Week 22 – At the cemetery

My third cousin took me to Ørslev church last year. A large number of my ancestors have either been christened, confirmed, married or buried at this church, including my grandmother, who was christened there. Today I am not going to write about her, but instead, her nephew Knud Jacob Jensen, (my 1st cousin once removed) whose gravestone I saw at the cemetery.

Name: Knud Jacob Jensen
Birth: 4/1/1900 – Stubberup, Ørslev, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Marriage: 20/6/1930 – Skørpinge, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Spouse: Anne Marie Mortensen
Death: 1980 – Stubberup, Ørslev, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø

Knud was the son of Hans Jensen, who I wrote about in Week 18. In 1930, after marrying Marie, Knud took over the farm at 31 Glænøvej in Stubberup after his father. The farm has been in the family since 1887 and has only recently been put up for sale by Knud’s grandson who has a different farm.

Glænøvej 31, Stubberup – photo taken 1936-38.

From childhood Knud was educated in farm management by his father and as a young man was sent to study at Vallekilde Højskole, a school for young country people situated in north Sealand. The school still exists but has been renamed Vallekilde Communications College. It is specialising in communication and currently has five line subjects. Journalism, Design, Leadership, Game design and Event management. These lines attracts students from all over the world and is a stepping stone for the students to attend a university.

Knud Jacob Jensen at Vallekilde Højskole 1918-1919

Knud and Marie were 31 when they married and went on to have two children. The eldest, Arnth, was born 9 months later and he eventually took over the family farm. A daughter, Margit, followed the year after. Unfortunately, Margit was not well or she suffered an accident (I don’t know which), because she died at Slagelse Hospital aged only 12.

Ørslev Cemetery.

Week 21 – Military

When the topic of Military came up I knew exactly who I would write about. My 3rd cousin sent me an email about our great-grandparent’s brother last year, to which she attached a copy of his application for ‘Fortjent Medal from 1864’ (1864 war Medal entitlement). To fight in the Danish-Preussian war in 1864 would have been a terrible experience, especially since Denmark didn’t do well and a large part of Southern Jutland was lost to the Germans.

Name: Hans Jensen
Birth: 6/11/1835 – Bisserup, Holsteinborg, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Marriage: 18/12/1874 – Karrebæk, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Spouse: Karoline Mortensen
Death: 9/6/1915 – Bisserup, Holsteinborg, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø

There had been disputes between Germany and Denmark throughout the 1850s and into the 1860s about which country would control the two districts of Schleswig and Holstein at the bottom end of Jutland. By February 1864 the German-Austrian army attacked and the Danish troops withdrew to the most northerly line of Schleswig. It was thought Denmark could defend her position there, due to the presence of old defence barricades and excavations. Sadly they were in ill repair and the Danes could not withstand the onslaught. A peace treaty was eventually signed on the 30th of October in Vienna. Denmark went to war with 52,000 troops and roughly 10% lost their lives or were injured. A further 15% were taken prisoner by the Germans. Denmark had to relinquish both Holstein and Schleswig to the Germans. It was not until the end of First World War that Schleswig was returned to Denmark when a request was made to the allied powers at the Versailles conference in 1919.

Hans Jensen was sent to war on the 18th of March 1864 and returned unharmed on the 18th of November. He served as private for the 13th infantry regiment, 5th Company. I haven’t been able to find out where he may have been engaged in battle. Regardless, he was among the lucky men who return home unscathed.

1864 War Medal application for Hans Jensen.

Hans returned to his father’s farm ‘Vængegaard’ in Bisserup which he took over in 1876. At the same time he bought the farm outright from Holsteinborg Estate.

Vængegaard, Bisserup.

1876 was an eventful year for Hans as he not only bought ‘Vængegaard’, he also married Karoline. In addition, Karoline gave birth to a baby daughter before they were married, but unfortunately the baby only lived for a few hours and was never given a name.

They had a further two daughters and one son. The youngest daughter Anna Margrethe Jensen born in 1891 took over the farm from her father with the help of her husband Niels Peter Nielsen in 1916. To finish the story I can add that their son, Hans Børge Nielsen followed in his father’s footsteps and ran the farm from 1957 to 1977, when it was sold to someone outside of the family.

Week 20 – Nature

Going back in time, everyone of my direct ancestors were involved in farming. Even when looking at siblings and their children, it is still the same. Only when we reach the 1850s do people start to have different occupations, and even then only a few. Since farming has everything to do with nature, I have decided to write about my 4th Great Grandfather.

