Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Roots: Mads Nielsen

I've been doing family history for a couple months now, but I figured it is not enough for just me an Papa to get to know who our ancestors are, I'm learning all this information and it ought to be something all of these people's descendants can see and learn about. First I would like to talk about a man we've been searching for for a while now: Mads Nielsen. We get our Nielsen name from him so he ought to be important to us. Previous to Mads the surnames were changing every generation using the first name of the father and the suffix sen or dr. That practice was made illegal by the Danish government eventually and Mads happens to be the point in our family in which that took effect. 
     Mads was born in the town of Aaby, the county of Aalborg, in Denmark, to Niels (sometimes Njels) Madsen and Maren Larsdr, on Sept 10, 1830. Mads was the oldest of at least 7 children, and being the oldest boy he took his father's father's name as was common Danish practice. We don't have a lot of details about Mads' life, we do know that he spent most if not all of it in Aalborg county, although he and most of his siblings left home at young ages to become workers. We know from census records that Mads left home at least by age 15 to work for a man names Lars Pedersen in nearby Biersted. The census at this time lists him as a servant or worker. Lars wife, Catherine Larsdatter was a sister to Mads' mother Maren, named Ane Katrine in other records. By the 1950 census Mads was 19 and had moved to the Parish of Vadum to work for a man Niels Larsen Kudsk. Five years later the census found Mads living with his parents again, they are living in Biersted with two of their younger children, Lars and Karen. At the next census Mads, now almost 30, is still single and once again working for his Uncle Lars.
     Mads' married Marie Andersen and they had six children. Their youngest son was Jens Christian Nielsen and he is my great grandfather. As far as we can tell Mads took over the family plot from Niels later in life, although for a while he farmed or worked in the neighboring town of Biersted where Marie was from.  It appears that Jens was the only one of their children to come to America. Mads' name was sometimes written Mads Nielsen Vad and we don't know where the Vad comes from or what it means. Sometimes Mads said he was born in Aaby and sometimes in Biersted, the two are close together and it is possible that they are sometimes referred to as the same place. I have not been able to find a record of where or when Mads died. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Resolution, the second solution

As you, my loyal and faithful readers, will know, it is that time of year for the all dreaded goal setting. This was a time much hated by my younger self. I knew as a child that whatever Monday most closely held proximity to New Years day would have a segment of Family Home Evening devoted to setting New Years Resolutions. I loathed to the utmost writing these statements on a blank sheet of paper and then hanging it by my bed, resolutely resolving not to look at it. I could never really think of anything good to put on these sheets of paper, much less something I would actually do. I was pretty perfect in my own estimation so what could be the use in pretending toward improvement. And isn't that the case with most of us, even within a single soul, half the soul will not commit for fear of failure and the half refuses to acknowledge faults. So it goes that we walk through life pretending we are perfect and feeling like we are terrible.

I believe one of the key things that is not understood is failure happens, in point of fact the presence of opportunity for a resolution at all is because we have failed, it is the re-solution, the second solution, because the first one failed. And thats ok, as long as it doesn't stay that way.

I forever be grateful that my parents taught me to set goals, no matter how much I disliked it. Later on my mission and now in life, I would and will need goals to accomplish anything worth while. Elder M. Russell Ballard said the following which I now whole heartedly agree with:
 "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life."

So now, Meagan will tell you, I don't always like setting goals and I really don't always like following up on them, but I believe them. I want to do better, and I know you do too. We got problems, and its ok to re-solve those problems. I highly suggest that those looking to improve read the talk by Joe J. Christiansen called Resolutions, which changed the way I looked at goal setting by trying to emulate Christ. It discusses four areas that Christ grew in, that we each need to set goals for improvement in.

I'm excited for my goals this year, let me share just a couple with you: I have resolved to do more family history, I have resolved to read more books, and I have resolved to exercise more. Please feel free to share some of your resolutions in the comments section below, and don't hesitate to share this post with friends if you have found it yourself, sharing links are located at the bottom of each post.

I wish you all a very happy a successful week, and a happy new year.

The Simple Chef: Going Green

In my conquests as a simple chef I recently made some headway over the Christmas Holiday into an area I am very excited about: Guacamole. During the first five days of being back at my parents house Meagan and I did a brief body cleansing diet which consisted of eating fruits and vegetables on the last day of the diet we were allowed to add ground beef. My loving mother made us hamburger patties and then I found there were avocados in the fridge. I did not know how to make guacamole, but I knew it could not be beyond the power of the simple chef to do so. With my more complicated chef mother instructing I made the guacamole, that even, Meagan who hates all green things, liked.

Avocado -- as much as you desire
Onion -- diced very small, in proportion to the avocado
Garlic -- plenty, minced, pressed, or crushed, whichever you prefer
Lemon juice -- best if fresh squeezed, to taste
Salt -- more than a pinch, less than a handful
Mix all ingredients together as shown below, refrigerate leftovers.

The finished beautiful green guac