One of the first branches of the family that I worked on was that of my grandmother, Lillian Solle. My aunts Sue and Jane put together a book of mementos about the Weiss, Solle and Sorenson families and gave it to me in 2004. Prior to that I knew nothing about my grandmother. She and my grandfather divorced in 1966. After that, according to my mother, Lillian would have nothing to do with the family.
I took the information in the memory book about Lillian and her parents and their parents, and started gathering what I could find. Lillian’s mother was Flora Sorenson, the 4th of Nels Hansen Sorenson and Katherine Hansen’s living children. Nels and Katherine emigrated to the U.S. in July of 1883, and settled in Madison, Wisconsin. They built a house at 1118 E. Gorham St., and lived there until they died. They were both from Langeland, Denmark, an island about 2/3 the size of Whidbey Island.
I’ve documented a number of other descendants of Nels and Katherine, some of whom make for a really good story. But I was kind of stuck at finding more information on their parents. I assumed the church in Denmark kept pretty good records, like the church in Sweden did. But I didn’t know how to obtain them and, being swamped with other branches, hadn’t pursued it yet. (I’m not kidding about being swamped. Click the thumbnail to the right to see my Windows desktop filled with icons of newspaper articles I’ve saved in the last few days and that I haven’t yet cataloged.)
All I’d found from Denmark was a record on the Sorensons in the Danish Emigration Archives that showed when they left. It’s just an index, and I haven’t yet purchased a copy of the actual records.
A couple of days ago, I came across a profile on Ancestry.com that looked very much like it matched up with the Sorenson family as of the time they left Denmark. It was entered by a woman in Denmark. I wrote to her, then sat on pins and needles hoping for a reply. I get replies about half the time when I write to relatives I find. One in Sweden wrote back once, and then didn’t reply after that when he realized I wasn’t going to pay him. Like a few genealogy people, he’d turned his hobby into a business and was looking only to sell what he knew about the family. I have living relatives in Sweden who will correspond without payment, so I didn’t bother. I was hoping this woman wasn’t one of that group, because she’s the only person in Denmark I’ve found so far who is connected to the family.
I got a reply this morning! She traces her ancestry to Rasmus Jensen Jørgensen. He married Nels’ mother Marthe Kirstine Nielsen after she had Nels by someone else. So we aren’t related by blood, but do have some of our trees in common.
I had found Niels’ marriage and the birth of his two sons and then suddenly I could not find him anywhere. I should have guess that he emmigrated. Two of his halfsisters did.
So now I have a bunch of information to add. A lot.