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

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