History (I love the internet)

Thanks to everyone for your responses to my last post. People were so very frank about their life experiences. I appreciate that.

 I love history. I studied it at university and I think that if life (my Pete) hadn’t drawn me away, I probably would have taken my studies a lot further. Lately I have been reflecting on the fact that historical events – conflicts, conquests, discoveries and inventions, tell the stories of men, particularly white men. I have watched historical documentaries on TV and consider this fact a lot, and more and more this worries me. One voice should not be louder than all other voices. I believe that women hold a vital place in the development of societal attitues. Each of us holds influence over the next generation and their expectations of life. The study of generational attitudes may well be a reflection of the previous generation of women.

Recently a publication was included in our local paper. This was called ‘The Pioneers’ and told the stories of families who had lived here in Townsville’s infancy. The Petersen family was one that was included. My husband’s family has been here for a very long time. His father was born here into a large extended family. He has photos and stories and momentos of this time. He has given us a family tree which traces the family history to Denmark. This man is my husband’s great-great-grandfather. He was born in Hoptrup in Denamrk, married in New Zealand, lived in Brisbane, Charters Towers and in Townsville. He is buried at the Townsville cemetry along with his wife who was born in Haderslev, Denmark.  

Out of interest we went to google earth and looked at Hoptrup and Haderslev. We then followed a series of links to discover that this area of the world had been claimed by both Germany and Denmark throughout history. At the time of my Pete’s g-g-g grandfather’s / mother’sbirths the area was involved in the second Schleswig War. I don’t know why they chose to leave this area and make their way to Australia via New Zealand. But I can’t help but wonder whether the unsettled political landscape was a contributing factor.

It took us just two hours to discover all of this, and more, over the internet. I love that we were able to look at Hoptrup and Haderslev as they stand now using google earth. People are able to add their own photos to show the sights and vistas. Although there were none at Holtrup there were others nearby and it gave us a real sense for the area. My Pete would like to go there. I’d like to go there too.

I love the internet.

three-generations.jpg

Three generations of Petersen men. L to R My son, his grandfather, his father. Taken at Mission Beach 2005

11 Comments

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11 responses to “History (I love the internet)

  1. twolimeleaves

    Why is your FIL peeing on the beach????

  2. Amazing to think you could do all that research, including pictures in just under 2 hours. I hope you have fun investigating your own bloodlines and fore-mothers too.

  3. Ohh, I am with you! I love the internet, and I love history, especially family history!

    I love that you can combine both without leaving your chair.

    But I love the smell of musty old books in the library too, and the big bulky ledgers that contain all sorts of delicious information.

    So, a bit of a dilemma when it comes to computer vs library.

  4. Mr J recently introduced me to google and earth and I was absolutely floored by it. Simply amazing!

    As to your last post about gen x – my own history is marrying quite early at 24 but holding off to have children til I was 31. It wasn’t a conscious decision to “hold off” – I just didn’t have the urge to have children and if I had ultimately chosen not to have kids Mr J was OK with that too! But the urge finally came and I am glad it did when it did (early 30’s) when my fertility was still OK.

    The message that’s not really sinking in out there at the moment I think is how fertility takes a nose dive at 30 and another steeper one at 35. The younger generation just see celebrities pop out kids when they like not really appreciating how the older ones are probably being assisted in some way. 35 is still young but unfortunately not in fertility terms. I watched a couple of my friends struggle to fall pregnant and it is a very long, sad and hard road.

  5. I agree that history reflects male attitudes and perspective and you are likely correct that the next generation’s attitudes reflects the current generation’s attitudes too, at least to some degree.

    I feel strongly influenced by my mother and paternal grandmother (albeit not deliberate on their part). Fortunately, they were physically strong and determined individuals. I learnt from their experiences as well as those of my older sisters. Unfortunately, as none of them worked outside of the home, they weren’t role-models on how to deal with issues that the working world presents to women and they can’t begin to understand the challenges that I face in this regard because it is too different from their worlds.

  6. In case you are still interested in getting “Molly Goes to Paris” fabric early, Theresa’s email address is quiltessentials@sasktel.net if you want to communicate with her by email instead of telephone. Hope this helps!

  7. Really enjoyed your post Tracey.
    My Grandmother, maternal side, always told us, “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world”. To some extent it is true, I think.
    My eldest son’s father has a very, very unusual ‘foreign’ name. He thinks it was altered during the 2nd world war, to disguise what nationality they were, or, the region the came from. Sad for our son, wishing to trace his origins. His father never cared, just regarded himself as an Aussie.

    I like the way women identify themselves mostly with their own family when single, but once married, often become fiercely proud of their husband’s roots, & family history. In the interests of their children’s heritage??

  8. What a great picture. Getting a pic like that in this family would require a minor miracle…

  9. There is something very satisfying and anchoring about being able to trace back through your family tree and see how and where you fit into the bigger picture.

  10. I recently did some internet research on my convict ancestors, I actually found a site that had records of their court cases from The Old Bailey. Amazing.

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