The Old Homestead

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God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

- Romans 5:8


    Søren Christensen was born about 1784 in Sønder Vissing in Skanderborg county, Denmark. (1)
    Married Mette Rasmusdatter and, after she died, Ellen Pedersdatter.  (See below.)
    Children of Søren and Mette: (2)
    Karen Marie, born Aug. 21, 1827.
    Rasmus, born May 8, 1829.  Died before March 1833.
    Christen, born Jan. 11, 1831.
    Rasmus, born March 8, 1833.  Died soon after birth.
    Children of Søren and Ellen: (3)
    Peder, born April 1, 1834.
    Mette Marie, born Nov. 3, 1835.
    Jens Peter, born Sept. 10, 1837.  Died before Oct. 1839.
    Jens Peter, born Oct. 27, 1839.
    Søren appears to have married relatively late, waiting until he was 42 years old.  On Nov. 4, 1826, he married the 21-year-old Mette Rasmusdatter at Ring parish in Skanderborg county. (4)
    Earlier church records list Søren as a smith.  Later church records list him as a “Landmand og Smed,” which would indicate that he was a farmer and smith.  In addition, census records list him as a “Pensionist og Smed,” which means he was a pensioner as well as a smith.  If Søren had some occupation – such as soldier – before settling in Ring, it might explain his late marriage. (5)
    On May 6, 1833, Mette died, just a few weeks after the birth and death of her last child. (6)
    As was common at the time, Søren waited only a few months to remarry.  On Oct. 6, 1833, he married Ellen Pedersdatter at Grædstrup parish in Skanderborg County.  Ellen was born Nov. 13, 1797, to Peder Nielsen and his wife Maren Pedersdatter in Them parish in Skanderborg county. (7)
   Denmark’s 1834 census shows the family in the town of Ring Bye.  In addition to Søren and Ellen, the household includes Mette’s two surviving children, Karen Marie and Christen.  Søren is listed as a smith and pensioner.
    At some point between the birth of the first Jens Peter in 1837 and the birth of the second child of that name in 1839, the family moved from Ring to Grædstrup, where Søren and Ellen were married. 
    The 1840 census lists Søren as a pensioner and smith in Grædstrup.  In addition to Ellen, the household included Søren’s five children.
    In 1845, the family is listed as living at Grædstrup Mark on property occupied by a large number of other families.  The property was obviously large enough to accommodate a number of buildings because the census indicates only one family lived in their house.  Søren is listed as a farmer and pensioner.  His four youngest children still lived at home.
    And in 1850, the family was living in Grædstrup Bye.  Søren is listed as the head of the household, retired and a cottager.  Mette Marie and Jens Peter were still living at home.  The household also included Anders Madsen and his wife and son.  Madsen is listed as a tenant and a carpenter.
    Søren died Nov. 16, 1864, in Grædstrup.  (8)
    In 1880, Ellen lived with her son Jens Peter.  The census indicates the family lived on a property named Rishedegaard Mark in Klovborg parish, Skanderborg county.
    Ellen died Feb. 16, 1881, in Klovborg. (9)
(1) Søren’s approximate birth year comes from his death record, which appears in the church books of Grædstrup parish, Skanderborg county, deaths for 1864, page 210, which says he was 80 years old at the time of his death.  Danish census records indicate that he was born in Sønder Vissing in Skanderborg county.  Two Sørens were born to men with the first name Christen in that town around 1784.  If Søren’s age at death was truly 80, the most likely candidate would be Christen Knudson.  His son Søren was born May 16, 1785, according to the Sønder Vissing church book that covers births for that year, page 87.  The other candidate is Christen Nielson Rytter.  His son Søren was born Aug. 3, 1783, according to the same church book, page 83.  Note: In this and following references, “page” refers to the number of the image on the digital scans of the records available through the Danish archives at  (2) Births of Mette’s children are recorded in the church books for Ring parish, Skanderborg county, as follows: the first Rasmus, births for 1829, page 14; Christen, 1831, page 14; and the second Rasmus, 1833, page 15.  Karen’s birth is recorded in the church book covering confirmations for 1842 for Grædstrup parish, Skanderborg county, page 147.  (3) Births of Ellen’s children are recorded in the church books for Ring parish as follows: Peder, births for 1834, page 16; Mette Marie, 1835, page 53; and the first Jens Peter, 1837, page 19.  The birth of the second Jens Peter is recorded in the Grædstrup parish church books, births for 1839, page 46.  (4) The wedding is recorded in the church books of Ring parish, Skanderborg county, marriages for 1826, page 103.  (5) Danish census records for certain years and locations are available through the county’s national archives’ website at  Although the records are easily searchable, they do not seem to be comprehensive.  (6) Her death is recorded in the Ring church book that covers death for 1833, page 152.  (7) The wedding and Ellen’s birth information is recorded in the church book of Grædstrup parish, Skanderborg county, that covers marriages for 1833, page 162.  Ellen’s birth is recorded in the church books of Them parish, Skanderborg county, births for 1797, page 249.  (8) The death record appears in the church books of Grædstrup, deaths for 1864, page 210.  In the space covering Søren’s occupation, the record mentions he was a retired man (“aftægtsmand”) and a smith, was born in “Vissing Kloster” and had lived in Grædstrup.   Included is a mention that he held some designation “from 1807.”  The word looks like “Turralid,” “Tunalid” or “Furralid,” but I have been unable to figure out what it really says.  (9) Her death is recorded in the church books of Klovborg parish, Skanderborg county, deaths for 1881, page 302.

