Saturday, November 3, 2012

The children of Didrik Andreas Thomsen

Didrik Andreas Thomsen

In an earlier post I indicated that there would be a follow up concerning the children of Didrik Andreas Thomsen.  We now have what we think is an almost complete list of all his children.  The qualifier is because his son, Dick Thompson, said that there were two half-brothers and so far we have only identified one half-brother but have found an additional three half-sisters. 

The children of Didrik Andreas Thomsen with his wife, Sigrid Berentine Serene Andersdatter Dahle:

1.    Anna Berentine Thomsen, born 6 April 1875, married in 1901 to Harald Andersen.
2.    Dorothea Cæcille Thomssen, born 26 February 1877, died 6 March 1885.
3.    Hilda Gjertine Thomssen, born 28 May 1879, died about 1879
4.    Hilda Gjertine Thomssen, born 12 October 1880, died 23 December 1880
5.    Didrik Leonard Thomssen, born 20 January 1881, died 28 March 1885
6.    Hjalmar Thomssen, born 14 June 1884, died 19 October 1884
7.    Didrik  “Dick” Thompson, born 3 October 1885, married (1) Clara Elizbeth Lorig, 1916; (2) Celia Skage, 1936; died 23 May 1968.  Immigrated to America 1903.
8.    Alfhild Dorothea Thomssen, born 3 December 1890, married Olaf Pedersen
9.    Harriet Alfhild Thomssen, born 3 December 1894.  Note:  it is thought that this child is actually the same child as #8.  Alfhild adjusted her age on census records and other documents after she married Olaf Pedersen Skage in 1917 so she could appear as younger than her husband who was born in 1893.  I am not sure where the “Harriet” comes from but it is written on a photograph positively identified as that of Alfhild as a young child.  Perhaps she just liked Harriet better than Alfhild.

Anna, Sigrid, Dorothea, ca 1880

Given what we now know we can identify the two girls in the photo with their mother as Anna, born 1875, and Dorothea, born 1877. 

Dick at age 11 with his sister, Anna, age 21, ca 1896
Alfhild, age 22 and Dick, age 27, ca 1912

Infant or childhood mortality was about 50% during this time period however in the family above it was slightly higher with only three of the eight known children surviving to adulthood.  Dick’s remembrances of his life in Norway hint that the family was very poor most of the time and that could help explain the deaths especially if the children were not getting enough to eat or not enough of the right kind of nutrition.  Also I noticed that two of the children Dorothea, the second child, and Didrik Leonard, the fifth child, both died in March 1885 suggesting that a childhood illness of some sort may have caused their deaths. 

Child with Gjertrud Pedersdatter Raae:

10.    Gjert Didriksen, born 5 December 1889.  Gjert lived to adulthood, married and had children.

Gjert Didriksen with his family
[photo:  courtesy of Johanne Sognnæs]

Child with Malene Dorothea Johannesen:

11.    Andrea Judithe Thomssen, born 4 September 1902

Children with Berte Olsen:

12.    Dora Thomssen, born 30 April 1907
13.    Ragnhild Thomssen, born 7 April 1910

It is not known at the present time if these three girls lived to adulthood, married and had children. 

There could very well be other children besides the one missing son that we have not found yet.  Dick’s daughter, Didrik’s granddaughter, mentioned that one of the things Dick did not like about his father was the more or less constant womanizing and infidelity.  Dick did not have much affection or respect for his father but he did love his mother very much.  It must have been difficult for a young boy to see his mother work so hard and suffer much because of his father’s behavior.  

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