One of the great remaining questions of the Jensen family is—what ever happened to Grandpa’s mother, Sine (pron. “Seena”)? Dad says that she and Grandpa corresponded in the early 1960s, and that Grandpa had a sister, but after many hours and dollars of research, we have little documentation of Sine’s life after Grandpa’s baptism, and no evidence whatsoever of any sister. Did Sine marry? Did she have any more children? Did she move to Randers? Copenhagen?
Grandpa Jensen’s social security application (and in part, his death certificate) tells us that he knew his mother as Sine Rasmussen. Further research informs us that her full name was Jensine Rasmussen. Like her son, she was born and raised in Hvilsager, a village near Århus, Denmark. She must have lived nearly a hundred years, but she didn’t leave many tracks.
It’s quite clear that Sine did not live a charmed life. She was 12 years old when her mother died, and 31 when her father died.
Sine was a maid (a domestic servant) in the hamlet of Ommestrup at age 24 when she became pregnant. Ommestrup is very close to Hvilsager, in adjacent Mørke Parish.
During and immediately after her pregnancy, Sine resided in the household of her half-sister, Ane Marie Jensen and husband Peder Andersen. Sine’s father Rasmus (age 74) was also living there.
After January 1891 (age 26), we have no record of Sine’s whereabouts. Her father, old enough to easily be her grandfather, would die four years later in Hvilsager. Strangely, we have only fragmentary evidence of Ane Marie’s family after 1891: one birth in Hvilsager, one confirmation in Lime (nearby), and a marriage in Hvilsager. We do have records of Grandpa that imply that Sine was living nearby (in 1905 and 1911?)—but how close?
We know that Grandpa was not living in the same residence as his mother at age 10 (1901). Was this simply because she could not afford to support him? If Sine was living nearby with family, couldn’t they have provided him with a place to stay? Dad says that Grandpa was operating a farm at age 12, … but age 10?
Could Jensine have moved away with Ane Marie and her family? The marriage record of Anders, Ane Marie’s youngest known son, indicates that Ane Marie and her husband were in Randers by 1909 (I should double-check this). Was Sine in Randers also? Since our last record of her was in 1907 (Rasmus’ conscription), it wouldn’t contradict the available documents.
It’s possible that Sine moved to Mørke Parish soon after Grandpa was born, but I haven’t found any evidence of that. She didn’t have any family there, except for the relatives of her child’s father.
Aunt Helen told me that Sine owned a bakery in Copenhagen. Helen insisted on the word “owned”. She also said that Grandpa told her about this more than once.
I have no evidence to support or refute Helen’s recollection, but that’s to be expected given the lack of evidence in general. Dad’s never heard mention of Copenhagen or any bakery in relation to his grandparents or father, and I’ve not seen any reference to København in my research of Grandpa’s family in Denmark. København would have been an obvious destination for Sine, but “Copenhagen” is such a common name that it’s nearly synonymous with “Denmark”. It could easily have crept into Aunt Helen’s memory without having been based in fact.
If Sine moved to København, she may have done so before 1901 (she was not anywhere near Hvilsager) or after 1905 (she seems to have been at Grandpa’s confirmation), or even after 1907, since Grandpa’s military registration gives no indication of her departure. If she did move, I’m inclined to think it would have been no earlier than 1907. Sine may have followed her sister Ane’s family there, if they had made the move.
Sine’s Last Years
Grandpa was sending his mother Christmas cards as late as the early 1960s, according to Mom and Dad. This might mean that she lived to age 98, as Aunt Helen told me. Grandma told me that Sine lived to age 92. If Aunt Helen’s right, Sine would have died between July 1962 and July 1963.
The Mystery Sister in Denmark
Dad says that Grandpa Jensen had a sister who stayed in Denmark. Dad also says that Grandpa and his sister corresponded occasionally, though Helen hasn’t heard anything of the sort. She did hear that Grandpa’s sister had dark hair (like Helen). That’s all I’ve heard. It can safely be presumed that she and Grandpa would have been half-siblings. I haven’t found any evidence of her birth or even existence. Dad seems quite confident that she did exist. Presuming this, she would have probably been younger than Grandpa, perhaps by as much as 20 years (when their mother would have been 46). We don’t know her name and we haven’t got any idea what her surname—or even her maiden name—is likely to be. Also, we have never heard that Grandpa had a niece or nephew, so it’s not very likely that she had children. If she didn’t, she won’t be easy to find.
Relatives in Denmark?
Sine’s half-sister Ane Marie (pron. “Anna Maria”) had at least four children; three boys and a girl. They lived in Hvilsager (and apparently Lime for awhile). Grandpa’s mother lived with this Andersen family while she was pregnant with Grandpa. This is evidence that the Andersen kids may have been Grandpa’s closest cousins. They were roughly equivalent to second cousins.
But what’s more, Sine and Anne Marie may have been more than half-sisters, for each was the other’s only sister, and there’s this: when Sine was pregnant and living with Ane Marie, Ane Marie was pregnant too. And both sisters appear to have left the area soon thereafter. Remarkably, Ane Marie’s only daughter (that we know of), was born only nine days after Grandpa. Her name was Sofie Kirstine Andersen. Could she have been close enough to Grandpa for him to call her his “sister”? This may be further evidence that Sine and Ane Marie were very close.
Though Grandpa left Denmark as late as 1915 and corresponded with his mother (as late as 1963) and maybe even a “sister” as late as 1966 (the year of his stroke), nevertheless we have no evidence that Dad has cousins or second cousins living in Denmark. This is little better than what we can guess of Mom’s relatives in Sweden.
We’ve located these five records referring to “Jensine Rasmussen”:
- Birth (5 July, 1864) and Baptism
- Confirmation (6 October, 1878)
- Birth (27 December, 1890) and baptism of Rasmus Marius Jensen
- Confirmation of Rasmus Marius Jensen (16 April, 1905)
- Conscription of Rasmus Marius Jensen (1907)
Jensine does not appear in the 1890-1911 censuses for Hvilsager. She appears in the 1890 census for Mørke, but I couldn’t find her there in 1901. It’s possible that she married, thus changing her name.
I checked for her under other surnames in Hvilsager for 1906-1911, and failed to find her.
Sine had no children in Hvilsager from Parish 1891 to 1911. The same goes for Mørke Parish.
Here’s a complete list of Ane Marie’s children (to our knowledge):
- Jens Marius Andersen
b. 18 March 1883 in Hvilsager
- Rasmus Grosen Andersen
b. 27 March 1885 in Hvilsager
- Anders Peter Andersen
b. 11 June 1887 in Hvilsager
confirmation 1901 in Lime (nearby).
married Eva Boline Madsen, Nov. 1909
- Sofie Kirstine Andersen
b. 5 January 1891 in Hvilsager
Any of the grandchildren of Ane Marie Jensen and Peder Andersen might still be living, but I haven’t been able to find their three oldest sons in Hvilsager from 1901 to 1911 (exceptions: a confirmation ca. 1900 and a marriage). Niels Rasmussen might have a living grandchild, but I haven’t been able to find any evidence that he married. I haven’t found anything on Jens Grosen Rasmussen.