Immigration to America – Peder Jørgensen and his family

In 1893 my great-grandfather (Lars Peter Jørgensen 1840-1899) youngest brother Peder (1858-1941) immigrated to the US with the Family, wife Maren and their two small girls Maren Kirstine and Jørgine Ane Katrine, four and two years old, respectively. As a child, I never heard that anybody in my family immigrated. This is a small story/essay – as I have no family stories – only records in archives – I imagine how they traveled from where they lived – first to Copenhagen and from there to New York. More information can be found in my earlier story “Hunting Ancestors“.

Some background information – from “VisitDenmark” homepage I found the following:

How many Danes immigrated to America and when?

Since 1820, 400,000-450,000 Danish people has immigrated to the US, most of them between 1880 and 1920. During this time, about 10% of the entire Danish population immigrated. The immigration started as a trickle. The first real increase came in the late 1860’s. Immigration reached its highest peak in 1881-90 when 88,000 Danes entered the US. The United States was the largest recipient of Danish emigrants during this period. Compared to the total number of immigrants from Europe – 35 million came to the US from 1840 to 1914 – the Danes make up a small, but important, percentage.


Ole sad på en knold

The Danish poet Jeppe Aakjær made in 1899 this song (only four verse showed) about a shepherd boy “Ole” sitting on a small hill with the sheep jumping around. He was longing for something more. He dreamed on the other side of the ocean and one day he stood by the big ocean and crossed. However, the sheep are still standing there staring. The pictures of the sheep are Maria’s farm animals from her childhood.

Flugten til Amerika

Christian Winter wrote this story in 1835 about a boy who got disappointed on the baker’s girl who gave a cookie to another boy. He, therefore, wanted to travel to America and he persuaded his younger brother to follow him. The younger brother wanted to bring his pretzel (in his mouth) and bible along. Their mother looking out the window asked where they were going and said – the soup is ready. The boy found comfort and satisfaction at the bottom of the bowl and forgot his travel.

The two stories illustrate that a lot of Danes dreamt about better life and future and therefore emigrated. Also, a lot of Danes had heard stories of America and dreamt about emigration, but they stayed home may be more comfortable.

Peder Jørgensen and his Family 

FT1890 Ullits-1_edited-1

According to the census 1890, Peder and Maren stayed in the small village Ullits. Peder is registered as a day-laborer (daglejer) and as I interpreted the record they rented rooms with a widow who had a son working as a saddler. Working as a day-laborer was at that time low social status. No wonder that he would like to improve the living condition of his family by emigration to “America”.

Ullits church where Peder and Maren’s two girls are baptized. – Entrance to Ullits village. – View from Ullits church – Peder and Maren might have lived in one of the houses.


Peder DDD

The last sogn (parish) where Peder and his family stayed before emigration was Vognsild (Copenhagen Police Emigration Protocols).

Why Vognsild sogn and not Gislum sogn (Nyrup) where he is born?

Before leaving Denmark they probably sold everything and had only some possessions in a big box. Therefore they needed someplace to stay before their travel. Maren’s mother had already died in 1874 and Peder’s father in 1880. My guess is that they stayed with Peder’s sister Appelone Jørgensdatter who was married to a farmer in Morum, Vognsild parish. The distance between Morum and Nyrup is only one mile (see map).


Map with marking of Gl. Ullits where Peder and Maren lived before immigration. Morum and Nyrup are also marked showing close together.

All emigration ships departed from Copenhagen.

How did Peder and his family travel to Copenhagen in 1893?

There were two options: Travel by horses to Aalborg (50 km) and take a boat from Aalborg to Copenhagen or I think more possible travel by horses to Hobro (30 km – marked on the map) and then take a train to Copenhagen.

The railway Hobro to Løgstør was finished 15 of July 1893 with a station in Østrup – only 3 km from Morum. There is a possibility they have used this opportunity to get to Hobro and then board a train for Copenhagen.

Slide show to illustrate the travel from Morum, Vognsild parish to Copenhagen by Horse cart and train.

All emigration ships from Denmark were leaving from Larsens Plads in Copenhagen. Here are shown some old pictures. Larsens Plads is situated next to the Royal Palace “Amalienborg“.

Today Larsens Plads is converted to a beautiful garden called “Amaliehaven“. Here some pictures from the Queen’s birthday.

Peder and his Family travel by the ship S/S Island and arrived at New York on August 18th, 1893. On the Customs list of passengers, they are #63 to #65. They have one item of baggage and they intended to travel to Audubon, Iowa.

Census 1895 og 1900

At the census 1895 in Iowa they are registered at Sharon, Aububon, Iowa and at the census 5 years later the Family have increased with two boys Jens and Lauris.

2016   The circle is completed. Leah – Peder and Maren’s great-granddaughter – came to Denmark to seek her Danish roots. She is standing here at the same spot were her great-grandparent left in 1893.


Leah standing at “Larsens Plads”. – This painting “Emigrants at Larsen’s Plads”, 1890, by the painter Edward Petersen (1841-1911)  exhibited in AROS – Aarhus Museum of Art.

The painting gives an impression of the situation when the emigrants and their relatives had to say farewell.




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