Denmark: Part 2 Our Family Ancestry Tour

Back in late October and early November, my family took a trip to Denmark for about two weeks.  I shared a little bit about the first part of our trip here, where we spent time exploring Copenhagen for a week.  We loved all of the charm of Copenhagen, particularly walking around the city and visiting Tivoli, but we were ready for something different and were excited to take the train up to Nivå for the second part of our trip.

My husband has a family relative (his mother’s eldest cousin, named Marlene) that lives in Nivå he had visited over 15 years ago, so he was looking forward to reconnecting and introducing us to his Danish relatives.  Marlene had planned all sorts of little excursions for us, mostly centered around exploring our Danish heritage.  It also happened that another cousin, James, and his wife Candy, were visiting as well, so we got a chance to meet even more relatives!  It was actually really wonderful to connect both of them.  They were so helpful during our stay, watching the boys for a chunk of time one day so that Marlene could show us around Nivå, and sticking around the house one evening after the boys were in bed so that Jerod and I could visit Hamlet’s castle at Kronborg.  Needless to say, our time with Marlene, Therkeld (her husband), James, and Candy was such a treat.  After a busy week of sight seeing on our own in Copenhagen, it was a nice change of pace to slow down and see the Danish countryside, and enjoy some traditional Danish hygga – cozyness, conversation, and fellowship.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take many photos while in Nivå, but I certainly made up for it during our 3 day road trip through Denmark!  On our first day, we drove up through Odense and actually connected to some of my Danish relatives as well!  Originally, this wasn’t part of the plan.  However, Marlene went through the trouble of calling my grandmother’s cousin’s daughter (follow that?) and we arranged a last minute meet up!  It was so wonderful to meet everyone.  They then took us to visit a few sights that are important to our family, places I never would have dreamed of finding on my own.  And that is where the pictures begin….

Welcome to Borreby Mill.  This is an area just outside Odense where my great grandfather was born, and where his family resided for several generations.

Looking over the bridge and the creek towards the mill where my great-grandfather, Søren, was born.

Our older son, Gus, enjoyed exploring nearby the creek.

Can’t get any more country-side than sheep grazing, and an adorable Danish home where all my family used to live 🙂

Me and my boys, Gus and Soren (named after my great-grandfather) in front of the mill.


There was a HUGE mound right by the creek that was just begging to be climbed.  So what better way to stretch our legs after driving in the car for a few hours, right?

You can see Candy speaking to Harriet, my grandmother’s cousin, in the background in front of the mill and the mill house where Søren (Harriet’s uncle) would have been born.

We decided to walk around the other side for a better look of the mill.  These days, I believe it operates as a bed and breakfast

The mill stone.

After our visit to Borreby Mill, we then visited Billinge Church where many relatives were baptized, married, and buried.  Walking through the cemetery, seeing my great great grandparent’s headstone….I was overcome by quite a bit of emotion.

Marlene, my husband, and Gus exploring the cemetary.

Soren enjoyed exploring inside the church.

Later that day, we drove towards Jutland to stay at a small inn, which ended up being the most beautiful farmhouse!  Unfortunately, it was after dark by the time we arrived (it got dark SO early in Denmark – it reminded me of my college days in Maine, when it would be dark by 4 pm!).  The next morning, we visited a schoolhouse near a small town where great-grandpa Paulsen (my husband’s side) would have grown up.  Our older son, Gus, was in seventh heaven playing in the gigantic sandbox with many diggers.  🙂

Next, we drove to Oester Snede, where the Paulsen’s had been baptized.  It was incredibly beautiful!

We attempted to find some burial plots, but didn’t have any luck.

After a bit more driving, we visited the third oldest church in Denmark, Virring Church – a beautiful church built in the middle ages.  It was actually undergoing a lot of restoration and technically closed, but we did go inside for a bit.  Great-grandma Paulsen would have been confirmed here, according to Marlene’s records.

I loved all the thatched roofs in Denmark!

Finally, the last place we visited, probably doesn’t look like much more than an old brick building by some tracks, but there’s actually quite a lot of history here.  The old brickworks building was formerly on this land, and my husband’s great grandparent’s lived above the brickworks for some time.  There’s no evidence of the building anymore, unless you dig around in a field for a while and happen to find an old brick with the imprinting from the old business….which is exactly what we did!  We managed to find several, one in pretty good shape, that we brought back to Spain with us, and will hopefully get home to Grinnell.


After our visit to Floes, we had intended to take a ferry from Aarhus, but a bit of a mixup left us missing our ferry and taking a 3 hour drive around Jutland back to Nivå.  Not too bad of a drive for us, but considered long by Danish standards.  We enjoyed getting to see more of the Danish countryside, which looks remarkably similar to many of the riverside areas of the midwest.

Finally, I’m going to share a few special photos captured by Candy on her iPhone, that way you can see a little bit more about what happened on our trip 🙂  Plus, there actually pictures of me!  A rarity.  This first one is one of the bricks we found at Floes Tile Works (brickworks), which stopped production in 1920.  Kind of crazy that nearly 95 years later, we still could find a brick!


James took Gus & Soren to the park one day 🙂

We visited over Halloween, and Marlene was kind enough to get Gus a pumpkin to carve – he was pretty excited, even though this picture doesn’t really reveal his true emotions.

Our wonderful hosts, Marlene and Therkild








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