A surprise encounter of the best kind!   8 comments

Sunday, April 22nd started out like most Sundays for me. I make a pot of coffee, snuggle back on the couch with my blanket and watch the news for about a half hour and then check my emails. The 22nd was the day my husband was born and since he died it has become a day of reflection for me. I know some people are going to think I’m an absolutely  nut case and others who will get it – but since he died there are times I feel Darrell is hanging around. No, he doesn’t appear like a ghost or move things about in the room, but there is a sense of him about, almost as if he knows I need him to be with me for a while, and then it’s gone. You can judge it as you see it, maybe wishful thinking or….. ? This year on his birthday I received a surprise email that would make me wonder if somehow Darrell manipulated it or was it mere coincidence?

Over the last year Find A Grave has become like a second source of information for me. It is amazing the work that has been done over the last year by volunteers. I have spent a great deal of my own hours adding photo’s and biographies or obituaries. I also leave virtual flowers on family memorials with a note stating my relation to that person. I highly recommend checking Find A Grave for your own ancestors, leave some virtual flowers and make a note of your relationship.

Sunday morning as I reviewed my emails I found one that has been routed through the Find A Grave website. The sender is, Kurt Bevensee and he is from a town near Hamburg, Germany where my grandfather was born. He is requesting that I contact him regarding my Bebensee family. Although I was intrigued I was a little hesitant at first, but, with a little prodding and my own curiosity I did contact him and shortly after I received an email back. After a few emails back and forth we decided to get on the Skype line and save some email time. What a joy it was to chat with Kurt and discuss the possibility of our relationship. Kurt Bevensee has done a great deal of research into the Bevensee/Bebensee family lines. At this point he is trying to connect my Bebensee family to his Bevensee family. He believes that as he researches possibly back into the 1600’s that he will find our common ancestor. Of course I’m hoping so as well.

Kurt has done some research into my ancestors to make that connection and has sent me information from the 1835, 1840, 1845 and 1867 census from Lensahn, Germany which is the area my great great grandfather Jochim Bebensee was born. My heart took a leap to learn the names of my 3rd great grandfather and his children of which it appears Jochim was the youngest child born in 1828. We spent several hours Sunday, exchanging pictures and information. One of the things I told him about was the document that I had where my great grandfather had registered the birth of my Grandfather, Gustav Bebensee, which also showed the address of where they lived. Number 10 Georgstrasses is the home address of his birth.  

The very next day I receive another email from Kurt. As the email opens there are photographs taken that day, by Kurt, of Georgstrasse #10. My hands start to shake and I can barely open each picture so that I can see it better. If you are one that is passionate about the history of your family I know you can certainly imagine the excitement I felt. It still needs to be verified if these are the original buildings or if they are homes that were re-built after the war. But for me just knowing that this is the street they walked every day and played in is more than I ever dreamed of seeing. These photo’s were a special gift from one passionate genealogist, Kurt Bevensee, to another and I will be forever grateful to him for showing me where my Grandpa was born.

Photographs of #10 Georgstrasse courtesy of Kurt Bevensee

So what do you think – did Darrell whisper in Kurt’s ear to check Find A Grave for some Bebensee connection or was it just coincidence that it happened to be his birthday when I received that first email?


Posted April 25, 2012 by Terri Kallio/Site Coordinator in Genealogy

8 responses to “A surprise encounter of the best kind!

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  1. Terri, I know that those who have gone on are closer than we really know. And yes I think they help us with those unknowns. I have had helps before that I know had to have come about with someone on the other side. This is great that you have found this information and pictures. Families are forever. Kenalou

  2. Terri, I truly believe that our family is there assisting us in our lives. I often speak with my ancestors when I need a bit of help. Most of my family thinks I am nuts of course.

    How wonderful that you and Kurt have connected and that he took time to go and capture the images for you. Whether it is the same house or not, it is still the same space where he was born. What a truly great gift!

  3. Absolutely, they are with us. I feel my Great Grandfather looking down at me, grinning like a fool because he is my biggest brick wall. It’s almost like he put down the gauntlet and said, “go get it girl!” Your story was moving, nearly brought tears to my eyes, because I do know that excitement, that energy that comes with a new discovery. Best of luck to you.

  4. Kurt is the youngest of three brothers and one sister. I am Wolfgang, the oldest. Is one of the more enthusiastic persons I ever knew about genealogy. He has giving all of us the gift or who our ancestrals were. Very happy of this contact with you.

    • Hello Wolfgang! Thank you for leaving a note on my blog. I have been very fortunate during my genealogical journey to encounter family members, some very distantly related, but still, the same blood flows through our veins and ties us together through the generations. I am enjoying my correspondence with Kurt and certainly appreciate his efforts in providing pictures and information on my family – more than I could ever express. Never in a million years did I think I would be able to know more of my Bebensee family. Do me a favor and give him a big hug from me since I can not do it myself. Blessings to your family.

  5. I am SO thrilled for you. While reading your story, I knew the exact feelings that you said you had while learning all these things. My heart raced a bit and tears formed in my eyes. I TRULY believe we are surrounded and sometimes helped by our loved ones who have passed. I remember having this feeling when you told me about Dieter and the Cramer connection he could give us. HAPPY for you!!!

  6. Terry, I’m Franz Bevensee, the brother of Kurt and Wolfgang, I was looking for other thing in the web and I found this page, surpised that my two brother were involved in this blog…..but I can say nice surprise.
    Tomorrow I’m travelling from Chile to Germany to visit Kurt, so I will comment about your blog.

  7. Hello Franz – Nice to hear from another brother of Kurt’s! Your brother is amazing and has provided me so much information on my Bebensee family. You can imagine how wonderful it is to know the names of my ancestors, where and how they lived. Kurt sent me a CD of the book that he wrote about the Bevensee family – he truly has an amazing gift of being able to organize so much information. One day I hope to locate information on my Grandfather’s sisters family who remained in Germany – it is all a matter of time. Have a wonderful time in Germany with Kurt and his family!

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