Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jens Poulsen, Sidse Larsdatter, and their children

Jens Poulsen and Sidse (Larsdatter) Poulsen were my great-great-great-grandparents. Their daughter Caroline (Jensen) Gotsche was my great-great-grandmother, and her son Elmer Gotsche was my great-grandfather.

Jens Poulsen
born May 7, 1825 in Nordrup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died September 1, 1903 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Sidse (Larsdatter) Poulsen
born October 28, 1828 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died June 5, 1894 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin


Jens Poulsen was born to Poul Nielsen and Mariane Henriette Lund in the small town of Nordrup on the island of Zealand in Denmark. He was baptized at his home the day after he was born and again on June 12, 1825, in the church at Nordrup.


Sidse Larsdatter was born in the nearby town of Sorterup to Lars Hansen and Sidse (Hansdatter) Hansen, baptized on December 14, 1828, and confirmed in 1843. The last names of this family followed the traditional Danish naming system: children were given the first name of the father plus the ending -sen (son) or -datter (daughter) as a last name. Jens and Sidse's children were given the last name Jensen at birth, and most of them ended the tradition, passing down the surname Jensen to their descendants.


Jens and Sidse were married on April 15, 1856 in Sorterup and continued to live in the area until they decided to leave their home in Denmark and immigrate to the United States. Besides the five children born to the couple, they adopted one child, Sophie Nielsen, and served as foster parents for a girl named Trine Christensen. Jens, Sidse, their children, and two of their future children-in-law arrived in New York City, New York County, New York, aboard the ship Geisler on May 16, 1882. They traveled to Racine, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Jens and Sidse are buried with their daughter Mariane and her family at Mound Cemetery in Racine.

Their seven children:
  1. Mariane (Jensen) Nelson (1857-1952)
  2. Nels Jensen (1858-1924)
  3. Maren Sofie “Sophie” (Poulsen) Jensen (1865-1936)
  4. Caroline Mary (Jensen) Gotsche (1867-1926)
  5. Trine Marie (Christensen) Hansen (1868-1908)
  6. Laura Kathrine Margrethe (Jensen) Thompson (1870-1934)
  7. Sophie Ann (Nielsen) Matson (1879-1952)
Mariane Nelson
1. Mariane (Jensen) Nelson
born January 10, 1857 in Herslev, Kalundborg Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died November 17, 1952 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Mariane was baptized on April 10, 1857, and grew up in Denmark, where she met her husband, Jens Christian “James” Nelson. In Denmark, she worked as a weaver, while Jens was a servant. Jens traveled with Mariane and her family when they immigrated to Racine in 1882, and they married there on December 8, 1883 at Emmaus Lutheran Church. Mariane and Jens had six children: William, Louis, Carl, Edward, Leland, and Cecelia. Jens died in Racine on January 11, 1894, and Mariane continued to live on Herrick Avenue in Racine until her death in 1952. Mariane and Jens are buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine with Mariane's parents.

2. Nels Jensen
born April 11, 1858 in Herslev, Kalundborg Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died January 2, 1924 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Nels was baptized on May 24, 1858, and grew up in Denmark, where he worked as a house carpenter. He met his wife, Rasmine Frederikke “Rikke” Andersen, in Denmark and she traveled with Nels' family when they moved to Racine. Nels and Rikke married on September 29, 1883 in Racine at Emmaus Lutheran Church. They had five children: George, Alma, Arthur, Sadie, and Helen. Nels worked as a boat builder and carpenter in Racine and Lake Geneva, Walworth County, Wisconsin, and also lived for a time in Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. Rikke worked as a domestic for Judge John Winslow in Racine. Nels died in 1924, and Rikke died on September 1, 1956 in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California. Both are buried at Graceland Cemetery in Racine, along with two of their children.