    Jens Peter Sørenson was born Oct. 27, 1839, to Søren Christensen and his wife Ellen Pedersdatter in Grædstrup, Skanderborg county, Denmark. (1)
    Married Karen Jensen.  (See below.)
    Children: (2)
    Ellen Marie, born Nov. 23, 1872.  Married a man named Rasmussen and John Nelson.
    Jens Nedergaard, born Aug. 10, 1876.
    Sørina Mathilde, born May 19, 1878. Married Christian Friis.
    Juliane Matea, born Sept. 20, 1880.  Died before November 1881.
    Juliane Mathea, born Nov. 2, 1881.  Married Peter Simonsen.
    Anton Marius (Myron), born April 18, 1884.
    Peter A., born about 1887.
    Theodor Christian, born about 1890.
    Jens grew up in Grædstrup, where his father was a smith and farmer.
    On May 26, 1871, Jens married Karen Jensen in Grædstrup.  Karen was born Oct. 13, 1852 to Jens Nielsen and his wife Anne Marie Nielsen. (3)
    Within a year, the couple moved to Klovborg in Skanderborg county, where Jens worked was a farmer.  Denmark’s 1880 census shows the family living at a place called Rishedegaard Mark within the boundaries of Klovborg parish.  In addition to Jens and Karen, the household included their children Ellen Marie, Jens and Sørine, as well as Jens’ mother, Ellen Pedersdatter, who was an 81-year-old widow. (4)
    It seems that the family moved away from Klovborg before the birth of Peter because neither his nor Theodor Christian’s birth is recorded in the parish records there.  At some point before May 1900, the family moved to the city of Vejle.  On May 21, Jens and Karen served as witnesses at the baptism of Sørine’s daughter Carrie. The record indicates that they lived in Vejle and lists Jens’ occupation as workman – “arbeidsmand.” (5)  Vejle is listed as the last place of residence on many of the family members’ emigration registration papers.
    Soon after the turn of the century, members of the family started immigrating to the United States.  Sørina and Ellen Marie both registered to emigrate on June 5, 1902.  Juliane and Anton Marius registered to leave on April 30, 1903.  Jens, Karen and Theodor Christian – who was usually known of Christian or Chris – immigrated in 1904. The younger Jens registered to leave on July 16, 1908. (6)
    When Jens and Karen immigrated, they sailed from Copenhagen on Oct. 19 aboard the S.S. United States of the Scandinavian American Line. (7)  In addition to their son Christian, their party included Sørina’s two daughters, who had stayed behind in Denmark when their mother left for America.  Their names were listed as Carin and Ella Jansen, ages 4 and 2, respectively.  The passage fee for Jens, Karen and the two girls was paid by Sørina’s new husband, Christian Friis.  The manifest states that Christian paid his own way.  The family’s destination was the Friis home on Arnold Street in Humboldt, Iowa.
    The ship arrived in New York City on Oct. 31, 1904.  The family was held overnight for “special inquiry.”  They were admitted to the United States on Nov. 1, but there’s a note over Jen’s listing that says, “Dr says senility.”
    The family settled in Humboldt, where Jens is listed as a poultry farmer in the 1910 Census.  Jens is listed as an alien.
    Jens died of “old age and general debility” at his home on April 21, 1911.  His obituary says, “He was a loving husband and true father.”  Karen died within a few months.  Although she is listed among Jens’ survivors in his obituary, her tombstone lists her year of death as 1911. (8)
    The Sorensens are buried at Union Cemetery in Humboldt.
    (1) Jens’ birth is recorded in church books of Grædstrup parish, Skanderborg county, births for 1839, page 46.  (2) The children’s births are recorded in the church books of Klovborg parish, Skanderborg county, as follow: Ellen Marie, births for 1872, page 102; Jens, 1876, page 39; Sørina, 1878, page 117; the first Juliane, 1880, page 124; the second Juliane, 1881, page 128; Anton Marius, 1884, page 61.  The death of the first Juliane is recorded in the Klovborg church book, deaths for 1880, page 302.  Christian’s approximate birth year comes from the 1910 Census of Humboldt, Humboldt County, Iowa, which shows him living with his parents.  Peter is linked to the family through his obituary and those of some of his siblings, which are recorded at the Humboldt County genealogy website at  Note: A printed notice from Sørina’s funeral states that she was born on May 19.  According to the 1910, Karen gave birth to nine children, but only seven survived to 1910.  I have not found the birth record of the ninth child.  The names of the daughters’ husbands appear in their obituaries.  Ellen Marie presented a special problem.  Her immigration record indicates that she was married, even though she’s still listed as Ellen Marie Sorensen.  Her immigration record is available on and, under S.S. Umbria, which arrived in New York City on July 20, 1902.  Serena’s son, Roy Fries, only remembered her as an aunt who married a man named Rassmussen. Myron’s obituary identifies her as “Mrs. Marie Nelson,” while most of the other obituaries identify her as “Mrs. John Nelson,” and one identifies her as “Mrs. Peter Nelson,” which appears to be a mistake.  The 1920 Census of Rutland Township, Humboldt County, lists a Mary who is married to John Nelson.  It says this Mary was 39 years old and was born in Illinois, though her parents were born in Denmark.  Either the birthplace is incorrect or this is not the right Mary.  (3) The wedding and Karen’s birth information are recorded in the church books of Grædstrup parish, Skanderborg county, marriages for 1871, page 133.  (4) Danish census records for certain years and locations are available through the county’s national archives’ website at  Although the records are easily searchable, they do not seem to be comprehensive.  (5) The birth is recorded in the church book of Vejle parish, Vejle county, that covers baptisms for 1900, page 86.  (6) Danish emigration registrations can be found through the Danish archives at the same website as the census records.  (7) Manifest of the S.S. United States, arriving in New York on Oct. 31, 1905, available via and  (8) The obituary appears in the Humboldt Independent of Humboldt, Iowa, on April 26, 1911, and is available on the Humboldt County genealogical website.