My ancestors came from the area of Ribe and Ringkobing, Denmark. The original spelling of the name was Steensgaard but some of the later generations shortened it to Stensgaard. The Danish used a different naming system early on and families didn't have a permanent last name. The government stopped this practice about 1850 and required the use of a permanent last name. Before that, the last name of the children was derived from the father's first name. For example if the father was Jens, all of his sons took the last name of Jensen (Son of Jens) and the daughters took the last name of Jensdatter (Daughter of Jens). Many families took this as their permanent last name, hence all of the Jensens, Hansens, Pedersens, etc. in Denmark.
A few families took their last name from the area or farm where they lived. This is where the name Steensgaard originated. On the birth record of Jensen, born in 1825, it identifies his father Hans Christensen as being from Steensgaard. When reviewing the Steensgaard Family Trees you will find that the "ancestors" of Jens Hansen Steensgaard did not carry the Steensgaard last name.
When we started to research the genealogy of Steensgaard, we knew that my Great Grandfather was Niels (pronounced Nels) Steensgaard and he had emigrated to this country from Denmark but we knew little else about him. His wife was Minnie Tuttle and the family story was that they had met in Akron, Summit County, Ohio and came to St. Louis shortly after they were married in 1886.
In St. Louis, Niels worked for Blackmer Post, a company who used clay from the mines on the "Hill" (An Italian settlement in the western portion of the City of St. Louis, Missouri) to fabricate sewer pipe and related products. A similar type clay was also found in Akron and this may have been what led Neils to come to St. Louis but we have been unable to make that connection.
My first cousin once removed, Minnie Creasia in Massachusetts, had a Bible in which Niels had written the names and dates of the birth of himself, (6 September 1861) Minnie, (27 July 1867) and all their children. We obtained a copy of Niel's Death Certificate in which his father was named as Jens Steensgaard and his mother's name was unknown. Later, My Aunt, Anna Gasperoni, in St. Louis found some documents that she had. There was a small book (Similar to a Passport) written in Danish that named Neil's father as Jens Hansen Steensgaard and named his mother as Petrea. There appeared to be additional information but we were unable to decipher it.
I interviewed my Grandmother Ada "Steensgaard" Galimberti, who was Niel's Daughter. She had a few pictures with some notations in Danish on the back. She related that Niels had a sister Katherine, who came to America and married a man with the last name of Nelson. One of the pictures was of Katherine Steensgaard. On the back there is a note in Danish that indicated that she was in Omaha, Nebraska. Ada stated that she later moved to Colorado and she never had any children.
We visited Akron on several occasions and found a lot of information on Minnie Tuttle's family but very little on Steensgaard. We have never found the marriage of Minnie and Niels in Ohio or Missouri although there was a marriage date in the family Bible (6 September 1886). We did find Katie Steensgaard, Niel's sister, in the 1882-1883 Akron City Directory but no other Steensgaards ever appeared.
We searched for Steensgaard in Nebraska in the 1900 census and found two Stensgaard families but there was no connection with any of the other information we had. We visited Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska and the only information we found regarding Steensgaard was a Peter Stensgaard marriage to Petrea Jensen (1 April 1914) and a reference in the 1916 Omaha City Directory where Peter Stengaar was a blacksmith in Omaha living on 1005 Atlas Street. At the time, we could not connect Peter with the other Steensgaards in Nebraska or with Niel's family. We would later identify Peter.
Ada "Steensgaard" Galimberti thought that Niels had immigrated from Middlefart, Denmark. Some of the pictures referred to a photographer in Olgod and we also recognized a reference to Olgod in Niel's small book. We decided to try to research Niels in Denmark. The records are in Danish but the state church kept extensive information. We used the LDS library and began ordering Danish microfilm. We also ordered a book on Danish research that was extremely helpful. Starting with Olgod Parish and branching out from there, we were able to Identify all of Niel's brothers and sisters and their birth dates and in most instances their marriages and children. Hans Jensen (5 Aug 1857), Anne Katherine (13 June 1859), Niels Jensen (5 September 1861), Laust Kristensen (24 Jan 1864), Thomas Jensen (11 May 1866), Laurids Christian (4 Sep 1869) and Johanna Juliane (24 December 1875). We were able to trace Niel's ancestors to his Great Grandfather, Christian Hansen (1 Jan 1751).
