Friday, October 10, 2014

Johanna (Thoensen) Hansen

Johanna Freda (Thoensen) Hansen
                                           Johanna Thoensen Hansen
                                               Mother of Mathilda

Who's Who

From the picture caption, Johanna (Thoensen) Hansen was the mother of Mathilda Louise "Tillie" (Hansen) Petersen, wife of Andreas "Andrew" Petersen.  Andrew Petersen was a younger brother of Carsten Petersen, Sr., father of Grandmother Brunken.

Johanna Freda (Thoensen) Hansen
Johanna Freda (Thoensen) Hansen


The family interrelationships of Carsten Petersen, Sr. and his younger brother Andreas "Andrew" Petersen and their wives have been a riddle to me.  This picture and its caption partially solves the riddle.

A biography of Andreas "Andrew" Petersen states that "His bride came from Germany in 1888 at the age of 17 with Esther Petersen - a niece of Carsten and Andrew.  Mathilda Louise Hansen was born at Rantrum, Germany, January 4, 1871, to Hans Nicholas and Johanna Freda Hansen. She had two brothers--Thomas and Johannes and one sister Margrata. Her sister married an Italian and lived in New York. They had one son, Steven Cassovella."[1]

Furthermore, the same biography of Andrew states that "Andrew's brother Carsten's second wife, lda Lucia Martensen was a cousin of Andrew's wile, Mathilda. Other cousins were Christian Martinsen and Henry Martensen who also came to this country and the father of Peter Martensen who stayed in Germany."[1]

Ida Lucia Martensen's mother was Christina Maria (Thönsen  - Thoensen) Martensen.  My assumption is that Ida's mother was the sister of Mathilda's mother, Johanna Freda (Thoensen) Hansen.  And, this is the cousin relationship stated in the biography of Andreas "Andrew" Petersen.

The niece relationship of Esther Petersen to Carsten and Andrew was easier to determine. According to Andrew's biography, "Mrs. Hans Schutt was the Esther Petersen that Mathilda had accompanied to this country."[1]  The family group worksheets in the same packet with the photographs and biography, show that Esther Christine (Petersen) Schutt (born 12 Jan 1871 in Joldeland, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany) was the daughter of Margaretha Dorthea (Petersen) Petersen, an older sister of Andrew and Carsten.  Margaretha married a Peter D. Petersen and hence both her maiden and married last names were Petersen.

As may be seen on the following Google Map,

Rantrum, Germany - where Mathilda Louise Hansen was born - is about 28 Km from the Petersen family home near Bredstedt, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany - where Carsten and Andrew were born and raised.

What family interactions/relationships there were in Germany is not known. Obviously, the families knew each other.  Esther Petersen and Mathilda Hansen were born a week apart so possibly they were childhood playmates.


Circa 1910.  Johanna looks to be about 80 years old at the time this photograph was taken. Johanna's sister, Christina Maria Thönsen, was born 05 Dec 1831.  I am guessing the date of the photograph to be about 1910.


Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.  As best as I can determine, Johanna Freda (Thoensen) Hansen never left Germany.


  1. ANDREAS (ANDREW) PETERSEN - A biography.  Photocopies of associated family records including the portrait shown above were sent to me by Carolyn Petersen on August 27, 2014 [2]. 
  2. Carolyn had obtained photocopies of genealogy records including this portrait from Mathilda Louise "Till" (Petersen) Sponhower over 20 years ago.
  3. Now to work out the relationships of the "Other cousins ... who also came to this country."[1]