What part of your family’s history would you most like to learn about?

Personal information from the 1940 census was made available to the public Monday morning. The information was expected to be a windfall for people researching their family histories, but heavy demand slowed online access. Today’s Question: What part of your family’s history would you most like to learn about?

  • My great great grandfather was the head guard for the king of Denmark. However, he left Denmark, went through Sweden where he changed his last name to a Swedish last name (from Jensen to Enberg) and emigrated to the US where he became a potato farmer in North Dakota. I would like to know what happened that drove him to such lengths that he would flee his post and change his name, swapping out royalty for potatoes.

  • marlenme

    It’d be fun to see if there’s any blue blood in our family. Also, what kind of professions our ancestors had or if any of them were involved in a historic war.

  • a. ferrey

    Melissa — wow, that is terrific. What an intriguing story. Must have been something pretty good, for him so successfully to have left no clues.

    It chagrins me to admit that despite loving history, and despite having some pretty interesting ancestors on all sides of the family tree, I’ve never managed to get especially interested in the subject. My offspring have done considerable digging and have discovered, among other fun facts to know and tell, that we are direct descendants of Chief Little Crow. They keep telling me that I owe it to my own descendants to transform their research into readable prose. I suppose I should. And if so, I suppose I should commit to it and get started. Time waits for no man….

  • Jim G

    My mother’s father died when she was only six months old, so we have little information about his side of the family history although there are rumors of a French Canadian/Native American blood line. Our German ancestry is interesting, as I’m pretty positive we had family members fighting on both sides in the World Wars. The Germans are supposed to be great at keeping track of things. I might check that out. The Norwegian side is the most researched and we still have the homestead farm in the family. One things for sure, we all have skeletons hidden in our family closet.

  • Steve the Cynic

    I’d like to know if there’s any truth to the tall tales my crazy uncle used to tell.

  • suzie

    I know that most of my ancestors came here to escape the military and the lack of opportunities in their countries of origin. What I wish is that they had kept diaries of what it was like to cross the Atlantic in the early 1800’s in the old ships, bringing your own food and having only one trunk with all your belongings. Then to get to the easterns shores and having to make it half way across the US. In one case, a teen age daughter was sent here to work and send money back home so the rest of the family could follow. To have that kind of courage – WOW!.

  • CarlS

    The family member that had the all the money. Is there a fortune walled up somewhere just waiting for an heir to claim it?

  • Jeff Asmussen

    Melisa Goss, you might want to do some research into the Second Schleswig War. That war involved the king of Denmark dying with no direct heir, there was a dispute over which branch of the royal family should take control of Denmark in 1863. When King Christian IX took control he signed a constitution which split Schleswig-Holstein which was a violation of the treaty from the First Schleswig War. This triggered an invasion from the Prussia and Austria, who eventually won the war and took control of all of Schleswig-Holstein which resulted in the loss of about 40% of Demark’s land and population at the time. If your ancestor was involved in any of that mess it might have been a good reason to leave the country. As you can tell my last name is Danish/northern German (-sen) and my family name is from the Schleswig-Holstein region. My dad gets into the whole family history thing…he does all that research, he even found a royal family line back to Charlemagne which leads all the way back to a Roman family around year zero.

  • JasonB

    My surname (current family name) side. I’ve learned quite a bit about the maternal lines of my family, but almost nothing on the folks that had the same last name as me.

    It’s fun to know that many of us have an interesting ancestor or two. A few of mine had wealth and lost it in a political or economic upheaval. One was a heroic officer in the Prussian army. And I sheepishly admit to discovering that one was a disgraced fort commander in colonial times. For good or bad even an average Joe like me has parts of a pedigree worthy of historical note.

  • Philip

    My maternal grandparents. They both originated from Norway and, though I’ve gotten a lot of information about them over the past year, there are still some holes. I would particularly like to know more about their occupations.

  • GregX

    Oh the usual…. which kings are we descended from? where’s the family treasure map buried (oh they were craft-eeeeee) ? what part of the east African rift valley did we originate from? how much time did we spend as nomadic tribesman? did we come from lightenting hitting a pool with the chemical equivalent of amino acids? which came first eyes or nose? anybody know where the old cave drawings are? …. you know…. stuff that’s hard to find on the internet.

  • K Miller

    I would like to trace the females in my family on both sides, but this is so difficult since last names keep changing due to marriage. It is frustrating having to research family name after family name …

  • Gary F

    I know much of mine already back to the 1800’s thanks to my father and an aunt on my mom’s side.

    Great stories of immigration to America from Luxembourg and Ireland.