3. Maren Sofie “Sophie” (Poulsen) Jensen
born October 13, 1865 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died December 20, 1936 in Bath, Freeborn County, Minnesota

Born as Maren Sofie Jensen and baptized December 10, 1885, Sophie chose to use the name Sophie Poulsen - her middle name and her father's last name - after she immigrated to the United States in 1880 or 1881, before the rest of her family. Sophie settled in the area near Clarks Grove, Freeborn County, Minnesota, where she married Anton Thomas “A. T.” Jensen, who was also a Danish immigrant, on March 1, 1889. Sophie and A. T. farmed in the town of Bath, and had six children: Louis, Jennie, Henrietta, Mary, Euphemia, and Emyline. Sophie died in 1936, and A. T. died on March 19, 1941 in Clarks Grove. They are buried at the Clarks Grove Baptist Cemetery.

4. Caroline Mary (Jensen) Gotsche
born January 5, 1867 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died July 5, 1926 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Caroline was baptized on June 16, 1867, and confirmed on April 24, 1881. By age 13, she was living apart from her parents, although in the same town, and working as a servant. She arrived in the United States with her family in 1882. Caroline married Danish immigrant Christian Gotsche on April 12, 1890 in Racine. Christian worked as a blacksmith and they had seven children. They lived on 12th Street until 1917 or 1918, when they moved to Quincy Avenue. At the time of Christian's naturalization in 1914, he was described as five feet and four inches tall, weighing 143 pounds, with gray hair and gray eyes. Although both were baptized as Lutherans, they attended First Baptist Church in Racine. Caroline and Christian had seven children: Elmer, Harvey, Martha, Irving, Florence, an unnamed infant son, and Paul. After Christian's death on May 19, 1925 in Racine, Caroline lived with her son Elmer until her death a year later. Christian and Caroline were buried next to four of their children at Mound Cemetery in Racine.

5. Trine Marie (Christensen) Hansen
born August 27, 1868 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died July 25, 1908 in Slagelse, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark

Trine was the daughter of Christian Pedersen and Mette Marie Christensen, who were not married. She was baptized on September 20, 1868 and confirmed on October 1, 1882 in Sorterup. Her parents were not able to care for her when she was young and she lived with Jens and Sidse Poulsen as their foster child for a short amount of time. Trine later moved to the larger town of Slagelse, where she married Hans Christian Hansen on March 7, 1891. Hans was a laborer at the Danish Distillers factory in Slagelse. They had three children: Dagmar, Helene, and Svend. Trine died when she was only 39 years old, and she was buried at Saint Michael's Churchyard in Slagelse. Her husband Hans later remarried to a woman named Anna Christine Hansine Jensen.

6. Laura Kathrine Margrethe (Jensen) Thompson
born April 8, 1870 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died October 29, 1934 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Laura was baptized on July 1, 1870 and immigrated to Racine with the rest of her family in 1882. She married Jacob Peter Thompson, who was also a Danish immigrant, on March 30, 1905 in Racine. They adopted one son, Carl, and lived in various areas in and around Racine, where Jacob usually worked as a farmer. Jacob was fatally injured by a runaway team of horses, and died the next day on February 2, 1922. He was working as a teamster for the Racine cemetery commission at the time, and his widow was given a large settlement by the city. Laura and Jacob are both buried at Graceland Cemetery in Racine.

7. Sophie Ann (Nielsen) Matson
born January 24, 1879 in Nordrup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died May 18, 1952 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Sophie was born with the name Ane Sophie Nielsen to Kristian Nielsen and Ane Kirstine Kristensen. Her birth parents were unmarried, and Sophie was adopted by Jens and Sidse Poulsen. Sophie came to Racine with her family in 1882, and she married Mat Boeslund Matson there on November 20, 1897. Mat worked as a city light inspector, though he was nearly blind. He was known as “the blind lamplighter” and both a poem and a city park were named after him. The Matson family later ran a grocery store on Racine's north side at the corner of Douglas Avenue and North Street and were well-known in the neighborhood. Sophie and Mat had twelve children: Edna, Laura, Rudolph, Jeanette, Alvin, Mabel, Bernice, Alvin, Edward, Mat Jr., Raymond, and LaVerne. Mat died in Racine on March 12, 1951 and Sophie died the next year. Both are buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine with many of their children.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Michael Blake, Johanna Jordan, and their children

Michael Blake and Hannah (Jordan) Blake were my great-great-great-grandparents. Their son John Blake was my great-great-grandfather, and his daughter Elizabeth (Blake) Gotsche was my great-grandmother.

