Category Archives: Bruun

Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Margrethe Bruun (1843-1890)

The life story of Margrethe Bruun, my 3X gret grandmother, begins far across the ocean in the small town of Flade, Hjorring, Denmark, located in the northern tip of Denmark. Flade borders the bigger town of Frederikshavn and both are almost directly across the sea from Gothenburg, Sweden.

The theme of family loss, which has appeared in most of the family sketches of my maternal ancestors, continues in Margrethe’s story, too.

Margrethe Bruun, born 1 May 1843 in Flade, was the first of two children born to Niels Thomsen Bruun and his wife, Ane Amalie Christensdatter Moller. Note the double surnames. Denmark was beginning to move towards families using a single surname, but hadn’t quite gotten there yet.

Niels was the son of Thomas and the family added Bruun to their names. Ane was the daughter of Christen, who was a miller, thus Moller was added to her name.

Now, back to Margrethe. Her brother Peter was born on 13 April 1845, also in Flade.

However, Niels disappears from Flade records after his son’s baptism. He was a fisherman and it is assumed that he died at sea, probably c1846, as there is no burial record noted for him in the church books.

Ane Amalie married (2) Jens Marinus Hansen on 24 October 1847 in Flade and had five more children with her second husband. Their youngest, Anton August, died in infancy.

Margrethe likely had no memories of Niels so Jens would be the only father she ever knew. She grew up in a home with her brother Peter, 2 half brothers and 2 half sisters, all of whom lived at least long enough to be confirmed.

Margrethe would have gotten a job in her teens, as children were expected to work. She was a month past her 24th birthday when she married Frits Wille Oscar Emil Jensen, son of retired soldier Johannes Jensen and Johanna Elisabeth Molin.

The Jensen family lived in Copenhagen, where Frits was born, but when Johannes retired from the Danish army, the family moved north to Saeby, a town close to Flade and Fredrikshavn.

Exactly how the couple met is unknown.

Margrethe had led a stable life growing up, in spite of losing her father when she was a toddler. After marrying Frits, life was never to be the same again.

Frits’ father, Johannes, died on 9 April 1865. Frits’ sisters both married and remained in the Saeby area. However, Frits, his mother and eldest sister seemed to prefer Copenhagen life and left Saeby.

Margrethe followed her husband and their children were all born in the Copenhagen area, where Frits worked as a prison guard.


  1. Anna Elisabeth, born 30 September 1872; died 4 March 1916, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Hartwell Thomas Coleman, 14 July 1892, Calais, Washington, Maine
  2. Ida Julie, born 4 June 1876; died 19 July 1876
  3. Henry Robert, born 10 March 1878; died 16 may 1916, Calais, Washington, Maine; unmarried
  4. Elfrida Ingeborg, born 2 November 1879; died young
  5. ?Elfrida, born c1882; died before 1900

Margrethe buried daughter Julie, who only lived for six weeks, in Denmark. There is some confusion about daughter Elfrida Ingeborg. The family left Denmark in 1884, with Canada listed as their final destination. Frits, Margrethe, Anna and Henry were all on the passenger list. Daughter Elfrida, born c1882, was also listed. No baptism has been found for her, nor has a death record been found for Elfrida Ingeborg. Whether they were two different children or the port officials listed her age incorrectly is unknown.

Frits and Margrethe must have had strong hopes for a better life in the United States, but that was not to be. They have not been found in any Canadian records, but Anna’s death certificate indicated that she last lived in Fort Fairfield, Aroostook, Maine before Calais so the Jensens lived there at least for a short time.

Margrethe and Frits lost either one daughter named Elfrida or two, both in childhood. Margrethe’s death notice was published in the Eastport Sentinel, Washington County, Maine. She died at the young age of 47 years. Cause of death is unknown.

Margrethe didn’t live to see Anna married and, thankfully, didn’t live long enough to see her 43 year old daughter bleed to death from surgery performed at home or to experience her son’s death from TB two months after Anna’s demise.

Margrethe (Bruun) Jensen has descendants today, but her life story is a sad one. Frits was the lone survivor of the family after the move to Maine. He passed away on 26 November 1920, in Calais, Washington, Maine.

There are no known photos of Margrethe or Frits.





Niels Thomsen Bruun: A Loose End No More

Niels Thomsen Bruun is one of my loose ends, or I guess, was. As ancestors go, he isn’t all that far back in time as he is my 3X great grandfather and father of my Danish immigrant 2X great grandmother, Margrethe Bruun Jensen (aka Johnson).

I also know quite a bit about him, thanks to those fabulous Danish records. He was baptized on 22 January 1809 in Flade, Hjorring, Denmark, the son of Thomas Madsen Bruun and Margrethe Nielsdatter Nipper. His occupation was fisherman, which makes sense given that Flade is a parish on the coast of northern Denmark, just south of Frederikshavn and close to Bangsbostrand.

He married Ane Amalie Christensdatter Moller on 1 November 1842, also in Flade.

My 2X great grandmother, Margrethe, certainly appears to have been named for her paternal grandmother. She was baptized on 1 May 1843, one of those first babies who might come at any time.

