- Carl Frederik Kristensen
- You have not been married!
You have not been married!
I have not experienced my grandparents on my father’s side when they died early, but I have had grandma and grandpa – and they were lovely grandparents. They were divorced even before I was born. I remember Grandma and myself as approx. 5-year-old in her garden behind Brande Church (in Jutland in Denmark), and I asked her ”Grandma, have you ever been married?” ”Yes” she replied, ”I have been married to Grandpa.” I was so annoyed that she – just because I was only five years old – tried to lie to me. I simply did not imagine that the two had been married.
One of the things that can make me furious is that Grandpa on his last day of work as a cement foundry got an electric alarm clock after long and faithful service. It’s to make fun of a worn out worker who’s boned all his life!
Grandpa enters the stage
My grandfather was ”Carl Frederik Kristensen”also known as ”Carl Baunsgaard”, born on 13 September 1899 in Skærlund in Brande Parish, Nørvang District, Vejle County as the youngest of a total of four children. Prior to him were the three girls Johanne Kristiane, Ane Kirstine and Thora Karoline. The parents – Bertel Kristensen (1859 – 1917) and Emilie Rasmine Elisabeth Schiøtt (1862 – 1923) – had a heath farm in Skærlund, which he took over. A small curiosity is that Bertel’s and Rasmine’s tombstone is still standing in Skærlund cemetery, “because the cemetery gardeners are not able to move the large stone with their small tractor”.
“Carl Frederik Christensen was educated in agriculture at home, took over the maternity home in 1918 with an adjoining 74 acres of land, ran this until 1925, then worked in various fields, including shard crushing and peat digging, was 1944-1949 chairman of Stakroge Peat Factory, had for a short time a property of 11 acres of land in Blåhøj and then worked for many years at Specialbeton in Odense”. This is how he is described in the genealogy book prepared by the company Dansk Slægtsforskning, Fredericia.
I have asked my mother why grandfather takes over the maternity home, but only has it for seven years. She says: ”Grandpa only owned the large farm for a few years because he bought to much modern agricultural machinery, including binders. His father Bertel ran the farm completely without modern aids, but only with horses!”
This information is verified via the land register and reproduced in “Brande Gårdhistorie”:
Matr. no. 9-T, Anneksgård, Sdr. Karsthoftevej 13 Deed
to: Bertel Kristensen on 24.8.1889, registered on 14.2.1890 Deed
to: Carl F. Kristensen on 1.3.1919, registered on 28.12.1922
Deed to: Outlay deed for mills P. Chr. Pedersen, registered on 6.9.1929 Deed
to: Marinus Lund, registered on 1.11.1929 (Marinus Lund’s specialty was to buy neglected properties, put them in order a bit, and then sell them again (with profit))
Deed to: Holger Mortensen, registered on 2.2.1934 Deed
to: Herluf Mortensen
Grandmother and grandfather gets married
Grandmother and grandfather were married in Blåhøj Church on 5 November 1933. The pastor wrote: ”Bachelor, worker Carl Frederik Kristensen. Born in Skærlund, Brande Parish, Vejle County, 13 September 1899. Son of farmer Bertel Kristensen and wife Emilie Rasmine Elisabeth Schiøtt of Skærlund and maiden, Housekeeper of Blaahøj Mary Christensen, born in Ellinge Kongepart, Højby Parish, Holbæk County, on 8 February 1910. Daughter of Painter Niels August Christensen and Wife Anna Caroline Marie Carlsen of Højby Parish. Marinus Lindsted and worker Anders Kristen Jensen. Married by the parish priest in Blaahøj Church. Remarks: The Civil Authority Certificate issued by Parish Warden Niels Møller, Omvraa 20 October 1933.”
So Grandpa was 34 years old before he married a woman who already had two children with two different men, whom I have been not been able to trace; these secrets have been taken by her grandmother to the grave. (Update 24-08-2006: I managed to find the two. Here you can read the story about grandma and the alimony cases.) She had her son Hans Juhl Christensen with her in ”Husbetyrerindepladsen” in Blåhøj, while her daughter Anna Grethe Margith Christensen had been cared for by a family in Ods Herred. Grandpa wanted if they also could had Margith with them, but that did not happen. Together they got my mother Jytte Baunsgaard Kristensen in 1935.
Grandmother’s father Niels August Christensen died in 1940, and the pastor wrote in the church register the following:”1940. Date of death 14 or 15.9 – 1940, Ellinge Kongepart, Højby Parish. Find date 16-9-1940. Buried 20-09-1940, Højby Kirkegaard Painter at Ellinge Kongepart, Højby Parish, born in Lumsaas, Højby Parish 15 August 1881, son of inmate Ole Christensen and wife Elisabeth Nielsen. His divorced wife is named Anna Caroline Marie Carlsen, their last joint residence was at Ellinge Kongepart. 16/9-40.” He committed suicide by hanging.
Back to our main character
But back to our main character in this glimpse of history: Carl Frederik Kristensen, who was a very ordinary human being who struggled to make ends meet without ever really succeeding. In his old days (ca. 1975/76) he lived in Odense and lived in a small retirement home on Brammingevej in Odense, which was at least five times larger than the microscopic home he had for many many years in Allégade in Odense. I have – after I started on genealogy – been down in Allégade and found the home and seen how small it was. I would think that there is no more than 8 m² and with toilet in the yard. But no one could, like Grandpa, fry a roast pork with crispy crust in a pan! And his gooseberry porridge, where the berries came from his allotment garden, was better than what everyone else could cook.
