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.

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