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Nielsen Family History

Nim Denmark Nim Denmark

Very little is known about the Nielsen Family History until after Søren Madsen Nielsen and Maren Nielsen came to the United States in 1893. The first known Nielsen was Kristen Nielsen, born October 11, 1834 and who lived in Horsens Denmark. This information came from Karl Nielsen (born 1877) in a letter to his cousin, Christian Peter Nielsen, who was living in the United States.

Kristen Nielsen married Kirstine Madsen about 1861 at Mattrup Shor,  (Mattrup Gods?),  Denmark. This information came from Karl Nielsen (born 1877) in a letter to his cousin, Carl Nielsen who was living in Oregon and was dated 03/02/1957. The physical location of Mattrup Gods coincides very closely to family lore as it is between Nim and Horsens Denmark. Research is in progress to determine if this was the actual Estate on which Kristen and Kirstine worked.

Kristen Nielsen married Kirstine Madsen had 11 known children as follows:

Stillborn female (unknown name) abt 1862
Søren Madsen Nielsen b. July 23, 1865
Ingeborg Nielsen b. April 07, 1867
Peter Nielsen b. April 28, 1869
Mette Nielsen b. May 10, 1872
Anton Nielsen b. October 19, 1875
Karl Nielsen b. October 26, 1877
Niels Nielsen January 31, 1880
Elizabeth Nielsen b. October 02, 1881
Tido Nielsen b. November 04, 1883
Katrine Nielsen b. July 09, 1885

Karl, Peter, and Søren came to the United States. Even though there are no recorded dates and exact places have as yet been identified, the information has handed down from one generation to the next. Peter died in Washington County, NE in 1889 from a respiratory illness. Karl worked on various farms but eventually returned to Denmark with his four children to live.

One of the granddaughters (Anton's daughter) of Kristin and Kirstine Nielsen has the original family bible in which all relevent family information is written down. Carl Nielsen, son of Søren Madsen Nielsen, visited with this family in Denmark in the early 1970's, but it has been difficult deciphering his information to obtain precise details.

Danish Immigration Records Danish Immigration Records


Mr. and Mrs. Søren Nielson were born and raised in Denmark. He came to the United States at age 20 in 1885, and she came a year later.

Mr. Nielsen worked as a farm hand for the Foleys, Hosea Wilson Hindmarsh and others. He also had a hand in building the rock trestle to the approach of the railroad bridge over the Missouri River at Blair. Out of work, he went down and threw rocks off the cars onto the pile for a day. The boss asked if he was on the payroll. He answered no. "Then come back tomorrow and you will be," was the retort. Mrs. Nielsen found housework at the Castetters and Kennys in Blair.

The Nielsens were married in 1896 and began farming 4 miles west of Ft. Calhoun. They lived there eight years. All grain and livestock were hauled to market in Omaha with a team of mules.

On this farm were born four boys - Chris Peter who married Freda Duffield, no children. (Chris is deceased and Freda lives is Fremont.) Axel married Martha Nelson. Their children are Don, Robert, Elaine, and Janet. (Axel is deceased and Martha lives in Blair). Alfred married Edna Andersen. Marian, Richard and Alfred Jr. were their children. (There was a second marriage to Mary Andersen and one boy Warren. Alfred and Mary live in Blair.) Carl married Frances Walrath. Their children were Marvin, Harriet, and Sharon. They live in Eugene, Oregon.

In 1904 Mr. and Mrs. Nielsen purchased an 80 with no buildings from the W. G. Harrison farm now owned by Hugh Renard. That winter Mr. Nielsen cut cottonwood logs from this place, hauling them to a sawmill set up at a grove at the Earl Thompson farm. Later he discovered the mill had been moved to the Blair Bridge. The lumber was to be for a house with outbuildings made of poles covered with straw and hay. In 1909 the outbuildings were destroyed by fire. All horses, hay, grain and chickens were lost. In 1910 it was rebuilt.

The house was then moved to Blair and remodeled as a living unit for the Good Shepherd Home in 1943. Then in 1974 it was sold at public auction and bought by son Gifford. It was moved a block west where it now stands. Gifford was born in this house and his daughter Marlene was born there also. On this same place two girls and one boy were born. Emma married Lester Hansen and they had 3 girls - Evelyn, Marguerite and Mary. The Hansens live in Blair.

Gifford married Marie Sierk and their children were Marlene, James, Duane, Roger and Betty. Marie died in 1979. Gifford lives in Fremont.

Daughter Ella married Ivan Hovendick and their children were Lila, Beverly, Joyce, Ivan Jr., Charlene. Ivan Jr. is deceased.

All seven of the Nielsen children attended the old McCarthy School. Submitted by Gifford Nielsen

Source: History of Washington County Nebraska, 1980, Washington County Historical Association, p 294



In 1888 Laurs (Louis) Nielsen and Gertrude Andreasen left Torp Denmark, which is a small community near Horsens on the Peninsula of Jutland. They had both lost their parents and grandparents, so their life ambitions were to see America and its great opportunities. They landed in Omaha and were married at the Danish Lutheran Church August 2, 1890.

