Danish Berkahn Ancestors


As part of the recent update to my Family Tree on RootsWeb WorldConnect (16,270 people), Danish ancestors of the New Zealand Berkahn family were included.

Preben G. Kristensen from Denmark contacted me regarding the Berkahn family tree. Preben lives in Denmark in the area where Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN and his wife Inga Maria LARSDATTER were living before migrating to New Zealand in 1874.

Preben has been documenting family in Denmark and around the world. Information he has collected can be viewed at The Gravgaard family and other of our relatives website, in both English and Danish.

Following contact with Preben I have been able to add ancestors of Inga Maria LARSDATTER to the family tree on RootsWeb, dating back to the 16th century.   Inga Maria POULSEN‘s name was corrected to Inga Maria LARSDATTER in the update. Birth and christening information for her children born in Denmark was also added to RootsWeb.

Thanks Preben for sharing your information which I am sure family in New Zealand will find interesting.

Berkahn Photographs


These are reproductions of Berkahn family photographs that will be of interest to  Berkahn descendants. Source: Margaret Wallace.

Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN

Born 01 Sep 1832 in Denmark, migrated to New Zealand with his family in 1874, and settled at Makotuku (near Ormondville and Norsewood) where he farmed. He died 17 Sep 1916 in Dannevirke and was buried in Norsewood. Additional details at Rootsweb.

Image of Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN
Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN

Inga Maria POULSEN

Born 2 Sep 1843 in Denmark, married Franz Frederick Heinrich BERKAHN in 1859, and migrated to New Zealand in 1874.  She had twelve children and died at Makotuku in 1914. Inga was buried in Norsewood. Additional details at Rootsweb.

Image of Inga Maria BERKAHN - nee POULSEN
Inga Maria BERKAHN – nee POULSEN
Photo of Henry and Inga Berkahn
Henry and Inga Berkahn outside their Makotuku home

Wilhelm Franz Heinrich BERKAHN family

Wilhelm Franz Heinrich BERKAHN was the eldest child of Franz Frederick Heinrich and Inga Maria BERKAHN, born 14 Jul 1859 in Denmark.  He migrated to New Zealand in 1874 and in 1884 married  Anne Mary JENSEN.  The following photographs are of the couple and their children. Additional details at Rootsweb.

William and Anne Berkahn family - 1907
William and Anne Berkahn family – 1907

In the above photograph (left to right):

  • Back row: Christie (b 1890), Henry (b 1886), William (b 1892).
  • Middle row: Anne, Mary (b 1885), William, Gydine (a cousin).
  • Front row: Hazel (on knee, b 1906), Leslie (b 1899), Gladys (b 1901).
Photo of William and Anne Berkahn family - 1913
William and Anne Berkahn family – 1913

In the above photograph (left to right):

  • Back row: Gladys (b 1901), Leslie (b 1899), Henry (b 1886), Christie (b 1890), William (b 1892).
  • Front row: Anne, Hazel (b 1906), William, Mary (b 1885).
Sons of William and Anne Berkahn - 1913
Sons of William and Anne Berkahn – 1913 Leslie, Henry, William, Christie

Christie Berkahn (below) served with Wellington Mounted Rifles in Egypt. He was killed in action in July 1916.

Picture of Christopher Kolle BERKAHN
WWI Trooper Christopher Kolle BERKAHN (Christie)

Updates – April 2014


Updates have been added to my New Zealand Genealogy Project website.  Previous updates were in December 2013.

Genealogy Project Website Masthead

Changes and updates include:

  • Additional biographical details added for Frederick Ernest Trueman (1897-1903) and Norman Edward Trueman (1903-1903) based on newspaper reports of their deaths.
  • The Site Visitors page updated to include visitor details from Google Analytics for 2013, and statistics on the 25,000 visits over four years.
  • Additional family photo added to photo page for Christian August Berkahn.
  • Photographs of Alice Jones (1894-1981) and Walter Jones (1896-1980) added to page of Family notes for David Jones.
  • New page added to site with photograph of nurse Alice Jones (1894-1981).
  • An 1894 letter from Elizabeth McLaren (nee Duxfield) to her children, in case she died, added to her biographical notes. A photograph of Elizabeth’s notebook that contains the letter is shown below.
  • New photo of St Mary’s Matawai Anglican Church added to Matawai page, replacing a previous photo from Google.
  • New page added to site with historical photographs of the Gisborne to Motuhora (Moutohora) railway.
  • Menus and Site map page updated to include links to new pages.

People photographs were obtained during a recent visit to New Zealand. In a visit to Tairawhiti Museum in Gisborne, Dudley Meadows was very patient in looking for photos about Matawai I could use – a couple have been used for the page of photos from the Gisborne to Motuhora (Moutohora) railway.

Elizabeth Duxfield's notebook
Elizabeth Duxfield’s notebook. The 90 mm by 60 mm notebook is closed with an ivory pencil.

1942 Death – Christian Berkahn


In 1942 Christian A. Berkahn took his daughter and son-in-law to Makotuku railway station to catch the evening train to Woodville. After they had departed, he returned to his car to go home, but the battery was flat.  The car had been little used because of petrol rationing during WW2.  Christian cranked the car to get it started, but the car was in gear and it drove forward after starting, pushing him in front for 150 feet (46 m) through two fences. Christian was killed when he hit his head on a post as the car went through the second fence.

Picture of Christian
Christian Berkahn

A full account of the accident, from the Coroners inquest, is posted on my website – Chris Korte’s New Zealand Genealogy Project.