Name: Jesper Jensen
Birth: 1730? – ?
Marriage: 1/11/1756 – Gunderslev, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Spouse: Cathrine Pedersdatter
Death: 2/7/1818 – Sneslev, Førslev, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø

The reason I chose Jesper is that I don’t know much about him, and this is a chance for me to do some focused research. I do know that Cathrine, his first wife and my 4th Great Grandmother, died at the age of 43 leaving Jesper alone with 5 children. Catherine had given birth to four more children, but they all died in infancy. Hans, the last baby, was buried the same day as his mother, so it is reasonable to conclude that it had been a difficult birth with complications.

Four months later Jesper married Mette Nielsdatter, 22 years his junior, and had a further seven children. Unfortunately only three survived infancy and grew up to later marry.

Jesper lived in Hyllinge and it is possible he leased one of the farms in this village. To date, however, I have not been able to find any evidence to support this idea. I also know he lived in Sneslev, but again I haven’t been able to find evidence of any farm he may have leased. These two villages are not very far from each other, so it is possible he stayed in one place but went to church in two different parishes.

I have spent days trying to find the birth of Jesper, but without success. I did find a marriage record of Jens Nielsen and Anne Jespersdatter af Agerup and I believe they are Jesper’s parents. Their marriage was in Hyllinge church on the 19th of October 1727. I then find death notices for Jens Nielsen’s stillborn child on the 12th of December 1728 and Jens Nielsen’s hustru Anna on the 10th of January 1729.

As Jesper’s birth was calculated to be 1730 based on the age given at death, it is quite likely that this could have been out by a couple of years. I believe Jesper would have been their first child and probably born early 1728. The fact that he carried Anne’s father’s name and that there were no birth records of a Jesper in the 10 years before or after that time, I believe that his birth was not recorded anywhere. I have searched the church records in all the parishes close to and not so close to Hyllinge.

And this is where the story of Jesper Jensen ends. I can not prove who his parents were, only guess, and that is not good enough as genealogical evidence.

Week 19 – Nurture

How do you pick someone from a long list that fits this topic? It is hard, as so many over time either nurtured a family or they were nurtured by one special person in their life. My choice was made easier due to an email I received from my 2nd cousin. It contained stories about Johanne Kirstine Elmose, told by her grand-daughter.

Name: Johanne Kirstine Elmose
Birth: 26/5/1902 – Starup, Malling, Ning, Århus
Marriage: 12/12/1941 – Risskov, Hasle, Århus
Spouse: Ingemann Jensen
Death: 1998 – Malling, Ning, Århus

Johanne, my 2nd cousin once removed, and a member of the Øvle-clan, was quite frail as a child. This may be the reason that she became interested in music to the extent that as a young girl she attended the Music Conservatory. This love of classical music stayed with her throughout life.

Music was not Johanne’s only love. Cooking also fascinated her. This interest, once she was fully trained as a chef, took her to many interesting places.

Hjort-Kokholms Hotel in Kandestederne

One of these was Kokholm’s Hotel in Kandestederne. This hotel is situated at the beach on the west coast of Skagen, about 15-20 km from Jutland’s most northerly point. Another was a large estate in Eastern Sealand.

Anneberg – situated near Nykøbing Sjælland in the northern part of Sealand.

Later she worked at Anneberg in Northern Sealand. She obviously liked traveling and seeing different places. Her adventurous spirit took her on a trip to England where she worked at a large Estate.

By 1939 Johanne had reached a career pinnacle. She was working in a management position at the d’Angleterre Hotel, Copenhagen. For those who do not know this hotel I can say that it is a ‘Five Star Superior’ rated hotel, the only one in Denmark. It was established in the mid 1700s and is situated in the centre of Copenhagen with only a minute’s walk to ‘The colourful Nyhavn, The Royal Theatre, Kings Garden and Strøget‘ (from D’Angleterre Website). The restaurant, where Johanne would have worked as a chef, is now Michelin-starred.

d’Angleterre Hotel

My information tells me she had lost interest in this career by mid 1940, and I also suspect it had something to do with the German occupation on the 9th of April 1940. The German High Command chose the Hotel d’Angleterre as its residential headquarters and placed guards at the main entrance. The Danes were not happy about this and started to boycott the hotel. I think this would have been another reason for Johanne’s decision to leave.

