Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Book of Me, Written by You - Prompt 7, Grandparents Part 1 Adolph and Henrietta

The Book of Me, Written By You a project created by Julie Goucher of the Anglers Rest blog. The concept: a series of blogging and writing prompts that help family historians capture their own memories and write about themselvesClick here for more information.]

Prompt 7: Grandparents

What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
Photos
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn’t know them have you researched about them?

Adolph and Henrietta (Burbach) Hansen were my dad's parents.  Adolph Halfdan was born in Norway and was the third of six children born to Adolf and Dorette (Christiansdatter) Hansen.  His father was a musician and composer in the Norwegian army.  When Dorette died in 1887, after the birth of her sixth child, Agot, her husband remarried.  The fact that the second wife, Nathalie, was only five years older than Adolph's sister Dagny helped spur the decision of Dagny, Arthur, and Adolph to come to the United States.  Shortly after arriving in Chicago, Adolph began working for his uncle Oscar's construction company.   Adolph worked his way up in the company to become secretary and vice-president.  Due to his job,  Adolph traveled all over the United States but remained based in the Chicago area.  In time Oscar Daniels died and Adolph took over the company.  As the economy changed and there were fewer construction projects Adolph and Henrietta even risked their home in an effort to save the company.  Unfortunately, both the company and the home were lost.  When at last I could check the 1940 census, I was amazed to learn the Adolph had achieved so much success with only a seventh grade education.  In my mind I picture him as relatively tall and slender with silver hair and sparkling blue eyes.  Adolph died when I was 4 years old, so my memories of him are scant. One memory (not sure if it is really a memory or something I was told) is going to Kiddie-Land with him on Sunday afternoons.
circa 1909

Henrietta Eva Burbach was born 23 Aug 1888 to Hermann and Eva (Schmidt) Burbach in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Her father had immigrated from Germany with his family when he was 4 years old.  Hermann and his brother John had their own butcher shop on Walnut St in Milwaukee.  During her lifetime Henrietta saw more than her share of tragedy.  Her brother John drowned in the Milwaukee river when Henrietta was just four years old.  This left a lasting mark as Henrietta never overcame her fear of water.  When Henrietta was 8 her father died suddenly followed by her only sister the next year.  That may be why she left school after the third grade.   When she was 20 years old, Adolph and Henrietta were married at Gesu Church in Milwaukee and then moved to Chicago.  The young couple saw quite a bit of the United States as Adolph traveled for work.  Their daughter Dorothy was born in Chicago while son Donald was born in Tooele, Utah.  I remember my grandmother always wearing a "housedress" and apron with white ankle socks and sandals. 
google images

She had very thin hair which she curled with silver metal curlers.
google images


I know a lot about Adolph and Henrietta ( aka Bockie and Baba) but I don't feel I really know them.  I wish I could have known them in  a deeper sense,  What were their feelings and core values?  From the facts I have discovered during my research I know they were honest and hardworking.  They valued education and loved books and music.  They were optimistic and loving.  They loved their families.