Illegitimate children and the Benevolent Foundation

A divorce in 1835, a life imprisonment (as described here), generations of illegitimate children, an early death and a widow supporting herself and young children as Milk Wife until she retired to the Benevolent Foundation was part of the life of some of my ancestors in Western Zealand

November 21, 1825 the five month pregnant Karen Christiansdatter married Søren Pedersen, who five years before had been accused of stealing

Kirke Stillinge Parish in the County of Sorø

Kirke Stillinge Parish in the County of Sorø

1 ½ ton of oat from the Manor of Valbygård.

Their first son Jørgen was born in March 19 the following year. In 1827 came Hans and Maren 1831. The daughter was three years old when Søren got its final verdict and a sentence as a fortress slave for life.

Karen’s marriage to Søren was dissolved by royal decree in February 1835 and later the same year she married Niels Jørgensen, who originally was from Copenhagen. The same year they had a son, Christian. In 1836, they moved to the neighboring parish of Gierslev and two years later had a daughter, Bodil Maria Nielsdatter. Karen died in 1847 at the age of 46.

Blacksmiths in the village of Næsby

The Village of Næsby

The Village of Næsby

Her great-grandfather Fabian Willadsen Smed (1700-80) and grandfather Jørgen Christian Fabiansen Smed (1731-75) were blacksmiths and her father, Christian Jørgensen (1759-1832) was a smallholder with land in Næsby in the parish of Kirke Stillinge. Due to lack of entries in the church records, the backgrounds of her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are unknown. They were: Bodil Larsdatter (1770-1832), Karen Christiansdatter (1739-1814) and Mette Sophie Hansdatter.

Karen’s second son, Hans Sørensen (1827-1874), was my 3-x great-grandfather. In 1853, he had a daughter, Anne Marie, with Maren Sophie Christensdatter (1825-1879), who already had two illegitimate sons at the age of five and three. In the 1860 census, she lives with her ​​three children in the workhouse in Kirke Stillinge. The two sons apparently later left the parish.

More Illegitimate children

Maren Sofie was also illegitimate. Her mother, Ane Kirstine Olsdatter, (1790 – 1852), first expounded Christen Jensen, a labourer with farmer

The Village of Reersø in 1807

The Village of Reersø in 1807

Niels Larsen in Fjenneslevmagle, as the father of a daughter and two years later she had a son, Christian Jacobsen, whose father I have not found.

In 1840. Ane Kirstine Olsdatter married Lars Jensen, but she is listed as a widow in the census 5 years later, living alone with her ​​daughter at the island of Reersø. Five years later, she is found in the workhouse in Kirke Helsinge with the two year old “foster child” Christen Christensen, the illegitimate son of her daughter Maren Sophie.

Farmers at Reersø

The farm in Reersø

The farm in Reersø

Ane Kirstine came from a family of relatively affluent farmers in the island of Reersø, though the whole Western part of Zealand was still effected by the total devastation caused by the Swedish invasion in 1658.

At the betrothal in April 1755 and marriage on 13 June the same year of her grandparents Jørgen Espensen (1731-88) and Anna Kierstine Christensdatter (1736-1768), the vicar wrote in the church records:

“2. April I betrothed Jörgen Espensen and Anna Kirstine Christensdatter at Reersø. They were second=cousins and therefore showed a letter from the king that they were allowed to get married and they were not closer related than they had told in the Chancellery. The three old men, Hans Pedersen, Niels Poulsen and Peder Mortensen confirmed for me their truthful report in the presence of their masters and the church clerk. The same men were also the best men of the young people”

Skansevej in Reersø

Skansevej in Reersø

Jørgen Espensen was probably tenant of cadastral number. 38 B, Skansevej 13, where his son, Espen Jørgensen is listed as tenant in 1801. Today the farm is a thatched half-timbered house, consisting of three adjoined wings and a detached wing to the south.

Anna Kirstine Christensen died in 1768 after giving birth to twin girls. One died instantly and the other 10 years old.

Relations with the church clerk

The Church of Kirke Stillinge

The Church of Kirke Stillinge

Her father, Christen Nielsen Jyde (d. 1746) was possibly the church clerk or the tenant on the farm belonging to the church clerk office of the Dalby, not far from Reersø. 1719 he was married at the residence of Mr. Vulf to Maren Larsdatter of Reersø. Niels Christensen Vulf was former bailiff of the Manor of Sæbygård, and probably owner of the church of Kirke Stillinge, which belonged to the large estate, he owned in the area.

Her daughter with Jørgen Espensen, Ellen Jørgensdatter (1763-1830), was married to Ole Nielsen Westes (1762-1831), who came from Dalby. In the Notification of Deaths to the district bailiff of Løve Herred, they are named as paupers, and since they did not leave anything, there is no mention of any descendants.

Ole Westes was the son of Niels Westensen (1708-1782) and his second wife who married 1756. She was named as the “girl of the church clerk”, Maren Pedersdatter.” Her background has not been found.

Another illegitimate child

The Estate of Bøstrup

The Estate of Bøstrup

Ane Marie Christensen (1853-1938) had her daughter, Anna Kirstine Christensen on March 1, 1875 and was married to the father, Jens Peder Christensen (1850-1898) on 13 May 1876; he was a tenant of Bøstrup or Bødstrup Manor in the parish of Drøsselbjerg and lived in family house Bøstrupgård.

From about 1884, the family lived in Kirke Helsinge where the next six children were born. When the younger daughter, Martha Sophie, was born January 18, 1894 in Jorløse, the family lived in the Peat Bog House at the Manor of Vesterbygård and in 1898 they lived in Langemark in the Parish of Sæby.

Jens Peter died only 48 years old May 28, 1898 at Sæby County Hospital. At his death review in the Probate Protocol, it is noted that he was receiving “economic assistance for the poor” – probably because of his illness.

Dairy wife

The Estate of Selchaudal

The Estate of Selchaudal

Most of the children had heft the household, but Anne Marie was 45 years old and had to make a living for herself and the two youngest children aged 11 and 4.

