Week 2 – Prompt ‘Challenge’

Lene Bolton, 24 January 2019

I have always wondered why my 3rd Great Grandparents, Poul Nielsen and his wife Ane Larsdatter, died with less than 11 months between them leaving two daughters aged 7 and 4 orphaned. My challenge this week is to learn more about them, their family and where they lived.

Basic Data

Name: Poul Nielsen
Birth: 1777 – Præstehusene, Sørbymagle, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Marriage: 4/10/1822 – Sludstrup, Slagelse, Sorø
Spouse: Ane Larsdatter
Death: 15/12/1831 – Haldagermagle, Krummerup, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Name: Ane Larsdatter
Birth: 1788 – Sørbylille, Sludstrup, Slagelse, Sorø
Marriage: 4/10/1822 – Sludstrup, Slagelse, Sorø
Spouse: Poul Nielsen
Death: 26/1/1831 – Haldagermagle, Krummerup, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø

I had originally thought that Poul died in 1830, leaving only 7 weeks between their deaths. However, after cross checking my notes with the church registers, I realised my mistake. There were 10.5 months between them and not just 7 weeks. Does that make a difference? No, not really. Their daughters were still only 7 and 4 when Ane died. It is rare to find a cause of death in the Danish church registers and I didn’t find any in this case either. Paul was 53 and Ane was 43.

This was not Poul’s first marriage. I found the funeral notation of his first wife in the 1822 Krummerup Church Register. Marie Hansdatter 53 had died six months prior to him marrying to Ane.

Unfortunately the church registers for the period 1795 to 1814 no longer exist and this is where I had a chance of finding their marriage as well as christening of any children. I had to dig deeper.

After a couple of day’s search I found the court documents following Marie’s death, here I could read about the value of the estate, who was owed money, and how the balance was to be distributed. Surprise, surprise. Marie had six children from a previous marriage and she had had three children with Paul. There was Morten – 14, Niels – 9 and Ellen – unmarried. It appears that age was not important for girls and women, only their married state. All nine children were to receive a share in the estate, the boys twice as much as the girls, but Paul was to receive the farm and the remaining share. I have thus found some more descendants of Poul’s to investigate at another time.

The old court documents are very hard to decipher. They were handwritten in gothic using Old-Danish language. In addition the writing was sloppy. However, undeterred, I kept looking and found the records after Ane’s death. This confirmed what I already knew. Ane and Poul had two daughters, Karen 8 and Johanne Marie aged 4.

My expectations were too high. I had hoped to find the court documents after Paul’s death but no such luck.

From the census records of 1834 I learnt that the girls Karen and Johanne Marie were being looked after by Morten, the half brother, who had taken over the parent’s farm. I can only wonder what life would have been like for the two girls as Johanne Marie died in 1839 aged 12 and the older sister Karen was listed in Morten’s household as a Maid in the 1840 census. She married young, only 18, to a man 23 years her senior. Was it an opportunity to get away?

Karen Poulsdatter is my 2nd Great Grandmother.

One thought on “Week 2 – Prompt ‘Challenge’”

  1. What fantastic research skills you have, a real detective! When I was researching my Danish family I had to first learn or at least recognise danish words so I knew what I was looking at, although there was English translation the Parish records were all in Danish .
    I look forward to following your stories with interest.


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