The strongly-maybe pile

We all have them, I’m sure; records, clippings, and snippets of information put aside that seem to belong to our family history, that seem to fit nicely into our family trees.  The details add up, our gut instincts kick in, we have a good feeling about it etc, etc – but just not quite all of the information to be certain…yet.

When those extra pieces to puzzle are discovered, the strongly-maybe turns into excitedly-definitely in a flash. It takes patience and persistence, but can be so rewarding.

On my strongly-maybe pile for a while now has been the possible family of Peter Oluff Carlsen in Denmark.  I have his date of birth in 1841 from a naturalisation record, but have been unable to locate a birth or baptism to match.

Tackling the Danish Census records, I narrowed down, ruled out, filled in the gaps, followed their paths, ruled out further, and finally came up with Peter’s strongly-maybe parents – Ole Carlsen and Ane Marie Petersen (Pedersdr).  Not only were they most likely, but among the children of this couple were names including Wilhelmine, Wilhelm and Frederikke – the same names appearing in those of Peter’s own children.

Nothing concrete, but worthy of a further look.

Children of Ole Carlsen and Ane Marie Petersen:

  • Christian Wilhelm Carlsen, born 1836
  • Bolette Amalie Carlsen, born 1839
  • Peter Ole Carlsen, born 1841
  • Olsine Wilhelmine Carlsen, born 1843
  • Frederikke Olivia Carlsen, born 1846

So when a recently-discovered letter written by Peter Ole Carlsen in 1876 mentioned a sister, “Mrs F Brandt, Tordenskjoldsgade No. 29, Copenhagen”, my thoughts immediately went to Frederikke. Was she the Mrs Brandt?

“Mrs F Brandt, Tordenskjoldsgade No. 29, Copenhagen”
“Mrs F Brandt, Tordenskjoldsgade No. 29, Copenhagen”


*Cue excited searching*

Using surnames of simply Brandt and Carlsen, a possible match came back:

Marriage Index via
Marriage Index via


This Frederikke Olivia ‘Karlsen’ was a few years younger than mine, so onto the pile it went.  I was unable to find the Brandts on Census records at Tordenskjoldsgade No. 29, so put it to the side for a while and decided to focus on having the letter translated.

Joining a facebook group dedicated to genealogy translations, I tentatively posted Peter’s letter and sat back with fingers crossed. Unfortunately, my little Danish window to the past went unnoticed.

Undeterred, I contacted a research service in Denmark a few days ago. Explaining that I would like the letter translated, Niels at My Danish Roots was happy to help.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask him to search for Peter’s baptism as well, and after agreeing on a fee for both, sent him off the information I had. I mentioned Peter’s sister, Mrs F Brandt, as an aside – perhaps he could look into her as a way to find my Peter?

Shortly after, Niels came back with a reply:

“I just made a quick search and found that in May 1876, these two people were living on the first floor at Tordenskjoldsgade 29:

Johannes Hegelund Brandt, 29 years, clerk.

Frederikke Sigfride Brandt, 25 years, wife.”

*cue very excited thoughts and other stuff*

Frederikke was Mrs Brandt!!

For some reason she appears to have dropped the ‘Olivia’ middle name, but it did appear to be the same person.

Looking further, I then found Frederikke and Johannes Brandt on the 1885 and 1906 Census in Copenhagen. In 1906, living with them and listed as a relative was…*drumroll*:

Wilhelmine Rasmussen, Widow, born 1843.

It just so happens Olsine Wilhelmine Carlsen married Lauritz Rasmussen in 1863. Yet another link to the family!

Strongly-maybe to excited-definitely?  I think so.

I’ll be interested to see if a baptism for Peter can be located, and am anxiously awaiting the letter translation.  Niels hasn’t ‘officially’ stared my request just yet, so I do need to be a little bit patient.

But thanks to a letter in 1876, a name and address of Peter’s sister in Copenhagen all of those years ago, and my new best friend a researcher in Denmark, I do believe we may have just found my 4x great-grandparents.

So hello, Ole Carlsen and Ane Marie Patersen – welcome to the family.  🙂

10 thoughts on “The strongly-maybe pile

    • Oh I do like ‘moderately-maybe’! I have a few on that pile as well. 🙂 They are definitely the most satisfying and fun to solve, I’m with you there.

      Thank you. This pile was getting a bit high, so it’s been a nice little ‘win’.


      • Hi Jill – most certainly! Feel free to tweak it too if it helps. Thanks for dropping by. Cheers, Leanne. 🙂


  1. Oh I am loving the rich detail in this blog. My grandfather was reared for a time by the Totenhofer’s in Hobart, Peter Oluff Carlsen and Ane Jensen’s Daughter, Anna Carlsen and Alfren Totenhofer. As he was abandoned by his birthmother, Kathreen (their granddaughter), he never knew they were his biological great granparents, until I started trying to find some of his roots for him.

    I am still yet to find what happened to his mother, but I know he will love reading these accounts from your blog so, so much, having never known a thing about his family, other than his Mother’s name.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam I’m so happy you found this and dropped by! The Carlsens were certainly an interesting bunch. I have a photo of Alfred and Annie Totenhofer that you may like a copy of (if you don’t already have it) – it was taken on their wedding day and was sent to me by another distant cousin. 🙂 Feel free to contact me by email and I’ll shoot it through. Good luck with your search for your grandfather’s mother. I hadn’t heard this story, and I do hope you find out more.

      Thanks again for getting in touch – I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s