Six generations of Holfords

The backbone of this blog is my Holford ancestry, back to northern Germany (Denmark) in the late 1700s. The stories, however, are not just of the Holfords but the various individuals who have married into the line and the families from which they have originated. The stories of my ancestors is a story of northern Europe and the chart below gives a broad overview of their origins in Denmark, Germany, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium. All the lines lead to Australia, which is, of course, not in northern Europe at all.

And yet, nowadays I live with my wife and kids in Sweden, but Maria and I met in England, married in Sweden and have lived many years in Australia as well as Sweden. I think we see ourselves as more Australian than Swedish, although our children are, like me, perhaps just a little confused about their identity. We are what we are, and perhaps my obsessing about family history is an attempt to define where I have come from in an effort to know a little more of who I am.

Two hundred years of Holfords and their wives' families.
Two hundred years of Holfords and their wives’ families.

4 thoughts on “Six generations of Holfords

  1. In some ways to be Australian is to be something of a mongrel breed. We are “all” the product of other nations melded into something different. It’s interesting though how localised your ancestry is to the north of Europe.

  2. Dear Mr. Holdorf,
    I am Gesche Poggensee-Struck from Escheburg in Schleswig-Holstein. My ancestors were Jochim Hinrich Holtorf, born, 10. 7. 1757 in Heidmühlen /Klint (Klindt), died, 19.9. 1832 in Heidmühlen/Klint and his wife Maria Magdalena Hamann/Hagemann from Schmalfeld. Jochim Hinrichs parents were Hans Holdorf/Holtorp (1717-1790) and Christina Sophie Voigt (1720-1797). Hans parents were Hinrich Holdorf and Magdalene Göttsch.
    Jochim Hinrich and Maria had 10 children. One of them, Sophie Catharina Holdorf married 1830 Hans Göttsch (1804-1864). They had 5 children. Their son Joachim (Jochim) Hinrich (3.9.1837-5.5.1910) married Catharina Sophie Steenbock (7.5.1845-1920). They had 10 children. Their son Hans Hinrich Gustav Göttsch was my grand grandfather.
    When I surched for my ancestors, I found out, in the Chronik of Heidmühlen, that your ancestor Klaus Holtorf, who was married with Margaretha Köhnke, also was born in Heidmühlen. Bramstedt, Bimöhlen and Großenaspe were often named, because there they were registerd. The area commune or the church listed them as citicen or church member. In Heidmühlen there were many Holtorfs especialy on farm 1 (Klint, farm and inn with danceroom) and on farm 6. My ancestors arge form farm 1, named Klint. Perhaps, I am certenly sure, all Holtorfs in that area arge far members of one family.
    If you send me your email-adress, I can send you photos of the relevant sites of the Heidmühlen-Chronik.

    Please excuse my bad englisch!

    Friendly greatings from Gesche

  3. Hi Gesche! Thanks so much for writing. It’s exciting to make contact with some German relatives – no matter how distant. My ancestor Johann Holtorf came to Australia in the 1850s but I get the feeling that he left his German heritage well behind him. I have even wondered if he felt more Danish than German, but I am fairly sure that he spoke German, as did his wife, who was from Hesse (but born in Bavaria). I think he did not like the Prussians, who wanted all of the German states for themselves, and perhaps that is why he left for Australia. Some of his siblings seemed to have ended up in England, but I think at least one brother remained in Germany. That brother (Hans b.1822) surely has descendents (I believe he had four children) but I don’t know who they are or how to find them. Hans and Johann were both children of Klaus and Margareta, but Klaus married a second time after Margareta died, so Klaus had a second family. It is interesting to hear that Klaus was born in Heidmühlen where your ancestors also came from, and it seems likely that Klaus (b.1791) was related to your ancestor Sophie Catharina Holdorf. I have not heard of Heidmühlen before. I have visited Bimöhlen together with my father some years back, and also the other villages in the area that are part of the family story – Grossenaspe, Bad Bramstedt, Weimersdorf. Heidmühlen will have to wait for another visit. Which is difficult now we are living in Australia (we were living in Sweden up till 2 years ago). My email address is I would love to see any photos that might be relevant. Thanks again for writing. Your English, by the way, is excellent. I have no German at all (but I can speak Swedish)! Kind regards, David

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