In 1847, on the north shore of Zealand, as Danish citizens fought for “freedom of press, and religion,” (1) fourteen-year old Hans Sorensen finished school and entered apprenticeship. That same year his mother and grandmother died. In 1849 the monarch gave in and the people won their desired freedoms. (2) With a feeling of opportunity, Hans studied with a demanding shoemaker, and using local materials he became skilled at constructing shoes and saddles with maple pegs and strong flax thread. (1) He was among the “industrious, peaceable, and skillful,” (3) of his people. At age 20 his brother and father died (4) but he continued his trade and service to his community. Nine years later, he married Maren Kristine Hansdatter also of his Parish and opened a shoe-shop in the nearby town of Tisvilde. (1) The 1864 conflict with Prussia and Austria pulled him away from his work and bride as he was drafted in the 2nd battle of Schleswig-Holstein. (1) He survived the painful war but Denmark lost significant portions of the country. (2) Religious freedom was crossing the country as were the Mormon missionaries. As predicted by a Latter-day Saint leader, the war served to, “awaken the indifferent and the careless to a sense of their situation, and thus [brought] many into the Church…” (3) Hans attended a Latter-day Saint meeting, “was impressed with their message… investigated…the doctrine, and was satisfied he had found the Pearl of Great Price.” (1) #Ancestorclips
(1) Sorensen, George H, Hans Sorensen, as compiled in Hardman Biographies, Ancestors of Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin, Dec. 2009
(3) Christensen, Marius A. History of the Danish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, A Thesis, BYU, March 1966
(4) FamilySearch.org (photo of Hans Sorensen, and other information)
(5) Painting from Vejby in Nordsjaelland by Johan Thomas Lundbye, 1843, commons.wikimedia.org
Hans Sorensen is my great-great grandfather. I sense from him a patient, day-by-day determined character who followed his heart even in the face of loss. In his youth, he lost his grand-parents, parents, and a brother. As a new groom, he was taken from his wife for war. As a seeker of truth, he lost his friends and extended family. Yet, the choices later in life demonstrate that he built upon the strong character of his youth. He followed his heart. He worked hard, built a family, and became a blessing to his posterity and his ancestry by his faithfulness to God. Truly he lived the commandment to ‘honor thy father and thy mother’ (Exodus 20:12) including ancestors by the life he lived. As one in his family tree, I can draw from the seeds of patient character and diligence inherited from Hans Sorensen.