Michael Blake
born 1799 in County Clare, Ireland
died November 1, 1877 in Ossian, Winneshiek County, Iowa

Johanna “Hannah” (Jordan) Blake
born 1814 in County Clare, Ireland
died ????

Michael Blake and Johanna Jordan were both born on the Loop Head peninsula in County Clare, Ireland, where they were married and their first six children were born. Between 1856 and 1859, the Blake family immigrated from Ireland to Clinton, Huron County, Ontario, where their youngest child was born. Michael and Johanna then immigrated to Ossian, Iowa, sometime between 1861 and 1870. Michael died there in 1877 and Johanna died at an unknown time before 1880. Both are buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery in Ossian.

Their seven children:
  1. Ellen (Blake) McNamara (1836-1910)
  2. Timothy Henry Blake (1840-1924)
  3. Catherine E. (Blake) Moran (1845-1917)
  4. John Edward Blake (1847-1909)
  5. Michael Blake (1853-1935)
  6. Mary Theresa (Blake) Ormsby (1856-1939)
  7. James Blake (1859-1908)
1. Ellen (Blake) McNamara
born June 17, 1836 in County Clare, Ireland
died November 21, 1910 in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota

Ellen was born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada when she was in her twenties. She immigrated to Iowa in about 1869 and married Michael McNamara, also an Irish immigrant, in 1869 or 1870. Ellen and Michael lived in Clermont, Fayette County, Iowa and Rockwell, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Michael was a laborer at a quarry. They did not have children, but they helped to raise several of Ellen's nieces and nephews. Ellen died in 1910 and Michael died on March 20, 1914. Both are buried at Saint Francis de Sales Cemetery in Ossian, next to Ellen's parents.

2. Timothy Henry Blake
born August 15, 1840 in County Clare, Ireland
died April 26, 1924 in Sherman, Newaygo County, Michigan

Timothy immigrated along with his family from Ireland to Canada. He lived in Tuckersmith, Huron County, Ontario for a time before moving to Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan in about 1862, where he worked as a sawyer and farmer. He later moved to neighboring Newaygo County, Michigan. Timothy married Catherine McClery on April 5, 1869, in Teeswater, Bruce County, Ontario. They had three children: Johanna, Mary, and Michael, before Catherine's death on January 18, 1875 in Muskegon. Timothy then married Johanna Elizabeth O'Connor on April 4, 1882 in Clermont, Iowa. Timothy and Johanna also had three children: Margaret, an unnamed infant daughter, and Timothy. Timothy died in 1924 and Johanna died on June 24, 1938 in Muskegon. They are both buried at Maple Grove Cemetery in Fremont, Newaygo County, Michigan.

3. Catherine E. (Blake) Moran
born December 1845 in County Clare, Ireland
died March 26, 1917 in Dougherty, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Catherine was born in Ireland and immigrated to Clinton, Ontario with the rest of her family. She married Thomas Moran on February 1, 1864 at Saint Peter Catholic Church in Goderich, Huron County, Ontario. They moved to Bloomfield, Winneshiek County, Iowa between 1865 and 1868, and then to Geneseo, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. Thomas was a farmer. Catherine and Thomas had eight children: James, Mary, Anna, Catherine, Lillian, Thomas, Irene, and William. Thomas died on February 12, 1913 at their home in Dougherty and Catherine died in 1917 at her daughter Anna's home. Catherine and Thomas are buried at Saint Patrick's Catholic Cemetery in Dougherty.

