today, they worked
continually to improve their conditions, to “opfylde jorden og gøre sig den underdanig!” [“replenish the earth and
bring it to subjugation”: Biblical quotation]. They attempted,
by offering sacrifices, to obtain the favor of the higher
forces. They honored their dead leaders with great efforts to
put stone and earth together to create fitting memorials – the
old burial mounds!
With the arrival of Christianity they built churches,
usually on the sites where the heathen temples had stood. The
first Christian churches were simple affairs, but the later
churches were built so solidly that they still stand today.
Hopefully our forefathers collected the large granite boulders
to build the churches, with joy, and did not “sigh”, as St.
Here in the churches the family’s newborn were received and
by baptism became members of the Christian community; and the
church followed each one through his whole life, short or
long. It tried, as well as it could, to follow the words of
the scriptures, “to teach them to follow the commandments”.
And the church was, perhaps in all its weakness, ready to give
help and support to each member of the family if life brought
setbacks, and then, at the end of their days, to lay the dead
to rest in consecrated ground alongside their forefathers.
(page 7)… Hans Pedersen [1 – numbers link to genealogy
summary at the end] from Stistrup was born in 1683. From 1724,
and probably until his death, he had a farm as copy holder
[form of tenancy under the feudal system in Denmark: see
notes] under Gunderupgaard, hartk. 7 td. 3 skp. 2 fdk. 0 alb.
[41030 sq. m.: see notes]. In 1767 “farmer Hans Piesen of
Stistrup died” (the priest wrote Piesen, as he was known in
his daily life [dialect pronunciation of Pedersen]).
In Gunderupgaard’s probate register one can read about the
probate. His heirs were his widow, Pernille Christensdatter
[1a] and children: Morten Hansen , who was at home, Søren
Hansen, who lived in Ullits, Jørgen and Chr. Hansen. Morten
signed on behalf of the other heirs to give up their right to
inherit immediately. Their mother could keep the home, and pay
out the inheritance later [see notes].
Morten Hansen took over the tenancy from his mother. He was
born 15th January 1714 in Stistrup and died 22nd October 1775
aged 61½ years. Morten’s wife was Johanne Jensdatter [2a],
born 1707 and died 6th November 1785 aged 78 years. Morten and
Johanne were married in Strandby church in 1745. Her parents
were Jens Sørensen of Strandbygaard and housewife Ane Cathrine.
Following the death of tenant farmer Morten Hansen in
Stistrup on 16th October 1775 [but see above: 22nd October
1775??], there was a probate hearing at Gunderupsgaard.
The heirs were his widow, Johanne Jensd. together with
their children Christen Mortensen, who was of age, a daughter
married to Jørgen Christensen in Dollerup, and Bodil  and
Anne who were minors. Their brother Chr. Mortensen, who lived
in Dollerup, was their guardian.
The farm was well stocked, both outside and in. We are told
the size of the stock:
1 black horse 14 yr old 5 rd.
1 blue-grey horse 7 yr old 6 rd.
1 black mare 16 yr old 4 rd.
1 black colt 3 yr old 10 rd.
1 black foal 2 rd.
1 black and white cow 5 yr old 5 rd.
1 white and black cow 5 yr old 4 rd.
1 black-starred cow 7 yr old 2 rd.
2 grey heifers 1 yr old 2 rd. 4 mark
2 female calves 1 rd.
22 old sheep at 3 marks each 11 rd.
6 lambs 1 rd.
1 boar and 1 sow 4 mark
The farm’s size/taxable value was hartk. 2 td. 4 skp. 1 fdk.
1½ alb. [14050 sq. m.].
The valuers considered that the farm ought to have the
A. 4 sound work animals at 13 rd. = 52 rd.
B. 1 cart with accessories 8 rd.
1. plough with all accessories 3 rd. 4 mark.
