Denmark, immigrants, family history


Jens and Maren Stine Rasmusdatter came from the small island of Mom, Denmark. On a larger map of Denmark, Mon is a scarcely discernible plot of separated land, with chalk cliffs on its eastern seaboard and sandy beaches on the other. Stege is its chief town, set by an inlet called Noret and surrounded by verdant fields and forests. It is an idyllic spot, with its own culture and legends. Residents love it. Present day tourists are charmed by it.

From this fabled island, Jens Hansen made his first journey to America. He remembers it as happening in the winter of 1865-66. He was a twenty-three-year-old bachelor, born 29 January 1845. His life as a Danish immigrant was filled with interesting happenings, not only to his descendants, but also to the growing number of people who are finding a thrill in discovering old diaries, letters, and other records that help them understand their own family history better. Jens Hansen did not write down his own memoirs until the 1920's, when he was near the close of his life. These were published serially in Dannevirke in 1922, under a title that translates as "Excerpts from the Course of my Life." In 1973, I offered my transcription of Grandfather Hansen's memoirs to the editor of Kirke og Folk, and they were published a second time.