How the search for Albert Larsen turned into an ongoing journey.
Every family has the stories - the grandfather who single handedly saved a ship from sinking, the relative who survived a journey and walked through the door six months later, the people they met and the amazing achievements. I think we all want them to be fact and sometimes they are but then some times they are the fictional stories told to entertain young children and grandchildren at bedtime!
In our family my dads and uncles always loved to tell stories of their adventures and their trials but great Granddad Albert was referred to almost reverently. He was the Norwegian sailor who shaved half the captains beard while the captain was drunk and then decided it would be prudent to jump ship in Napier, New Zealand in 1873 and change his name to Albert Larsen. For many years my family have made attempts to figure out when and where he came from with no luck. For some reason I thought I could do it. I suspect it was more from an angle of solving the mystery rather than a deep interest in family history.
That was the beginning - so am I at the end? No the mystery just keeps getting deeper and concurrently my obsession with finding answers has become a passion for researching these names that float in and out of stories from the past. The small victories when you find a link, a record or even a vague connection that can be filed for later have become a challenge and also a voyage of discovery and learning. In this hunt I am finding family that people had forgotten and links that later generations didn't know existed. So while I am deviating wildly in various directions, always pulling me back to the heart of the search is the picture of a man that I never knew but who holds some sway over me.