Her only sibling, Peter, was baptized two years later on 13 April 1845.

Why then was Niels Thomsen Bruun a loose end? I cannot find any death record or burial entry for him in the parish records. I suspect his occupation – fisherman – might have something to do with that and he may have died at sea. Just speculation on my part, but when church records are available for the 1840s and he isn’t found in them, there must be a reason.

Niels’ wife, Amalie Christendatter Moller, married (2) Jens Marinus Hansen on 24 October 1847 and she was described as a widow.

If Amalie, as she was called, was a widow, and I have no reason to think she was not, given that she remarried in the same small parish, that narrowed the time frame of Niels Thomsen Bruun’s death to between July 1844 (if he died, say a day after Peter was conceived) and October 1847 when Amalie remarried.

Danish records are terrific and I checked FamilySearch for probate records. There is an index for probate files in Hjorring County and it is alphabetized by surname (I’ve found some Swedish indexes set up by FIRST! name.)

Look what I found:

Niels Thomsen Bruun, 1847 Probate
FamilySearch Film #7589228

By law, notice of someone’s death had to be reported to the proper authorities immediately. I wish the date that probate opened was more specific, but it was likely within a month or perhaps less of when Niels died.

I’m not sure why the probate didn’t close until four years later in 1851 and the record is short – only two pages (76 and 87).

The downside is that apparently this record is not available online. Nor did I see Hjorring probate court records online at the Danish National Archives.

I’m not curious enough to pay to obtain the record, but I am quite sure now that Niels Bruun died in 1847.

The index was easy to browse, so I looked for other Bruuns and found Niels’ parents, too:

Burial dates are recorded for Thomas and wife Margrethe – he died in 1835 and she survived him by 6 years. That is why Margrethe also has a probate file.

If and when I find the probate files online, I will post the images and transcribe the information in them. I do kind of wish they were online already!


Thomas Madsen Bruun & Margrethe Nielsdatter of Flade, Hjorring, Denmark

Flade, Hjorring, Denmark appears to have been the longtime home to my Bruun family.

NOTE: All events took place in Flade, unless stated otherwise.

Thomas Madsen Bruun was baptized 17 September 1783. He was the son of Mads Thomsen Bruun and Marie Sophie Sorensdatter.

Thomas married Margrethe Nielsdatter on 22 October 1808.

Margrethe Nielsdatter was baptized on 25 May 1783 and was the daughter of Niels Pedersen Nipper and Maren Larsdatter.

Oddly, I haven’t found much of anything about this family aside from the baptismal records.


1. Niels Thomsen, baptized 22 January 1809; died 1845-1847; married Ane Amalie Christensdatter Moller, 1 November 1842
2. Mads Christian, baptized 13 January 1811; married Karen Marie Jensdatter, c1834. They had one known son, Jens Christian, born 1836. This family has not been found in the 1850 census. Mads might have died before then with Karen remarrying and Jense being enumerated under his stepfather’s name.
3. Peder, baptized 19 April 1813
4. Maren, baptized 9 October 1814
5. Jens, baptized 17 August 1817; died 4 January 1855
6. Catrine Petrine, baptized 22 March 1819
7. Johanne Marie, baptized 30 March 1825

I can take the Bruun family back one more generation:

Mads Thomsen Bruun  was baptized 5 June 1747, Raabjerg, Hjorring, Denmark and died 1 January 1817 in Flade. He was the son of Thomas Christensen Bruun and Ane Nielsdatter. Mads married Marie Sophie Sorensdatter on 11 December 1782, also in Flade. Marie Sophie was baptized on 25 November 1753, Flade and was the daughter of Soren Ammorsen.

The family information was found in the 1801 census of Denmark found on


  1. Thomas Madsen Bruun, baptized 17 September 1783; died 15 December 1835. He married Margrethe Nielsdatter on 22 October 1808. All events took place in Flade.
  2. Soren, baptized 20 January 1788, Flade; died after 1801
  3. Jens, born 1791; died after 1801
  4. Anders, baptized 2 December 1792, Flade; died after 1801
  5. Ane Marie, baptized 10 February 1799, Flade; died after 1801

I would love to make contact with Bruun family descendants. Margrethe and Frits Jensen, who became Johnson, were the immigrant generation and settled in Fort Fairfield and Calais, Maine.

My grandmother, Hazel, knew Frits, her grandfather, but Margrethe died 11 years before Hazel was born.

My line of descent:

1. Thomas Christensen Bruun = Anne Nielsdatter
2. Mads Thomsen Bruun = Marie Sophie Sorensdatter
3. Thomas Madsen Bruun = Margrethe Nielsdatter
4. Niels Thomsen Bruun = Ane amalie Christensdatter Moller
5. Margrethe Bruun = Frits Wille Oscar Emil Jensen
6. Anna Elisabeth Jensen = Hartwell Thomas Coleman
7. Hazel Ethel Coleman = Vernon Tarbox Adams
8. Doris Priscilla Adams = George Michael Sabo
9. Linda Anne Sabo Stufflebean – Me!