A friend of mine has the surname Tagholm. He knew it was Danish, but due to a family rift in his grandfather’s generation he had no records or information on his antecedents. He did, however, know that his grandfather had been born in America and had moved to Cardiff when he was a boy. Some years ago, a work colleague of his father’s had been to Denmark on holiday and had reported back that he had seen a place called “Tagholm”, which caused some interest in the Tagholm household. Some years on again, my friend decided to visit Denmark and, recalling the friend’s visit, he thought he’d pay Tagholm a visit. Examining various maps, he discovered there were actually three places called Tagholm. As it happened, he decided to visit the most convenient one to where his planned journey passed, which was the one on the peninsula of Romo, off the west cost of Jutland (which, in fact, was not the same Tagholm that his father’s friend had been to). When he got to the place, it turned out to be no more than an intersection of two small tracks. The only reason he knew it was Tagholm was because someone had painted the name “Tagholm” on a small rock, which was left on the floor by the cross roads. The area was virtually deserted except for a nearby one story dwelling, clearly very old, constructed in the traditional way, with a thatched roof, pink painted stucco walls and a grand central decorated door. The garden fence was comprised of bones (which turned out to be whale bones). My friend (whose name was Roger) knocked on the door of the cottage. The door was opened by an old lady, who evidently spoke no English. In order to convey the purpose of his visit, Roger showed the old lady his passport, with his surname Tagholm in it. This caused some excitement in the old lady, who conveyed that Roger should stay put whilst she contacted someone else. Presently, the old lady’s daughter appeared, and, thankfully she spoke fluent English. Miraculously, the daughter was also a keen genealogist and she had an in depth knowledge of the history of Romo Island and its inhabitants. She explained that there had once been quite a few Tagholms living in the immediate area, with the last one, a Limanda Tagholm dying in the 1970’s. Her own family, the Petersens, had even inter-married with the Tagholms over the years. She explained to Roger how the Tagholms were seafarers and especially whalers and that was where the whale bone fence had come from. She also had detailed family trees which showed how some of the Tagholms had eventually emigrated to America in the 19th century. Then she revealed that one mystery was what had happened to a certain Christian Tagholm who had emigrated from America to Cardiff in the early 20th century. This, of course, was Roger’s grandfather. Once this was established, Roger was shown a wealth of documents, photographs and letters, all relating to his great grandparents and their life of whaling and on Romo. He even saw the family bible, left in one of the old cottages which had once been occupied by his ancestors, who had signed their names. He also visited the church where his great grandfather had married his great grandmother. Later, Roger visited the American Tagholms in Washington state (where there was even a street called Tagholm). And all this had come out a chance observation those years before by his father’s work colleague.
Date submitted:Thu, 09 Feb 2012 17:51:59 +0000Coincidence ID:5971