Larsen and Meyer Families of Denmark and North America

Last update of page: 16 August 2009.

The Larsen/Meyer family line is that of Ingeborg Larsen, mother of my maternal grandfather, John Barclay Estrup, a Danish immigrant to Western Canada. We have also included further information here on subsequent generations of Bruuns, US descendents of Ingeborg Larsen, as these American cousins and second cousins are still in touch with our family.

Capt. Arentzen --- m. --- "KMA" (at least one child)


Abraham Meyer, b. ca. 1800 --- m. --- Arentzen (at least one child)


Theodore Larsen, b. 1842 --- m. --- Caroline Meyer b.1844 (3 children, including Ingeborg and Merla)


Julius B. Estrup, b. 1861 --- m. --- Ingeborg Larsen (4 children, including John Barclay Estrup)

Svend Bruun, b. 1903 (son of Merla Larsen, sister of Ingeborg) --- m. --- Mildred Dalrymple (2 children)

Clarke Russ, b. 1931 --- m. --- Rinda Bruun (4 children)

Capt. Arentzen

The earliest information we have on this branch of the family is of Capt. Arentzen, who was married to "KMA", presumably, K. M. Arentzen. What we know of KMA comes down through the wonderful story of her ivory fan. The fan is beautiful, intricately carved and has the initials "KMA" carved into the design. It has been passed on through six generations from mother to daughter. It passed from "KMA" to her daughter Arentzen (wife of Abraham Meyer) to Caroline Meyer to Ingeborg Estrup to Karen Paaskesen and finally to Ingeborg Møberg, who is now in possession of it. Marg, Bill, and Douglas Graham were shown the fan in a visit to Denmark in 2000 and we have a photo of it.

The following story of the fan was written by Merla Bruun (née Larsen, sister of Ingeborg Larsen) in New York in 1953 when she was about 81 (5).

"My great-grandfather's name was Arentzen, he came from a well-known family. He was a navy captain and commanded his own ship in the beginning of the 19th century during the Napoleonic war (1811), in which Denmark for some time was on the side of France against England. He was a privateer, who had received a letter of marque from the Danish King Christian VII's son, Crown Prince Christian, who reigned because his father was mentally ill.

His ship was armed and he was allowed to board any English commercial ships he met on the high seas. He brought the ivory fan home from China, on which he had his wife's - my great-grandmother's initials engraved. He was the tallest man of the navy, whereas his wife was so small that she had to sit on a chest when she plaited his braid (a common custom for men to wear at that time).

Take good care of the fan.

My grandmother (Arentzen) - i.e. his daughter, told us often about him. Most probably his ship went down and he lost his life during one of his trips to the Far East. But because my grandmother did not get any news about what had happened, she hoped for a long time that he would come back. I loved my Grandmother so much, she died when I was 6 years old [abt. 1878]."

Nothing else is known of Capt. Arendsen and his wife, except that they had at least one daughter, who would later marry Abraham Meyer (see next section).

Margaret Graham has in her possession photocopies of a book on the early privateer vessels. There are illustrations of the ship
Amaria, captained by Andreas Schaltz, shipowner J. C. Arentzen. This information from about 1809. The book is England’s War Histories 1801-1814 by Lars Lindeberg, Copenhagen, 1974 (approximate translation of Danish name).

Abraham Meyer

The first known man in this branch of the family was Abraham Meyer. He was born in the early 1800s. In his time, Abraham Meyer was apparently (4) a major shipowner and shipbuilder in Denmark. He married a daughter of Capt. Arentzen, as noted above. She died in about 1866 (3) or, based on the fan story above, in about 1878, which is when Merla would have been 6.

They were apparently both Jewish (4). An effort has been made by Poul Estrup to find original source material on him and his family through the synagogue in Copenhagen but such access has not been provided (6). At the web site of the Church of Latter Day Saints (www. there are several Abraham Meyers from Copenhagen whose marriage dates (17 August 1814, 21 April 1822, and 13 October 1845) could be a match with our Abraham. All three of these marriages were in the "Mosiac Congregation, Copenhagen". Mosiac means Jewish, apparently.

Number of children of Abraham Meyer is not known but they had at least one daughter, Caroline Sophie Amalie Meyer, b. 1844, who would marry Theodore Larsen (see next section). We have copies of photos of Abraham Icaks (name according to Poul Estrup) Meyer, and his wife Arentzen (Poul Estrup has the original photos).

Daniel Theodore Larsen, b. 1842

Daniel Theodore Larsen is the first known member of our Larsen family. He was b. 1842 in Copenhagen. He was in the Marines in an administrative position. We have a copy of a Royal notice (3), dated 20 January 1880, citing 15 workers in The Ministry who have given 25 years of excellent service to the Ministry, of whom one is "No. 39, Daniel Theodor Larsen for his work as clerk".
He married Caroline Sophie Amalie Meyer, b. 1844, in Copenhagen. They had three children, considered in the next section. We also have copies of photos of Caroline and her husband, Daniel Larsen (Rinda Russ has the original photos).