E. 2 harrows 1 rd. 2 mark.
(page 16) … The older part of the family still know the
name Thammes Stistrup  well! Born in 1784, he had the farm
in Stistrup which is now called “Stavnsgaard”. His father was
Thomas Nielsen [3a] and was an “immigrant” from Grønnerup in
Strandby parish. Thomas Nielsen was born in 1750 and died 5th
August 1784. The priest wrote in the church register at Foulum
“Drowned in the fjord”. There is no further information about
the accident. He was married on 11th May 1776 to Bodil
Mortensdatter  from Stistrup, daughter of farmer Morten
Hansen . After Thomas Nielsen’s death Bodil remarried on
19th November 1784. Some would say it was a little quick, but
there are reasons to be taken into account: that it could be
difficult for a widow to sit with a farm tenancy and small
children. Bodil’s second husband was Christen Pedersen from
Aars parish. They were “engaged in Stistrup at the widow’s
The priest wrote in Foulum church register in 1784:
"On 11th August Thomas Nielsen’s widow, Bodil Mortensd.
of Stistrup bore a son. He was baptized at home, and called
Thomas . The baby’s baptism was registered on 5th
September. Godparents: Maren Nielsd., servant, Mads Nielsen
of Grynnerup, Christen Mortensen of Dollerup, Bertel and
Michel Jensen, Søren Gleerup’s daughter Secilie (Stistrup
mill) all from Stistrup.”
On the previous line it says:
“On 5th August Thomas Nielsen (who drowned in the
fjord) was buried, 34 years old.”
Thomas Thomassen  of Stistrup was married on 24th
January 1813 to Kirsten Mogensdatter [4a] from Ullits.-
Kirsten died 2nd January l827 having borne 8 children in 14
years, among them my [i.e. the original author’s] grandmother.
Thomas Thomassen was married a second time in Foulum church
to Ane Christensd. from Kaldal in Alstrup, on 1st July 1827.
Ane must have been a courageous girl – she immediately
became the mother of 8 children, and bore another 9 herself
before her death on 24th March 1865 at the age of 62 years.
Thomas Thomassen died in Stistrup as a pensioner on what
had been his farm on 23rd September 1866, at the age of 82
years. [It was common practice for old people who could no
longer work the land to sell the farm to their children or a
third party, with a formal agreement that they could remain
living on the farm, with board and lodging provided – even if
the farm was subsequently sold during their lifetime.]
When the probate hearing from Gunderupsgårds manor met in
Stervbogaarden in Stistrup on 31st January 1827, [following
Th. Th.’s first wife’s death] the heirs were the widower and
eight children the oldest 13 years, and the youngest, Ane
Kjirstine, 6 weeks. The dead wife’s brother, farmer Christen
Mogensen from Ullits attended as guardian of the children.
Parish clerk Vagn Jacobsen of Stistrupgaard and farmer Anders
Bertelsen of Stistrup attended as valuers.
It is clear from the records of the valuation that, for
those days, it was a well-stocked household, with lots of
clothes and bed linen.
When the estate was all added up, for each son there was 7
rd. 2 mk. 1 2/3 sk. of silver and for each daughter 3 rd. 4 mk.
5/6 sk. “The widower stated that out of fatherly love for
his children he would make up each son’s inheritance to 10 rd.
silver, give them 2 sheep, and when they reached 20 years of
age, a set of home-woven clothes. Similarly, he increased each
daughter’s inheritance to 8 rd. silver, 1 sheep, and in due
course would pay for their weddings, just as he promised to
give his young children a good and Christian upbringing to the
best of his ability”. These extra gifts were outside the
jurisdiction of the public trustee’s office.
The probate hearing found no debts attached to the farm.
Everything was in order, and there were no arrears of royal
tax. Thomas Thomassen continued his tenancy of the farm,
promising “to uphold the terms of the copyholder agreement
of 6th February 1813 in all respects”.
Kirsten Mogensdatter [4a] was, as already stated, from
Ullits – Her parents were Mogens Andersen from Svingelbjerg
and Bodil Christensd. from Skoue. They were married in Louens
church, 16th September 1778. Their children were, apart from
Kirsten, Christen born 26th August 1785, Anders born 6th
September 1787, Niels born 21st May 1789 (More about Anders
Gislum herred’s land register (B 48 C -205 folio 13) for
31st March 1865 tells us that tenant farmer Thomas Thomassen’s
[second] wife, Ane Christensd. of Stistrup had died, and her
widower retains undivided possession of the estate [i.e. had
not paid out his wife’s inheritors]. The same register, folio
77 of 9th October 1866 records that pensioner Thomas Thomsen
of Stistrup, 82 years old, had died, owning nothing.
By taking note of how often one comes across a man’s name,
as valuer in connection with probate hearings, or as godfather
in the church register, and seeing who are godparents to him
and his wife’s children and so on, one can get a reasonably
accurate impression of the man and wife’s standing in the
village and parish. Thomas Thomassen was definitely a
well-respected man, and he also had one of the big and good
farms in Stistrup as tenant – more than 4 td. hartk [22000 sq.
m.]. And he was able to write!