In the census of 1901, it is stated that she had moved to the Manor of Katterup in 1898 where she works as a Dairy wife. The children, Niels Peter and Sophie, lived with her.

In Census 1906 Ane Marie is Dairy Wife at the Manor of Selchausdal, where she lived with “child” Martha Sofie Kristensen. They had moved to Selchausdal in 1903. From 1866 to 1914, the estate was owned by Michelle Christiane Agnes Charlotte Selchau.

The “Benevolent Foundation”

The Benvolent Foundation - Selchaushus

The Benvolent Foundation – Selchaushus

In 1916, she is listed as living “Benevolent Foundation” which Miss Michelle Selchau founded 1896 as a free residence for 12 elderly women from the parish. Former employees of the estate had preference.

According to the regulations, the inhabitants had to be single women and could stay there for the rest of life “if they did not make himself unworthy to do so. They must show decency and benevolence in mutual interaction and let the good spirit and good order rule. No one may have over-night guests, and they are not allowed to keep poultry and dogs and not leave the foundation more than one month at a time. The outdoor toilets had to be emptied every Saturday. The door should be locked at sunset, and everybody

Some of the inhabitants of the Benevolent Foundation around 1930. One of them could be Ane Marie Christensen, but their names are not known.

Some of the inhabitants of the Benevolent Foundation around 1930. One of them could be Ane Marie Christensen, but their names are not known.

are required to strictly comply with it. ”

Ane Marie is also listed at an inhabitant at the foundation in censuses of 1921 and 1925.

Miss Selchau

Miss Selchau

On her death the following entry was made in the church records:

“Widow receiving of Old Age Pension, Miss Selchaus

Foundation, Born in Kirke Helsinge March 20 1853, the daughter of Maren Sophie Christensdatter and the expounded father of the child Hans Sørensen of Krænkerup. Deceased spouse was labourer Jens Peder Christensen in Langemark at the time part of the Parish of Sæby parish.

Children and descendants

Ane Marie Christensen and Jens Peter Christensen had the following children:

-1) Anna Kirstine Christensen (1875-March 1)

-1) Kristian Peder Christensen (28 October 1876-1955), Bøstrup Manor, Drøsselbjerg Parish. Married to Laura

Sofie Larsen:

-1) Karl Valdemar Christensen (November 30 1877-). Married to Karen Marie.

-1) Christian Peder Christensen (February 9 1879-)

-1) Martha Sofie Christensen (February 2, 1881-before 1894)

-1) Laura Kristine Christensen (July 4, 1884 in Church Helsinge). Had an illegitimate child with stoker on the motor-ship Wilhelm Kolding, Ole Valdemar Hansen. On 28 May 1910, she married smallholder Vilhelm Hansen, Basnæs, Tjæreby. When they get their son, they lived at Tjæreby Mark.
–2) Ellen Marie Elisabeth Hansen (March 10 1907-). Born in Buerup (Sæby Parish)
–2) Agnete Hansen (November 5 1911-)
–2) Poul Take Frederik Hansen (b + d 1922)

-1) Niels Peter Christensen (April 16 1887-) (born in Church Helsinge)

-1) Martha Sofie Christensen (January 18 1894-) (born in Jorløse). Have not found her in the parish records of Buerup or Sæby.

The family of Ane Marie Christensen (Click to enlarge)

The family of Ane Marie Christensen (Click to enlarge)

Maternal grandfather grand parents

Ane Marie Christensen and Jens Peder Christensen was my great-grandparents:


A Prisoner for life – Danish Fortress Slave

The court case against one of my ancestors gives a unique insight in the life of an illegitimate country boy in the care of poor smallholders and exploitation by the local farmers as he told the court story of his life

I had found the information about my ancestors Søren Pedersen and Karen Christiansdatter in the Church Records of Kirke Stillinge Parish in the Western part of the Danish island of Zealand.

The village of Kelstrup in the Parish of Kirke Stillinge

The village of Kelstrup in the Parish of Kirke Stillinge

They had married in 1825 and had three children.

The problem was that in the 1834 census, Karen Christiansdatter was listed as unmarried. However, I had not found the burial of Søren. Her children were listed with her, so it was the right Karen.

Therefore, I decided to check the church records and found out that Karen remarried in 1835 to Niels Jensen from Copenhagen. The interesting was the comments:

“The lowly woman Karen Christians Daughter K. Stillinge old. 34 years – She has formerly

The entry about the second marriage of Karen Christiansdatter. The Vicar uses the term "Fruentimmer" which was normally used for unmarried mothers

The entry about the second marriage of Karen Christiansdatter. The Vicar uses the term “Fruentimmer” which was normally used for unmarried mothers

been married to Fortress Slave Søren Pedersen, Kjeldstrup.

NB. Manager of Probates Lind has been shown the certificate of 15 Mai this year granting the repeal of the previous marriage.

The marriage the bride and her previous husband, Fortress Slave Søren Pedersen has been dissolved By Royal. Appropriation of 25 February this year.”

Searching the archives

The entry about Søren Pedersen in the "Roll of Slaves"

The entry about Søren Pedersen in the “Roll of Slaves”. The number 804 followed him all the way through the court case against him.

A “fortress slave” was a person who was sentenced to hard labour on one of the fortresses in the Danish realm. They were initially deployed in the Prison of Copenhagen.

I found Søren Pedersen of Kieldstrup in the “Roll of Slaves” of the Prison of Copenhagen. He had been imprisoned in the beginning of March 1832 and later in the month; he was transferred to the Fortress of Rendsburg near Hamburg. The Slave Roll states that he was given life imprisonment for theft.

In order to find out what he had stolen, I first I searched in the protocol over “Sentences over honest and dishonest slave”. I knew his serial number from the Slave Roll: 804. However, a large number of files were missing – including his. I then found his case in the archives of the Royal Appeal Courts. Here it was possible to follow his case through the system, but there were no details.

