Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Pedersen, Judaism and Jack's roots

There has been much discussion about the various theologies and philosophies that Jack Hickman drew from during his formation and progression of his group. It truly does appear as a hodge-podge of ideas that don't make much sense when you try to understand it from a linear, logical position.
However, there was one particular theologian whose concepts were (are) central to the Family, and probably Jack's main influence; Johannes Pedersen.

Jack was very well read, and extremely well versed in Pedersen's works. His concepts were integrated into a large portion of Jack's teachings, especially to the youth after 1996. But they were also a central theme long before that, in teachings and even in the structure and context of the "Covenant of Shoresh Yishai". He specifically taught from Pedersen's work "Israel, It's Life and Culture" which is an English translation of the original four volumes published in Denmark in the 1920s and 30s. This work was the subject of a series of teachings by Jack called the "Israel" teachings. he taught these to the youth in Colorado while he still lived there, and the lessons were printed and distributed to all of the other youth in Maine and elsewhere.
Jack envisioned his group as the ancient Israelites, and modeled it after Pedersen's perception of the social structure and politics of ancient Israel, as well as it's traditions. This was the framework of the family; it's political structure, the hierarchy and the formation of Mishpachot. All of the other beliefs and practices of the Family are incorporated into that framework.

I want to get into Jack's interpretation of Pedersen, and the Family's progression in relation to it, but first I want to mention a little bit of Jack's ancestry. I researched this awhile back, but honestly, I lost interest. I thought about the comment that asked if it really mattered who Jack was, and i realized it didn't. What if he was really a secret Jew? What if he was somehow a descendant of Jesus (along with every other narcissistic cult leader)? Who cares? No matter who he is, he is still a liar, a fraud, a sexual predator and a glutton.
But, I said I would post what I found, so I'll begin with this:

Jack's mother's maiden name was Pedersen. That doesn't mean anything, but I often wonder if Jack's fascination with Johannes Pedersen had anything to do with the shared surname. Jack fancied himself many things, such as a prophet, a Jew,  a descendant of Jesus, the reincarnation of  Jacob, blah blah blah. No doubt he also fancied himself a relative of Johannes Pedersen. Did this fascination begin after he became interested in Judaism because some one mentioned that he looked like a Jew? Or was he already familiar with Pedersen, and his interest was rekindled with his new preoccupation with all things Jewish? I suppose it doesn't matter, but I still wonder.

Is Jack related to Johannes Pedersen? No, almost certainly not..  It is very improbable. For some perspective, here is a little something about The Pedersen name in general, as well as all surnames in Denmark:
Pedersen is the 4th most common surname in Denmark, and 164,629 individuals there carry it, as of January 2014. * It is essentially equivalent to having the last name "Brown" in the US. Few of the thousands of "Pedersens" are related, just as few "Browns" are. You will find individuals with those names in every town, in every phone book. They are generic names. The only thing all people with the Pedersen name share;  they are related to some one from their family tree who bore the name Peder (Peter).  And just like in the US, Peter is a very common name.

In Denmark, the assumption of inborn family names didn't take place until 1828 when naming acts were issued that applied to the whole population. The majority of the existing surnames then and now, follow the patronymic tradition, which means the suffix "sen" ("son") is attached to the father's given name. So, if your father's name was "Peder", you were "Pedersen", literally meaning "Peter's son", or "son of Peter". In earlier times, daughters would have the suffix "datter" attached to their father's name. Peder's sons would carry the name Pedersen, and his daughters would be called Pedersdatter. While the suffix "datter" still appears, it is less common today.
The remaining names that do not use the patronymic tradition use occupations (such as Schmidt (smith) or Fisker (fisher). Even fewer use location names after the villages of their ancestors.
Before the 19th century, surnames didn't exist among the general population. Any attempt to trace lineage prior to that is extremely difficult unless a person has access to personal family records, as well as access to any existing local village and church records.

As far as Jack Hickman, where does Pedersen appear in his family tree?

