Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family

Posted December 2, 2016 by Amanda | One Comment
Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family

Jens Petter Kleven

We love hearing of stories from users who have discovered a new piece of their family on Geni. Today we share a story from Jens Petter Kleven, who grew up knowing very little about his father’s family. What he found on Geni would open up an entirely new world to him.

Jens was born in September 1950 in Oslo, Norway. He describes his childhood as difficult from day one.  His mother had denied his father and his family because of his father’s abusive behavior related to alcohol. As a result, Jens did not have much interaction with the paternal side of his family growing up.

“The sister of my father was very good to me when I was a young boy, but I could not tell my mother that I was visiting her, and that was very difficult…but I survived!”

I am 66 now, and [have had] a good life in general, but my first 7 years will always follow me.”

As an adult, Jens still didn’t know much about his father or that branch of the family. It wasn’t until he got into contact with a cousin that his father’s side of the family began to take shape.

Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family | Geni

Jens’s grandparents

“I knew my father’s name and where he rested in the family grave, and I have been there 2-3 times and talked to him and has got peace in my heart.”

In the last 3 years, Jens has become much more active in discovering more about his family history after his cousin on his paternal side shared more details about his father. It was also a relative on his father’s side of the family to first introduce Jens to Geni. When he joined, he was amazed to find that Geni opened up an entirely new world to him. It also brought Jens new opportunities to reconnect with his paternal relatives.

“I found so many connections that I had no idea about, and a lot of great people with solid background that could be a part of me [in] the years I have left.”

Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family | Geni

His great grandparents’ homestead

Since learning more about his father’s family, Jens has found himself to be more at peace. In October, Jens and his “new” family were able to make an unforgettable visit to the first settlement where his great grandparents lived. They found that the house where his grandfather and his two sisters grew up was still standing.

Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family | Geni

Jens at the cellar where his grandfather was born

He even got to see the cellar where his grandfather was born at Hestemyr in Åmotsdal, Telemark, Norway.

Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family | Geni

Jens’s grandfather with his fiddle

“In addition to this, I have learned that my great grandfather and my grandfather were solid musicians and played mostly in Telemark. I am more than proud of this. Now I have got the answer of why I feel so relaxed to this music, probably because the first 3 years of my life we visited Rjukan in Telemark and my grandfather always played on his fiddle!”

Now Jens can’t wait to spend more time this winter on his family tree and hopefully, with the help of his “new” family members, Jens will have some new avenues to follow.

For those just beginning on their journey into their family history, Jens has a few words of advice:

“Be patient, take your time and go step by step.”

We wish Jens the best of luck with his family history research!

Do you have a story to share? Let us know at community@geni.com.

All images courtesy of Jens Petter Kleven

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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  • elizabeth.gauffreau

    Great post, Amanda! I also plan to search for the unknown side of my father’s family. Know of any Gauffreaus, by chance?