08 February 2011

A Research Report: Jørgen Mortensen and Karen Larsdatter

Jørgen Mortensen was the eighth of ten children of Morten Jørgensen and Kirsten Christendatter, born in early March of 1743 in the tiny village of Uglerup (later Ullerup). His wife, Karen Larsdatter, eldest of six brothers and sisters, was the child of Lars Pedersen and Birgitte Nielsdatter. She was born in Torplille in October of 1751, making her eight years younger than her husband Jørgen.  They were married in the church in Torup 25 April 1773 when she was 21 and he 29.

Baptismal font and pitcher where these
children as well as many others received
infant baptism in the Torup Church in
Torup, Frederiksborg, Denmark. (Photo
by Laurie Dunkley)
The 10 children came quickly. Lars was first in August of 1773 in Uglerup, but he died in 1785 when he was just 12 years old. Jørgen was born in Torplille, where Karen's parents were, in 1775, but he died just 14 days later. Kirsten was born in 1776, Birthe in 1778, and Maren in 1781, all born in Uglerup, as were all the rest of the children. After the three girls came two more boy babies, in 1782 and 1784, both named Jørgen. 1782 Jørgen died at 4 weeks, but the third Jørgen,  born to the family in 1784, lived to adulthood to become the father of our Jens Jørgensen. He had three more sisters, Karen born in 1787, Inger in 1790 and little Ane, who was born and died in 1792 as an infant.

The family must have been desperately poor and we can only imagine their primitive living conditions, based on what was common in the late 1700's. In 1787 Jørgen was a day worker in Uglerup, but by 1801 he and his family had a small holding of land in Lille Carlsminde, another village in Torup parish. In the early census of 1787 the children were 10 year old Kirsten, 3 year old Jørgen and the baby Karen. Maren, who would have been 6, was probably dead and 8 year old Birthe was living with her grandmother, Karen's mother. In the 1801 census in Carlsminde, Jørgen was 61, Karen was 51 and their 26 year old daughter Kirsten was still living with them with her illegitimate daughter Mette Sophie. Karen, 14, and Inger, 12, were also with them.

Karen died in February of 1815 in Lille Carlsminde and Jørgen lived only a year longer when he died there as well and was buried 20 Apr 1816 at the age of 70.

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