Jack was born on December 13, 1931 in Barton, Oregon. He was the first child and only son. His parents were John Lovell Hickman and Adeline (Pedersen) Hickman. At the time of his birth, Adeline was 20, and John was 29. Seven years later, Jack's sister Joanna was born.  Jack's father worked at a general store in Barton, but the store closed due to the depression. The Hickmans moved to a logging camp at Bridal Veil on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon for employment. It was essentially a logging camp that consisted of approximately 50 other families. John was employed as a fireman on a log-hauling train. According to the 1930 census, John and Adeline were married and living in Barton with no children. By the 1940 census, they were living in rural Multnomah county (the logging camp) with their 2 children. By the mid-1950's, the family was no longer there, and were living in Portland, Oregon.

Jack claimed that his grandparents were ship builders in Denmark. I have not found any evidence to support that, though his maternal grandparents did, in  fact, emigrate here from Denmark.

Jack's mother, Adeline Pedersen, was born in the United States in 1912, in Minnesota. In 1920, she was still living in Minnesota with her family.  Her parents were Lena (Jensen) and Jens Pedersen.  Lena was born in Denmark in 1875 or 1876. She emigrated to the US around 1891-1893. Her parents were Lars and Marren Jensen (born 1850, Denmark).
Adeline's father Jens (Jack's maternal grandfather) was born in Denmark around 1867. He was a farmer. He arrived in the US in 1892 or 93.
In 1896, Jens and Lena married.
According to the 1900 federal census, Jens and Lena lived in Meadow, Iowa. Their household consisted of the two of them along with their first child, a son named Nohe, born in December of 1896. Also living with them was Lena's mother, Marren, who was widowed by 1900, and Lena's 10-year-old brother Anton.

Jack had claimed that his maternal grandparents were shipbuilders in Denmark. That isn't true.
Interestingly, Nohe (Noah), who was Jack's uncle, was the only shipbuilder to turn up in the family. He married, but had no children. He lived in Virginia and was employed by Newport News Shipbuilding. He died in Virginia in 1987. I don't know if Jack knew him well growing up, but he must have been aware of his profession. Like most liars, he incorporated little bits of truth into his tales. According to the records I have seen, Jack's grandparents from Denmark were farmers and laborers, as they were here in the United States.

By 1920, the household had grown. Noah was an adult on his own, but three of their other children were still at home; Lorina, age 19, Adeline, age 8 and Eleanor, age 5. At this time, they were living in Knife Lake, Minnesota.

The 1930 Federal Census shows that Lena is now widowed, and living in Barton, Oregon with her only child still at home, Eleanor, age 15. They lived near another daughter, Adeline and her husband John Hickman. Adeline would have Jack less than a year later.

The Foibles of Abba article was very well researched, and it's authors Joseph Berger and Alan Finder reveal a lot of Jack's early and family history. We learn that Jens Pedersen passed away in 1926, years before Jack's birth, and is buried in Oregon. Jack never met him, despite his claims that Jens was the "48th Abba" and instructed him on his secret Jewish history and Kabbalah. In fact, Jens and Lena were devout Baptists. According to the article, Jack adored his grandmother and he told her he was going to be a minister when he grew up. This must have been the motivation behind Jack's choice to attend Bob Jones University.
Eleanor Whalen, Jack's maternal Aunt, was quoted in the Foibles article. She lived nearby while Jack was growing up, and knew him well. She insisted that Jack never even met his paternal grandfather, who also passed away before Jack's birth. His sister Joanna concurred. They also denied any knowledge of Judaism in their family history. The name "Goldhammer" was mentioned; apparently Jack claimed to have a Jewish grandmother by that name. That name has never appeared in any of my research into Jack's genealogy, on either his maternal or paternal side. jack's sister and aunt also admitted that they never heard that name except from Jack himself. I have also researched the name itself, and found absolutely no link to any of the names that appear in his history, nor any of the areas Jack's family descends from. The fact that Jack needed to make up a Jewish-sounding name to convince people he had a Jewish background is further evidence that there was no Judaism connected with his Pedersen ancestors.