It was not long before they purchased land near Fort Calhoun in the rolling hills near the Long Creek School where all of their six children, Andrew, Anna Catherine, Elinore, Christine, Ruth Emily, Lorayne Gertrude and Leth John attended school and also Sunday School. Regardless of the weather they all walked one and a half miles each day, lingering to pick wild strawberries, hazel nuts, choke cherries, wild plums and grapes. These were happy years as there was so much to do on the farm and each child enjoyed his work. On Sundays it was a joyous occasion when friends or relatives arrived to spend the day. They were taught to share their toys and food with their guests. Games like "Skip the Rope," "Drop the "handkerchief" and "Run Sheep Run" were enjoyed. They required no money but a lot of togetherness.

As the children grew, it was necessary for Louis and Gertrude to acquire an adjoining farm on which still remains a log cabin in which the youngest brother, Leth, raised his family. There was much clearing of trees so prepare the land to be used for farming. Louis planted a large orchard of apples between the two farms, and each day Louis could be seen walking from one farm to another painting the fences and the trunks of the apple trees white, which made it a show place. Their home was beautiful with a large country kitchen, and no one ever passed by without stopping for a cup of coffee and some of Gertrude's delicious rye bread. Gertrude raised chickens along with sewing and cooking for a family of six. Often on weekends, as they worked together, the family could he seen loading a wagon with eggs and apples and hauling them into Omaha to sell. Then there was the stop at Ft. Calhoun at Siever's Grocery Store on the way home to obtain groceries for the family; they could always find a red striped bag fall of candy hidden somewhere among the groceries.

Tragedy came to the family when Louis, at the age of 50, passed away on October 3. 1918. After the death of her husband, Gertrude remained on the farm, and with the help of her two sons, was able to keep her family together. On December 3, 1932, Gertrude passed away at the age of 61, leaving a farm to each of her sons.

Today the two youngest of their children are the only survivors. Lorayne Gertrude has been married to Fred L. Basking for 54 years, they reside at the Masonic Manor in Omaha. In recent years they have taken three trips to Torp, Denmark to visit the birthplaces of her mother and father. The youngest son, Leth John, married to Dorothy Ryan for 46 years, resides in Blair.

Since progress cannot he stopped, the farm land has been sold to a developer from Omaha, thereby covering our beautiful rolling hills with homes.

May they find us much happiness as did the Nielsen family from Denmark. Written by Lorayne Gertrude Nielsen Basking.

Source: History of Washington County Nebraska, 1980, Washington County Historical Association, p 294


My wife Marie  Sierk  and I were born and raised in Washington County. We spent our entire life there except from 1966 to the present time.

I attended the McCarthy School through the eighth grade. Then in 1920 the ninth and tenth grades were added. I walked two miles to and from school through ten grades. Then my junior and senior years were spent at Blair High. I graduated in 1925. I also walked that distance, and rode horseback getting there any way I could. Some time was spent as a farm hand. After that I attended school at Dana College.

I was a member of pig and rope clubs from 1921 through 1924. Our club was one of the first to exhibit at the Fremont livestock show in a tent. It was located at the Wells Commission Auction House. Later it was moved to Memorial Park. It is now at the Christensen Field, a new facility.

Marie was born and raised in the Long Creek district west of Ft. Calhoun. She attended eight grades at Long Creek. That school still exists as a community meeting place. She also walked to school and rode a horse to high school in Ft. Calhoun. She graduated from Calhoun in 1928. There they had a sewing club she belonged to. In 1929 she joined the Eastern Star.

After graduation she continued her schooling at Dana College. She taught at Long Creek then at Brewster School. In 1937 Marie and I were married. Our wedding dance was held at the Germania Hall which has since been torn down. We began farming south of Blair on the place my parents moved from in 1936. We lived there one year.

Our first daughter was born here. Then we moved west where Mac Allen now lives. Here James was born. Duane was born in the Blair Hospital. In 1941 we bought a farm west of Ft. Calhoun. Marie's father Jacob Sierk was born here as was Marie. Jacobs parents lived there before him.

In 1966 we were honored by Aksarben for 100 years of farm ownership in one family. Our family consists of (1) Marlene - (Mrs. Richard Hansen of Wahoo). Her children are Debra, Teresa, (Mrs. Duane Reeder), Katherine, Kent, Carolyn. Our great-granddaughter is Nicole Reeder, Teresa's daughter. (2) James of Blair - children - Jackie and Jay. (3) Duane of Blair - children - Jeffrey and Julian, (4) Roger of Bennington - children - DeEtta and Christopher, and (5) Betty - (Mrs. Ronald Mlejnek of Hastings). Her children are Laura, Sandra, and Michael.

We had a farm sale and moved to Fremont in 1966. Marie's health failed and she died July 1, 1979. The spoke in the wheel was broken. Submitted by Gifford Nielsen

Source: History of Washington County Nebraska, 1980, Washington County Historical Association, p 292

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Last updated on November 08, 2003