Week #31 – Cousins Week 31: Cousins. One of the best experiences in family history is meeting with new cousins found through your research. Tell us about your favorite cousin meet-up. How did you discover each other? Where did you meet? What type of information was exchanged and how did it benefit your research?
Well lets talk about two cousins, actually both were once removed cousins from me. The first one is Loraine (Names) Erickson. Loraine was one of the first cousins we contacted before the first Hansen reunion in July of 1991. Loraine was a volunteer at the local Family History Center where she was living in Arizona. My uncle Ralph had visited many of the cousins and had some old addresses for several of the cousins and Loraine was one of the first we found. She sent some family group sheets of my great grandfather and the five brothers that came to Austin, Minnesota from Denmark. You probably have heard the story of the three brothers that came to this country and one went west and got lost, well our family had five brothers and one went west, my grandfather, and he kind of got lost from the other four, so this reunion would be for descendants of four Hansen brothers. So now we had a bunch of group sheets and addresses for family from three of the five brothers. I was just starting to get a book ready to print when we received a letter from Evelyn (Hansen) Anderson the youngest daughter of the fourth brother John Hansen. Her husband Carroll Anderson was a minister and they had moved FIVE times since the address we got from Uncle Ralph, and each church had forwarded our letter. So Evelyn was the second cousin that I will write about. She managed on a couple of weeks notice to gather up the group sheets for most of her brothers and sisters families, send them to us and get a bunch of her relatives to come most of the way across the country to our Hansen reunion. We asked for pictures at the reunion and my Uncle Leigh had the photo albums of my grandfather and in it was the photos of four of the five brothers wedding pictures and several other pictures of four of the brothers. The fifth brother Martin Hansen we never found, he had moved to Minneapolis, got married had three children and pretty much disappeared from the rest of the family. So now back to Evelyn, she was so surprised we had a picture of her parents wedding, they had one and took it to a photographer to get more copies and the photographer lost their only copy. The next summer (1992) Evelyn and Carroll were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in upstate Wisconsin and so we had made copies of all the wedding pictures and took a set of them to Evelyn and Carroll's anniversary party for them. They were so surprised and since we now had negatives of all the pictures we took orders for several copies of each. Soon after this anniversary I got a letter from Evelyn that was written when Evelyn's parents had gotten married written by Evelyn's aunt Martha the younger sister of Evelyn's mom. Martha described the wedding and all the preparations for the wedding, so now we had an account of the wedding of John and Isabelle Hansen to go with the pictures of the wedding. Sadly Evelyn was having stomach pains at the party and went to the doctor the next week and they found cancer and she died less than a year later.