Flemming Holm’s History of the Holm and Birkholm Families

Introduction by Heather Holm

My father finished writing his family history and memoirs, entitled Temporary Assignments, in 2000, and sent printed copies to various family members.

I am editing parts of it to post here. The first chapters deal with the history of the family in Denmark, and I want to make it available to my cousins in Denmark, Canada and elsewhere. Putting it into a website format allows me to match photos with the stories.

Note that the manuscript was written in 2000, and some people mentioned have died since. Where I know the date of death, I have added a note in square brackets, e.g. [d. 2004].

Dad didn’t keep a digital copy of his manuscript, so I am scanning the printed pages with OCR (optical character recognition) and proofreading the resulting text. If you see any errors, please let me know. (Contact page)

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.

Besides family, the document may be of interest to students of social history. It tells a lot about living conditions and family relations in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the motivations for emigration at the time. How did families evolve during and after the industrial revolution? What character traits were remembered and passed down through a family’s oral history? What roles were played by personal traits such as alcoholism, business acumen, general health and robustness, in a life?

Note that there are spelling differences in different sources: Povlsen/Poulsen, Kristian/Christian, some of which may have been altered by a trans-Atlantic crossing.

Heather Holm

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 The older, formal word “Fader” is obsolete, unless one is speaking of God.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