Unfortunately, when this good farm was sold by
Gunderupgaard manor, it did not pass into the family’s
ownership, even though one might think that Thomas Thomassen
had plenty of sons, so one of them should have been able to
take over the farm. But it was a question of money.
Weienschenk, the owner of Gunderupgaard manor, was also short
of money [and the farm was sold to the highest bidder].
Where Thomas Thomassen lived after giving up the farm on
19th February 1866 until his death on 23rd September of that
year, is not known.
Thomas Thomsen's (Stistrup's) numerous children from his
first marriage to Kirsten Mogensd. from Ullits (married in
Ullits 24th January 1813, she died 2nd January 1827) were:
1. Christen born 10th October 1813
2. Morten  born 4th April 1815. He was fostered by his
mother’s brother, Anders Mogensen of Dollerup, and later
became the owner of Bjerregaarden in Foulum.
3. Mogens Christian born 3rd June 1816
4. Bodil Kirstine  born 8th October 1817. Married Anders
Nielsen [6a] of Bjerregaarden.
5. Karen Marie born 2nd March 1819
6. Jens Christian born 19th September 1820
7. Bodil Marie  born 9th February 1822, married 5th June
1849 to Jens Chr. Christiansen [7a], Foulum. Died 9th June
1874 [the grandmother of the author and of Sonja Cole’s
8. a stillborn child, 4th March 1825
9. Ane Kjirstine b. 6th December 1826, married 15th July
1854 to Jørgen Chr. Nielsen of Ertebolle, a farm worker on
Ane Kjirstine was 6 weeks old when her mother died. Ane
Kjirstine died in Grønnerup on 20th June 1911, and was buried
at Strandby, the widow of smallholder Jørgen Chr. Nielsen of
On 27th April 1848 Morten Thomsen had bought the farm in
Dollerup from Anders Mogensen, his foster-father and mother’s
brother. Its size was hartk. 3 td. 3 skp. 1 fdk. 1½ alb.
[18900 sq. m.]. The price was 800 rd., plus the pension
arrangements for Anders Mogensen, whose wife Karen
Christensdatter had died 26th February 1850.
On 15th December 1856 farm-owner Anders Nielsen Bjerregaard
sold his farm in Foulum to his brother-in-law Morten Thomsen,
farm-owner from Dollerup. (Anders N. Bjerregaard was married
to Morten’s sister Bodil Kirstine from Stistrup)
At almost the same time, 20th December 1856, Morten Thomsen
sold his farm in Dollerup to parish clerk and farmer Mads
Poulsen of Hestbaek mill for 2100 rd. Anders Mogensen retained
his pension arrangement on the farm, now living with
One gets the impression that Anders Mogensen was a
thoroughly honourable man, willing to grant a loan when family
or friends were in need.
He died in Dollerup on 5th March 1867, and on 29th February
1868 many (hopefully happy) heirs met in Hobro for the probate
hearing. My grandfather Jens Chr. Christiansen of Foulum was
also there, he was married to a daughter of the deceased’s
sister. In one place there were 13 signatures attached to the
probate document, all written by the signatories [i.e. all 13
could write their own names]. But some of those attending were
not so happy, those whose loans from Anders Mogensen were
being called in.
The probate documents list the mortgages, private loans and
gifts made by Anders Mogensen – it was a long list.
Smallholder Jen Pedersen in Gronnerup owedbut there was
some doubt about the value of the claim, and they agreed to
settle it in court. 400 rd.
Smallholder Jorgen Chr. Nielsen in Ertebolle (Ane
Kjirstine’s husband) owed 300 rd.
Farmer Morten Jensen in Svingelbjerg owed 200 rd.
Graves Pedersen of Lundgaard in Alstrup owed 100 rd.
Smallholder Christian Laursen, Dollerup owed 400 rd.
Smallholder Christian Jensen, Dollerup owed 100 rd.
Mads Poulsen of Hestbaek owed 160 rd.
Anders Mogensen had left 100 rd. in his will to Poulline
Christensd., a maid, and 150 rd. and all his clothes to
Christen Mikkelsen of Dollerup. (He had lived with this couple
in his last year.)
