Genealogy is a fascinating and time- consuming hobby of mine. The pay-off for your time is the potential to not only discover who you are, and where you came from, a history of your identity, but also new friendships, lessons in geography, social history, culture and customs, as well as a sense of shared kinship.
I have found and tracked my Danish ancestors back to 1620. Many were school teachers or Degns (Parish clergy) or significant people in their community. Some for good reasons, others not so good!
I see more and more physical traits, preferences and mannerisms that are passed down through the generations of my family. So much of who we are, is who we were.
I discovered I was related to my best friend, who was born in an overseas country and adopted soon after birth. Who would have thought? – Serendipity
In 2004, I visited a village in rural Denmark – Sønder Felding. In the past, my family had lived there for many hundreds of years, yet no member of the family had visited or resided there for over a hundred years. Despite this, the week before I arrive, there is a story, in the Village newspaper, about the oldest house in the village and its history, and my very old ancestor, who built and owned it. Because of this article, and the timing of my visit, after one hundred and more years, I was able to find and see the house for myself and track my family for many generations backwards and forwards through history – Serendipity.
In the neighbouring village, where my great grandfather was born, I visited the church when some family were married and baptized. When I enter this church, on this day, what do I see in a small Danish countryside church? An Australian flag hanging inside! I am Australian – Serendipity.
I have accumulated many Norwegian friends/penfriends over the last 20 years or so, and my home is decorated in Norwegian ‘hygge’ style, yet I am descended from Danes and Australians, and when searching for the father of my adopted great great Aunt, I found the Norwegian branch of my Danish family – Serendipity.
Family history means more and more to me with each passing year and the documented legacy is one that I hope I might pass on to future generations.
Family history – Something to Ponder About