In particular, I have searched the family of my maternal grandfather. The surname of this family is Kinnerup, and it comes from the parish of Horsens in the northern part of Jutland. Some of the members of the family emigrated to USA in the beginning of this century, and I often wondered, how to learn what happened over there. Some of them returned to Denmark, among others my grandparents, my aunt and my mother, but others and their descendants stayed in USA, and gradually the contact with them stopped.
I have used some possibilities at the Internet to make contact with societies within genealogy in USA. Without their help it would have been much more difficult to reestablish the contact with the family over there, but it was successful.
North of Nørresundby near the road towards Sæby a small village called Kinnerup is situated. In addition to a few houses there is a farm called Kinnerupgaard. Until the end of the 19th century there were even two small villages, Øster og Vester Kinnerup (Eastern and Western Kinnerup). They were situated on each side of the old road from Nørresundby through the hills of Hammer to Sæby.
Of these Vester Kinnerup does not exist anymore. On the place, where it was situated, a big spruce forest can be seen. Øster Kinnerup is now simply called Kinnerup.
From both villages comes a familiy with the name Kinnerup, but they do not have common ancestors, at least not after 1750.
The family from Vester Kinnerup
My Kinnerup family comes from the departed Vester Kinnerup, and the first person, who used the name, was Peder Christian Larsen, born in 1826, tenant of Hammer vicarage, later farmer in the city of Aalborg. Here he died in October 1861 after an accident with a runaway horse, only 35 years old.
While Peder Christian was a tenant in Hammer vicarage, he and his wife had a son in 1855, who as the first person at the baptism got the name Kinnerup: Peder Martinus Kinnerup.
Peder Martinus was only 6 years old, when his father died, and he and his brothers and sisters were placed out with various members of his mother's family. Peder Martinus lived with an uncle in Nørhalne, and when he was confirmed, he was apprenticed to a shoemaker, Andreas Wittrup, in Store Nygade in Alborg. At a time before 1880 he went to Zealand, where he and his wife Karen Marie settle in the neighbourhood of Sneslev south of Ringsted, where he had a shoemaker's shop, which later was taken over by his son Aksel.
Peder Martinus and Karen Marie got 14 children. No. 3 og 4 were two boys named Hans Peder and Ludvig. They were born in 1883 and 1885, but soon the times became too hard to them, so in the fall 1903 and the spring 1904 they emigrated to Minnesota in USA.
I 1911 they visited their family in Denmark, and on that occasion a photo of the whole family was taken.
During the stay they made their younger brother Christian Martinus, otherwise known as Martinus, born in 1886, interested in going with them to USA, so when they returned, he followed. Martinus was my grandfather.
I 1914 my grandmother, Marie Christiansen, emigrated to USA, where she was married to Martinus. They lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, and they got two daughters, Edna og Martha, born in 1915 og 1918. Martha is my mother.
Martinus was a streetcar conductor in St. Paul, but because of the violent times in 1920 he and his wife and their children returned to Denmark, where they bought a smallholding in Lindebjerg between Sorø and Slagelse.
Hans Peder and Ludvig never came to Denmark again, and they Americanized their first names to Harry and Louis. Hans Peder was married at a certain time, but apparently he left no children, when he died in 1948. Ludvig was married to an American, Edna Blace, and from some old letters I could estimate, that in 1930 they got a daughter, Lois.
Ludvig was killed in 1940 in an accident at the railway company, where he worked. My grandfather had contact with his widow for a number of years , but she died in 1954. In the same year her daughter Lois sent a Christmas card to my grandfather, and until last year it was the last sign of life from there. Lois would be about 66 years old, but how could I get in contact with her and her family?
Familien fra Øster Kinnerup
Around 1850 a man named Jens Andersen took over Kinnerupgaard in Øster Kinnerup. He and his wife Else Sophie got 10 children, og no. 8, Niels Frederik, emigrated to Iowa in USA by the end of the 19th century. In 1905-6 he was in Denmark, and he and his brothers Rasmus, Anders and Jens Christian took the opportunity to change their surname Jensen to Kinnerup. Jens Andersen died in 1897, and you can still see his and Else Sophie's gravestone on Horsens churchyard in Langholt.
The search begins
In a genealogical review I found adresses for among others The Minnesota Historical Society and The State Historical Society of Wisconsin. I sent an inquiry to both of them, and I received two answers.
The letter from Minnesota contained a copy from a census in 1920, of which it appeared, that Harry P. Kinnerup at that time lived in Duluth, Minnesota, that he was married, and that the name of his wife was Masie. From Wisconsin I received a list from a telephone number database with 8 persons having the surname Kinnerup. Some of these were married couples, but the result was, that I in the fall 1994 wrote and sent 5 letters with a description of the Kinnerup family, that I knew. I could not be quite sure, that Harry did not have any descendants, whose surname was Kinnerup..
Soon I received a reply (but only one) from J. Kinnerup in Phoenix, Arizona. He told me, what he knew about his ancestors, among other things that the name of his paternal grandfather was Nels, that is Niels Frederik from Kinnerupgaard. After some search in the parish records for Horsens parish I had to inform him, that unfortunately we are not related to each other. Fortunately, that fact did not influence our correspondance, as we have kept in touch since then. In July 1996 we had a visit from J., his wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law, and on that occasion they also visited Kinnerupgaard, where their roots are. In the fall of 1997 we made a journey to USA to visit our family in Minnesota and our friends in Arizona. Click here to read about the journey.
During the fall 1995 I started to look for subjects concerning “Genealogy” on the Internet. From the Christmas card from 1954 I knew, that Ludvig Kinnerup's daughter, Lois, was married to Jack S., and that they at that time lived at the address Rural route #3, Rochester, Minnesota.I found the Danish Genealogy Group in St. Paul, Minnesota, and I wrote a letter to them asking, if they would have any suggestions as to what I should do. In response I received a list of names and adresses, both S. and Kinnerup, and at once I sent a letter to that address in Rochester, which I thought would be most likely to give a positive result. But about 3 weeks later lthe letter came back, marked: No longer at this address.
In the meantime I had got hold of the e-mail address of the Danish Genealogy Group, so I wrote to them and poured out my troubles to them. Soon thereafter I received new informations, and among them was one, which looked extremely exciting: Jack and Lois S., Rochester, Minnesota. At the beginning of January 1996, I sent once more a letter to USA, and this time I was rather sure that I would have a positive result.
Time went by, and at the beginning of March there was still no response. I contacted the Olmsted County Historical Society in Rochester, Minnesota, and asked them, if they in consequence of their knowledge of the local matters would be able to find out, if Lois and Jack possibly spent the winter period some other place, perhaps by asking Lois og Jack's neighbours.
Shortly afterwards I received the message, that one of Lois og Jack's neighbours had informed, that they spent the winter in Arizona.
Soon after a letter from Lois arrived. It was sent from Arizona, and Lois wrote among other things:
I was very surprised and happy to hear from you and to know that someone was trying to make contact with relatives here in the U.S.
My husband and I are both retired now. He worked as a programmer for IBM for 32½ years and retired from there in 1989. As for me, I have had many different kind of jobs, but the most important of which was raising 8 children.
My father's name was Louis and I had an uncle named Harry. My father died in a railway accident when I was 10 years old, that would have been in 1940. I was the only child they had.