The story is almost complete, but there are yet more surprises to come.
Above is a not very good image of the birth register page proving that on 27 April 1810, two male babies were born there, one named Nikolaj and the second named Johannes. By the time I had gotten this far with the quest to find Johannes Jensen, all the ladies at the Scandinavian desk in Salt Lake were checking on my progress. Everyone agreed that the odds were strongly in my favor that this baby, Johannes, was my 3x great grandfather. All the pieces fit together and there were no pieces that didn’t fit. They particularly felt that the military list with the notation that the father’s name was not recorded when all the other men had their fathers’ names or a note that the father was deceased indicated that Johannes’ parents were unmarried at the time he was born.
My Danish researcher was fabulous (not inexpensive, but wonderful) as he followed up with my frantic overnight email asking if he could retrieve the mother’s record from the Copehagen archives before I left Salt Lake. The next day, I found the following:
Seven lines up from the bottom of the left image is another recording of the birth of Johannes on 27 April 1810. The right image is the other side of the ledger, but the page of the most interest is the one below.
The top half of the page pertains to Johannes. It states that when he was a few days old, he was given to the wife of master tanner Zinn. However, there is an additional notation made in 1820 – ten years after the birth – which is very unusual. It said that the mother, Kirsten Jorgensdatter, who was about 30 when she had Johannes (so about 40 in 1820), was currently residing with the child’s father, who agreed to provide a suit of clothes for him! It also gave the neighborhood where she lived which is in Vor Frelser Church parish.
I scurried off to read the marriage and death records for Vor Frelser. In it, I found that on 13 August 1824, Kirsten Jorgensdatter, aged 44, married Jens Jensen Lundqvist. You can bet that I did a great big happy dance! With the Danish patronymic system of a baby’s surname being the father’s given name + “sen” or “datter” attached, Johannes’ father would have been named Jens. There are no other Kirsten Jorgensdatters or Jorgensens in the parish at that time and her age exactly matches the “about” age given in the Fodselstiftelse record. This record was not easy to read. My new found best friends at the Scandinavian help desk spent the better part of a day with overlapping workers all giving opinions about their deciphering of the hospital text. I could not have done this by myself.
It only took 34 years to unravel much of the story of the Johnson family who emigrated to Calais, Maine in 1883. I believe I know much more about Johannes’s parents than he ever did, but, even so, there are more questions to answer:
1. Only one Jens Jensen Lunqvist has been found in the indexed records on familysearch.org. He appears to be one and the same man. Johannes was born on 27 April 1810. On 4 May 1810, Jens Jensen Lundqvist married his second wife, Anne Dorthea Gyse in Helsingor, Denmark. Did he know that Kirsten Jorgensdatter had just given birth to his son?
2. Master tanner Zinn was Carl Henrich Zinn who appears to be the Zinn buried at Skt. Peter’s Church on 31 August 1814 as his wife is referred to as the widow of tanner Zinn in another church record a short time later. It isn’t likely that his wife kept the child who was to be apprenticed when she was now a widow with her own children to feed. What happened to Johannes? He enlisted in the army one month before he turned 16. I believe he may have been sent to the orphanage when he was four years old. Another path to research.
3. Who are the parents of Kirsten Jorgensdatter? She was from a village near Slagelse in Soro County, as noted in the hospital record. There are several possible girls born in the right time frame to be my Kirsten.
I feel like I know Johannes Jensen a little more now. While the establishment’s expectations of marriage before children and having baptismal sponsors for your children didn’t seem to be important to Johannes, I think he used the unusually lengthy names he gave his children to give them the sense of belonging to a family that he never had.
In a couple of weeks, I will be heading to Roots Tech 2014 in Salt Lake City. Guess where every spare minute will be spent?
I will be posting many other stories about research successes that I’ve had. Some will take several posts to tell (although the Jensen story is, by far, the most complicated) while others will be shared in one post. I hope you will come back to read more about my genealogical adventures. I also hope that my experiences will help you to look at your own brick walls with new eyes.