Paula Finds Her Roots

A book review on Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks

Three years ago when I started blogging I soon found Paula Pederson who blogs about finding traces of her Danish father Hans Pederson who a hundred years ago had built a lot of fine buildings, roads and railways in Seattle.

Paula's book cover Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks

Book cover for Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks

After years of tracing him, her book was finally released February 2017. Reading her book I understand that she found both her mother and her father. Hans Pederson died in 1933 when Paula was only one month old. Her Canadian mother Doris Husklak of Ukrainian origin, married Hans who could have been her grandfather.

From Paula’s earliest memories she finds her mother evading from telling her any truth about her father. Paula was left with a strong feeling of rejection from both her mother and the father she didn’t know. This feeling stayed with her through her childhood and youth making education more complicated than it had to. Finally, before graduation from college, she understood from a teacher that she was bright.

Paula’s mother had grown up in a big family under hard conditions so getting rich and get a good life was essential. Paula got five children which of course was resented by her mother. Years after the death of her mother Paula felt a still stronger urge to find out about her real father and through a lot of research she found that he had been a famous constructor in his time and genuinely interested in the welfare of the citizens of Seattle as well of the many Danish immigrants who came to work for him. He died too early of exhaustion from the many burdens of the big economic depression which made a sudden halt to the great building adventure in Seattle and other places on the US west coast.

When I read about Paula’s thoughts about her life I find it clear that she has Danish roots. Our mentality is the Protestant way of life where you don’t seek to be rich but rather lives modestly and discreet. Her father was outstanding, showing people trust and himself being a trustworthy person.

I admire that Paula’s honesty to let us get glimpses of her life and the complicated family relationships.

Through the book, Paula also shows a growing understanding of her mother’s harsh life and that her mother’s lack of understanding children is due to having been an “adult child” taking care of younger siblings at a very young age and having been abused by an alcoholic father and a distant religious mother.

My husband and I met Paula and her family in California last week as we were invited for Thanksgiving.  That’s what can happen by blogging.


  1. What a great example of the benefit that can come from blogging. I have just spent a week in Canberra, which is a city I did not know. But I was lucky to be able to have time with Peggy, who has been a very loyal blogging friend for some years now.


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