Copenhagen Part Two

It was my firm intention to write and publish this post within days of part one. However, anyone who actually knows me will confirm that for me, firm is quite a flexible word. Anyway, here we are and I would like to take you back to Copenhagen right now.

From the moment we arrived in the city we felt great. Copenhagen has a vibrant and welcoming feel which inspired a sense of optimism and self-awareness few places have these days. In certain areas it reminded me of London in the early days of this millennium, when I lived there.

One of the kids priorities on the trip was a visit to Tivoli Gardens. It was wonderful.

As we exited the main station into the early evening September air we came face to face with Tivoli Gardens, our eyes lit up as we looked forward to our time there later on our visit. We wandered the streets towards our hotel, my mind already wondering did my ancestors walk here? Did they look on at the wonders of Tivoli? Safe to say the city already cast a spell on me.

One of the first stops on the trip was St Petri the church of the German Lutheran Community at the time of my x3 Great Grandparents, Rudolf and Florentina, and still a thriving hotspot of German culture in Copenhagen today. I tried to make contact with the church before my visit as it would’ve been really good to speak with someone in more detail but despite being a very active community online, they really weren’t great at responding. Despite this, I did manage to have a brief chat with a very helpful volunteer who was able to give a general overview of the history of the site. It was particularly useful to learn which elements of the building were different from at my ancestors time.

St Petri Kirch in Copenhagen, the exterior of the building is likely close to what my ancestors would have seen. It is impressive and inviting.

This brings me on to an area of the church site which wouldn’t have changed much since their time, the crypt area. Like I did for Emilie in a previous blog, I developed a soft spot for another ancestor, Rudolf and Florentina’s daughter Bertha, who died in very young infancy. Her baptism and death records both present in the online church archives.

It seems Bertha was baptised in March but died in July. Like so many who died in infancy it would be easy for her to be lost to memory and so I am ever thankful to be able to talk about her here. To say her name, Bertha Schulz, to say she lived, no matter how short a time, she is part of my family. So when we went into the crypt, although I cannot say for sure she was buried there, and imagine she most likely was not, the fact there is a chance she might be, and certainly her funeral was here, felt good emotionally. That I could be there in that space to pay my respects to her is special to me. This is what I love about family history, it allows for the emotional connection in a way other forms of heritage tend to avoid.

The crypt of St Petri was quite big, and I’m so glad we got the chance to be there.

It was really nice to see my children playing in the little park beside the church. Especially after the crypt and reflecting in Bertha, to watch them, so full of life, always a pleasure. It also made me think of just how wonderfully rich and diverse their own family history is, I hope they find as much interest in it as I do. I encourage them to listen to their grandparents and one remaining great grandparent, because their stories matter.

After the church, we made our way across the city to Havnegade which is where the building in which the Schultz family lived, at least at the time of the 1880 census, a building which is still standing! Even though we were not able to arrange to go inside it was still so exciting because so few of the buildings connected to this part of my family, both in Germany and England, still exist. So to have this 100% definite address for them, and for it to still be there was wonderful.

As we walked over to this part of the city, we fell in love ever more deeply with Copenhagen, it really is a fabulous place. With or without this family connection, I felt instantly, and increasingly at home with every step.

There was plenty time to fun en route to Havnegade

And so, we approached the building. It was impressive. I should point out that according to the census return my family occupied the basement apartment, not the whole building. Still, compared to the terraced houses close to the port of Hull they lived in, this was so beautiful. So, even though I’d have loved to go inside, and perhaps I’ll get the chance still, because I’m not done with Copenhagen yet, it truly felt amazing to stand in their doorstep, to know they really did walk the very same street, saw the same buildings and existed at the same place. These are the things which drive my research, of course I want facts, and evidence, but for me, it’s more about the emotional connection I feel to these people. Never have I felt it more than when I stood at their door.

Outside my x3 great grandparents apartment in Copenhagen.

I found nothing new about Rudolf in Copenhagen but feel this trip was, in the end, about Bertha. I paid my respects to her, imagined the pain felt by Rudolf and Florentina. As for my Rudolf research it was the Copenhagen census which gave me a clue to his origin city of Stralsund in northern Germany. So tonight I write this blog from a hotel room overlooking Hamburg Nord, Saturday I travel to Stralsund to see what I can discover. Hamburg itself will be interesting tomorrow, I am fairly confident it would’ve been from here the Faller sisters sailed to Hull. My plan tomorrow is the maritime museum and the port area. Wish me luck.

Adam. Hamburg, Germany 9/2/23


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