Next attempt was to check the directory of protocols of the Fortress of Rendsburg, which are also found at the Danish National Archives because

The Prison of Copenhagen - Stokhuset - before the fortification ring around Copenhagen was removed

The Prison of Copenhagen – Stokhuset – before the fortification ring around Copenhagen was removed in 1874

the fortress was part of Denmark at the time. Here I found him.

Then I ordered, “Sentence imposed on slaves, 1831-1837” in the Archives of the Auditor General of Rendsburg Fortress – still at the National Archives in Copenhagen. Here I found his whole case – which is why it was missing from the general archives.

The files showed that he had first been convicted in 1820 followed by several appeals over the next 12 years. In the meantime, he had married Karen Christiansdatter in 1825.

Life story told to court

The Church of Kirke Stillinge

The Church of Kirke Stillinge

As part of the proceedings, he told the story of his life to the court. This is a rather unique source for a poor young man from the countryside.

He told the court that he was the illegitimate son of the former assistant manager at the Estate of Jomfruens Egede, Søren Pedersen and the servant Margrethe Larsdatter.

According to Søren’s story, his mother later married a smallholder from Neblerød in the parish of Haldagerlille “whose name he does not know.” Søren had been baptised in the Parish of Hejninge, where the vicar wrote in the church records that his farther was the former assistant manager at Valdbygård where Søren was born. His mother was listed Margrethe Hansdatter (and not Larsdatter).

He told the court that his parents “came from each other” when he was 1½ and he was

Example of treshing

Example of treshing

taken into care by a woman named Ane Niels Hans in Øster Stillinge and after a few years by the woman Mette Niels Jens, married to smallholder Lars Hansen. Here remained until he was 17 or 18 when he began working for farmer Christen Larsen I Øster Stillinge. He was employed with threshing for about a winter without a contract but in exchange, he got food and about 1 mark a day.

He returned to Mette and Lars for about before starting to work for farmer Klim in Kirke Stillinge, where he again worked without a contract as a thresher until Michaelmas 1818 where he stayed until he returned to Lars Hansen. 1st of May, he got a permanent contract with the farmer Berthel Eilertsen in Øster Stillinge.

The sentence

The sentence

The sentence

The original sentence from the District Court of Antvortskovs Birk form 1820 was reused and quoted by the appeal courts:

“By his own confession and other stated circumstances it is proved that during the night between the 2nd and 3rd of December last year of the barn of Waldbyegaard to have stolen 1½ barrel of oats which he then sold in Slagelse. The value is estimated at 12 Rigsbankdaler Sedler, a value he does not contest”.

The final sentence was given 12 years after his first conviction, and in the meantime, he married and had three children.

Fortification of Rendsburg

Fortification of Rendsburg

Fortification of Rendsburg

The Fortification of Rendsburg was the biggest and most important in the Danish Realm, which included the

Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. It became part of Germany after the war 1848-50.

What happened to Søren after he arrived in Rendsburg is not known. He is not found in the next existing list of slaves from 1843 and he probably died in the meantime.

Karen Christiansdatter moved with her son and new husband to the neighboring Parish of Gerlev, where she had two more children before she died at the age of 46 years in 1847.

Søren Pedersen and Karen Christiansdatter were my 3-x great-grandparents…… ..

The ancestors of Søren Pedersen and Karen Christiansdatter

The ancestors of Søren Pedersen and Karen Christiansdatter

Village watchmaker in Viskinge

Johan Dam (1769-1804), was unique in several ways. Both because he was a watchmaker in a village outside of Kalundborg, and because he launched a lawsuit against the vicar during his time as smallholder at the parsonage lands.

The vicarage and Johan Dam's house

The vicarage and Johan Dam’s house

In the entry about his funeral, the vicar wrote in the parish register, “Renowned for his mechanical talent. He lived in the house of the vicar on the right hand side. Brought court case against the vicar, wanted land for the house.”

John Dam lived in an area of land reforms, which included the abolition of serfdom and land reforms. Before the reforms, the farming operated under the system of joint tillage. Around 1790 the recommendations of the Great Agricultural Commission led to a number of sweeping reforms. Its recognition of the importance of peasant ownership of land led to the availability of low-interest, government-backed loans as well as to a law ending adscription (the tying of the peasants to the estate of their birth). The work of the commission also stimulated a relatively rapid enclosure of farmland in Denmark. Between 1790 and 1814, all but a few villages were surveyed for enclosure, and the majority of the farms became freeholds.

For some smallholders such as Johan Dam, the developments meant problems. For him specifically the problem was a very uncooperative property owner, as the vicar from whom he

Church of Viskinge

Church of Viskinge

rented his house, refused to allow him to graze his two cows on the parsonage fields, which had become quite big after the land reforms – around 137 acres – and the problem was probably that he fenced the land.

This meant that Johan Dam had to use two plots of land in each end of the village for his cows. Therefore, he launched a lawsuit against the vicar Andreas Wilhelm Ambders in 1801, and won the case.


Comments by the judge and the bishop

The judge at the District Court of Arts and Skippinge gave the priest the following admonition (In a rough translation of the ancient Danish):

“This peculiar conduct of this vicar […] means that the vicarage denies this landless smallholder his only possible source of living. But even

Nicolai Edinger Balle, Bishop of Zealand

Nicolai Edinger Balle, Bishop of Zealand

forces him to take on the costs of a court case – and even ask for legal aid, which was him most rightfully denied. And who wants to suppress rather than support one of his own small holders, from whom he should ask an annual rent. Instead, as mentioned, he continuously aims for the opposition, most probably guided by his tenant, he (or rather they) not exactly to any large degree of acclaim or honour”.

In his report from an inspection visit,  Bishop Balle wrote: “The vicar Mr. Ambders is weak and half-crazy, totally incompetent for the office. The dean Mr. Nielsen acts in his place “.

In the meantime Johan Dam had leased a courtyard in the village from the farm Hjørtsøgaard (cadastral) which had been moved to its own plot of land as part of the land reforms.


His father took over the tenancy

Different parishes in the former County of Holbæk

Different parishes in the former County of Holbæk

Johan Dam died suddenly in the winter of 1804. Perhaps he drowned in the Fjord, but the cause of death is not mentioned in the church records and it is not found in any other sources.

