Bense–Sorensen Family Tree

compiled by John Bense

This website A random image of someone on my genealogy site. contains information about my ancestors, all of whom (with a few exceptions) can trace their origins to European immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania between 1850 and 1900. It’s split into two sections:


This section is about the ancestors of my father, Richard Halvey Bense, who was born in Philadelphia in 1953. His ancestors were German and Irish.


This section is about the ancestors of my mother, Ann Marie Sorensen, who was born in Philadelphia in 1954. Her ancestors were Danish, English, German, and Irish.

This site was last updated on January 6, 2024.


Normal family tree diagrams can quickly get complicated, so I decided to use an ahnentafel list instead.

This numbering scheme displays a person’s direct ancestors in an ascending sequence. The main subject of the tree is “1,” their father is “2,” their mother is “3,” their father’s father is “4,” and so on.

Ahnentafel numbers arranged in a tree. “1” is the tree’s main subject, “2” is the main subject’s father, “3” is their mother, “4” is their father’s father, etc. Ahnentafel numbers arranged in a tree

To find a person’s father, simply double their number. For example: In the Bense–Halvey tree, Antonette Gertrude Abeln is number 9. Antonette’s father, Herman Heinrich Abeln, is 18 (twice her number), and Antonette’s mother, Maria Elizabeth Bernadina Krone, is 19 (twice her number plus one).

This process can also be done in reverse: Antonette’s husband, Johann Frederick Wilhelm Bense, is number 8 (one less than her), and their son, John Edward Bense, is number 4 (half his father’s number).

Other information

The people listed on this site are my parents’ 62 most recent direct ancestors. A larger tree of about 1,500 people (and counting) is viewable on and includes many more aunts, uncles, and cousins. Some records on the Ancestry tree go as far back as the fourteenth century, but I’m very skeptical. You can access it through my Ancestry profile, but a subscription to the site is required.

As a free alternative, you can check out FamilySearch, a less complete—but still good—substitute. Viewing and editing there is free if you make an account. Here’s a link to John Edward Bense Jr.’s page (my father’s father), and here’s a link to Elmer Heydon Sorensen’s page (my mother’s father).

Contact me

Take everything you see here with a grain of salt! I’ve tried to be careful and conscientious, but mistakes can still happen. If you notice something wrong or unclear, don’t hesitate to send me an email at I’m always eager to share information or correct my errors.