I've been busy on Ancestry.com lately. I'm doing my genealogy. Actually, I've pretty much gone as far with my direct genealogy as I can go, and have started building my tree up with in-laws and their predecessors.
I've determined, thus far, that I am related by marriage or blood to almost everyone in Shelby county, Iowa. And, it now seems, the little town of Thisted, Denmark. Also, I think my family must have been connected with everyone in the Hunderup neighborhood of Ribe, Denmark as well.
It's a little strange sometimes to wander off along these pathways of marriage and blood. I start wondering why, for instance, 2 sons and a daughter in one family in Thisted moved to the US. Or why a single woman in her 20s would make that journey. Helge Rosenkilde, aged 22, born in Rabild, Denmark did.
I'm also amazed at what survives in some of these records. I know about Helge's journey on her own because I can look at a scan of the ship's manifest and read that she was headed to Harlan, IA and she names her father as her closest relative still in Denmark. She is listed as a servant. Who's servant was she, I wonder?
Then there are the family members who do or do not take or keep the names that they were given. For instance, I believe that my mother's maiden name should be Gotlieb but the name was changed when the family came to the US. Gotlieb was still in the names of 2 of the male family members, but the rest took this new name for which there are no other families in existance with the name. Did they want to be different? Did they not want to be known as Gotliebs any more? And why, when they settled in the US with their new name did they not pick just one version (there are at least 3 in the records) by which to be called.
It is all so strange and interesting. It makes me think of how easy it was back then to just move away and disappear.