The German Families

Went the day well?

This was the biggest surprise of my foray into family history research. I had no idea that Grandad Henry - my mother's father - was born in Germany.

It has turned out to be the most interesting part of the story. I've been able gradually to find some contacts, some links to the Tenten family. First, there was Maggie Stanley, a great granddaughter of Henry Tenten. To quote her reply on

"Irene was my grandfather's sister I obtained his birth certificate and he has the same mother and father as Irene. I know my mum had a hard life with her dad and she and her brother left home early. So it appears we are related I suppose it makes us distant cousins?"

First cousins, once removed actually. Interestingly, "mum had a hard life with her dad" - dad was William Tenten, son of Henry. Was the son a chip off the old block?

Then I made contact with Brenda Tenten - yes, a real live Tenten! Brenda is the daughter of Theodore Patrick, son of Theodore Christian, who was son of Theodore Christian, who was son of Christian and Gertrude. Brenda said:

The information came from baptism records from the Church of St Charles Borromeo at 8 Ogle Street, London W1 - research done by a cousin (?) of my father and sent to him years ago. It shows Maria Julia Tenten (aka May) as being born on 7 July 1898 to Theodore Christian Tenten and Catherine Tenten nee Ronan and baptised on 31 July 1898. Godparents were Alexander Dukes and Maria Dukes.

There is also a Marie Caroline Tenten born on 9 March1898 to Henry and Blanche Tenten (Borrett) and baptised 17 April 1898. Godparents were Theodore Tenten and Caroline Wall.

Fox stole
Marie Caroline Tenten is our "Auntie Marie", of course. The aunt I remember for her fox stoles, exotic perfumes (well, to me anyway), jangly bracelets and extravagant Christmas presents. And for being the licensee of "The Hevetia" pub in Old Compton Street, Soho. And for the seemingly limitless gossip - "she said, she said... and he said... and so she said, she said...". And for the diabolical chain-smoking.

Well OK, maybe she wasn't quite as exotic as this photo... but you get the idea.

Finally, a real breakthrough. I tried a Google search for 'Christian and Gertrude Tenten'. There was only one return - a posting on a German forum (in German!) from 'Betty', who was also looking for information - the forum dated some time in 2002. I emailed Betty and discovered that she had since travelled to Belgium and Germany to research the Tenten history. She has sent me an amazing amount of information and photos - so much so, that I now know far more about the Tentens than any other part of the family.