This photo is from about 1929 in Denmark, The two children in the background are Ardis and Carsten. In the forground is Jens Jensen, Gerda’s (Tenus’s wife’s) father. They are digging peat bricks for burning for heat and cooking (see story below).

Find following an exchange of emails from someone who saw this photo online.
“Conny” <[email protected]> wrote:

I came in on your web site lookin for some of my family they also used to live at Bolleskov near Dronninglund in Vendsyssel But sadly I did not find a link to You (Had You been my family problems would have been solved) I am looking for Ole Kristian Kristiansen b.9-9 1878 in Morkholt Led i Bolleskovson of Ole Christian Christiansen again son of Christian Pedeersen and Johanne Olesdatter.

Why I write to you was about one of the photos. You write they were making bricks.

If you mean bricks to make houses of then it is not that. But Your wording of the word mite mean differently over in America from Here in Scotland where I now live (I am born in Denmark). What they are making on the photo is they are drying “torv” they have dug up from “mosen”. There were many moser around in Vendsyssel My fathers uncle used to make his own “torv”, Peat in English. I have seen them laying to dry and the holes they dug them out from.So it is peat not bricks they were making on your photo. Hope You do not mind “I am a girl far far from home. “Ole Kristian Kristiansen went in 1902 on the ship “Island” from Aalborg to America with his wife and doughter but I have not been able yet to find more about them.



Conny from Scotland

Keith wrote:
Thank you for the photo and information. It is letters like yours that make the project fun, thank you! I got the information about “bricks” from my 70 year old aunt, who was a child in the photo. It sounds like you know more about it than she does. I will correct the information on that page. What did people use peat for? Here I only use peat to improve the soil in my garden.


“Conny” wrote:
To burn to give heat, to use under the pots in the stoves, and in the “kakkelovens”, The ovens in the houses that gave out heat. Peat was not “Crumbes” like the things you put in your garden. They were cut in squares as they could. Like coal.But not hard like coal. You must know we used iron stowes in the small cottages in Denmark? And when my family mooved into a compleatly new tenement flat in each flat were a “Kakkelovn” 1947 (But they were exchanged with radiators in the 1960ties)

(The name kakkel means tile, But they were thicker more like “stone” in texture but they could be all sort of coulours). In Germany and also in the south of Denmark I have seen those impressive original Kakkelovne The botttom part where you put coal, peat or wood into to burn was iron but from about one meter up and from ther up to the cealing were a structure covered in beautifull “tiles”

So from those many ovens with teigls, the name “kakkeloven” was given to all ovens even the only kakler on those might be the once to fill in the space between the oven and the wall ) I am sure I somewhere have a picture where you can see a little of our kakkelown. If i can find it i will attach it (we are mooving and a lot is allready in boxex but I will try)

Anyway next to those kakkelovne and next to the kitchen rings (You must have seen those black kitshen stowes where food used to be prepared on in the kitchen in Denmark have You not?) They had rings of iron on the flat top you removed them and made the hole smaler or biger depending on how much heat you needed. and on the size of the pot at the side were an oven build in and also a square space you filled with water and there were a tap connected to this “room” it was filled with water so you all ways had warm water.

There next to them i remember out in the countryside were big wikkerbaskets with peat in Like the once on your photo for burning. It was used like coal but coal would last longer. Peat I presume must be the same as coal just not being in the ground for so many hundred’s of year as coal and not so compressed does it not make sense? Peat was dug just under the soil surface and the pits about 2 meter deep where I saw them. I heard when i was down in Norfolk where my son is a doctor that the Danes came there and tought them how to dig peat.years and years ago

It is strange to think how your family and mine might have known each other from Bolle Skov. Do you mind me asking do you in your family have some people with darker skin from that Danish line? My mothers family from that area her father was wery dark skinned. I see dark and fiair headed on your family gatherings.

Have a nice day “Put a bit on peat on your fire ther is a “nib” in the air up here in Neilston today

Conny from Scotland

PS Is there not a placve called Borglum Kloster up there in Vendsyssel?

You know I am new to all this with a computer and I am 55 I have done most research into my family and found out about Elisabeth Keiser who came to Denmark as a 19 year old went to her place of birth in Germany her brother GRANDCHILD OF 90 STILL LIVED THERE SHE COULD NOT SEE US BUT WE MET HER SON AND SO STRANGE HE WAS SO LIKE A BROTHER WHO HAD DIED 4 YEARS EARLIER IN VOICE IN LOOKS AND THE WAY HE USED HIS ARMS WHEN HE SPOKE. It is her son and family from her second marriage I am trying to find over “Your” way.

-Conny <[email protected]> for kakkeloven info

Pictures of kakkelovens: