Genealogy Expands Kendal Residents’ World

Don and NancyKendal at Oberlin residents, Nancy and Don Hultquist, have been shaking their family trees for 20 years and those trees have been, and continue to be, bountiful, with surprises along the way.

Since they moved to Kendal in 2002, to date, Nancy has found nine residents with common ancestry, two just recently. Her quest began when she heard stories of her adventuresome great grandfather, and after finding information about his life, her curiosity was piqued. That curiosity prevails to this day. Nancy has been able to trace her family tree back to antiquity. Several Kendal residents and Nancy share ancestry as cousins through both William Brewster and Richard Warren, who arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620.

Hultquists with grandchildrenOver the years, Don has had to work particularly hard to trace his family tree as a result of the patrilineal descent system in Scandinavian countries in which family descent is reckoned through the blood lines of males. Typically, names and property follow the male line of descent. A man’s descendants are his own children, and women were little recognized as ancestors.  Using church records, he has followed his ancestry back to the early 18th century, and found many ancestral farms and homes. Don has been able to establish that he is related to Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren, who wrote Pippi Longstocking. Lindgren was a third cousin of Don’s father.

The Hultquists have searched far and wide in pursuit of their ancestry. Over the years they have spent hours, with the tedious work of scanning microfilm. They’ve haunted libraries, including the Mormon libraries in Salt Lake City, Utah and Ann Arbor, Michigan; historical and genealogical societies; cemeteries; and churches. They were looking for town histories, family histories, census records, city directories and ship lists…anything that would produce a clue.  Nancy and Don took multiple trips to other cities (in the U.S. and in Sweden and Switzerland) to meet relatives and, of course, continue the search. Three of their children, with families, met them in Sweden and stayed in Don’s ancestral farm house.

Most of their research was done before the World Wide Web offered easy access to information on just about any subject. Nancy now has a computer program, which is invaluable in organizing the vast amount of information that she and Don have accumulated.

Shortly after moving to Kendal, Nancy and Don created the Genealogy- History Interest Group. The group’s purpose is to stimulate interest in genealogy, and encourage one another to organize, expand, write and present family histories. Nancy has helped a number of fellow residents begin their search. She and Don have lectured, brought in speakers and encouraged other residents to tell their family stories.

Hultquist Family ReunionIt has been a labor of love taking much time and patience, but a joyous 50th wedding anniversary may have been the frosting on the cake. Nearly all of Nancy and Don’s children and grandchildren were here for the celebration. They paired their grandchildren with an aunt or uncle, gave them a short bio of a particular ancestor, and asked the pairing (uncle or aunt with niece or nephew) to present a 3-5 minute skit on that ancestor. The presentations were made on the stage in the Kendal auditorium. How wonderful this was for Nancy and Don to share the fruits of their labor, with their family, in a way that made their history come alive.