Joseph F. Buchanan
In the previous issue of this newsletter, I wrote of new online resources available for Danish research. That was almost 5 years ago. In this issue, I would like to expand on that report. In addition to that, I have been able to make some headway in a couple of lines of our Jacobson ancestors.
In our last Jacobson reunion meeting last summer, I was asked to put together another newsletter. I had reported that I had found more information about Hans Pedersen, the brother of Ane Pedersen (Anderson Lovell).
One set of records is useful in tracing men and boys in Denmark. When the parents of Ane and Hans died, they were left orphans and were sent to different homes for their care until they were old enough to be on their own. The military levying rolls (MLR) in Denmark were compulsory from the 1790s until the mid to late 1800s. I searched these records to find out where Hans went after his parents died. The MLR records continue to follow all males from place to place by required registration with every move. The records always carry the father's name together with the son, even when the father has died. Through these records, I found where Hans went and found his family - wife and children.
Here is the timeline for Hans including the many military registry records. The normal gap between registrations is three years, but if there is a change in location, that year's supplement records shows the change.
Kirsten Gregoriusdatter (Gregoriusen) is the maternal grandmother of Maren Hansen who joined the church in Denmark and came to Utah with her son, Ole Hansen Jacobson and his sister in the 1860s. A few days ago I seaerched to find some clues in the line of the ancestors of Ole Hansen Jacobson. Both his father's and his mother's lines do not go very far back. The family many years ago hired a researcher in Denmark. My father, Forrest, also worked in research on those lines, without much success. Now with new online tools, there can be much faster and more thorough research done.
Kirsten was from Pederstrup, near Ballerup. As I looked into the Ballerup, records (where Jørgen Pedersen and Kirsten Gregoriusdatter were from), these records begin in the late 1790s, which is probably why the family information does not go back very far. Jørgen and Kirsten were married in 1769. I thought to try a nearby parish in case the Ballerup parish began at that time and the family was recorded in another parish. I was rewarded to find the marriage record of Jørgen and Kirsten in the Smørum records, and the place was Pederstrup, so I knew I had the right people. I decided to go back in those records (which extend back into the 1600s) to see what I could find. I found Kirsten in the confirmation records in 1766. In the same records, I found another Gregoriusen - who turned out to be her twin brother, Simon. Usually children are confirmed in the Lutheran church in Denmark I their early to mid-teens, so this looked a little unusual, them being about 18 years old. The father's name is usually given, but Hans Pedersen was the name given. As I researched, I found their birth records and later the death records of both parents, which happened within a few years of each other. I assume that Hans Pedersen was their guardian. His name also appeared in her marriage record. The parents were found to be Gregorius Andersen and Maren Mortensdatter. After Maren died, Gregorius remarried, but then both he and his second wife, Margrete Isaacsdatter died in the late 1750s.
I consider this a miracle to find these people. It is rare for us to find direct ancestors any more. Let me give a little background to the events leading up to this. My wife, Shauna, and I are currently serving a full-time mission for the church, and are serving from our own home. My time for research is limited. As a matter of fact, most research I do is for people in our stake where we serve, helping them find opportunity to go to the temple. We are helping new converts find family names of close relatives to take to the temple in order to do baptisms for the dead, giving them an experience of the wonderful spirit that exists in the temple. I have also been using my Danish research experience to do some Danish research for people in the stake who are starting to come back in to activity.
Last week, I was contacted by a person who lives in Indiana. He asked about information concerning Jens Pedersen, a brother to Ane Pedersen (Andersen Lovell), our ancestor, and therefore a brother to the Hans Pedersen mentioned in the first article of this document. I spent some time doing some research and determined that his Jens Pedersen was not our Jens Pedersen. After finishing that communication with him, last Wednesday, I started doing the research mentioned in this article - to try to find someone in Maren Hansen's ancestry. That evening, I found the information mentioned here. The next morning, I started putting the data into FamilySearch. In the process, some of the loose ends of the research from the night before started to make sense and I was able to clear the names for temple work for Gregorius Andersen and his two wives and I printed the temple cards (The FamilySearch system now allows us to print the temple cards directly instead of taking a paper to the temple to get them printed). A couple of hours later, Shauna and I did the baptisms for them, followed by initiatory work. In the evening, after our stake temple day chapel meeting, we did the endowments for Gregorius and Maren. It was a blessing to do the work for my 5th great-grandparents.
