Sunday, January 27, 2019

Where in the World are Jens and Katrina Jensen?

The Christensen sisters, Laura and Katrina, are proving to be some of the biggest challenges I've had as a family historian.  After weeks of trying to track Laura after her divorce, I've come to the conclusion it's much like trying to nail smoke to the wall.  Sometimes she's Laurine.  Sometimes she's Laura.  Sometimes she's Lorraine.  And she doesn't stay put, either.  I thought I'd give myself a break and see what I could find out about her sister, Katrina Jensen.

She seemed to live a nice, tidy life through the 1920 census, when she and her husband Jens owned a bakery in Omaha, Nebraska.  The next thing you know is it's 1930 and she is a widow living in Los Angeles, doing alterations for a department store.  She did appear as a witness to her sister's marriage in 1924 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, so it was probably after that time that she went to California.

Thank goodness for city directories... when they are intact and complete, that is.  Unfortunately, Ancestry's Los Angeles directories for the period 1925-1934 are incomplete.  Each of these directories is missing huge chunks, all of which include the "Jensen" listings.

Starting in 1935, I was able to find some information.  Katrina, unfortunately, used different names on various documents.  She was born Ane Katrine, but was unknown as Katrina, Catherine, and Anna Catherine, Anna C., and all of these variations with the common surname of Jensen.  Thank goodness she had a daughter named Emilie, so I was able to find Emilie's listing and then go back and see if there was anyone with any of the variations listed at the same address.  But once Emilie married and had a residence with her husband, I was out of luck.   And it certainly did not help that Katrina moved every couple of years.

I checked every Los Angeles city directory available for each of her children, and then cross-checked by address for any Catherine or Anna Jensen that might have the same address.  I was able to find her in the 1936 and 1937 directories, but not after that.

I checked the 1940 census - every way I could think of - and could not find an entry for her.

The next time there's any definitive evidence of her is in December of 1946, when her brother mentions her in a letter as living in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.  The next (and last) time would be her death in August of 1968, in Los Angeles.  She was buried next her husband Jens, who died in... June of 1950???

Wait a minute...

She was a "widow" in 1930... 

I went back and checked every one of those directories again for Jens, and with multiple Jens Jensens, I again cross-checked the addresses of his children to see if he might be living with either of them.  No luck.

Were they divorced?  Maybe.  But if so, it was certainly amicable, as they are buried together, in the same lot, at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale.

I have spent so many hours on this, I don't even care to try to estimate them.  And I have more questions than I started with.  I think I'll do myself a favor and to back to working on Laura...

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