According to (10), the Larsen family lived at #17 Suensongade. This house was part of a naval housing community that King Christian IV designed for his navy in the 1760's. These were long rows of one story small houses joined together. Around the beginning of the 1800's they became available for the general public. The houses were called "Nyboder" (new homes) and today there is a museum there and a Nyboder Association that consists of members who have a connection with the Nyboder. The museum apparently has displays of typical living areas. Holman's Church is in the near vicinity and probably was the family church. The house (but not the museum) were visted by D. Graham and family in August 2009; a photo will be added here.

We don't know when the Larsen family moved in to this home. We know that Daniel Theodor developed a brain tumour and at times he thought he was the Emperor of Russia (4). When he died in 1880, Caroline moved the family to Vestrup (10). Caroline died between 1898 and 1901.

Ingeborg Larsen, b. 1869, and Siblings

The three known children of Theodore Larsen and Caroline Meyer Larsen, presumably all born in Copenhagen, are the following:

1) Ingeborg Kirstine Elisabeth Amalie Larsen, b. 18 Dec. 1869 in Copenhagen. She married Julius Benedict Estrup on 24 March 1891 in St. Matthews Church, Copenhagen. He was a student theologian and many families in Copenhagen invited the students to their home for a meal. He had been invited to the Larsen home where he first met Ingeborg. It was "love at first sight, just as though there was an electric shock between them". They planned to marry after his final exams. However he had to do substitute teaching to earn a bit of money and this continually interfered with his studies and the final exam was repeatedly put off. They decided in the end to get married even though he had not graduated (7).

Not a lot is known about Ingeborg. She was a tiny woman, weighing only 93 pounds when she married. She was trained to be an opera singer and gave her debut performance at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. She was obliged to give up performing in opera when she married a Minister. She was also a gifted pianist and artist (4).

Pastor Estrup's first parish was on the Island of Mors, at Ljørslev-Ørding, where he remained for eleven years. The last three of their children were born there but she developed a serious kidney infection after the birth of the third child, Johannes. This condition continued to plague her for the rest of her life and she was never really well again. They eventually moved to Struer. Further information on Pastor Estrup and all the information on their four children, including Douglas Graham's grandfather, Johannes, is in the Barclay Estrup chapter.

She was a confirmed Lutheran and even when her husband took to extreme fundamentalism, while they were on the Island of Mors, she still supported him. He had to do a lot of travelling as he was in great demand as a speaker, but Ingeborg remained at home due to ill health but also to be with the children. She was obliged to do a lot of entertaining and to see that her home was always open to the parishioners day and night. A minister's wife had to be everything for everyone. Pastor Estrup wanted to teach the children himself at home but he ultimately did not have the time for this. They then hired a private tutor but this did not work out and so Ingeborg taught the children languages and the joy of music and they all learned to play musical instruments or sang. The children finally were sent to private schools. She was probably somewhat of a buffer between her children and her husband's strict religious rules, values, and morals (7).

In Denmark, the ministers and the Lutheran Church were government supported. The minister's salary was usually very good and they always had a house supplied. They were usually considered "well off". They always had at least one maid and usually two maids in the home. Poul Estrup owns a lovely little English "finger bible", among other things, that belonged to his grandmother, Ingeborg Estrup. She spoke and read English. After her husband died she moved to a Government supported "Home for Widowed Ministers' Wives" with her unmarried daughter Elsa. She died 18 November 1946 of cancer, and was buried beside her husband at Farsø.

2) Merla ("Baba") Jensine Larsen, b. July 25 1872. On 8 October 1899 she m. Valdemar Johannes Bruun, b. December 27 1873. There is much information on the Bruun and Becker families (particularly a long line of pharmacist Beckers) from which Valdemar is descended, going back to the mid-1500s (1, 2).

Pastor Estrup performed the marriage ceremony for his sister-in-law in the Ljørslev Church, Jutland. Valdemar was an accountant and office manager. They had two boys, considered in the following section. Valdemar died August 30 1930. After the death of her husband, Merla appeared to be at death's door and her doctor suggested that she should go to America to spend the last months of her life with her sons Carl and Svend. However, this frail and dying lady of 58 years thrived in New York and lived for another 30 years! She lived with Carl as he was the only one married and with a home. Svend also lived with them for four years, as he was unmarried and unemployed when he first arrived in New York. It was very crowded in the small three bedroom town house. Merla died April 23, 1959 (1).

