Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy 156th Birthday, Josefine Jensen (1855-1929)!

Gayle's great-grandmother

My favorite thing about this woman is her name--when we were in Norway, I asked a native how to pronounce it, and I can still remember the lyrical sound of "Yosefine Laurine Matilde Pedersdatter Yensen."

The only known photo of Josefine and Sigvart

Josefine was raised in the capital city of Norway.  There she joined the Church in her mid-twenties.  She married fellow convert Sigvart Christian Jensen when they were both thirty years old.  They had six children before emigrating to America, but half of them died young. 

Sigvart left Norway a year ahead of the family to prepare a place for them in Utah.  Josefine followed with her small children, leaving her other children’s graves and her family behind.  As she sailed down the narrow Oslo fjord into the North Sea, she must have looked back at the medieval fortress of Akershus, which guards the harbor, and wept for those loved ones.

Later in Utah, the couple had five more children.  They received their endowments and did sealing work for their parents.  Inexplicably, at some point they left their LDS faith and became Seventh-Day Adventists.  The repercussions of this decision are felt through the generations, as their posterity knows little about this couple and most descendants are not Church members.  After Sigvart’s death, Josefine moved in with a child in Oregon, where she resided until her own death.

Happy birthday, Josefine, and a diary for you!

1 comment:

  1. I'd give her a photo book to remember Norway, and maybe so that we could have some better photos of her too.