His father, Lars Johansen Dam (1734-1812), who was also a watchmaker originating from Assentorp in the parish of Stenmagle, took over the lease of the smallholding. He was married to Anna Jensdatter (1733-1807), born out of wedlock as daughter of Jens Rasmussen (1703-1770) and Margrethe Joensdatter (1709-1782).

Also Lars Dam’s father, Johan Jansen Dam (1705-56), was a jeweler and watchmaker in Assentorp. His mother was Maren Larsdatter.


Dutch roots

The older Johan Dam was son of the school holder in Assentorp, Jan Jansen Dam (1670-

Map of the village of Assentorp

Map of the village of Assentorp

1716), who according to an article in a local newspaper on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee in 1911 of their grandson Lars Jacobsen and his wife Maren Sophie Svendsdatter, he was a Dutch immigrant.

“Lars Jacobsen’s ancestor named Lars Dam came here during the reign of Struense. He namely found a refuge where he could indulge his God, as he wished. He had two sons, Johan Dam and Jens Dam, who like their father ran a sort of goldsmith business. [……]. Lars Jakobsen’s wife’s father was from Aarhus region. He came here as a soldier during the war

Count Johann Friedrich Struensee (1737-1772) was royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark from  1768 and "de facto" regent 1771-72.

Count Johann Friedrich Struensee (1737-1772) was royal physician to the mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark from 1768 and “de facto” regent 1771-72.

1801-1807. His mother was a farmer’s daughter from Alleshave near Kalundborg. We mention these facts to show that blood from both Dutch, Jutland and Zealand runs through the veins of this family, which clearly demonstrates that this kind of mixing of blood has created a strong family. “

This story is an interesting example of how knowledge of the family and its history was kept for generations, something which is not as common today.


Johan Dam’s wife and children

Johan Dam left a son, Peder, who was five and a one-year-old daughter, Kirsten, and the following year, his widow, Maren Olsdatter (1767-1836), married Christen Jensen, with whom she had no children. Maren came from the parish of Svallerup where her father, Ole Knudsen

Village of Avnsø

Village of Avnsø

”Served the vicar”. His father was Knud Christensen Bryde (1667-1752).

Originally, the name “Bryde” meant a manager of a larger farm, often with a number of smaller farms who had to perform corvée to the “farm of the bryde” (Brydegården) who then paid a part of the fee to the owner of the land. The name later became associated with a large tenant farm.

Knud Bryde’s wife was Dorthe Christensdatter, daughter of Christen Rasmussen Forsinge in the village of Forsinge in the Parish of Ubby.

Church of Ubby

Church of Ubby

Maren Olsdatter’s mother was Kirstine Johansdatter (1744-1824), who was daughter of Johan Sørensen Hugger (1709-1757) (Whose surname can either mean someone who cuts threes, is a timberer or wheel maker or stonebreaker), and Maren Christiansdatter (1711-1753), whose background is unknown.

His father was Søren Rasmussen Rytter (d. 1727) in Bjerge in the Parish of Svallerup. His surname shows that he was a former horseman in the army. The background of his wife, Maren Pedersdatter, is not known.

Johan Dams daughter, Kirsten Johansdatter (1803-1879), married Jacob Andersen (1800-1864), who was also from Viskinge. His ancestors

Article in Kalundborg Folkeblad on the occation of the Diamant Jubilee.

Article in Kalundborg Folkeblad on the occation of the Diamant Jubilee.

were farmers and smallholders in the neighboring parishes.

It was their son, Lars Jacobsen (1829-1920), who had been married to Maren Sophie Svendsdatter (1831-1918) for 60 years in 1911.


Lars Jacobsen and Maren Sophie Svendsdatter with their children and children-in-laws

Lars Jacobsen
and Maren Sophie Svendsdatter with their children and children-in-laws

Maternal grandfather grandfather’s Grandfather

Johan Dam was my 4x great-grandfather…… ..



Poul Erik Jensen, Kalundborgs slægtsoptegnelser
Church Records

The “Aristocracy” of Aldermen and Mayors on the Island of Funen

Some of the ancestors of Lykke Kirstine Sørensdatter Borring, the first wife of Adrian Bekker, were important artisans and merchants, whose families that can be traced back to the 1500th century as part of the so-called “aristocracy aldermen and mayors” of the marktet towns of Funen. They were also closely related. One of Lykke Kirstine’s ancestors was married to his mother’s sister and another to his second cousin.

Lykke Kirstine Boring’s father, Søren Nielsen Borring (1701-1779), was the exception, as he came from wealthy private peasants, church

Inter marriages among the merchant families in the town of Odense

Inter marriages among the merchant families in the town of Odense (Click to enlarge)

guardians and local bailiffs from Boarding near Vejle. He trained as a Danish lawyer and became procurator of Funen. His wife, Karen Jørgensdatter Friis (1706 – 1780), however, came from very wealthy and old families in the market town of Odense and other market towns on the island of Fyn (Funen).

Søren Friis Borring and Karen were married in her father’s house in Odense. She is known to have been proficient in Latin and other languages. Her sister, Lycke Sophie Friis, was governess in Lund in Sweden and was married to a professor and rector of the University of Lund, Gustav Ernst von Bildstein.

Of the seven daughters of Søren and Karen, four survived childhood. The two unmarried daughters, Anna Maria Borring and Kirstine Catharina Borring took over their parents’ large house in Vestergade in Odense, which had been owned by the Friis family for generations. Anna Maria sold it in 1781 for 900 rigsdaler. She was curator of the parents’ estate after his mother’s death in 1780 and refused to give Adrian Bekker’s children a greater share of the estate of their mother. Søren Borring had deducted the amount that Adrian owed ​​him, which left nothing for the grandchildren.

The census in 1787 shows that Anna Maria Borring had moved to Overgade and was making ​​a living by needlework. The household also included her aunt, Edel Cathrine Friis, a 76-year-old unmarried pensioner. In 1801, she lived with her sister Nicoline Borring who had been separated from the landowner Johan Diderich von Lange Bøttigersholm. They state that: “besides a little capital, they sew, and live of needlework.” The household also included a servant and two foster children; Johan Ehlenberg and Elisabet Jeppesen.

