Temporary Assignments

Flemming Holm’s History of the Holm and Birkholm Families

In 2000, Flemming Holm finished writing his family history and memoirs entitled Temporary Assignments, and sent printed copies to various family members. I am editing parts of it to post here.

So far, I have posted the first chapters which deal with the history of the family in Denmark. The website format allows me to match photos with the stories, so even if you have a copy of the history, you may enjoy seeing this illustrated version. The next section, in process, deals with my grandparents’ emigration from Denmark and their first years in Canada.

Some people mentioned have died since 2000. Where I know the date of death, I have added a note in square brackets, e.g. [d. 2004].

My father had a particular interest in the health conditions that may have been passed down through the family, and noted them in his history.

As he didn’t keep a digital copy of his manuscript, I have had to scan the pages with OCR (optical character recognition) and edit the resulting text. If you see any errors, please let me know. (Contact page)

Heather Holm, October 2014

Forward by Flemming Holm

I began to research my ancestry in earnest in the 1960s. Then I laid the matter on the shelf until my trip to Denmark in 1980. After my retirement in 1991 I bought a computer and started writing again.

Continue reading

I. Introduction

Islands have played an important part in our family history. In the Danish language the most common word for “island” is Ø (Sejerø, Strynø). A small island near a larger one may in that agricultural country be regarded as the … Continue reading

II. Our Bornholm Ancestors

The name Holm is common on Bornholm and in other parts of Scandinavia. The first Holm on Bornholm, of our ancestors, is said to have been a Norwegian sailor who jumped ship in 1705 and stayed on the Island. There … Continue reading

III. Four Generations of Bornholmere

Christian Holm and Anna Larsen, my grandparents (“Bedstefar and Bedstemor”) were married in 1887. At first they lived with his parents, and it was there that their first son was born. His grandmother in her wisdom made him a soother … Continue reading

IV. Far Remembers

“Far’ is the Danish word for ‘Dad” or “Father”. The older, formal word “Fader” is obsolete, unless one is speaking of God. Far’s earliest memory was of going with his father to the site where the community hall, “Frem” was … Continue reading

V. Mother’s Ancestors

In the archipelago south of Fyn (“the South-Sea Islands” of Denmark) lies a tiny, flat sliver of land, shaped like a birch leaf and known as Birkholm (Birch Island). Whether it got its name from its form or from the … Continue reading

VII. Mother and Dad and I In Denmark

Mother was born in Ydby, a village in Thy, north-west Jutland, on January 2, 1902, and was thus six months younger than Dad. In 1905 the family moved to Thisted, a small incorporated town on the Limfjord. There she started … Continue reading

VIII. Nova Scotia – The Homeless Years

(1) Loch Broom Faced with further unemployment and the care of a family, Dad began to think of emigrating. The Canadian Department of Agriculture and the Canadian National Railway painted rosy pictures of Canada as a land of milk and … Continue reading

IX. Growing up in Pictou County

(1) Family Friends and Social Events. When relatives on both sides of the family returned to Denmark the Danish friends we had made in the new land became all the more important. Svend Svendsen was born in 1906 in Djursland, … Continue reading