In the summer of 1940 she became a housekeeper at Aldrup Andelsmejeri (co-op dairy-works). The manager, Ingemann Jensen, had recently lost his wife and was suddenly alone with three young girls aged 3, 5 and 9. He was in a lot of trouble, but it didn’t take long for Johanne to straighten out the house and family.

Aldrup Mejeri

Johannes granddaughter tells the story about how her mother and siblings were hanging out of the attic window the day Johanne arrived. As she stepped down from the bus they noted she was a very smart woman wearing both hat and gloves.

Love blossomed, and Johanne and Ingemann were married at the end of 1941. Another daughter Kirsten arrived the following year, and this is where the nurturing comes in. Johanne always loved and treated the four girls exactly the same even though only the youngest was her biological daughter.

Johannes was religious and apart from her music interest she also read a lot, keeping up with the news as well as the latest in literature. She was a very busy woman because in addition to looking after the house and family she was a fantastic cook, says her granddaughter. Somehow, she also found time to knit and sew for the family.

Ingemann died in 1973, but Johanne lived for a further 25 years and died aged 96. Whilst her body was tired towards the end, her mind remained sharp.

Week 18 – Road trip

Recently, when visiting Denmark, I was lucky enough to meet up with cousins I had never known about or met before I started genealogy. Some of these 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins took me on road trips to several family farms where our ancestors were either born or lived. The difficult decision to make is this: Which farm and family member should I write about this week?

Name: Hans Jensen
Birth: 3/9/1866 – Stubberup, Ørslev, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Marriage: 14/4/1897 – Hårslev, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Spouse: Ane Kirstine Olsen
Death: 12/12/1945 – Stubberup, Ørslev, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø

Hans Jensen is my Grand-uncle, who along with my Grandmother and their other siblings, were born on the farm known as Glænøvej 31, Stubberup.

Glænøvej 31, Stubberup

The farm has been in the family since 1828, however, the above buildings are from around 1890. There was a fire in Stubberup in June 1887, where most of the farms in town burnt down.

The story goes like this: – One of the men in town wanted to shoot a magpie sitting on the roof of a straw-thatched out-building. He had a front-loading gun, which was filled with gun-powder and paper. Unfortunately, he didn’t hit the magpie but instead set fire to the roof. There was a strong easterly wind that day and the fire quickly spread to surrounding farms and houses.

Only a ‘Navneklud’ (Sampler) and a bench was saved from the old farm.

Sampler embroidered by my Great Grandmother Ane Margrethe Hansdatter
Bench saved from the old farm before it burned down.

The Language department of the University of Copenhagen had begun a study on dialects in 1911. Both world wars had probably put limitations on the research, but in 1945 the department contacted Hans Jensen to see if he would contribute to their study. A recording of him telling a story about his grandfather and the local vicar resulted:

Yes, I will tell a little story about my grandfather and the vicar in Ørslev. The vicar in Ørslev was a very clever farmer, and a man who was very interested in keeping things in order. It was around 1828. And back then the vicars were in most cases a spokesperson for the farmers – in a lot of cases. And then my grandfather had a couple of cows that had escaped one day and the vicar sent his farm-hand out to get them. Next the vicar sent a message to my grandfather that he could come and get them and it would cost this much – I don’t know what the price was. My grandfather went up to the vicar, collected his cows and paid the price. But then it was only a couple of days later (little chuckle) when two of the vicar’s cows and a bull came onto my grandfather’s land. My grandfather rounded them up and sent a message to the vicar that he could collect his cattle from him. The vicar came with his farm-hand to take the animals home and asked my grandfather how much he owed him. My grandfather said he wanted what he had previously paid the vicar and then he would be happy. That is not fair for you, Hans Olsen, you have a right to this much as a bull is double the fee. My grandfather said that he just wanted as much as he had paid the vicar and he would be satisfied. The vicar found this was very reasonable and he had high regard for my grandfather from that day.

Recording of Hans Jensen’s story. Description says ‘father’ but it was his ‘grandfather’.

The story was saved onto an unusual form of medium. It is like an LP record, but it has to be played from the inside out. Traditional record players can’t do that. Luckily Hans’ great grandson Jens Arnth Jensen with the help of a friend found a method to play the record and save the story onto a modern medium. Last year I had the pleasure of listening to this recording. For me, it was interesting to realise that Hans’ dialect was not very different to the one my aunt spoke when I was growing up.

Hans Jensen