Some of the microfilms provided a list of immigrants from Denmark. We found Niels who left Denmark 5 May 1880 for Quebec and Katherine who left 13 April 1882 for New York. We also found Katherine leaving Hamburg, Germany the 7th of May 1882 on the ship Albingia for New York. She may have left from Copenhagen or Middlefart, Denmark and went to Hamburg where she boarded the ship for America. The ship arrived in New York 23rd of May 1882 but some of the passenger list was missing and Katherine wasn't listed.
The earliest document in the United States, we found regarding Niels, was the 1888 St. Louis City Directory and after that he was in the directory almost every year until his death in 1916.
Except for the reference in the Akron City Directory in 1882-1883, we had found no documents related to Katherine. She must have came to Akron because Niels was near there, although he never appears in the Akron City Directory.
We searched the 1900 Nebraska and Colorado Soundex for a Katherine Nelson who would have been about 41 and could find no matches. We also went through the 1920 Colorado Soundex, and again found no matches. There were no Soundex for 1910 in either Colorado or Nebraska and because the data base is so large, it will be a long time before an index is generated.
We visited the Nebraska State Archives in Lincoln in 1998 hoping to uncover some additional information. While reviewing the documents we had on Peter Stensgaard of Omaha, we noticed he was a blacksmith and some of Niel's brothers were blacksmiths in Denmark. We looked at Niel's oldest brother Hans Jensen Steensgaard's family in Denmark and found that his oldest son was Peder. On Peter's marriage document (1 April 1914) in Omaha he gave his age and named his mother and father. The match was good but not completely conclusive. At the Archives, I found Peter's Declaration of Intention (1 August 1911) for citizenship and everything matched. He had arrived in New York 22 March 1909. No one in the family had ever mentioned another relative coming to America and it was an exciting find. We felt he must have come to Nebraska because his Aunt Katherine was there. He gave his place of residence on both his Marriage application and his Declaration of Intention as Ralston which is a small town just outside of Omaha. If Katherine and her husband were in Ralston, they might not show up in the Omaha City Directories and even if they were in Omaha, we did not know his first name and there are numerous Nelsons in the Directory. The wife may not show up under her name. Since the census of 1910 does not have a Soundex, it was hard to research, but we did know that Ralston was in Douglas Precinct of Douglas County and we went through it line by line and were unable to find Peter Steensgaard and the Nelson we found looked like a poor match.
We had always wanted to know more about Katherine, her marriage, occupation, where she lived and when, etc., but our research had drawn a blank. We had a bit of oral history that we thought might provide some clues. In the interview with Ada "Steensgaard" Galimberti in 1981, she thought that Katherine had some money and when she died Niel's family thought that they might be entitled to some of the estate. She wasn't sure what happened, but thought that maybe Katherine's husband had some family that got the estate. We also talked to Neils' grand-daughter Cleo Taylor in 1998. She was the daughter of Niel's oldest son Jim. She remembered Jim talking about staying with Aunt Katherine in Colorado. Since this was probably before Jim was married, we thought it might provide a useful time frame.
We were making little headway in finding Katherine but we were uncovering additional material. On a vacation to the Northeast, we stopped in Milford, Massachusetts where Niel's oldest daughter Julia "Steensgaard" Bufalo's family went after leaving St. Louis about 1930. We stayed at Minnie Creasia's house who was a daughter of Julia "Steensgaard" Bufalo. She gave us 2 pictures of Katherine. The first is possibly a wedding picture taken in Fresno, California. There were no names on the back and we dated it about 1890. The second was a group picture taken in Denmark about 1910. It was Katherine along with all her brothers and sister and their spouses. Again there were no names. From a previous correspondence with a descendant of Juliane "Steensgaard" Hansen, Katherine's younger sister, we had obtained a digital picture of Juliane and her husband, Bertel. We could recognize Bertel and Juliane along with Katherine and her husband immediately. By estimating the ages we were able to identify the remaining couples as Thomas Steensgaard and his wife Helga, Laurids Steensgaard and his wife Marren, and finally Hans Steensgaard and his wife Mette. There were no names on the back of the picture so we still did not have a name for Katherine's husband.
In 2000, we made our first trip to Salt Lake City, Utah. Since the picture appeared to have been taken about 1910 and Peder Steensgaard, Hans' son had came to America in 1909, we thought that perhaps Katherine and her husband brought Peder to America with them. From Peder's Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. Citizen, we knew he arrived on the ship Campania from Liverpool, England around the 22 of May 1909. We were able to locate the Campania's passenger list on microfilm and near the end we found Villad P. Stensgard 22, from Hoven. There was additional information that verified he was the one we were searching for but the exciting information was that he gave his destination as the home of his Uncle Jorgen K. Nielsen at 57 South Pearl Street in Denver, Colorado. This was the clue we had been searching for.
