Petersen Children


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Gerhart, Elma, Gerhart, Leo and Elma.


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Immigrant Babes

Gerhart Petersen, born in 1903 in Hjallerup parish, Hjørring County, to Senius and Jensine “Sena” Petersen.

Elma (born 1905) and Gerhart (1903) the two oldest children of Senius & Jensine “Sena” Petersen. Senius emigrated in 1905; after earning their fare he sent for Sena and the children, who came on the S/S Hellig Olavthe following year. The family settled in the Jacksonville area of Shelby County, Iowa. The photo was probably taken shortly after their arrival. Four months later baby Elma died and was buried on her 1st birthday.

Leo Petersen (1915), the youngest child of Senius & Jensine Petersen, with a family pet.

Elma Petersen (1907), named for her baby sister who had died the previous year, and sister Inez (1909), the first American-born children of Senius and Jensine Petersen. They grew up on farms near Redline and Jacksonville, Iowa.


  • Gerhart Petersen. Photograph courtesy of Lyle & Wava Petersen.

  • The Petersen family. Photograph courtesy of Lyle & Wava Petersen.

  • Leo Petersen with a pet. Photograph courtesy of Lyle & Wava Petersen.

  • The Petersen girls. Photograph courtesy of Lyle & Wava Petersen.


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