Now there are possibilities to extend the work back for them and their family. Since the records are now online, what used to take many trips to the Family History center and many rolls of microfilm in the search process, it is possible accomplish much in a matter of a few hours at home at any time of the day. In the next article, I elaborate a little on the wonderful resources that are available.
In my last writing, back in 2011, I gave a few details about the records that the Danish government has placed in publicly available Internet web services. Since then, I have made a web page that includs a number of help documents and links to these Internet sites. They have changed somewhat over time and are being improved and expanded, so I am trying to keep my web page up to date. My web page is:
I see this as a blessing from the Lord that such work has been done to give us these opportunities. Many of the Danish web pages have English translation options, but the translation process does not always work well.
Most of these resources are scanned images of the actual church and government books, going back into the 1600s. As you can imagine, these books mainly were handwritten and are in the old Danish handwriting, so that is a challenge. One blessing is that some of the records have been transcribed, or indexed. Those that are the most complete are the census records. The Danish people were listed in census records for the following years: 1787. 1801, 1834, 1840, 1845, 1850, 1855, 1860, 1870, 1880 and later years. Census records are not primary source records and are prone to error in some cases. However, they are absolutely valuable to bringing people together as families and facilitate the finding of the people in the other records. I usually start with census records to try to establish parents and places, though they obviously lack somewhat because of the gaps between the years. Another set of records, as mentioned in the first article, are the Military Levying Rolls (Lægdruller) for establishing the movement of all males in Denmark.
One very difficult condition in the information of people in Denmark is that they often used the same names a lot more than we do in our society. Children were given their father's first name as their last name, with -sen or -datter, so last names changed every generation up until the mid to late 1800s. The problem mentioned earlier concerning the man from Indiana is a good case in point. It turned out that His ancestor's record mentioned the parents of his ancestor as being Sara Christiansdatter and Jens Pedersen, without being more specific about Jens other than his place of residence. It turned out that there were at least three Jens Pedersens in the small town of reasonable age where he lived.
In FamilySearch there are cases where information has been combined - of different people as if they were the same individuals. Unfortunately, when little information is known about someone, the system suggests a number of people as possible duplicate records and well-meaning people combine records of people with the same name, causing mis-information to be found in the FamilySearch system (as was the case in the Jens Pedersen mentioned above). In much of the Danish names in FamilySearch, there are similar errors. It takes time to fix them. These online Danish records are a great blessing in helping to set things straight. I am trying to help in this, but do not have mich time for it. Because of this difficulty, I would suggest that members of our family help in verifying our records. I am open to help you learn some of the basics. The best thing is to take some known people and look them up in the Danish records as found in FamilySearch and find them in the actual Danish records. This would also help you to start getting familiar with the way the records work. It is much like detective work and I love doing it.
I have learned a few skills over the years and am very willing to share. If you wish you can check some of the sources I have included in some of these records to see where to look. In my article in the 2011 newsletter, I listed many sources in the article about the life of Ane Pedersen Andersen Lovell. That might be a good place to start. Look up those references and see how to find them (especially the census and church records). It takes time at first, just getting familiar with the way they work. Don't hesitate to ask me questions. My updated phone and email are in the top of this document. Email is probably better because of our busy work in the mission, but I would love to help more of the family get familiar with these wonderful resources.
Over the years I have shared a few temple cards with some of you. That is good. It would probably be better in the long run to give you the basic information and have you enter the names in FamilySearch and print your own cards. I would love to help you do that as well - I do the research and give you the findings. Just let me know.
My testimony is that the Lord is hastening the work so we can help many people now, both alive now and our ancestors. We have temples all over now and with these resources and the many resources of FamilySearch and related services, as well as the Indexing program, we can be the Lord's hands in bringing salvation to many more souls that ever before.