We immediately located Jorgen in the Denver City Directories living at 57 South Pearl. He was listed living there almost every year from 1890 to 1924. In 1902, he began being listed as living in the rear of 57 South Pearl. In 1923 and 1924, the directory began listing the wife's name and Anna K. was listed as Jorgen's wife. Jorgen was always a Bricklayer or Brick Contractor.
We were also able to locate them in the 1900 and 1910 Colorado Census. The census indicated that they had been married about 1889 and they had no children. This agreed with the information from my Grandmother, Ada "Steensgaard" Galimberti. The census also indicated that they owned their home free and clear. We still had a lot of questions but now we had several clues to do further research.
About a month after we had been in Salt Lake City, we were returning home from our western state vacation and we stopped in Denver to do some additional research. We went to the Denver County Courthouse and after searching land records and finding a smattering of data, we checked the Probate Clerks Office index. We found Jorgen K. Nielsen listed as having a Will, along with an Anna K. Nielsen and a Hannah "Boegh" Nielsen with Jorgen Nielsen listed as the executor. We asked the clerk to pull the files and while waiting we went over to the Denver Library.
We checked some additional Denver City Directories and Denver Household Directories which lists the street address and the occupants. We found Jorgen K. Nielsen in 1928 -1936 with his wife Hannah living in the Rear of 57 South Pearl Street. This meant that Jorgen had remarried after Anna's death.
When we returned to the Courthouse, we reviewed Jorgen K. Nielsen's file and found he had died in 1943 and that he requested to be buried alongside his first wife Anna in Fairmont Cemetery in Denver.
We also checked the Probate File for Anna K. Nielsen (1924) and Hannah Boegh Nielsen (1936). With the information we copied from these Probate Files a much clearer picture emerged but as always other questions arose.
When Anna Katherine died, her will indicated everything was to go to her husband Jorgen K. Nielsen. She had considerable Real Estate and Personal Property ($11,000) and everything was in her name and not in Joint ownership.
Hannah "Boegh" Nielsen, Jorgen's second wife had a will that named Jorgen the Administrator. She had some Real Estate and Personal Property when she wrote the will in 1929 and she wanted to pass it on to her first husband's people and her brother and half brother. Jorgen was to receive $700 from her estate. When she died in 1936, she had no Real Estate and the inventory of her personal property amounted to about $250.
When Jorgen wrote his will in 1941 he still owned the property at 57 South Pearl, was living in Denver and had other Personal Property, most which he willed to his brother's children. By the time he died in 1943, he was living in Omaha and had sold his home in Denver. There was a request to transfer the Probate of his will to Omaha where he had property and debts.
Since Jorgen was the Executor of Hannah's Probate and it was apparently not completed by the time he died, there was additional activity in Denver regarding her probate in 1950.
I called Fairmont Cemetery for directions to the cemetery and the plot, and after we stopped at the Cemetery Office and received a map, we visited the grave site. The Cemetery was located in the southeastern portion of Denver and is a large cemetery with large stones, mausoleums and chapels. They had several brochures on the cemetery, it was historic and reminded us of Calvary, Bellfontaine Cemeteries in St. Louis. There was a beautiful stone for Jorgen K. and Anna K. Nielsen.
Then we drove to 57 S. Pearl Street. It was a street still full of homes and the one at this address was a blue painted brick. We took a picture and decided they lived in the rear portion of the house, when Garry noticed a two story home in the back. We walked down the alley and there was a separate home at the rear of 57 S. Pearl. There was a man outside painting it and we asked if he knew anything about the home. His daughter had bought it about 2 years ago and was told it was built about 1890. The man's wife was there also, and she invited us in and said her daughter would be interested in who built the home. The home was lovely, pretty woodwork and steps. The fireplace in the living room was beautiful and the upstairs bedroom had a fireplace with a lovely brass frame?. We took pictures inside, thanked everyone and wrapped up what we thought was a very fruitful and exciting day.
We still have several questions and hope to do research on them in the near future.
- In Jorgen's will he identified one of the heirs as Catherine "Stensgaard" Nielsen. Who was she?
- Where and when was the marriage of Jorgen and Katherine?
- Peder Stensgaard apparently divorced his first wife. Where and when did this occur?
- Why did Katherine have all of the personal assets in her name?
- Was Katherine married before she married Jorgen?
For Detailed Sources, Visit Steensgaard Family Tree Maker Genealogy Report
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