Week 1 – prompt ‘First’

Lene Bolton, 23 January, 2019

For this week’s challenge I have chosen to write about Hans Nielsen, my 2x Great-Grandfather, who was the first in my direct line to occupy the family farm of “Bakkegaard” in Harrested Village, Sludstrup Parish, Sorø County.

Basic Data

Name: Hans Nielsen
Birth: 4/7/1800 – Sørbymagle, Vester Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Marriage: 26/1/1842 – Krummerup, Øster Flakkebjerg, Sorø
Spouse: Karen Poulsdatter
Death: 27/12/1865 – Harrested, Sludstrup, Slagelse, Sorø

Army service

Soon after Hans was born, his father was obliged to list his son in the Danish register of people that could serve in the army. This register was divided into various Lægder depending on the district. His entry in the relevant lægd reads: H 149, Father’s name: Niels Hansen, Name: Hans, Place born: Sørbymagle, Address: home, Notes: Born 4 July 1800.

I was then able to follow his life over the coming years through the lægd register. In 1827 he was conscripted to serve in the King’s Regiment, 3rd Battalion. This did not mean that he had to go into the army and train as a soldier, only that he had to be available should there be a war. It was specifically noted that he was untrained. Later I learn that he moved to Harrested in 1830 and became a Farmer in 1833. Hans was never required for active service in the army, but he remained on their roll until turning 45 as was the rule at that time.

First Marriage

In 1830, at the age of 29, Hans married his first wife Ane Jørgensdatter, who was 31 at the time. Hans and Ane had four children: Karen 1831, Maren 1833, Niels 1834 and Kristine 1838. All survived childhood and went on to marry and have families of their own. Unfortunately, Hans and Ane’s marriage was cut short when she died in August, 1841.


Prior to their wedding Hans was living on his parent’s farm in Sørbymagle and would have had valuable hans-on training from his father in how to work and manage a farm. It is highly likely that Hans and Ane lived on her parent’s farm Bakkegaard in Harrested after they were married and when her father died two years later, Ane’s mother sold the the farm to the young couple.

In those days, a farm was most often owned by the district Earl and leased to individual farmers against payment of annual taxes, delivery of crops and performance of labour on the Earl’s farm. On death, to enable the farm and home to be passed down to spouse or children, many had what was called an Inherited lease. And it was this Inherited lease that Ane’s mother sold to her daughter and son-in-law.

A comprehensive Inherited Lease Deed was prepared for Hans Nielsen to sign. Women didn’t have any legal rights at the time. The Deed outlined not only the property and everything, such as land, buildings and animals belonging to the property, but also the annual tax payable to the Earl in Silver, Grain and ‘two days of labour during harvest including a wagon with horses, a driver and two farm-hands’.

Age-care did not exist in those days, of course, so Ane’s mother had to ensure she had arrangements for the rest of her life. She planned to live with her other daughter in a neighbouring village, but the Deed included annual payment to her of Rye, Barley, Malt and Oats as well as one pig, 4 geese, a load of firewood and approximately 4 kg of cleaned and cut flax. In addition she requested Hans looked after and fed a sheep for her, or alternatively provided her with around 2 kg of wool annually.

The Deed was signed by Hans Nielsen (with hand held) and Ane’s mother in the presence of a parish guardian, as a woman was not considered to have the wherewithal to deal in financial matters.

Second Marriage

Running a farm and looking after a young family at the same time would have been very difficult for Hans even though he employed farm-hands an a maid to help. It is therefore not surprising that he married again in 1842, five months after Ane’s death. Practicality was often more important than love and whilst I can’t say whether love was involved, Hans married his cousin Karen Poulsdatter, 23 years his junior.

Hans also had four children in his second marriage, but only one Jørgen, my great-grandfather, born in 1844, lived long enough to marry and have children. The other three were Poul 1847-1878, Ane 1850-1850 and Peder 1852-1872.


Hans worked the farm till the day he died in 1865, aged 65 years.