Compiled by Guy Lamoyne Black from parish records, and from a sketch originally composed by Lillie Ingaborg Jensen Memmott, a granddaughter of Olu Jonsdotter, as told to her by Joseph E. Jensen, her cousin from Ogden, Utah.
Olu Jonsdotter and her twin sister, Sissela, were born on January 14, 1829 at Lundstorp, Strövelstorp parish, Kristianstad, Sweden. Her mother was Karna Rasmusdotter, who was age thirty at the time of her birth. Her father was Jons Mattiasson.
When she was born, Olu was welcomed into a family of girls. She had an older half-sister, Karna, who was almost seven years old, and a full sister, Elna, who was nearly three years old.
Tragically, when Olu was just two, her twin sister died. Up to that point, the four girls had the run of the house. But less than a year after Sissela’s death, the female monopoly was broken, when their mother gave birth to their only brother, Mans.
Then, just a few months later, during the summer of 1832, tragedy struck again for Olu. Her father, Jon, died, leaving Olu’s mother all alone to raise her young family.
For three years after Jon’s death, Olu’s family relied on their mother. However, when Olu was six, a new father figure entered her life, when a man nine years younger than her mother moved in with the family.
Within a year after this new stepfather joined the family, the family moved to a new home nearby at Ingelstorp, in the same parish. However, they lived there for only a year before the family left Strövelstorp for parts unknown.
For the next twelve years, the whereabouts of the family is a mystery. However, in 1849, at age twenty, Olu reappeared, by herself, working as a servant in Ângelholm Parish in the province of Kristianstad. The household examination record for that year states that she moved to Ângelholm from Farhult Parish in nearby MalmöhusProvince. However, the records in Farhult do not contain any information about her or her family.
Apparently, she only stayed in Ângelholm for a short time, because the parish priest reports that she moved to Farhult in 1851. However, again, Farhult’s records do not confirm such a move. Instead, the parish records in Välinge Parish (sometimes referred to as Wälinge) clearly show that she moved there in 1851.
Once in Välinge, Olu was quickly on the move again. Perhaps she could not find steady work, missed something or someone in Ângelholm, or otherwise was given a reason to move. For whatever reason, her stay in Välinge was short-lived, as she left there to return to Ângelholm in 1852.
A family history written by Olu’s granddaughter, Lillie Ingaborg Jensen Memmott, maintained that Olu worked in one of the towns in the home of a merchant. The merchant’s son liked Olu, but his parents objected to a marriage because of her poor circumstances, so they gave her money to leave, which she did. Perhaps the merchant lived in Välinge, and Olu’s short stay in that town can be explained by the foregoing facts.
Regardless of her reason for leaving Välinge, once Olu was back in Ângelholm, she continued her work as a servant girl, and settled into that role for a few years. Lillie’s history recounted that Olu worked and lived at the home of a preacher while in Ângelholm. During the time she was there, she developed an intimate relationship with a young man named Brynolf Henrie Dock, the preacher’s son. An illegitimate daughter, Bernhardine, was born of that intimacy on March 1, 1854.
Olu never married Bernhardine’s father. Lillie reports that because wages for domestic servants were better in Denmark than in Sweden, Olivia took her child and moved to Frederiksberg County, Denmark. Ângelhom Parish records record that the move took place in 1855.
She married Lars Jensen in Herlev Parish, Frederiksborg, Denmark on April 26, 1857. Lars was born in Kollerod, Lynge Parish, Frederiksborg, Denmark on February 20, 1826. She had three children by him, two of whom were named Carl. They were Carl Peter Lars Jensen, born 4 Jun 1857, at Herlov, Frederiksborg, Denmark (he died in 1858); Carl Peter Jensen, born 19 Mar 1860, in Freerslev, Frederiksborg, Denmark.; and Jens Peter Jensen, our progenitor, born, 29 Sep 1863 in Herlev, Frederiksborg, Denmark.
Her marriage to Lars lasted about eight years, until he died an untimely death at age thirty-eight, on May 17, 1864 in Herlev.
Lillie reports that Olu’s years of marriage to Lars were difficult, but also happy at times. Lars suffered from Tuberculosis and was unable to earn a good living because of his health. His disease and inability to work caused him to be despondent. Eventually he because completely unable to work. He also had a drinking habit, which caused great sorrow for his wife and children. He tried to get community welfare for his family, but because of limited community resources at the time, he was unable to obtain much assistance.
