|Frederick, Margaret & Olaf Tollefsen|
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A Different Type of Tree
A few years ago, I joined ancestry.com attempting to trace my father's line. Unfortunately, as far as my father's family tree- I kept hitting brick walls. My mother's side of the family seemed to flourish in all different directions. It was tempting to go off on all sorts of wild goose chases, but I stopped myself realizing some of these connections were simply too far removed and not even blood related.
On the tree, hung a single solitary leaf named Margaret Tollefsen. She was my Grandfather Hansen's* first wife. My grandfather and his wife went to China as missionaries and Margaret S. Tollefsen Hansen died with Typhus fever in 1921. It was more than a year later that my grandfather married my grandmother, Letta Teuber. Grandpa Hansen and Margaret had no children. (even though they had been married 15 years) I left her on the tree because she was a part of my grandfather's life and although I did not know much about her, I thought it was important to keep her there.
One day I received an email from someone in Hawaii. She told me her name was Debbie and she was very excited to have discovered Margaret Tollefsen on my family tree. Margaret Tollefsen was Debbie's grandfather's sister and the only thing her family knew was she went to China and died. They thought my grandfather had also died. She was thrilled to see he remarried and had children. We shot a few emails back and forth filling each other in on details the other might not have. For Debbie, Margaret was not just a lone leaf on someone's family tree: she was an important limb on her own family tree. I'm so grateful I did not prune my family tree!
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