had to postpone my return visit to the Family History Center and I don't want to post any photos of the records I've found so far and hope to find until I bring my good camera with me!

But over the weekend I was watching a show on the History Channel with the boyfriend and they were talking about Viking burial mounds in Denmark and it made me realize how almost completely I've ignored the Danish branch of my family tree, even though it might prove to be the most unique of all my family history.

I think part of it is that it's such a small percentage of my family history, at least in comparing it to the twin behemoths of Irish and German ancestry. It was my great great great grandfather, Peter Hansen Berg, who was born near Copenhagen, Denmark about 1824 before, according to family stories, running away to sea and coming to America about the age of 12.

Another part is that I don't know much beyond that. As with most of my Irish ancestry, my Danish immigrant ancestor is my brick wall ancestor. And while I can pinpoint his place of origin more exactly than my Irish family, I don't really have much else to go on. I do have a relative who has parents and dates and places for Peter's parents, but I've never been able to verify that on my own and I don't know where that information came from, so I don't know if that information is reliable in any way.

And a third part that is more recent is simply the language barrier. I can fake my way through a lot of English-looking German words and I have my German language cheat sheet. But Danish is a language completely unfamiliar to me. It might as well be Chinese. Which isn't a good excuse for ignoring a branch but it's a reason for the feet-dragging.

But talk of Danish Vikings on this show really did pique my curiosity about this country and culture and family branch that I know nothing about. So I guess I might start with the one lead I'm actually lucky I have - the cousin who has possible parents for Peter Hansen Berg - and try to trace that line of information and see if anything reliable turns up, and if that might lead to any threads I can trace backward from there. You know, after I finish the stuff I'm already working on.

Welcome to the world of family history ADHD! :)

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