Genealogical history is a process in itself. Luckily, sites such as and have taken great strides in locating and processing different types of record from all over the world, making them accessible to the hands of budding historians and genealogists alike. Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has also allowed me to have access to both sites at no charge.

In developing my family tree over the last decade, there has always been a link with a name, but without a story. There was a birth and death record, but outside of word of mouth, the account of marriage and therefore the family line that would eventually produce my father and his family name. Research has continuously led to dead ends, obituaries have failed to mention that man that is my great-grandfather, Holger Jacobsen.

Interest in Holger’s story grew when my grandfather passed this year. In his obituary, his mother and step father were mentioned, but any mention of his biological father, Holger, could not be found [1]. With this, I made it a mission to try to piece together how Holger, a man from Denmark, would come to meet a woman from a small rural town in Upstate New York.

Holger and Pauline would meet in Margaretville, NY

Holger Jacobsen was born in July 1918 in Assens, Denmark. He was the son of Rasmus Simon Jacobsen and Henrietta Rasmussen Askholm [2]. Beyond these facts, little could be found about Holger until recently. There was never a definitive answer regarding how Holger made it from Denmark to the United States to eventually father my patriarchal line. However, recently acquired access to more repositories of immigration and emigration data. This data offered more insight in Holger and his journey across the Atlantic.

Holger arrived at Ellis Island in 1929, an 11 year old boy. He arrived on the Oscar II with his family [3]. From this point, he would apparently move to the upstate region where in 1938, he would meet and marry Pauline Pangman in Margaretville, NY [4]. While this insight gave light to the meeting of my great-grandparents, the data also gave note to a solemn story of divorce, heartbreak, and separation.

While no divorce records could be found, in 1954 Holger would board a plane and fly back to Denmark [5]. While the details are scant, a story can be gathered, one of young love, marriage, and divorce. A tale that has been told many times, but in this case, a tale which is formative in my individual existence and a tale that I am willing to continue to piece together as time continues.


[1] The Post-Star; Publication Date: 29 Mar 2020; Publication Place: Glens Falls, New York, USA; URL:,0.3231857,0.65205365,0.6880955&xid=3355

[2] Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current

[3] Year: 1929; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 16; Page Number: 247

[4] New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index

[5] The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes Departing from New York, New York, 07/01/1948-12/31/1956; NAI Number: 3335533; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A4169; NARA Roll Number: 269