In the 10th grade my English teacher Mr. Cochrane sent us home over Thanksgiving break with a simple task - talk to your grandparents - find out about your ancestry. I thought it was a perfect assignment for me since I not only had all 4 of my grandparents still living but I had a full set of great grandparents (who happened to do Thanksgiving at my paternal grandparents' house). I figured I was golden. I sat down and talked to my great grandpa Nick Denhof (who was 91 at the time) and he said "my dad's name was Nick, my mom was Margaret Cook - they came here from the Netherlands". That is all he would tell me and he seemed quite cranky about it. It got worse when I talked to my great grandma Doris because she was given to her neighbors when she was 6 months old. She knew who her parents were (and later it turns out she knew more than she told me) but that's all she discussed. Quite frankly this lack of information ticked me off and got me curious. I didn't have most of the tools I have now at my disposal back then (no computer, family tree software, internet access with databases galore) so it was a slow process but that's when I was bitten. It's now been over 21 years since that Thanksgiving and I do something genealogy related on a daily basis.
|My great grandparents Nicholas and Doris (Colson) Denhof, Christmas Eve 1991|