Brick Wall Ancestor Series #27: Locating the family of a man who joined The Church of Jesus Christ (Mormons) in Denmark in the 1800s

Soren's wife and children in Denmark were known, but the records about them didn't list anything that would lead to his parents, and he had a common name. Lutheran church records, the LDS Scandinavian Mission Index, and LDS baptism records helped ot identify which family he belonged to.



What We Knew

  • Soren Petersen married Ane Marie Schultz in 1884 in Velje, Denmark. The marriage record had been located. However it didn't list ages, family members, place of birth, or any other information that could help indicate where Soren came from. Soren Petersen is a common name in this time and place so it was uncertain which man he was.
  • Soren Petersen and Ane Marie Schultz had a son named George born in 1886 in Vejle, Denmark.
  • Ane Marie Schultz was known to have joined the LDS Church and she immigrated to Utah with her son George. She died in 1889 in Fountain Green, Sanpete, Utah, and was buried in the cemetery there.
  • It was uncertain what happened to Soren after Ane Marie's death. It was also unknown whether he had also emigrated or if he stayed in Denmark, though a family story said that he tried to leave Denmark to come to Utah and ended up in Australia. No other records had been located for him other than his marriage record. His parents and origins were unknown.


Records We Located

  • We first looked at the marriage record of Soren Petersen and Ane Schultz. The marriage was recorded in the Lutheran church records but was listed as a civil marriage, indicating that the couple were not Lutheran.
  • We located the Lutheran church record for the birth of the son George in 1886. He was born as Georg Christian Petersen. His parents were listed as Soren Petersen and Ane Schultz. However, there was only a birth date listed and no christening date. No witnesses or other information about the parents were given. In the right hand column of the record, the record said that the parents were Mormons, which is why there was no christening date. It also explained why the couple was married civilly and not in the Lutheran church.
  • We searched for other children of this couple and located a record for a baby girl born in 1887. In this record no name for the children was listed but the parents were listed clearly. It said in the right hand column of the document that the mother was a Mormon and took the child to America.
  • We looked for a passenger list for Ane Marie Schultz coming to America. We found her in a book of passenger lists for Danish Mormons leaving for America. In the book was listed Maria Petersen, age 28, and a son George Petersen, age 1. Their last place of residence was Fredericia, Velje, Denmark. The little girl was not listed, perhaps she died shortly before the trip was taken.
  • Since the records had listed Soren Petersen as a Mormon as well as his wife, we looked at the Scandinavian LDS Mission Index to see if perhaps we could find his baptism record. We located a Soren Petersen with birth date 26 June 1848 in Adrup with baptism date 27 August 1883 in the Vejle branch. We located another baptism record for the same Soren Petersen born 26 June 1848 in Urut and baptized on 13 April 1891 in Fredericia (the same place that Ane Marie Schultz left). The second record was a rebaptism, which was common in those times.
  • Based on the birth date and place we searched for a birth record of Soren Petersen in the indexed Danish church records on MyHeritage.com, but there was no Soren Petersen born on that date in the whole country of Denmark.
  • We then looked for a place named Adrup or Urut in the Vejle area. There was not a place in Vejle county of this name, but there was a place named Årup in parish of Hedensted. We did a page by page search for the parish of Hedensted and found a bith record of Soren Petersen on 18 May 1849 with a christening date of 24 June 1849. It appears that Soren had listed his christening date rather than his birth date on the records, which sometimes occurs.
  • Based on the christening record information, we were able to locate Soren in the census and other records in Vejle, as well as his parents and siblings.


Conclusion


Soren Petersen was born in Årup, Hedensted, Vejle, Denmark on 18 May 1849. His parents were Peder Jorgensen and Trine Pedersdatter. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of Soren Petersen and his family members in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID KWJ2-8BY.


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