Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Danish ggg grandparents

Oddly enough, I hadn't worked much in FamilySearch.org until the past week. But I have hit the jackpot in adding new branches to the tree as well as verifying and confirming information.

Just minutes ago, I discovered my great great great grandparents from Denmark: Laust Laursen and Karen Poulsen. And it all had to do with setting aside some previously held beliefs and thinking outside the box.

Information I had from another relative researching our family indicated that my great-great grandparents were Peder Jeremiasen and Elsie Kathrine Polsdatter. They immigrated from Denmark to Waterloo, Iowa in 1888. Their immigration records had been elusive to me until I anted up and got the World subscription on Ancestry.com and I learned that they first arrived in Quebec before going on to Waterloo. Only a few weeks ago, I discovered the family in the census in the Dansk Demografisk Database.

I have been looking for Elsie in searches for Polsdatter and Plsdr (another abbreviation I discovered was used). Last week, on FamilySearch.org, I discovered the marriage information on their son (my great grandfather), Jens Petersen and my great grandmother, Caroline Hansen. The record listed the names of Jens' parents as Peder Jeremiasen and Elsie Lauridsen. Lauridsen? What happened with Polsdatter?

I continued various searches and spelling variations on FamilySearch.org and just discovered Elsie's death information in the Iowa Death and Burials database. Everything matched up and this record told me that her parent's names were Laust Laursen and Karen Poulsen - taking my Danish roots back another generation - and through a female ancestor! Danish naming tradition changes surnames with each generation, so this is no easy task! Once I saw the name Poulsen, it became clear how someone had arrived at the surname Polsdatter in the earlier research.

This is, indeed, an exciting success story as I've never really believed it was going to be possible to actually find my Danish ancestors. Now, with a new generation and new names, the search will continue!


  1. That deserves a Reflection's special comment:


    And, Congrats

  2. Susan, this is very exciting news for you. Gosh, I hope you are doing a Happy Dance. I see you are into theology, that is a good one, love it. Many congratulations on this discovery.

  3. Thanks, Carol and Barbara. Yes, I've been doing the Happy Dance all day! I sketched out a quick chart for my Dad this evening, trying to explain how he was connected to his 2nd great grandparents. I then found about 250 different Laust Laursen's on FamilySearch.org, so I have a lot more sifting around to do! For now, I'm going to bask in the excitement of going back one more generation.

  4. Susan - That is WONDERFUL!!! It's so exciting to make the connection across the ocean :-) I'm doing a mini happy dance for you right now (or maybe it's because I just finished an econ assignment and can now read blogs with a clear conscience!!)