Saturday, March 10, 2012

DENMARK - More than pastry and big dogs!


Map of Denmark, "A" indicates location of Gimlinge & Flakkebjerg

All I know about Denmark is that I love the pastry and their ginormous dogs are beautiful. I am one-eighth Danish - time to learn a bit more about my own "great Danes." 

Denmark is the 2nd oldest monarchy in the world. Life was not easy for the working class - it was often impossible to own land as most was held by large estate holders. Tenant farmers worked hard just to survive. Some of the squires were cruel to their tenants, destroying the homes of men in order to add that land to their holdings. Your civil rights were directly related to your station in life.


Typical Danish home

The Swedes and Danes kept fabulous records - both church and census. (The Danish ones are free to search online!)  The challenge can be surnames - Scandinavians' last names changed every generation -- it is their father's given name plus "sen/son" or "datter/dotter," a practice known as patronymics. I noticed that they stopped using patronymics in the late 1800s.

My paternal grandmother's father, Alfred Søren Pederson, was born in Sweden, but his parents were both born and raised in Denmark. 
Flakkebjerg Church

His mother, Anna Katrina Andersdatter, was born in September 10, 1843 in Flakkebjerg, Denmark to Anders Lorentsen and Dorthe Larsdatter. Anders was a wealthy dairy farmer, according to family lore. They had two other daughters, Maren born in 1841 and Johanne born 1846.

On October 27, 1866, in the Flakkebjerg church, Anna Katrina married a bachelor named Peder Hansen. According to family stories, he was a hired man working for Anna Katrina's parents on their farm and that they were less than thrilled about the couple's plans to marry. Peder had come to Flakkebjerg from Gimlinge, which was only 2 miles away, in 1865. 

Gimlinge Church

Peder was born in Gimlinge May 29, 1841 to Hans Andersen and Karen Larsdatter. Hans was from nearby Sorbyemagle and Karen was from Gimlinge, where they had been married in 1829 and raised their family: Anders born 1830/died 1840; Jorgen born 1833/died at 10 days old;  Ane Kirstine born 1834; Kirsten born 1836; Peder born 1838/died 1840; Jorgen born 1839,  Peder born 1841, Lars born 1842 and Ane Lisbeth born 1846.

In the 1835 census, Karen's retired parents (Lars Jørgensen, 70, and Lisbeth Hansdatter, 65) live with them, which also lists the 5 yr old Anders, along with 2 maids and 2 young laborers. The same for 1840 census, but it also shows the older 2 daughters and the first Peder and Jorgen. By 1845, Karen's father has died, and the younger Jorgen and Peder, plus Lars are shown, along with the birthplaces of every person. (This year included 3 laborers and 2 maids). The 1850 census, Karen's mother has gone and daughter Ane Lisbeth is shown. Karen died in Gimlinge in 1870, her husband in 1872.

So back to Peder Hanson and Anna Katrina Andersdatter, my great-great-grandparents. Their first child was born in her home parish of Flakkebjerg, where the couple had been set up in a house and farm by her parents. Peder was a bit of a gambler and lost their home, not once, but three times! Finally his in-laws said "Enough!" and cut them loose. They left for Lille Vallby in October, 1867 with their newborn daughter Anna  Kristina (a move of about 50 miles northeast).  

While in Lille Valby, the had two sons, Hans Peder, born in 1869 and Lars, born in 1871. (I haven't found those records yet, but were noted in the House Exam Roll when they lived in Sweden.) 
Markaryd Church
By 1874, they had moved to Sweden for a better job – settling in Markaryd, a pulp mill town. This was not easy on Anna Katrina, as she had grown up in luxury.   When their daughter Anna was about 4 or 5 years old, Anna Katrina's uncle in Copenhagen contacted her. His wife and he had lost their only child and asked if they could raise young Anna - and economics being what they were, Anna Katrina agreed. She missed her little girl terribly.

They had a son Jorgen (George), born  in 1874 and  in 1877,  my great-grandfather was born - both in Markaryd. In September 1877, they had moved to Goteryd where August Lorents was born in 1880. Goteryd and nearby Delary had recently become a large pulp mill area. During this time, Peder learned to like Cognac. He was kind to his family, just irresponsible. Poor Anna Katrina!

Lars' Death Record (cause of death: Injured in farm chaff works)
In 1881, their then almost 10 year old son Lars was heading to his conformation class with a group of friends, they decided to take a shortcut through a grist mill. Lars being smaller was hoisted up onto the grist stone, unfastening a blade to allow the others to crawl through. It slipped out of his hands, falling across his body and cutting him badly. The other kids ran off frightened. Little Lars tucked his intestines back in and managed to make it to his mother's arms before collapsing. He lived for 2 weeks, with both parents caring for him. Anna said he never complained, just smiled sweetly and slept for short periods.  She also told of how he aged in intelligence and wisdom to be like that of an old man during those two weeks. They were both heartbroken, and Peder even stopped drinking for a time.

Goteryd church

In 1883, Anna had her last child, a son named Lars Richard. When he was 3 years old, Anna was calling him to her in their house, and as he laughingly backed away from her, he fell into a bucket of caustic soda being used to scrub the floor and he was scalded to the bone. Anna nursed him for a week before he died, even with dressings and the help of doctors.

Peder suffered a serious burn on the job when he slipped into a vat of acid, scalding his buttocks, crotch, legs and feet. Doctors wanted to amputate, but Anna nursed him through a coma and back to health over a year's time. After he returned to work, he started drinking again. At one point, he sent my great-grandfather to get him some cognac. He had never involved the children before, so Anna reprimanded him. He told her this was the last time and proceeded to drink the whole bottle! He passed out and Anna couldn't wake him. The next morning, he took her face  in his hands and said, with tears in his eyes,  "Little Anna Katrina, never again do you have to worry. Bless you little mother." He never touched another drop.

Henry was the first to emigrate to America. Anna returned to her parents at 19, but shortly followed Henry to America. The rest of the children emigrated in 1894. 



Peder & Anna Katrina came to America by way of Sweden, in 1902, first sailing from Malmo to Liverpool, then aboard the SS New England (photos above) to Boston, a journey of 6.5 days.  They joined their children in Boston, except Anna & Peter’s youngest son August, who made a last minute decision to stay in Sweden to marry a girl he loved - they had a daughter, Signe.

George,Henry and Alfred Pedersen (tintype)

Peder and Anna Katrina  settled in Massachusetts, near Boston. Peder worked at the Malden Paint factory. Their daughter Anna married in 1886, had 6 children, but only a daughter, Alice, survived to adulthood. Alice married but had no children. George and Alfred married two Swedish sisters in 1898 and 1901 respectively. George had a son Henry and daughter Ethel Lillian. Alfred had 3 daughters Helen, Hazel (my grandmother) and Marjorie, plus a son Chester.

Henry supposedly was married in the 1920's in Philly, but I haven't tracked that down. (He used the surname Hanson). I don't think they stayed in touch.
George, Anna Katrina and Alfred at Peder Hansen's grave, Woodlawn Cemetery.

Peder went in for a hernia operation in 1908, but died on the operating table. His heart kept beating for several minutes after they declared death - it was written up in the papers.

Anna Katrina lived until 1925 at age 82, when she died in Boston. My great aunt said she was a sweet, loving, peaceful woman. She is pictured below in 1919.

I'm sure I will have more info on this family as I dig more :-)

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