Brick Wall Ancestor Series #4: Finding the birth place and parents of an Danish immigrant to the United States

John's passenger list to America hadn't been located and he had a common name. Could he be found in his home country of Denmark?


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What We Knew

  • John A Johnsen's tombstone is the Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado, gave his birth date as 9 October 1867 and his death date as 15 March 1930.
  • John A Johnson was listed in the 1930 census in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and son. He was listed as age 63 and born in Denmark. He was listed as immigrating to the United States in 1885
  • John A Johnson was listed in the 1910 census with his wife and children in Benson, Douglas, Nebraska. He was age 42 and born in Denmark. He was listed as immigrating in 1877.
  • John Johnson was listed in the 1900 census with his wife and children in Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska. He was age 32 and born in Denmark with parents born in Sweden. He was listed as immigrating in 1886.
  • John and his wife Ann Dorthea had several children, and they named their first daughter Helen.
  • Passenger lists for New York City had been searched, but nothing located.


Records We Located

  • Because we had an exact birth date, it was a possibility to search the Danish church record collection on MyHeritage.com that covers the entire country of Denmark to see if a man of the right name was born on that exact date in Denmark. John is not a typical Danish name, but Johan is a variation for John.
  • On 9 October 1867, the date on John A Johnsen's tombstone, there was a Johan Andreas Johnsen born in Halse, Bornholm, Denmark. His parents were Gustav Johnsen and Helene Danielsdatter. (Note that John named his first daughter Helen, probably after his mother.)
  • Johan Andreas Johnsen was located in the 1870 Danish census with his parents and siblings and listed as born in Halse.
  • Johan Andr. Johnsen was located in the Danish emigration records on Ancestry.com. He was born about 1868 and from Halse, Bornholm, Denmark, he emigrated in 1886, and he was going to Omaha, Nebraska. This record clearly connects the Johan Andreas Johnsen born in Halse, Bornholm, Denmark, to the John A Johnsen living in Omaha, Nebraska, in the 1900 census.


Conclusion


John A Johnsen's birth name in Halse, Bornholm, Denmark, where he was born was Johan Andreas Johnsen. His parents were Gustav Johnsen and Helene Danielsdatter. He emigrated to the United States in 1886 and first settled in Omaha, Nebraska. The documents and sources we gathered are found on the person page of John A Johnsen in the FamilySearch Family Tree, ID L2YX-59K.


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