During his time in the retirement home on Brammingevej, someone in the family decided that a genealogy book should be made by the company “Dansk Slægtsforskning” in Fredericia. Genealogy for descendants after JOHANNES FREDERIK SCHIØTT, mill owner in Hastrup Mill, Thyregod Parish, born 1800 was one of my inputs to genealogy – and I have respect for the work that has been done. To the book, Grandpa himself tells the forthcoming sections, which are a small excerpt of 97 small sheets of stationery.
The 97 small sheets are still there, and I would give a lot to clean them up myself and make them available, because in them is, among other things, a detailed description of how Grandpa felt when he went to a forced auction in 1925 with his parents’ property in Skærlund, and his own description of what it was like to take Grandma for a presentation in the family – keep in mind that around 1933 it was not so common for a beautiful bachelor to marry a woman who was already a mother of two. I will always be sad about the end: ”For long and faithful service he was handed an electric watch”. It was pure robbery that, after contributing to a million-dollar business, he got an electric alarm clock!
The text is by grandfather
To the genealogy book, grandfather tells about his life (punctuation, etc. is his):
“Carl Frederik Christensen was born in 1899. He was married in 1933 to Mary Kristensen born in 1910. Carl had to help early with the daily work on the farm, spread manure, collect stones, dig peat, chop beets, pick up potatoes. The property then consisted of 40 acres of land cultivated heath, and there were six cows and two horses. The schooling was small. It took place on a farm, where a living room was rented for a schoolroom, and where a teacher taught children from 7 to 10 years in one class. In the summer you only went to school on Saturdays.
This is how childhood went with a little school and a lot of work. The parents were diligent and hard-working and with the good help of the children got a nice property out of it with good buildings and a good crew. When Carl was 17 years old, his father died of cancer after two years of serious illness, and inexperienced as Carl was, he now had to run the property together with his now weak mother. Too frivolous purchases of machinery along with accidents in the crew created great debt, and although Sister Thora after his mother’s death in 1923 diligently helped him, he failed to overcome the difficulties, so the property went up for foreclosure. Carl himself writes about this:
“Now I stood alone with it, Sister Thora was at home as a kind of housekeeper. I had a young man to help, but it was still Thora, it went over, she slid and humped, I had started driving peat and thought, I could drive through what I could not, perhaps, if it had been today, but then it was like legs were constantly being stretched for me. I wanted to have my debt gathered in one place so I could better repay it. Eriksen and Kristensen in Esbjerg, who were grain and feed wholesalers and together with Blåhøj Mill, would not agree to that. If I could not pay, they would make outlays in the property, so I was done. See a trap that had been set aside.
It was not nice on the day of the auction to be on display for those who had come to attend the auction, it was as if you could feel that they thought:”Now he has put it under control, which his parents have worn for”. It’s not a nice feeling to get, it has in a way had a big impact on me, it also went beyond my sister Thora who had worn in it to help me and nothing got out of it. I had tried too little and was too self-conscious.”
Carl then worked for a time with shard crushing and peat kneading at Alfred Nielsen. Among other things, they delivered shards to the railway Thyregod-Tørring. Later, the trip went to Zealand, where he worked with ditch digging and drainage work and gradually became so skilled that he worked as a chess pick. These work chess, which travelled from one workplace to another, led a free life, and Carl recounts in his memoirs many cheerful episodes from that time.
Copenhagen should also be experienced, and Carl says, among other things:
“Saturday night we steam into the city, we end up in”Den røde Lygte” in Tordenskjoldsgade, also visited ”Det grønne Træ”,”Kristian 4.th” and ”Falken”, finally we end up in”Slæven”, where is open until 5 am, at which time we can enter ”Bommen”and ”Tuborg”, which is located in Sverrigsgade.
I’ve also seen some of the city’s sights, but it does not interest me very much. I do not like a big city, I have to be out in the open country, it is something other than the big city, here you do not have as much fun with each other as at home, there is no time for that here. Everywhere one is attacked by pimples who want to sell something, they can be very approachable, the only thing they understand is: ”Scrub ad H. til” (means something like “Go to Hell”). There are a lot of things you learn over time.”
Grandpa and Grandma met
The years from 1926-1933 went with changing work around the country. In 1933 he met Mary, and they married in November 1933 and settled in a small two-room apartment.
Carl now again got a job with Alfred Nielsen, partly in a marl bed, partly in the bog, and even though the wage was small, little furniture was gradually collected for the small home.
In 1937, Carl contracted the flu, followed by pneumonia and double-sided peritonitis, and when it was almost impossible to get any kind of help, it became a financially hard time for the family.
After the illness, things went forward again with changing work by drainage, merging, peat kneading, etc., resulting in them being able to buy a small property of 15 acres of land at Blåhøj Dairy, which he ran for a few years while working outside.
Around 1947, the family moved to Ellinge Lyng on Zealand, but Carl continues to work around the country, so he is very far from the family. In 1952, Carl comes to the factory Specialbeton in Odense as a casting master, and the gradually permanent separation from the family ends with separation and divorce.
In 1968, Carl had to quit his job and retire. The last day at the company, the management thanked him for his long and faithful service, and he was presented with an electric watch.”
“Brande Gårdhistorie”: Booklet # 7, Skærlund og Brogård, 1. del
Parish register, Blaahøj 1923 – 1934 side 200 (C-450 E-2)
Parish register, Højby, 3-368-19, fol. 345
Genealogical book for descendants after JOHANNES FREDERIK SCHIØTT, mill owner in Hastrup Mill, Thyregod Parish, born 1800. Danish Genealogical Research, Fredericia, 1977