Monday, December 28, 2009

Jens Christensen and His Family

As my dad went through his aunt's genealogical papers, he found a copy of a history written by a woman named Lena Marie Hansen Pack. The history is called Kirsten's Courage and Tears: The Story of Kirsten and Anders Christian Christensen Jensen and Nicolena Christensen and Charles F. Nelson.

Jens Christensen and Karen Marie Johannesen Christensen were from Denmark. As mentioned previously, their daughter Mary married Ove Oveson and Mary and Ove were my grandfather's great-grandparents. Jens and Karen's adopted son Marinus married Fanny Thomas. They were my grandmother's grandparents.

Anders was Jens Christensen's younger brother. Anders and Jens and their wives and children left Denmark and came to America in 1866 in the ship Kenilworth and traveled in the Scott company to Utah.

Lena Pack notes that Anders and Jens' father, Christen Jensen, had died in Denmark in 1862, and that their widowed mother, Christiane Christensen, came to America with her sons and accompanied Anders and his family to Brigham City, Utah, where she died over 30 years later.

This ship record shows a Christian Christensen who traveled with Jens, but the Kenilworth ship register notes that this person was a 59-year-old male farmer.

Unfortunately, when I copied this record off, I did not know that the people listed in the bottom of the image were family members of Jens, so I do not have a copy of the entire family group, and I don't currently have an Ancestry membership to be able to look up this record. I'll try and look it up next time I have access.

Jens Christensen and one of his two daughters died on the plains.

His widow and two surviving children, Mary and Marinus, settled in Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah, where Mary married Ove Oveson. Mary's mother Karen lived with them until she died in 1874. Marinus was raised in the Overson family along with their twelve children, and accompanied them to settle in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Jens' brother Anders and his wife Kirsten took their children and Anders' widowed mother to Brigham City. New Family Search claims that Christiane Christensen died in Brigham City in 1865 or 1896, and Anders died in a farm accident in 1867, and all contact between the family in Brigham City and the family in Ephraim and later Arizona was lost until Lena Pack wrote Kirsten's Courage and Tears and tracked down Jens' family.

Kirsten's Courage and Tears has a number of touching stories. A copy is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Here is the catalog entry:
Anders Christian Christensen Jensen (1836-1867) married Kirstine Marie Pedersen in 1857. They became Mormon converts in 1864, and in 1866 immigrated from Denmark to Brigham City, Utah. Due to the change of Danish law regarding patronymics, he used both surnames (first Christensen and later Jensen). One of their daughters, Nicolena, married Charles Frederick Nelson (1853-1913) in 1875 and lived in Brigham City. Descendants of both families lived in Utah and elsewhere. Includes ancestors in various parishes in Århus, Hjørring and Viborg counties in Denmark. Includes Burt, Hansen, Roskelley and related families.
As a curiosity, the book tells an interesting story about Danish patronymics. Patronymics is a system for giving names. A Danish son would take his father's first name as his surname and add -sen to the end. A daughter would take her father's first name as her surname but add -datter to the end. Danish women did not take their husband's names when they married. This system started to change in the nineteenth century. Anders Christensen died when he was 30 years old. His wife lived for 50 years after that, and as was the custom in Denmark, she kept her father's name, Jensen (alternately Jensdatter). The family hereafter assumed that Jensen was the family name of her husband, which complicated their genealogical research.

1 comment:

  1. Tell me what you need from I can look it up and send it to you any time I am at the Mesa Regional Family History Center.