Monday, December 20, 2010

Mads Jensen and Bodil Jacobsdatter

  • Name: Mads Jensen 1808-1886 Denmark
  • Name: Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter 1806-1890 Denmark
  • Related through: Erin's grandfather James Madson

Mads Jensen, was born November 29, 1808 at Bjerrede, Tersleve, Soro, Denmark, a twin (his brother was Soren) to Jens Mogensen and Ane Jensdatter. His wife, Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter, was born/christened on November 15, 1806 in Vollerslev, Praesto, Denmark, to Jacob Olsen and Anne Thomasdatter. They were married June 17, 1837 in Vollerslev. Bodil brought one son, Christen Christensen, from a previous relationship to the marriage. It is said that Bodil met Mads when he was the forman on her father's farm.

Bjerrede is found in the Parrish of Terslev and in some records we find the name Rodemose (which means swamp) – probably the name of their farm. All the family records are in the church near Copenhaugen where the onriginal "Christus" statue resides. So this must have been where the family attended.

The family in the 1840 census showed the family in Terslev, Ringsted Herred, Soro, Denmark as follows:
Mads Jensen family 1845

Anne Jensdatter 65 widow
Mads Jensen 32 married
Bodil Jacobsdatter 34 married, wife
Christen Christensen 7 (Bodil’s son from a previous marriage)
Jens Madsen 2 their child (older brother)
Hans Jensen 2 foster child
Maren Jensen 37 welfare person

This record revealed that Jens (James Ephraim) had had an older brother who was never on any of James’ records and we wonder if James Ephraim even knew he had an older brother. Very often, when a child died, they would name the next child by the same name, which happened in this instance. This Jens died May 25, 1842 in Terslev. Our Jens (James Ephraim) was born January 21, 1844.

On November 19, 1840 twin daughters were born in Bjerrede, Terslev, Soro, Denmark and baptized in the Terslev Parish January 3, 1841. Their names were Kirstine and Ane. We have one picture of Jens in his youth which shows him to be about a year old with his twin sisters and parents. Another daughter, Sidse Marie, was born October 7, 1848 and baptized December 26, 1848 in Terslev. On August 4, 1857 Jens’ grandmother, Ane Jensdatter, died. The 1850 census had shown her still living with the family.

Family members had always given the impression that when Jens was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints he was disowned and sent from home. However research has shown that his mother, Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter, was baptized into the church in the Lydsjolland Gren (Branch) July 14, 1864.

Melba Madson Nelson recounts the following story:

“At this point I must enter my feelings and the spiritual experience which was my privilege in finding the record of Jens' baptism. In working on the Four Generation Program I was really desirous of finding the actual record of his baptism (even though he had written the record and it was clear) in order to have better documentation. I had searched and searched for a record in the Danish LDS records but to no avail. One day, after a frustrating search, I dropped my head on the screen of the microfilm reader and cried. It seemed so futile — the records, being in Danish, were hard to make out and I wondered if I was overlooking it but never a name that was familiar (or else so many, but never the right one!) Needing to take care of the tears, I left the machine and went into the rest room for tissue. While there I cried out to the Lord to help me — that if He wanted us to keep a perfect record, and to document the information we had, someone was going to have to help me because I had done all I knew to do — and had been unsuccessful. Drying my eyes, I walked back out to the reading machine, and almost in a "give up'' mood, flipping the crank indicating finality to that search. As I proceeded to begin to remove the film I was impressed to flip on the light and look down at the screen. There, before me, in darker writing than the other, was the name of Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter of Vollerslev! And in the LDS records! We had been led to believe that Jens had been disowned by his family when he accepted Mormonism and was forced to come to America. And here was the record of his mother's baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – on 14 July 1864. She was confirmed on the same day by L. Olsen. This was two years before the date we had of Jens' baptism. After I was able to contain myself, I turned the page carefully and there was what I had been looking for, for so long – the baptism of Jens Madsen on 28 March 1866 by Svend S. Sindhalsen in the Kjobenhavn Conference (Vordingborg Gren, or Branch). I sat and pondered the situation and felt as though his Mother had personally guided me to the record of her baptism so that it could be found first (otherwise I would never have found it for I was certain his was the only one). I actually felt that she was standing by my side and a great surge of love swept through me towards this good woman and I wanted to reach out and touch her and thank her for her help. One can only imagine what the real history of all this was; but it seems that she did accept the Gospel and must have encouraged Jens (even though she may not have been allowed to continue in it). One cousin said she remembered Grandfather Madson saying that when he left home he could not look back at his mother or he would not have been able to go. We should be so very grateful for the courage it must have taken for him to accept the Gospel and leave his home; and the courage of his mother to let him go.

This article is based on information from “A Good Man and a Good Woman – Paul Martinus Jensen and Mette Kristine Olsen” compiled by Rae Madsen Kern and family, 2004. I found this book in the Family History Library catalog. Thanks Kerns for doing so much research about the Madsons.

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