According to the probate record, the outstanding loans and
interest all came in. The total estate was 1686 rd. 1 mk.,
with half going to Anders Mogensen’s family, and half to the
family of his predeceased wife, Karen Christensdatter. On
Anders Mogensen’s side there were numerous heirs – there were
seven just from Thomas Thomassen’s children – with the result
that they each received between 158 rd. and 22 rd., with a
further 58 rd. to 5 rd. later.
It must be mentioned here that one of the heirs, Bodil
Kirstine Thomasdatter, married to Anders Nielsen Bjerregaard,
could not attend and claim her inheritance – they had
emigrated to America as Mormons. But they had been in contact,
and her inheritance was held until later.
[from Birthe Bjerregaard Byrjalsen’s history of
Bjerregaarden, which appears on The Bjerregaard's website]
1857: The youngest daughter of Niels Nielsen Bjerregaard
took possession of the farm. Her name was Eleonora Nielsdatter
[5a] and she was born on 28th of June 1825. She was married to
[Therefore the brother and sister Anders and Eleanora
married the sister and brother Bodil Kirstine and Morten. So
both the American and the Danish Bjerregaards are descended
from Hans Pedersen, who was born in 1683!]
Notes on the text
Land taxes and land measurement
Land taxes were set based on the estimated productivity of
the land. They were set in rye or barley, “hard corn”. The
measures were originally volumes of grain, but the same words
came to be used also as measures of land area. Both systems
are still (confusingly!) in use today in rural areas. Thus for
1 tønde hartkorn = 8 skæpper
1 skæpper = 4 fjerdingkar
1 fjerdingkar = 3 album
1 tønde = 139.12 litres
For land measurement, 1 tønde of land was the amount of
land that could be sown with one tønde of corn. In 1688 the
land measurement was fixed at 14,000 square alen, or 5,516.2
square metres (or 1.36 English acres).
In most cases in the original Danish text it is not clear
whether hartkorn is being used as a measure of taxable value,
or of area. Unless the text specifically refers to taxable
value, such measurements have been taken to be measures of
land area. The translation retains tønde (td.), skæpper (skp.),
fjerdingkar (fdk.) and album (alb.) but also converts them to
square metres, as follows:
1 tønde hartkorn is taken to be 5,516.2 sq m.,
1 skæpper ( = 1/8 tønde) 689.5 sq m.,
1 fjerdingkar ( = ¼ skæpper) 172.4 sq m.,
1 album ( = 1/3 fjerdingkar) 57.5 sq m.
The unit of currency was the rigsdaler (rd.)
1 rigsdaler = 6 marker
1 mark = 16 skillinger
No attempt has been made to convert any sums of money into
modern currency: the effects of inflation make any such
Danish inheritance laws
When a man or woman died, if he/she had a spouse the spouse
inherited half the estate, and the children inherited the
rest. This could lead to the widow being forced to sell the
family home or possessions to pay out the inheritance of the
children. To avoid this, it was often agreed that the estate
would not be settled until after the death of the surviving
Female children used only to inherit half as much as the
male children, as can be seen from the probate hearing after
the death of Thomas Thomassen’s first wife.
The Feudal system in Denmark
The feudal system existed in Denmark almost until the year
1800. The peasants were not allowed to leave the estates on
which they were born, were forced to provide labour and some
produce (measured in hartkorn) to the estate owners, were not
allowed to buy the farms of which they were tenants, and could
be punished by the estate owners.
Gradually the laws were relaxed, but even as late as 1733
the Stavnsbaandet law was passed, which tied all male peasants
between the ages of 14 and 36 (later between 4 and 40) to
remain on the estate on which they were born. The basis for
this law was the growing exodus from the land, and the desire
of the estate owners to secure cheap labour, although they
tried to justify it on the grounds that it would ensure the
availability of men for conscription into the army.
In 1788 the Stavnsbaandet law was repealed (Stavnsbaandets
Oplosning), effectively abolishing the feudal system, although
interim rules remained in force until 1800.
As Lars Sigvard Jensen says on page 7 of his history of the
“Big changes now began to occur in the conditions of
the peasants. The abolition of the Stavnsbaandet, and the
liberation of the peasantry which followed from it, led to
many of the previously bound tenant farmers buying their
farms from the big estate owners, and becoming freehold farm
owners themselves. Around 1800 most of the peasant holdings
belonging to the Hessel estate were sold, generally to their
Summary of Genealogy
Hans Pedersen 
Married Pernille Christensdatter [1a].