4. John Edward Blake
born October 29, 1847 in County Clare, Ireland
died November 18, 1909 in Ashland, Ashland County, Wisconsin

John was born on the Loop Head peninsula in County Clare and immigrated to Ontario with his family. On October 22, 1867, John married Mary Ann Lavin at Saint Peter Catholic Church in Goderich. Shortly after their wedding, John and Mary moved to Laketon, Muskegon County, Michigan. John worked in a lumber mill, and continued to do so for the rest of his life. John and Mary had nine children in Muskegon between 1868 and 1885: Hannah, John, Catherine, Thomas, Michael, Ellen, Mary, Martha, and Elizabeth. In 1890, John and Mary moved to Ashland with six of their children. Mary died on August 18, 1894, in Ashland, and John died in 1909 at the home of his daughter Mayme. Both attended Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Ashland, and are buried in the church cemetery.

5. Michael Blake
born September 28, 1853 in County Clare, Ireland
died April 7, 1935 in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Michael immigrated with his family from Ireland to Canada, and then to Iowa, where he worked as a carpenter. On January 14, 1886, Michael married Johanna Mary Kelly in Rockwell, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. They lived in Rockwell and Mason City and had four children: Edward, Clement, Jerome, and Francis. Johanna died on August 30, 1924 at their home in Mason City, and Michael died there in 1935. They are both buried at Elmwood-Saint Joseph Cemetery in Mason City.

6. Mary Theresa (Blake) Ormsby
born August 15, 1856 in County Clare, Ireland
died December 1, 1939 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

Mary immigrated from Ireland to Canada when she was very young. She moved to Ossian, Iowa with her parents before 1870, and worked there as a domestic servant. She married farmer John Francis Ormsby on December 31, 1878 at Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Ossian. They moved to a farm in Dougherty and had eight children: Loretto, Lorena, Mary, Martha, Robert, George, John, and George. Mary and John moved to Chicago, where John died on February 18, 1921. Mary died in 1939, and they are both buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Cook County, Illinois.

7. James Blake
born March 15, 1859 in Canada
died November 28, 1908 in Washburn, Bayfield County, Wisconsin

James was the only one of his siblings to be born after the Blake family left Ireland. He grew up in Canada and Iowa before moving to Muskegon, where he married Sarah Anne Quigley on November 26, 1883. James and Sarah had one son, Thomas, and they adopted James' nephew, also named Thomas. They lived in Washburn, Bayfield County, Wisconsin. James died in 1908. In about 1920, Sarah remarried to Michael “Mike” Aspel. Sarah died on February 11, 1931 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan and is buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Detroit.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Christian Ferdinand Gotsche, Caroline Jensen, and their children

Christian Gotsche and Caroline (Jensen) Gotsche were my great-great-grandparents. Their son Elmer Gotsche was my great-grandfather.

Christian Ferdinand Gotsche
born August 4, 1865 in Tersløse, Sorø Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died May 19, 1925 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Caroline Mary (Jensen) Gotsche
born January 5, 1867 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died July 5, 1926 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin


Christian Gotsche was the son of Ferdinand Gøtsche and Ellen Larsen. His parents were not married, but Ferdinand acknowledged that Christian was his son. Christian was baptized as a Lutheran on September 10, 1865, and confirmed on October 5, 1879. When Christian was three years old, his mother married a man named Kristen Kristoffersen, and they had two children. Kristen was a blacksmith, the same profession that Christian later followed. In 1880, when Christian was 15, he was no longer living with his mother and stepfather.


Caroline Jensen was the daughter of Jens Poulsen and Sidse (Larsdatter) Poulsen. She was baptized on June 16, 1867, and confirmed on April 24, 1881. By age 13, she was living apart from her parents, although in the same town, and working as a servant.

