This past year has been a tough year for my immediate family because of my brother's death. My nieces and their families experienced a great loss for he was their father. Kenny was my brother. With his passage I found myself in a crazy and unique position...that of being "the last one left standing." I was and am the only one left of the family that I grew up with...the people I had know all my life (which is now a good number of years) were no longer here...and I am left alone.
Yes, I have family...both chosen and blood...and I love them all...but to no longer have people in your life that you have known all of your life leaves a strange empty place in my existence. Frequently this past year I found myself reaching for the phone to call my brother and say "Do you remember when...?" Except he is now gone and so are those shared memories.
That said, I am also now discovering my Dad's side of the family. Although it does not quite alleviate the loss of family, it does change my focus to a whole family that I've always dreamed of finding.
You can imagine my thrill, then, when I opened up my email this past Saturday and found an email from a Hanne Lysdal Petersen. In that email she announced that her great grandma was my father's sister. Since then Hanne I have written each other a number of times and have shared photos and information. Below you will find those letters. I seem to have lost her first letter...it went into some sort of email void...but her second letter is where we will start:
"Hello John I have so many informations that it is difficult to figure out where to start.
Your fathers great-great grandfather Christen Sørensen, born in 1736 lived in a very small place called LYSDAL near Vinderslev county. I have tried to make a map for you to see. On the map it is spelled without ”h” but some times I have seen it spelled Lysdahl.
His son Christen Christensen (1766 – 1839) also lived in that place.
His son again (your fathers grandfather) Christen Christensen ( 1799 – 1867 ) moved to a place nearby called Sjørslev. He married a widow, Kirstine Christensen.
Kirstine dies somewhere between 1845 and 1848 because in 1848 he marries your great grandmother Ingeborg Jensen. In the Church book his name is Christensen Christensen Lysdal. Perhaps there were to many with the surname ”Christensen” so they put the surname LYSDAL on because he came from Lysdal.
Together they got 3 children Carl Christian Christensen Lysdal ( your grandfather ), Ane Mathea Charlotte Christensen Lysdal and Rasmus Christensen Lysdal.
Rasmus dies at the age 1 and Ane M C C Lysdal moves to Utah in America. Perhaps you allready know that.
As you know your grandfather and jensine Pedersen got 16 children. I do not know if you have any pictures ? I send you a picture from your grandparents 25 years aniversary. Jensine is expecting one more child. I cannot figure out which one is your father because three of the sons are around the same age.
Are you still hanging on J
It gets a little bit confused now. All the children are born in Sjørslev in Lysgård county which has nothing to do with Lysdal.
I have attached your grandparents gravestone in Sjørslev.
Now I will stop for today and try to attach files and picture. It takes a long time to write these informations down because it is like a puzzel some time to figure out the relationship between all these people.
As you I also have a good relationship to my family. My mother (Iris Lysdal Petersen) turns 82 tomorrow and we went yesterday to celebrate her birthday. To day I will go and see my niece play a game of volleyball. I myself have been playing volleyball for 18 years a long time ago so it is exiting to be in a sports arena again.