Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Most Interesting Record for an Ancestor

It’s hard to believe that it’s October, but the Tucson summer has left and we are into our great weather.

It is time once again for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun with Randy Seaver.

1)  What is the most interesting record you have found for an ancestor?

Randy chose his ancestor who was adopted and my choice is somewhat similar, except the adoption/apprenticeship didn’t work out.

Johannes Jensen, my 3X great grandfather, born in 1810 in Copenhagen, Denmark, has, by far, produced the most interesting records of any of my ancestors.

The #1 record would have to be his file at the Unwed Mothers’ Hospital in Copenhagen. The birth record for children born there is easy to access, as the record set has been filmed by FamilySearch.

However, the half that really gives any information other than “Johannes, male, born 27 April 1810” can only be accessed at the Danish National Archives.

To manage this, I hired a professional researcher in Copenhagen to visit the Danish National Archives at the same time I was at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. That would give me all the help I needed to decipher what the record said.

Women who gave birth at the Fødselsstiftelsen could choose to provide their names or could give birth completely anonymously and give their babies up for adoption.

Whatever file existed for the mothers is cross referenced with the baby’s file by a code number in the child’s record.

What did I learn when the pro researcher in Copenhagen emailed me the file?

Johannes’ file is apparently quite unusual because it had additional entries when he was ten years old. Not only was his mother’s name provided, but it said both parents were still living in the parish and the father agreed to provide a suit of clothes for his son.

Originally, his mother had signed him over to the wife of Master Tanner Zinn, to be apprenticed and trained when Johannes was old enough.

Mr. Zinn unfortunately died when Johannes was only five years old and it seems the Johannes was sent to live in the Copenhagen Orphanage by Mrs. Zinn. I believe Johannes lived there until he was 15 years old, at which time he joined the military and became the company fiddler at Rosenborg Castle, where the crown jewels are kept.

With the clues of the name of Johannes’s mother and that the parents still lived in the parish, I was able to learn that his parents finally married when he was 14 years old. However, I doubt Johannes ever knew who they were or that they lived just blocks away.

That allowed me to take his parents’ lines back one more generation. to go any further, I need help reading the old script.

That one hospital file cost me $225, but it was worth every penny!

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Most Interesting Record for an Ancestor”

  1. Amazing that these records survive and provide such wonderfully genealogically rich detail. Worth every penny, indeed! It sounds like a trip to Denmark ought to be on your radar.

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