Brick Wall Case Studies #27: Locating the family of a man who joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (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 identify the family to which he belonged.



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 from where Soren came. Soren Petersen is a common name in this time and place so it was uncertain which Soren was the one we were looking for.
  • 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 he tried to leave Denmark to come to Utah but 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 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 was given. In the right hand column of the record it indicated 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 of the child was listed but the parents' names 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 this 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 baptismal 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 for a rebaptism, which was common in those times.
  • Because Ane Marie Schultz left from Fredericia and Soren was rebaptized there as well, we looked for Soren in the 1890 census. The 1890 census listed him as born in Rynkeby.
  • We then searched for Soren in the Danish church records and found a Soren Pedersen born on the correct date in the parish of Rynekeby, Odense, in the town of Urup which was part of Rynekby which also matched the place he said he was born when he was baptized. The christening record listed his parents as Peder Rasmussen and Sidsel Marie Hansdatter.


Conclusion


Soren Petersen was born in Urup, Rynekeby, Odense, Denmark, on 26 June 1848. His parents were Peder Rasmussen and Sidsel Marie Hansdatter. 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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