Mayor removed for lese majesty

Møntergården, which is now a museum in Odense

Møntergården, which is now a museum in Odense

Karen Friis’ father was Jørgen Christensen Friis (d. 1729). He royal appointed deputy mayor in 1713 and mayor of Odense from 25 February 1717, but already suspended from office in 1718 and accused of lese majesty.

The reason was that he ignored a royal decree on city land and wanted to sell them. Part of the magistrate considered for the land as their private property. The verdict by the High Court in Odense fell in 1724. Here he was found guilty and lost his office and property. He appealed to the Supreme Court, which 2 years later upheld the verdict.

Jørgen Friis was originally a baker and later grain merchant, but only did very little trade and apparently lived on his assets and income from his properties. He was estimated to have an annual income of 1,000 rigsdaler, and took over his mother’s estate in Vestergade 40 in 1716 where the family lived until they had to move to pay off their debts.

Married to his second cousin

His first wife, Karen Hansdatter died in childbirth 1690. It is known that they had a daughter who died as a child. He was married a second time to his cousin Lykke Jacobsdatter Cock. It required a royal license issued 15. December 1696 to get permission to marry his “relative in second degree.”

Lykke Kock was the daughter of a shoemaker Jacob Lauridsen Cock, who in 1671 “who lived in Margrethe Niels Baker’s house in Vestergade” and Anna Tropman. Lykke had served with Karen Solgaard from Holstebro, who in her fourth marriage was the wife of Governor of Zeeland, Baron Rudodolph Gersdorff (d. 1729), who called Jørgen Friis’ wife, “a child of God” in a letter to the governor Lente, because she did not know what married life entailed.

Jacob Cock became a citizen in Odense 26 May 1669 and joined the shoemaker guild on 1 June 1669. He was also alderman of the guild 1682/85, 1687/89 and 1694/95.

He is also mentioned in Guild books for 1674, 1675, 1680, 1682 and 1702.

Jacob Kock’s father was Lauritz Lauritzen Assens, merchant and artisant in Odense, and must have had his roots in the market town of Assens.

Old prospect of Assens

Old prospect of Assens

Jørgen Friis was the son of a master baker, and alderman Christen Hansen Friis Bager (1656 – 1706) and Lyche Jørgensdatter Trop Mann (1640 – 1719), who was the sister of his wife’s mother, Anna Tropman. As a widow, Lykke Kock continued the bakery and house in Vestergade 40 on. She also owned another house in the street.

Lucretia Meyer as member of the shoemaker’s guild 

Skomager 1600-tallet

Skomager 1600-tallet

Lyche and Anna was the daughter of Jørgen Rasmussen Tropman Shoemager (d. 1663) and Lucretia Bertelsdatter Meyer (1608 -1682).

Jørgen Tropman was shoemaker master at the latest in 1639. That year he rented a house in Vestergade in Odense “east of Niels Schoemaker’s”. In 1641 he is described as a shoemaker, pays 1 rigsdaler in taxes, or occupying a soldier. He also served as alderman for the shoemaker guild 1657-58.

Lyche’s mother, Lucretia Bertelsdatter Meyer (1608 – 1682), continued the cobbler shop on after her husband’s death and was the taxpayer in Odense. In guilds protocol, “Lucretia Jørgen Rasmussens” as a member.

In the census of the inhabitants of Odense from 1672, the following is noted about the household 570 Wester Qvarter:

“Lukridz Bertelsdatter, late Jørgen Tromand Shoemakers – 64 years – keeps the trade of shoemaker alive with her son.” A number of servants is also mentioned.

 Maren Svarre as member of the bakers’ guild

Christen Friis Bager’s father was Hans Christensen Friis Bager (d 1645), who was also a master baker and married to Maren Knudsdatter

Bakers in the 1600th century

Bakers in the 1600th century

Svarrer that continued the bakery after his death. Her second husband was Hans Hansen Bager. They had a son Hans, who had died before the 1657.

Married to his mother’s sister

Hans Christensen Friis Baker was the son of Christen Thomsen Friis (d. 1585), who was an alderman and mayor, and Boled whose background is not known.

Christen Friis’ parents were Thomas Friis and Karen Lauridsdatter who was her husband’s aunt. Very unusually, she was known by the surname of her first husband, Laurids Kotte, which has caused many problems for genealogists who tried to make a connection to the noble Kotte-familiy. She married a third time with Claus Mikkelsen, by whom she had three daughters.

Merchant Karen Kotte

Karen Lauridsdatter Kotte had her own substantial grocery business and was well regarded by the

Sophie of Mecklenburg, Queen of Denmark in 1578

Sophie of Mecklenburg, Queen of Denmark in 1578

court. Unlike other contemporary merchants, she seems to have come out of the Seven Years 1563-70 without liquidity problems

In 1572, she housed Duke Ulrik of Mecklenburg who was on the way to his daughter Sophie’s wedding to King Frederik II in Copenhagen. According to the accounts of this event, she received by far the largest compensation, while next on the list, her husband’s cousin, merchant and mayor, Jørgen Nielsen Kotte (d. 1584), received about half as much compensation for housing 40 people and nine horses.

Mayor of Kerteminde

Prospect of Kerteminde

Prospect of Kerteminde

As mentioned, Thomas Friis was married to his aunt, Karen Lauridsdatter Kottis. The source of this genealogy is Danish nobility Yearbook from 1994.

He was the son of Hans Friis and Mette Lauridsdatter, widow of merchant and Alderman Jørgen Knudsen Seeblad.

The sisters and mother/sister-in-laws Mette and Karen were the daughters of the mayor of  the market town of Kerteminde, Laurids Poulsen, who was possibly a member of the noble Skinkel-lineage and Kirsten Lauritzdatter, who are often cited as possibly belonging to the noble family Kotte, but there are no sources to prove it.

