Part 6 – Thinking Outside the Box to Assemble the Puzzle Pieces

I didn’t know it at the moment, but I was actually getting close to my goal of finding both Johannes’ date of birth and his parents’ names.

The big break came when the Danish researcher I hired in Copenhagen found the “10th Bataillon Stamlister for Underofficerer Beginning 20 Apr 1843 and Ending 7 October 1865.” Remember, the two military cards I found mentioned the 7th battalion on one and the 10th battalion on the other.

There was my Johannes Jensen, born 27 April 1810 in Copenhagen.! It gave the date he first enlisted, 30 March 1826, aged 15. It included the 14 September 1834 (probably re-enlistment) date I found on the other company list so I was sure this was the correct man. The one missing piece of information was his father’s name, which is often included on Danish military records.

The second big break came when found found Johannes Jensen on the “Regular Levying Rolls of Stilling, Skanderborg County, #63 Laegd.” (FHL film 40,135) Johanes was now 63-173-146. This particular list gave fathers’ names for all the other soldiers, but next to Johannes’ name it said “father not recorded.” Hmmm???

These discoveries happened over many months’ time. I continued to research Frits and his sisters in the Saeby church records and then started to ask questions outside the box.

Back in an earlier post, I commented how Frits had four given names in a time period when two were common and his sisters all had three given names. Yet, Johannes was just “Johannes” and his wife, Johanne Elisabeth, had the typical first and middle names. That was the first item that stuck in my mind as unusual.

Second, the Jensens had their children baptized (there were fines levied at the time for not baptizing children in a timely manner), but never had family or even apparent friends as sponsors.

Third, Copenhagen parish registers seem quite complete for the 1810 time period. I could not find a trace of anyone who could be my Johannes and his company military list, which named fathers of other soldiers, said his father was “not recorded.”

The fourth discovery really made me step back and look at the data that I had accumulated. In the early searches in Denmark, I had found baptismal records for all of Frits’s sisters, with the exception of Vilhelmine, who was living with him in 1880. The Saeby confirmation records solved that mystery, as they give the place of baptism for each child being confirmed. Vilhelmine was born in Copenhagen and baptized at the Fodselstiftelse, which I was told was the Unwed Mothers’ Hospital! Obtaining her records is a different story, but knowing that her parents were not married when she was born sent me back to Garnison and Trinitatis parishes where I had found other family records. I had not found a marriage record for Johannes and Johanne Elisabeth in Copenhagen, but I stopped looking at the end of 1840 and figured maybe they married in Sweden since she was born there. This time, I reread the baptismal records from 1840 to 1843, when daughter Emilie was baptized. On 8 May 1842, a stillborn child was noted in the records of Garnison Church as the child of Johanne Elisabeth Molin and “reputed father Johannes Jensen.” I then checked marriages there from 8 May 1842 to 18 May 1843, when Emilie’s baptism was recorded and her parents were married. On 31 August 1842, Johannes Jensen and Johanne Elisabeth Molin were married in Garnison Church! Discovering that Johannes and Johanne had two children before they married made me look at all these unusual pieces of information in a new way.

What if Johannes Jensen was also born when his parents were not married? Could he also have been born at the Fodselstiftelse??? The hospital records are divided into two parts because the mothers had the choice of anonymity or not and either keeping the baby or giving it up for adoption. The babies’ births are recorded with given names only in the birth registers. Each child has a corresponding code to identifying the mother and her file record. The Family History Library had the birth registers, but did not have the mothers’ records. That meant one more time having to hire a Danish researcher.  However, I could read the register for 27 April 1810 myself, which I did in Salt Lake City. The next post, Part 7, of this saga, will explain how the pieces came together.



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