Walter Thomas Hanson is my grandfather, my father’s father. I remember at Christmas time my dad drove us kids to Burnside Street in Portland, Oregon to visit him and Grandma Margaret. I could tell he was a “real Norwegian” by his blonde hair and blue eyes. The idea of being part Viking fascinated me and I was absolutely convinced real Vikings would look like my grandfather or Uncle Ronnie.
My pedigree charts are maps, places to travel around searching for my people. I’m seeking verification of the information in the charts. Sometimes what I have are fragments of whispered stories appearing to match a 100 year old handwritten record. Other times I’ve found primary source evidence, an actual fact. I treasure them all.
As I share stories and gather in my people, the pedigree chart shows the lines between me and my beloved ones. The chart shows the end of my known information and the beginning of speculation. Is Margaret Johnsdatter’s father named John?
I’ve sifted through a number of possible Hans attempting to locate my Hans Hanson. He was one of thousands of Norwegians migrating to America. Hans Hanson is a common name around Madison, Wisconsin between 1880-1910. His wife Carrie is listed as a widow in the 1900 census. Did she become a widow in Norway, Wisconsin or somewhere along the way?
There are ideas that can’t stand with actual facts. I’ve had to cross out, erase, delete information that I later confirmed just wasn’t true after all. There is speculation in the pedigree chart. The connections are there to prove or disprove.
I do think it is so. I may hope it is so. I might wish it were so.
My grandma, Fran Bailey, used to say, ” If wishes were horses, us beggars could ride.”