Week 23 – Namesake

I know that I am not named after anyone in my family. My mother told me I got the name Lene because my two siblings (6 and 8 years my senior) were reading a book at school that had a Lene as the main character. They thought it could be fun for me to read about myself when one day I would go to school. (By that time the Lene-book had been replaced by something else).

I currently have 7,517 people in my family tree database. You would have thought there would be a Lene among them, and yes, there were 8, but they were all born around the same time as me and therefore, I presume, would still be alive. In addition, none of them are close relatives. In fact I don’t know anything about them except that they exist.

Google tells me that in 2014 there were 31,399 people living in Denmark with the name Lene. It is not a modern name but it must have fallen out of favour during the 200 years preceding me. I have seen babies named Lene on rare occasions when looking through church books from the 18th and 19th centuries, but none of those people belonged in my family tree.

The name Lene comes from the Greek Helene (of which I found 5). Helene means ‘The one who brings light‘ – OR – Magdalene from the Hebrew town of Magdala, a village on the Sea of Galilee which means ‘The Tower‘. I have 6 people named Malene in my tree and one of them is my 6th Great Grandmother.

Name: Malene Christensdatter
Birth: Before 1700
Marriage: Around 1725
Spouse: Peder Sørensen
Death: After 1747 – Skafterup, Fyrendal, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø

I don’t know very much about Malene, but the little I know comes from Vincent Jensen, her son-in-law’s lease agreement for the farm she and Peder leased from Holsteinborg. In this it says that Vincent shall have the new lease of that farm in Skafterup on which Peder Sørensen had lived, but which he is now having to give up due to his wife’s high age and weakness. Conditions of the lease is that Vincent marries Malene’s and Peder’s daughter (Anne Pedersdatter) and that they can live on the farm for the rest of their lives.

Map of South-East Sealand, showing location of Skafterup

This farm will later be known as Farm No 6, Prøveholmsgaard.


This farm has stayed within the family since then and was only recently put up for sale by the current descendant. I wrote more about this farm and some of the past inhabitants in previous blog posts. My father’s mother was born here, probably behind the attic windows, which was the master bedroom.

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