The only Judaism found in Jack's family tree is through his sister Joann. She married an Iraqi Jew and apparently converted to Judaism. Jack claimed that he often referred to her regarding Jewish law (why? Wasn't he trained and brought up as a secret Jew?). She denied he ever asked her anything relating to Judaism.
It is interesting to note that Jack's sister Joann came to Maine and attended Jack's funeral in Corinna. The funeral was held and attended by Family members only, and John Hove conducted the service. It struck me at the time as strange that she was there. It actually confirmed the validity of the Family at the time. I still wonder why she came to Maine and participated in this after confirming that Jack had lied about his entire family. As his only remaining next-of-kin, why didn't she have his body brought to Oregon and buried with his family? I wish now that I paid more attention to who she was with, who she spoke to and what her demeanor was like.

Jack's Great-grandmother's maiden name was Hansen. There is a great deal of information on that surname in Denmark, and geneology, however it is irrelevent in this context. jack never knew these relatives, nor has he ever mentioned them. In addition, Judaism doesn't appear in that family tree either.

I will post information about Jack's paternal family in another post. There is nothing too interesting there, but will post it anyway for the sake of being thorough. I will also post more about Pedersen's work in the context of Jack and the Family in the near future.





Below are some links sourcing some of the information I posted.

Johannes Pedersen

Danish Surnames

Jewish-Danish Surname Information

Baptism record:
NAME:Jens Pedersen
GENDER:Male
BIRTH DATE:16 dec 1867
BAPTISM DATE:2 feb 1868
BAPTISM PLACE:Kolstrup Sogn,Odense,Denmark
FATHER:Lars Pedersen
MOTHER:Karen Hansen
FHL FILM NUMBER:312292

1930 census:

NAME:Lena Pederson
[Leva Pederson] 
BIRTH YEAR:abt 1876
GENDER:Female
RACE:White
BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
MARITAL STATUS:Widowed
RELATION TO HEAD OF HOUSE:Head
HOMEMAKER?:Yes
HOME IN 1930:Barton, Clackamas, Oregon
MAP OF HOME:View Map
HOUSE NUMBER IN CITIES OR TOWNS:apr. 4.
DWELLING NUMBER:20
FAMILY NUMBER:20
HOME OWNED OR RENTED:Owned
RADIO SET:Yes
LIVES ON FARM:Yes
AGE AT FIRST MARRIAGE:22
ATTENDED SCHOOL:No
ABLE TO READ AND WRITE:Yes
FATHER'S BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
LANGUAGE SPOKEN:Danish
IMMIGRATION YEAR:1891
NATURALIZATION:Naturalized
ABLE TO SPEAK ENGLISH:Yes
OCCUPATION:Farmer
INDUSTRY:Own farm
CLASS OF WORKER:Working on own account
EMPLOYMENT:Yes
NEIGHBORS:View others on page
HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS:
NAMEAGE
Lena Pederson54
Eleanor E Pederson15



1920 Census:
NAME:Adeline M Pedersen
[Adeline W Pedersen] 
AGE:8
BIRTH YEAR:abt 1912
BIRTHPLACE:Minnesota
HOME IN 1920:Knife Lake, Kanabec, Minnesota
RACE:White
GENDER:Female
RELATION TO HEAD OF HOUSE:Daughter
MARITAL STATUS:Single
FATHER'S NAME:Jens Pedersen
FATHER'S BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
MOTHER'S NAME:Lina Pedersen
MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
ATTENDED SCHOOL:Yes
NEIGHBORS:View others on page
HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS:
NAMEAGE
Jens Pedersen52
Lina Pedersen45
Lorina Pedersen19
Adeline M Pedersen8
Eleanor E Pedersen5

1900 Census:
NAME:Jens Pedersen
AGE:32
BIRTH DATE:Dec 1867
BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
HOME IN 1900:Meadow, Clay, Iowa
RACE:White
GENDER:Male
IMMIGRATION YEAR:1893
RELATION TO HEAD OF HOUSE:Head
MARITAL STATUS:Married
SPOUSE'S NAME:Lena Pederson
MARRIAGE YEAR:1896
YEARS MARRIED:4
FATHER'S BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
MOTHER'S BIRTHPLACE:Denmark
OCCUPATION:View on Image
NEIGHBORS:View others on page
HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS:
NAMEAGE
Jens Pedersen32
Lena Pederson25
Nohe Pederson3
Marren Jensen50
Anton Jensen10