Monday, September 27, 2004

Family Time in Denmark

Before Ame & I met with her grandmother, Virgie, and began our journey to Denmark so as to meet some of the relatives Ame had only ever heard about, Virgie read to us from an email. It laid out something of an itinerary for meeting various familie over the first five or six days of the trip. It had a tongue in cheek line along the lines of, "by then you will have tired of the Danes and will want to do some sightseeing".

That was all very amusing, but even though these are not my blood relatives, and I had really not even heard of any of the individuals, I did not tire of the Danes. I found them all extremely warm and hospitable, and enjoyed their company very much.

For me, the highlight of the trip was a dinner at a Copenhagen restaurant called Pedersen's. It is not far from the center of the city, located around the corner from the zoo. 33 relatives came from all over Denmark and even from Germany and Norway to share a meal and good cheer with their distant American cousins. Dining at this location was sentimentally important to Ame. Now that she has eaten at Pedersen's, six generations of Langmacks have done so.

I marvelled at how this extended family has kept in touch, considering the family tree. The connection between Ame and the Danes is her great-granfather, Holger Langmack. Holger and his wife emigrated to the US in the early 1920's, leaving five brothers and sisters behind. One of Holger's sisters married into the Glenthoj family. It was the Glenthoj's we were meeting. It can be hard enough keeping in touch with your siblings and the next generation sometimes. It is remarkable how the third generation after Holger's siblings are keeping in touch.

The Langmack US-Denmark connection remained strong. Holger Langmack is credited with starting the first Boy Scout troop in Denmark. Holger's son, Ame's grandfather Sven Langmack, was the Royal Danish Consulate in Cleveland. Now Sven's son, Ame's uncle Chris Langmack, is the Danish Consulate in Cleveland.

Chances are that with visits like these, the connection will remain strong. At Pedersen's, there was a call for a show of hands for all of those who had been to the US and stayed with Sven and Virgie in Cleveland. About 80% of the hands went up. Now they have a new destination, as everyone has been invited to stay with Ame & I here in Indiana.


Anonymous said...

I have been doing some research into my family tree and found that my great-great-grandfather's (Jonas Pedersen) obituary mentions Holger Langmack:

"Holger Langmack of New York University, formerly of the Hutchinson High School, and his sister, Miss Anna Elizabeth Langmack, of the Normal School at Ribe, Denmark, who was a recent visitor in Hutchinson [Minnesota] are grandchildren of Mr Peterson's brother."

I came across your site when doing a search to find out more about the Pedersen family.

B. Patrick said...

I remember Holger spending a lot of loving time on me as a child. His patience seemed to be limitless when teaching even the simplest tumbling lesson. He was amazing! As a child I new him as Uncle Holger. He was my great uncle. Brian