Sunday, January 27, 2019

So much has happened

Stonehenge 2018

In April of 2018 I visited England. I spent most of my two weeks in Cornwall with Paul, my son-in-law's father. We've become good friends and he's visited us 4 times, already. He showed me all around Cornwall and then to London for two days. I saw places I'd only dreamed of and hope that someday I'll go back. I need to go to Liverpool, the place of my people. I've gotten Paul interested in genealogy and he's made some wonderful discoveries in the past two years. He's met close relatives that he didn't even know existed. Its very gratifying to help, in some small way, to reunite families. 

I've spend the past year and a half volunteering at the local Family History Center on Thursday evenings. I'm able to help folks with their research in a one-on-one environment. I find this both fulfilling and educational for me. I'm learning, even as I teach. 

I belong to the Western Montana Genealogy Society and have attended several state conferences. My goodness, what a wealth of information there is at any one of the conferences. I've had the pleasure of listening to some of the finest minds in genealogy, share their wisdom with us. 

I've had great success with DNA testing. I've been able to connect with distant relatives and even very close, previously unknown relatives. The biggest discovery is a 1/2 aunt on my paternal line. She was adopted and didn't know her family history. We've connected on facebook and I find myself wanting to meet her in person. She lives in FL, so not sure if/when a meeting will happen but I've opened my door to her, if she can find her way here. I had Mom, Dad, Thom and Paul take DNA tests. Mom's test results have helped me narrow down my maternal matches. Dad's results have been no surprise but its been fun to add people to his line of the tree. Thom, poor Thom. It seems that DNA is not a thing among the Asian populations yet. He was on match that is a 4-6 cousin. He as lots of very distant matches but none that offer any insight into his line of the tree, YET. I have faith that the day will come. Paul's DNA has led to many new relatives, as I mentioned, and he's met one in person already. Such a joy, for me to see.

So the search continues and I find myself more and more in love with the process. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Coming full circle

Edd and Sarah at the OR coast June 2016


We are wedding planning. Our daughter, Sarah is engaged to be married to Edd. Edd is from the U.K., so our family connection is coming full circle. The Johnstones and Colemans came from U.K. We've had Edd and his father, Paul here for Christmas and have got on like old friends. Paul keeps saying "when you come to Cornwall....." So it looks like I might be going to Cornwall in the near future. Better get the passport updated. Now, if we could marry a kid off to someone from Sweden or Hong Kong, we'd be in business.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Growing a new branch on the family tree

Anna Gah Li
Our family grew in August. We welcomed our 3rd grandchild into the world. Miss Anna Gah Li W. born to our daughter Brittney and her partner Marcus. Her middle name is Chinese, in keeping with her Chinese Grandpa's ethnicity. She is perfect and healthy and absolutely charming. She's a good eater and sleeps through the night and is growing like the proverbial weed. We love her, just a little bit. Welcome to the family, Anna.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Things I need to write about

Anna Johnson and the mystery of the lost ashes
followed by Anna Johnson medical records and pending return home

Maria Bell and the book being written about the folks from her village in Finland
including her long lost siblings names


Thursday, February 18, 2016

‪#‎52questions‬, Week #3

1. What kind of work did your parents do (farmer, salesman, manager, seamstress, nurse, stay-at-home mom, professional, laborer, and so on)?
My dad worked for Con Agra for years. He was a feed and fertilizer salesman. He traveled many days per week and I remember when he passed his Million Mile mark. Before my parents married, my mom was a telephone operator. After marrying she was primarily a stay-at-home mom. She volunteered a lot. She was a Camp Fire leader, a CCD teacher, a pink lady at the hospital. I'm sure she volunteered for other organizations that I'm not remembering right now. When I was in High School she began working at the same Doctor's office I worked at after school. 

2. Have any of your family members died? If so, explain what they died from and what you remember of their death; the circumstances of their death?

My 14 year old son, Alex, died in 2014. I do remember every detail of his death but am not ready to share that information right now.

Monday, February 8, 2016

‪#‎52questions‬, Week #2

1. What memories do you have of your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
well, I'll keep his name and birthdate private since he's still living. He was born in Great Falls, MT to Edward and Marie M. Dad is hardworking, rather quiet and serious but he tells you he loves you by fixing or building things for you. He loves to tease little kids by saying "Are you wearing clean underwear?" or "I'm going to put my stinky feet in your bed." He loved to sit in his chair and catch the little kids in the "trap" between his knees.
2.What memories do you have of your mother (her name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)? Mom is also living. She was born in Great Falls MT to Carl and Ellen B. Mom is little and fierce. She stands a scant 4'8" but is a pretty tough cookie. I used to have to give her three kisses before I left for school or went out to play. She broke many a paddle on us kids and resorted to a 2x4 that she kept beside her place at the dinner table. We hid it on top of the standing freezer in the basement years ago. Not sure if she ever found it. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

52 questions in 52 weeks Week #1

I'm embarking on a new challenge.52 questions in 52 weeks to write my life story. I'm hosting this project on the FB page I run for a group of fellow genealogists, too. Should be fun. We're starting with 2 questions a week until we catch up on the calendar.


  1. What is your full name? My name is Jennie Lyn   Explain why your parents gave you that name. My mom wanted to name me Heidi but Grandma Nell didn't like that name. I was named Jennie for my gt. grandma, Johanna "Jennie" Felt Borgreen. There was also mention of the Swedish Nightengale, Jennie Lind being an inspiration for my name.      
  2. When and where were you born? I was born in Kalispell MT on 28 Mar 1964. Describe your home, your neighborhood, and the town you grew up in.  I lived in several different places through my childhood. I have no memories of any homes until we moved into the blue house at 3005 7th Ave. South in Great Falls, MT after Mom and Dad (Gary Marxer) married. I was 4 when they married in the living room of that little house. My bedroom was upstairs when we first moved in but I moved to a basement bedroom after Carl was born. Lincoln Elementary School was about 3 blocks away, Lions Park was just a couple blocks too. It was a nice neighborhood with similar homes and families like ours. We had a big back yard and Mom's childhood playhouse (built by my grandpa, Carl Borgreen) sat in the back next to the dog kennel for my little dog, Sammy. Great Falls is a nice town with a small college and an air base. After Great Falls we moved to Belgrade MT when I was going into 3rd grade and lived on Custer Ave, which was a little dirt road. The doctor's office was across the road and the dentist had his practice in a mobile home next door. I shared a room with Ellen, upstairs, until Dad finished the basement and then my room was downstairs again. I had red shag carpet in my room. We moved to Lewistown when I was starting 8th grade. We lived at 121 Hawthorne Ave. My parents still live there today (Feb 2016). My room was on the main floor and had yellow shag carpet and one wall was papered with huge white, yellow and orange flowers. It had a built in desk and windows on three sides as this was an extension off the back of the house. I lived in this house until going to Great Falls to attend the Vo Tech after High School graduation. Lewistown is a charming little town of about 6000 people. Its located in the geographic center of Montana about an hour and a half from Great Falls.