Caroline & Christian Gotsche
Caroline arrived in the United States aboard the ship Geiser on May 16, 1882, along with her parents and most of her siblings. Her husband Christian arrived alone aboard the Thingvalla on June 3, 1885. Both of them settled in Racine, and they married on April 12, 1890 in Racine. Christian worked as a blacksmith and they had seven children. They lived on 12th Street until 1917 or 1918, when they moved to Quincy Avenue. At the time of Christian's naturalization in 1914, he was described as five feet and four inches tall, weighing 143 pounds, with gray hair and gray eyes. Although both were baptized as Lutherans, they attended First Baptist Church in Racine. After Christian's death in 1925, Caroline lived with her son Elmer until her death a year later. Christian and Caroline were buried next to four of their children at Mound Cemetery in Racine.





Their seven children:
  1. Elmer Ferdinand Gotsche (1891-1941)
  2. Harvey Gotsche (1894-1895)
  3. Martha Margaret (Gotsche) Smith (1896-1969)
  4. Irving James Gotsche (1900-1936)
  5. Florence Gotsche (1902-1903)
  6. unnamed infant Gotsche (????-1908)
  7. Paul Gotsche (????-1910)
1. Elmer Ferdinand Gotsche
born November 10, 1891 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died September 25, 1941 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
Elmer Gotsche

Elmer grew up in the family home on 12th Street in Racine. He worked as a telegraph operator for Western Union for several years before going to dental school at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He joined the U.S. Army Dental Corps on August 25, 1917 and was stationed at Camp Funston in Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas until his discharge on January 6, 1919, after the end of World War I. During this time, he was described as tall, with a slender build, blue eyes, and light hair. After the war, Elmer opened a dental practice in Racine, where he worked for the rest of his life. Elmer met nurse Elizabeth B. Blake and they were married on May 11, 1921 in Ashland, Ashland County, Wisconsin, after originally scheduling their wedding for the previous day in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin. They adopted one daughter. After Elmer's death due to a heart attack, Elizabeth returned to work as a registered nurse. She died in Racine on February 13, 1953. Elmer is buried next to his parents, brothers Irving and Paul, and his unnamed infant sibling at Mound Cemetery in Racine. Elizabeth is buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin, next to her granddaughter and son-in-law's parents.

2. Harvey Gotsche
born February 1894
died March 19, 1895 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Harvey was thirteen months old when he died at the Gotsche family home on 12th Street in Racine.

3. Martha Margaret (Gotsche) Smith
born April 29, 1896 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died July 8, 1969 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Martha grew up in Racine and worked as a stenographer before her marriage to Raymond James “Ray” Smith in June 1920. Ray worked as a sales clerk for Massey-Harris Company in Racine. Martha and Ray had one daughter, Margaret. Ray was described in 1942 as five feet and eight and a half inches tall, weighing 138 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion. Martha died in 1969, and Ray died on August 27, 1977 in Racine. Both are buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine, though in a different section than Martha's parents and siblings.

4. Irving James Gotsche
born March 25, 1900 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died July 14, 1936 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Irving worked as pattern maker for Wisconsin Pattern Works in Racine. He married Ethel Elsie Davis in Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa on July 2, 1927 and they had two children, Irving Jr. and Virginia Karen. In 1918, Irving was described as tall, with a medium build, blue eyes, and light hair. Irving died in 1936 and is buried next to his parents and siblings at Mound Cemetery in Racine. After Irving's death, Ethel worked as a teacher at Janes Elementary School in Racine. She died at Lakeshore Manor in Racine on July 16, 2003, at the age of 102. She never remarried, outliving her husband by exactly 67 years and two days. Ethel is buried in a mausoleum at West Lawn Memorial in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin.


5. Florence Gotsche
born September 23, 1902 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died January 9, 1903 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Florence was born at the family home on 12th Street in Racine and died of spina bifida at the same place. She is buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine.

6. unnamed infant Gotsche
born ????
died April 1908

This unnamed child was buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine on April 30, 1908, in the same grave where siblings Paul and Elmer were later buried.

7. Paul Gotsche
born ????
died 1910

Paul was buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine on June 3, 1910, in the same grave as Elmer and his unnamed infant sibling.