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Lene Dræby Kottal

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Lene Dræby Kottal on Twitter
Lene Dræby Kottal on Twitter




Blog about Genealogy in Denmark


Odense, Denmark

Tell us a bit about your genealogy/family history journey

I began researching my family history when I was seventeen. At first I focused on my paternal line, but I soon discovered the joy of taking to my maternal grandmother about her childhood and youth. She loved telling stories and loved listening to them. In retrospect, it would have been good to have notes from those chats, but I don’t think it would have been same for my grandmother if I had been taking notes or if I had asked to tape the stories. We were confidants and she shared information with me, which she never even told her daughters. She gave depth to my genealogy journey.

Favorite food or beverage

Danish Christmas dinner with duck roast, pork roast with cracklings, white potatoes, caramelized potatoes, and brown sauce.

Surnames of interest

 Kottal, Dræby, Kristiansen, Söderlund, Wikstedt, Juhl, and Hansen.

If you could meet one person from your family tree that died before you were born, who would it be and why?

I would like to meet my great-great-great-grandmother Dorthe Magrete Rasmusdatter (1829-1861). She was a farmer’s daughter, who had a child out of wedlock, reportedly with a customs officer. I want to know their story, how they met, whether they met more than once, and how it was for her to have a child out of wedlock. I want to know what it was like to be a woman at that time. And I would like to know her cause of death, because she was only 32 when she died. 

Genealogy pet peeve

That records and photographs, which could be useful for genealogists, are still being destroyed. I understand that everybody doesn’t share my passion for genealogy, but please don’t throw out photos and documents from an estate. Please, give it to the local archives if you don’t want it!

Favorite place where you’ve traveled

From a genealogy perspective, it is Prášily in the Czech Republic, where my great-grandfather Maximilian Kottal was born.

From a genealogy/family history research perspective, what would you have done differently?

Nothing. I have made my share of mistakes, but I’ve learned from them, so I don’t see them as a bad thing. Realistically, I could not have spoken to my other three grandparents about their family stories, because one died before I was born and the other two when I was a child.

What are you currently working on and what’s next?

 I am learning Czech, because I want to go back to Prášily and be able to talk the locals, which I couldn’t last time. Research-wise I am focused on the Czech part of my family to find as much as I can about Maximilian, his siblings, parents, uncles and aunts, before I go back.

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