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Debrickification

13 Sep 2011

Oh wow… look what I just found:

Back in 1996 I taped an interview with my mother, in which I asked her about her family. She told me her grandfather, Hans Hansen, an immigrant from Denmark, had a cousin (or his son Peter did) named John — or actually “Danish version of John” (Johann?  Jens?). Other relatives in Norwalk, CT included a “Danish version of John” who was about my mom’s age. And that was practically all I knew until this week about the Hansen family.

The other day I went looking at census records at familysearch.org and in the HeritageQuest database available through my library. The one person in Norwalk that seemed to correspond with the relative my mother mentioned was a John Hansen, born 1920, son of Einar V and Caroline E Hansen, appearing in the 1930 census. Einar was said to be an immigrant from Denmark, arriving in 1915, while Caroline and her parents were born in New York.

John was born in New York too, and indeed one finds Einar, Caroline, and John living in New York in the 1920 census — where, interestingly enough, it says Einar and his parents were from Sweden!

It’s fairly hopeless trying to do searches on the name Hans Hansen, but Einar V. Hansen is another matter. In the CT death records index on ancestry.com one finds an Einar V. Hansen who died in New Haven County, CT in 1958. (I don’t subscribe to ancestry.com so I don’t have further details.) Tonight I tried just putting “Einar V Hansen” into Google. I got 7 hits, most seemingly unrelated… but the fultonhistory.com site has a bunch of upstate New York newspaper scans online, with searchable text, indexed by Google, and up came that one snippet above, from a 1955 issue of the Chatham (NY) Courier. Chatham is near where Hans lived. So I think this establishes beyond reasonable doubt that John Hansen of Chatham was the cousin my mother spoke of, and Einar of Norwalk was also part of the family.

This is good. As I said, chasing down Hans Hansen with little other information (I don’t even have consistent information on his birth year) is an exercise in futility. I have his marriage and death records, and his wife’s death record, but they’re not fully legible and, I think, not entirely accurate. So getting another angle on his family may help a good deal in tracing them back into Denmark.

No, not Sweden.

 

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