3) Olaf Theodor(e?) Larsen, b. 2 Feb 1879 in Copenhagen. We have a copy of his birth certificate. He was confirmed on 1 October 1893 (1). He married Anna. He graduated on 30 September 1898; we have a copy of his diploma, all in Latin, but unfortunately neither the university nor his subject is mentioned. According to John Barclay (4), he supposedly inherited most of his mother's money, a legacy of the rich Abraham Meyer. He was only supposed to receive the interest from the estate but somehow managed to obtain the full amount. He is purported to have spent all the money. He became editor of a farming journal. He had two children (4):

1. Ingeborg, who married a gardener from Copenhagen and died in Gentofte, Denmark in 1993.
2. Paul who was in "a good position in Copenhagen" (6).

Svend Bruun, b. 1903, and his Brother Carl

The two children of Merla and Valdemar Bruun were:

1) Carl Johannes Bruun, b. July 28 1900, in Copenhagen. Carl emigrated to the US in 1921. He married 11 September 1926 to Marie Olivia Louise Jorgensen, a New Yorker of Danish descent, b. December 27 1902 in New York. She had a very good singing voice and sang solos in the church. Merla was a pianist and she and Olivia used to play and sing together. Carl was Manager of the Export Deparment of Schenker & Co. until 1933 when he took a similar position with American Union Transport Inc., where he became Export Manager (9). He and Olivia were very active in the Danish church in Brooklyn, and he served for many years as the President of the Congregation. Carl died October 8 1963 of a heart attack. Olivia died March 3 1970 (1). They had two daughters:
1. Alice Merla Bruun.
2. Caryl Jeanne.

2) Svend Walther Bruun, b. 1903 in Copenhagen. He attended the University of Mittwieda in Germany. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1926 and married in 1935 to Mildred Marie Dalrymple, b. 1904. They had first met in a church in Indiana and were engaged for five years but could not marry until Svend had a good job. Mildred used to write a letter to Svend every week from Indiana. He was the first Consultant Lighting Engineer in the US. During WW II he designed a special device to fit on portholes of the carrier ships. It allowed for proper ventilation but was completely sealed for light as the carriers had to travel blacked-out to avoid German U-boats. This was an important contribution to the war effort. He designed the lighting for the Consolidated Edison Co. Building and other New York buildings. He designed the lighting for the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Later he also designed the hanging Alabaster lamps for the main lobby and for the outside of the Capitol. Those lights were in use for many years afterwards. He did the lighting for the new Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City. His great pride was for the lighting he did at the New York World's Fair of 1939, which included underwater floodlights around the famous Perisphere. In the early days, builders would complete a new building and then discover that their lighting was inadequate. Svend would then be called in to correct the lighting (pers. comm., Svend Bruun). Both Carl and Svend were active in the Boy Scouts in the 1930s; Stephen Bruun has a signed letter from President Hoover to Svend and his troop in 1933 (8).

They retired to Camden, Maine, in 1970 and lived there, in their own home, until 1999. Mildred died December 16 1998 (8) and toward the end of the year, Svend moved to live near his daughter Rinda. Svend died March 14 2000 (8). They had two children, Rinda and Svend, covered in next section.

Rinda Bruun, b. 1935, and her Brother Svend

The two children of Svend and Mildren Bruun were:

1) Rinda Lou Bruun.

2) Svend Walther Bruun Jr.


The Larsen text for the original "A Family Reunion" of July, 1982 was written by Douglas Graham drawing heavily on information collected from his grandfather, John Barclay Estrup. The version that appears here however was completely rewritten by Margaret Graham in August 1998 and then again extensively revised by her in October 2001.


(1) William and Margaret Graham's notes from 1994, based on personal interviews with Alice Schou, Caryl Strand, and Rinda Russ. Alice Schou (née Bruun), provided a copy of the English translation of the history of the Bruun family. Caryl Strand (née Bruun) provided copies of documents and photos. Rinda Russ (née Bruun) provided photos and letters. From 1994 to 2001 other information has been provided from these sources, particularly Rinda Russ (letters and pers. comm. with both Marg Graham and Douglas Graham). (2) Essay by William Graham (1994) on Becker and Bruun genealogy based on books in possession of Alice Schou (text to which this footnote refers is only in private files). (3) Ingeborg Møberg, pers. comm., mostly in 2000 and earlier letters and communications. (4) Family stories provided mostly in about 1980 by John and Gudrun Barclay to Douglas Graham. (5) The fan letter was written on 14 October 1953 by Merla Bruun, from New York, and sent to Karen Paaskesen in Denmark. Ingeborg Møberg has the original, Marg Graham has a copy. The version above in English is a translation by Ingeborg Møberg. (6) Pers. comm. with Poul Estrup, mostly in 2000: he graciously provided many photographs, copies of documents, and letters. (7) "Hjemliv og Trosliv", the book about the life of Julius Benedict Estrup (see Estrup Chapter). (8) Pers. comm. with Stephen Bruun (ID-66) in December 2001, and November 2002. (9) Pers. comm. with Caryl Bruun (ID-67), including comments from her sister Alice, in November 2002. (10) Pers. comm. with Rinda Russ (with Margaret Graham) 30 March 2004.