Despite Lars’ disease and drinking problems, Olu’s home was made happy by her husband’s talent in music. He was a very good singer, and played the accordion. He sang in the choir, as did both of his sons, who were also musically inclined. When he was not suffering from depression due to his inability to support his family, he was a jolly good man and tried to look on the bright side of life.
He had a bad habit of drinking which created great sorrow for his wife and children. It was also a great trial to him.
The death of her husband left Olu in very dire circumstances. She later married a man named Anders Abrahamsen and had four children by him. Their names were:
Johan August Andersen born 23 Jun 1866, in Freerslev, Herlev Denmark; Lauritz Andersen, born 22 Apr 1869, in Freerslev, Herlev, Denmark; Rasmus Andersen, born, 15 Nov 1871, in Freerslev, Herlev, Denmark; and Christene Andersen, born about, 1875, probably in Hillerod, Fredricksberg, Denmark.
Her second husband was not a good provider. To feed and cloth her family, Olivia was forced to go to work. She baked bread and pastries and sold them in nearby towns and cities. After doing the baking, she would carry her bread and pastries, sometimes many miles, to different places to make deliveries. She worked hard and had a hard life.
She and some of her eight children were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 3 Dec 1877. Jens Peter Jensen was one of the children who were baptized into the Church.
Her later years were plagued with ill health. She died 19 Mar 1882, in Kollerod, Lynge parish, Frederiksborg, Denmark, after a serious illness.
After her death, the family split up. By then, Berhardine was married, to Anders Jensen, and had children of her own. One of her son’s is Joseph E. Jensen of Ogden, who Jens Peter’s family knew as “Idaho Joe.”
Carl went to Copenhagen and worked in a grocery store. He became very proficient on the violin. He was also a good singer. After he was baptized into the LDS church, he conducted the Copenhagen choir. He married Elna Johansen. They did not have any children. He died at an early age.
Jens Peter Jensen went to work on a ranch, where he later met Inga Lisa Johannesson, who had gone to the ranch to work. He married her. Later they moved to Copenhagen, then to America.
Lauritz was age sixteen when his mother died. He went to live with his sister, Berhardine Rasmus. He was a half brother to Jens Peter Jensen, and a half brother to Carl Peter Jensen. When Carl died, Laurtz married Carl’s wife, Elna Johansen. There were no children born to this union.
Johan, age thirteen, also went to live with his sister Berhardine. Eventually he was adopted by an old fisherman and his wife, from the town of Fredericksborg, Denmark. He later joined The Danish Navy. Upon his discharge, he became a fisherman, and then worked in a sugar factory. He died in Copenhagen.
The youngest child, Christine, who was seven, was adopted by someone in Hillerod, Denmark.
Bernhardine’s husband came to Utah before Jens Peter Jensen. Later his family immigrated to the United States. They lived in Ogden, Utah and Idaho Falls, Idaho. Bernhardine’s son, Joseph Emmanuel Jensen (Idaho Joe), went back to Denmark, on a mission, in 1915. He visited all of his grandmother Olu’s children. He tried to teach them the gospel, but none of them would accept it.
All of Olu’s children were sealed to her and her first husband, Lars Jensen, 12 Oct 1964 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Olu was sealed to her husband, Lars Jensen 6 Feb 1929, with the approval of Howard S. McDonald, Salt Lake Temple President.[i]
[i] Vital Records, Cemetery, and Obituary Sources: Birth Certificate: Födde, Vigde, Döde, 1806-1859, p. 273, first entry on page, Strövelstorp Parish, Kristianstad, Sweden; Genline GID Number 1368.6.84600. Entry for January 14, 1829. Marriage Record: Lars Jensen and Olu Jonsdotter. Marriages, 1856-1857, first entry for 1857, p. 260, Herlev Parish, Frederiksborg, Denmark. Family History Library Microfilm Roll No. 48659. Entry for April 26, 1857. Death Record: No primary record found. Secondary source: Jens P. Jensen Family Organization, and Arvilla Jensen Faris, Jens Peter Jensen and Inga Lisa Johannesson, Their Lives and Descendants (1863-1984) (Provo, Utah: Jens P. Jensen Family Organization, 1985), p. 7 Grave Location and Cemetery Directions: Unknown. Obituary: No known obituary.