Friis of Odense

There are many theories about the ways the Friis family could be related to the noble lineage Friis of Hesselagergård or Friis of Lundby.

Coat of Arms of Friis af Hesselager

Coat of Arms of Friis af Hesselager

However there are no sources to back it up – or disprove it.

In some of the charts that exist on the web, Friis of Odense and Friis of Stenstrup – as Lykke Kirstine Sørensdatter Borring’s two daughters in law, Elisabeth Gommesen Brandt and Mette Christine Brandt, who was married to Søren Borring Bekker, descended from – akin to each other. However, different family trees do not agree on how family relationships should be described.

Grandmothers Grandmothers Grandmother

Lykke Kristine Sørensdatter Borring (1730 – 1761) was my 5-x great-grandmother. See more here: / site / people.asp?

“Det fynske rådsaristokrati”

Merchant families from the South of Funen

There were many family ties between the large and wealthy merchant families in the South Funen area who engaged in trade and shipping activities.  The market towns of Svendborg and Fåborg were among Denmark’s mostsignificant maritime cities

Adrian Severin Bekker, who moved to the Village of Vindeby on the island of Tåsinge, was son of Søren Bekker Borring and Elisabeth Gommesen Brandt (1758-1796). His father’s second wife was, Mette Christine Brandt (1765-1825). Among the ancestors of the two sisters were several wealthy merchant families in the southern part of Funen.

The father of Elisabeth and Mette Christine was a merchant in Svendborg, Gomme Gommesen Brandt (1733-1770). After his death at a

The South of Funen

The South of Funen (Sydfyn)

young age, their mother, Margrethe Hansdatter Rasmussen (1736-1787), married the merchant, Ole Christiansen Bondo (1741-1810.).  Margrethe was the daughter of Hans Rasmussen Øxendrup (1693-1763), who was also a merchant in Svendborg and the son of the wealthy farmer, Rasmus Pedersen, from Øksendrup between Nyborg and Svendborg. It is believed that Hans Øxendrup lived in Korsgade 40 in Svendborg.

Also Margrethe’s mother, Elisabeth Rasmusdatter (1702-1743), was the daughter of a merchant in Svendborg; Rasmus Jørgensen (1652-1715) and Margrethe Nielsdatter Friis, the daughter of  Niels Friis Edvardsen, a Manager of the Manor Skjoldemose in  the village of Stenstrup, whose family came from Holstein.

Hans Øxendrup’s second wife, Birgitte Cathrine Riber (1719-1807), managed the businesses after his death – in the 1787 census, she is listed as “husbandess” (head of the household) – until she left the business to her children, Bertel and daughter Elisabeth Maria.

Gommesen of the island of Ærø

The first known merchant in “Gommesen family” was Jens Gommesen Smith (1600-58), who was the great-grandfather of the two sisters. He was, mentioned in sources in 1627 and lived in Nørregade 27 in the market town of Ærøskøbing. The name of his wife is unknown.

Jens Gommesen Smed’s only known child is Gomme Jensen (1625-1689). Gomme was first married to Anna Hansdatter Brandt (d.

The Town Square and Church of Ærøskøping

The Town Square and Church of Ærøskøping

1665), the daughter of Hans Pedersen Brandt, merchant, ships owner and alderman in Ærøskøbing. He had worked as scribe and administrator at his father-in-law’s business. His second wife was Salome Wernerdatter, whose parents; Werner Clausen and Birthe Pietersdatter Gerbert (1608-79), both were bookbinding masters in Odense. In the census from 1644, they are listed with the address in Korsgade in Odense. An apprentice was living in the household and they were renting rooms for students at the Grammar School. Their son, Gregers, was also a bookbinder, but he died at a young age. Werner Clausen spent his last years with his daughter in Ærøskøbing.

Gomme Jensen later became an Alderman in Ærøskøbing and from about 1678 he was a merchant and scribe. He was most likely also mayor for a couple of years. They both lived at Nørregade 27 in Ærøskøbing.

One of Gomme and Salome’s sons, Peter Gommesen, got his grandmother’s last name Gerbert and his daughter married the very wealthy merchant in Fåborg, Christen Christensen Erreboe whose daughter, Riborg Sophie Erreboe was the second wife of District Bailiff Adrian Bekker’s, and in this way the stepmother of Søren Borring Bekker.

The next generation was Gomme Gommesen (1669-1747), who was also a merchant

Houses in Ærøskøping

Houses in Ærøskøping

and lived with his wife, Ingeborg Dominicusdatter Brandt (1682-1729) at Søndergade No. 2.

She was the daughter of the Vicar of Rise, Dominic Brandt Andersen (1646-1703) and Sophie Elisabeth Hansdatter Glamann (1662-1702), daughter of Hans Glamann and Ingeborg Thoben. He was originally from Brandenburg and was Valet to the Duke of Ærø, Country Scribe of Ærø and mayor of Ærøskøbing. She originated from priestly and merchant families that can be traced back to the 1100-1200s in the north German Hanseatic cities as well as Flensburg and Friesland. The last 3 ½ years of his life, Gomme lived with his daughter, Sophie Elisabeth Brandt in Nordborg in the South of Jutland, where she was married to the Vicar Jens Rasmussen Fangel.

From Ærø to Svendborg

Svendborg 1677

Svendborg 1677

Gomme Gommesen’s eldest surviving son, Gomme Gommesen Brandt became a merchant in the market town of Svendborg in the South of Funen.

He died at the age of 36 in 1742. He had six children with Bodil Nielsdatter Tingberg (1710-1785). Her second husband was Christen Knudsen Graae (1719-69). He was a ship owner, merchant, public trustee and alderman in Svendborg. They had 8 children, and Bodil has a very large number of descendants. Her father, Niels Christensen Skaaning Tingberg (1673-1752), also was a merchant. His background is not known, but the name Skaaning would suggest that he was from the landscape of Scania, which became part of Sweden in 1658, and Tingberg is a place near the village of Gamla Lödöse in the Parish of St. Peters 40 kilometer north of the city of Göteborg the landscape of Halland, which also used to be Danish. So perhaps this is where he came from, but the church records only start in 1688, so it cannot be determined.

