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home : news : local   May 24, 2016

4/17/2013 1:50:00 AM
TV crew, Danish actress tracing descendants visits Bureau County


NewsTribune photo/Lee StrubingerMary Johnson (left) of Rockford, and Suzanne Bjerrehuus discuss their family history at the Sheffield Cemetery for an upcoming television program similar to the genealogy program seen in the U.S. called “Who Do You Think You Are?” Bjerrehuus is the descendent of George and Anna Hansen, who left Denmark in 1869.
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NewsTribune photo/Lee Strubinger
Mary Johnson (left) of Rockford, and Suzanne Bjerrehuus discuss their family history at the Sheffield Cemetery for an upcoming television program similar to the genealogy program seen in the U.S. called “Who Do You Think You Are?” Bjerrehuus is the descendent of George and Anna Hansen, who left Denmark in 1869.
Lee Strubinger
Princeton Bureau Chief



PRINCETON — Three Danes from the Danish Broadcasting Corp. were in Sheffield over the weekend filming for an upcoming television program similar to the U.S. show called “Who Do You Think You Are?”

The show traces the genealogical history of celebrities. The program filmed over the weekend was a documentary about the ancestors of popular Danish actress Suzanne Bjerrehuus.

The actress came to Sheffield to learn about her ancestors who lived there and to meet some of her living relatives.

Filming was done at the site of the former train depot in Sheffield, St. Peter’s Danish Church, the two lots owned by Bjerrehuus’ great-great-grandparents, George and Anna Hansen, and the Sheffield Cemetery.

Dr. John Mark Neilsen from the Danish Immigrant Museum talked about the Hansen’s and life in Sheffield at the time they lived there.

Mary Johnson, a great-granddaughter of George and Anna, from Rockford, spoke at the cemetery, showed the Hansen family Bible and the death record of George and Anna from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

George and Anna Hansen, Bjerrehuss’ great-great-grandparents, left Denmark in 1869 with five of their six children and moved to Sheffield where other Danes had settled. They had very little money when they arrived, but with the help of other Danes they managed to get established, according to a press release. Suzanne is the ancestor of the oldest son.

“When I look here, it looks exactly like where they (the Hansens) came from in Denmark,” Bjerrehuus said. “I’m sure they liked it here, because it looks like Denmark. I don’t think they liked the big city.”

The chief researcher for the Bureau County Genealogical Society, Carol McGee , said the organization has been working to collect all the information about the family since the end of January. The Danish television show contacted BCGS about the family from Sheffield.

Volunteers at Bureau County Genealogical Society, with the assistance of Sheffield Historical Society and the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, provided the family history information necessary for this part of the documentary.

The program will be seen in Denmark in September. Interested viewers will be able to see it on the Internet.

Lee Strubinger can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or ntprinceton
@newstrib.com.












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