Morten Hansen , son of Hans Pedersen  and Married
Pernille Christensdatter [1a]
Born 15th January 1714.
Married 1745 to Johanne Jensdatter [2a], born 1707 and died
6th November 1785.
Died 22nd October 1775.
Bodil Mortensdatter , daughter of Morten Hansen  and
Johanne Jensdatter [2a]
Married on 11th May 1776 to Thomas Nielsen [3a], born in
1750 and died 5th August 1784.
Thomas Thomassen , son of Thomas Nielsen [3a] and Bodil
Born 11th August 1784.
Married (for the first time) on 24th January 1813 to
Kirsten Mogensdatter [4a], who died 2nd January l827.
Died 23rd September 1866, at the age of 82 years.
Three of his children have living descendants in the family
Morten Thomsen , son of Thomas Thomassen  and Kirsten
Born 4th April 1815.
Married Eleonora Nielsdatter [5a], born on 28th of June
1825 (sister of Anders Nielsen Bjerregaard).
Bodil Kirstine Thomasdatter , daughter of Thomas
Thomassen  and Kirsten Mogensdatter [4a].
Born 8th October 1817.
Married Anders Nielsen [6a] of Bjerregaarden.
Bodil Marie Thomasdatter , daughter of Thomas Thomassen
 and Kirsten Mogensdatter [4a].
Born 9th February 1822.
Married 5th June 1849 to Jens Chr. Christiansen [7a].
Died 9th June 1874.
The American Bjerregaards are descended from Bodil Kirstine
Thomasdatter and Anders Nielsen Bjerregaard: Thomas Nielson Bj.
(1849-1911), Andrew Bj. (1873-1927), Marlin Bj. (1905-1970),
Marlin Don Bj. ( ), Shon D Bj.
The history of Bjerregaarden follows from Morten Thomsen
and Eleonora Nielsdatter:
Kirsten Mortensdatter , daughter of Morten Thomsen 
and Eleonora Nielsdatter [5a].
Married her cousin Christian Frederik Jensen [8a], son of
Jens Chr. Christiansen [7a] and Bodil Marie Thomasdatter .
Morten Jensen Bjerregaard , son of Christian Frederik
Jensen [8a] and Kirsten Mortensdatter .
Born 27th November 1881.
Married to Mette Marie Pedersen Poulsen, born on 22nd 1881.
Elly Bjerregaard , daughter of Morten Jensen
Bjerregaard  and Mette Marie Pedersen Poulsen
Born 10th May 1912.
Married 6th November 1941 to Gustav Haldrup Nielsen, born
15th November 1915.
Birthe Bjerregaard  daughter of Elly Bjerregaard 
and Gustav Haldrup Nielsen.
Born 17th July 1946.
Married 7th May 1971 to Søren Byrjalsen in Foulum church.
Sonja Bjerregaard Lykkegaard Cole’s ancestors were:
Soren Kristian Jensen Bjerregaard , son of Christian
Frederik Jensen [8a] and Kirsten Mortensdatter .
Born 1st December 1885.
Married 11th October 1912 to Ane Kirstine Jensen .
Died 17th April 1945.
Thomas Jensen , son of Jens Christian Christiansen [7a]
and Bodil Marie Thomasdatter .
Born 2nd June 1853.
Married 26th March 1877 to Christiane Fransdatter.
Died 20th April 1921.
Ane Kirstine Jensen  (known in the family as Stine),
daughter of Thomas Jensen  and Christiane Fransdatter
Born 1st August 1893.
Married 11th October 1912 to her cousin Soren Kristian
Jensen Bjerregaard  (they were cousins because AKJ’s
father TJ  and SKJB’s father CFJ [8a] were brothers, both
sons of JCC [7a] and BMT ).
Died 28th November 1977.
Randi Bjerregaard , daughter of Soren Kristian Jensen
Bjerregaard  and Ane Kirstine Jensen 
Born 24th October 1917.
Married 3rd November 1940 to Svend Lykkegaard Jensen.
Sonja Bjerregaard Lykkegaard Jensen , daughter of Randi
Bjerregaard  and Svend Lykkegaard Jensen.
Born 19th November 1947.
Married 3rd November 1973 to Richard George Cole.
Schematic representation of the descendants of Hans