The families of Graae, Erreboe and Riber continued to trade from Southern Funen for many generations. The last business connected to the family, Riber & Baagø Timber, had to give up because of increased competition in 2009.


Elisabeth Gommesen Brandt was my 4x

Seven generations in the same house through more than 215 years

In 1817, Adrian Severin Bekker married the heiress to a house in the Village of Vindeby on the Island of Tåsinge south of Funen. The

The tenant contract from 1763

The tenant contract from 1763

house had been leased by her father and grandfather before her and their daughter and her descendants continued to live there for the next 159 years 

Vindeby seen from the other side of the sound

Vindeby seen from Svendborg at the other side of the Sound of Svendborg (Svendborgsund)


Tenant contract:

“Rasmus Frandsen, the house in Windebye, which his father formerly inhabited until he “died from”. This house with adjoining outfield, Rasmus Frandsen once may enjoy, use, and for his life time occupy as tenant and keep it, on the terms that he thereof annually and in due time provides the manual labour and pays the fees according to land register  –  everything without arrests in any ways. The house as well as outfield he must keep in good and safe condition, so that there will never be dilapidation. Incidentally, he is obliged to stay obedient to my agent or me and otherwise in all things to conform to the laws and regulations of his Royal Majesty, otherwise he will forfeit this tenancy.

Thorseng Castle on 11.te November 1763 (Signed) N. Juel (LS i.e. wax seal)”

This was in a rough translation of the ancient Danish, the wording of the tenant contract when Captain Rasmus Frantzen took over the hilt of land cadastral 10a in the village of Vindeby from his father at 11. November 1763. Today the hose is known as Carla’s House at Troensevej 6B.

Vindeby is a village on the Island of Tåsinge in the South of Funen. It used to be a busy hub for the ferry from the island to Svendborg, which is still the major town in the area.


The house at Tronsevej in   Vindeby

The house at Tronsevej in Vindeby

Because of the naming tradition we know that Rasmus was the son of a man called Frans, but nothing else is known about the father – he lived during the “Period without Church Records” in Bregninge Parish. The local vicar was an alcoholic who did not perform his duties in an appropriate manner. Frans is also not found in any probate register.

Rasmus Frantzen was first married to Karen Andersdatter, who died in childbirth at the age of 40, and then to Maren Hansdatter with whom he had about nine children. It was his daughter Anne Sofie Rasmusdatter Frantzen (1780-1859), who took over the house with her husband.


“Comptoir-officer” at Valdemar slot

As the Administrative Officer, Adrian Bekker wrote his own contract in the Tenant Protocol of the Castle of Valdemar Slot

As the Administrative Officer, Adrian Bekker wrote his own contract in the Tenant Protocol of the Castle of Valdemar Slot

On May 21, 1817 Anne Sofie married to the eight years younger Adrian Severin

Bekker, who was administrative officer – or desk officer at Valdemar slot. Adrian was named after his grandfather, District Bailiff Adrian Bekker of the districts of Sund and Gudme in the south of Funen.

As comptoir-officer (administrative officer) it was Adrian himself who wrote the contract, by which he took over the house at 3 August 1822 at an annual fee of 20 Rigsdaler to be payable at Michaelmas.  The fact that there was a delay of several years from his predecessor’s death to his successor officially took over, was not unusual.


The Shipbuilder and The “beerbreweress”

Adrian and Anne Sofie’s only daughter, Marie Kirstine Elizabeth Bekker, was born a

Tronsevej - Cataster 10 in Vindeby

Tronsevej – Cataster 10 in Vindeby

year after the parents wedding. At the age of 28,

she was married to the shipbuilder Poul Andersen, who came from a farmer’s family in Vindeby. Over the next 10 years, they had four children. Paul took over the hilt in 1846 but died in 1858, four years before Adrian Bekker.

According to the official census, Marie Kirstine Elizabeth Bekker, made a living as beer brewer from the house until her death, 1864.


The daughter and the carpenter

It was her daughter, Christina Maren Sofie Andersen (1847 – 1914), called Ina, who

Vindeby in 1860

Vindeby in 1860

took over the house together with her husband, Carl Christian Madsen (1841 – 1918), who was a carpenter in Gamely Nyby (Old

Newtown), and they took over the house in Vindeby.

A photo taken of Ina Madsen between 1863 and 1865 (The Photo Atelier only existed in this period)

A photo taken of Ina Madsen between 1863 and 1865 (The Photo Atelier only existed in this period)

He was the son of Christian Madsen Pedersen (1803-1869) from the nearby island of Langeland. Several of his brothers, who also moved to Tåsinge, used the surname “Smed” (Smith). Carl Christian’s mother was Marie Hansdatter Lund, from a very old famer’s family from the village of Knudsbølle.

Ina and Carl Christian had seven children. Four of them lived unmarried in the house at Troensevej.


The house becomes a grocery store

The next owners were four siblings.  Christen Madsen (1876-1922), Paul Madsen (1872-1931), Adrian Severin Madsen (1884-1931) and Carla Martin (1889-1964)

The three youngest were in charge of the grocery store from the house of Troensevej while Christen (1876-1922) was called “smallholder” in the official records, which probably means he was responsible for the operation of the relatively large acreage to the house. Adrian Severin was in England as a young

The house around 1900.

The house around 1900.

man and trained as a shopkeeper in Svendborg.

As both of the younger brothers died in 1931, Carla got an attest as a retailer on 10 April 1931, meaning that she was allowed to sell beer and spirits. She ran the business until 1953, but continued to live in the house until her death.


The two siblings who married

Carla had three siblings in addition to the brothers with whom she shared the house. Marie Christine (1873-1928), Severine (1878-

1892) and Niels (1881-1942), Marie Christine and Niels was the only one who married and had children.

Niels was also the only one who settled outside the island of Tåsinge. He was married to married to Anna Hansine Christine Nielsen from Fåborg and worked as a carpenter in Svendborg, where the couple’s two daughters and a son was born. The son, Oscar Bekkerlund, was a teacher at Refsvindinge School for many years.

Carla Madsen with her niece Ina Bekker Jensen with husband and oldest child.

Carla Madsen with her niece Ina Bekker Jensen with husband and oldest child.

Marie Christine found her husband a little further along the road, at Vindeby Inn.

The family in Vindeby. Carla Madsen in the front row to the right. Next to her her sister, Marie Christine, probably a brother and Marie's husband Rasmus Rasmussen. In the back are the sisters Severine, Anna, Nelly and Inger with their children.  The photo was taken in 1928.

The family in Vindeby. Carla Madsen in the front row to the right. Next her sister, Marie Christine, probably a brother and Marie’s husband Rasmus Rasmussen. In the back are the sisters Severine, Anna (with their children and some friends), Nelly and Inger . The photo was taken in 1928.


Last generation

One of Marie Christine’s daughters was Severine Rasmussen  (1902-1935) (Or Søren as she was known) was married to captain Harry Laurits Nielsen from the Village of Troense. In the censuses of 1925 and 1930, they lived with her aunt and uncles. In 1931, they had moved to his birthplace. But the oldest daughter, , Ina Bekker Jensen (1924-2000),  at some point moved to the house where she married to captain Sven Ove Jensen and had two children.

She inherited the house when Carla died very suddenly in 1964. Twelve years later, she sold the house and half of the big garden and built a new house in the back part. Therefore, she stayed at the estate until the middle of the 1990s when

the house became too big for her.

Therefore, Ina became the last of the family to live in the same house on Troensevej in a period of more than 215 years.

The tenants and owners of the house in Vindeby

Frans until 1763

Rasmus Frantzen

Ane Sofie Rasmusdatter Frantzen and Arian Bekker

The South of Funen and the Island of Tåsinge

The South of Funen and the Island of Tåsinge

Marie Kirstine Elizabeth Bekker and Poul Andersen

Christina Maren Sofie Andersen and Carl Christian Madsen

Poul Madsen, Adrian Severin Madsen and Carla Madsen

Carla Madsen

Ina Bekker Jensen and Sven  Ove Jensen


5x great grandfather:

Rasmus Frantzen and his descendants:…… ..


Managers of manors

Fifteen of Adrian Bekker’s 24 children survived childhood – 10 girls who all made good marriages apart from one who remained unmarried. The fate of the illegitimate son is unknown, but the other four all became jurists and had careers as manor intendants, procurators, administrators and civil servants

The church in Ullensaker, Norway

The church in Ullensaker, Norway

The oldest son was Søren Borring Bekker. He was born in his grandfather’s house in Vestergade in Odense and baptized January 13, 1756 the church of Saint Knud – the cathedral of the Diocese of Funen.

His mother, Lykke Christine Borring, died in 1761, and he was taken into care by Christian Friis (d. 1774), the brother of his grandmother Karen Friis. Christian was a vicar in  Ullensaker 1738-66 and in Moss og Rygge in Norway. Søren probably received a good education, and he was also mentioned in the will of his mother’s uncle.

When their father married for the second time, Søren and his three surviving siblings came back to to Funen. For some time, he lived with his sister and brother-in-law at his father’s estate, Lundgård (An old laird farm in southern Funen), and in 1781 Adrian Bekker bought a house for him in Brogade in Svendborg as part of the settlement of his inheritance after his mother. The following year he got his first position as intendant of an estate.

Intendant of manors

His first position as Intendant was at the large estate of Bredeshave at the Manor of Bækkeskov, which was owned by the husband of stepmother’s cousins (Otto Christoffer von Munthe af Morgenstierne was married to two sisters, Birgitte Flint and Elisabeth Flindt, cousins ​​of his

The Manor of Hverringe

The Manor of Hverringe

father’s third wife, Christine Flindt),

1787 he became Intendant of Hverringe Manor near Kerteminde, owned by Hans Rudolph Juel, and later took over the position of Intendant of the Manor of Hellerup in Refsvindinge, which was owned by Lucie Charlotte Scheel Sehestedt-Juul

Lucie Charlotte Scheel, epousé Sehestedt-Juul

Lucie Charlotte Scheel, epousé Sehestedt-Juul

After his father’s death in 1808, he bought the family estate at the city square in Svendborg from his stepmother, Christine Flindt, who continued to live there until she moved in with one of her daughters.

The following year he bought the big farm Holmlund in the Parish of Gislev near the market town of Svendborg. His son, Christopher Bekker, later took over the estate.

Søren Bekker was married to two sisters, Elisabeth Gommesen Brandt (1758-96) and Mette Christine Brandt (1765-1825), who descended from several wealthy merchant families in the South of Funen with roots South Jutland and the north German Hanseatic market towns where their family can be traced back to 1100-1200 century.

Administrator of a manor

With his two wives, he had 11 children. One of them, Adrian Severin Bekker (1788-1862), trained as a Danish lawyer like father. He got a job as responsible for the administration of the entailed estate of Thorseng at Valdemar Slot on the Island of Tåsinge, south of Svendborg.

Frederik Juel til Stamhuset Thorseng

Frederik Juel til Stamhuset Thorseng

The owner of the estate and manor was Frederik Juel (1761-1827), who grew up with his mother’s father, Peder Juel at the Manor of Hverringe where Adrian’s father had been an Intendant for Frederik’s uncle, Hans Rudolph Juel. The next owner of Valdemar Slot and Thorseng was Carl Juel, who later became a Baron with the name Iuel-Brockdorff. He was married to Sophie Frederikke Baroness  Stieglitz-Brockdorff

On May 21, 1817 Adrian Bekker (As he was known) married the 37-year-old Anne Sofie Rasmusdatter Frantzen, whose father Ramus Frantzen, had died a month before. The following year they had their only daughter, Marie Kirstine Elizabeth Bekker (1818-1864), who became the third known generation to take over her family’s house in the village of Vindeby.

The castle, Valdemar Slot in 1760

The castle, Valdemar Slot in 1760


Søren Borring Bekker was my 4 times great-grandfather: