b. 1849 – d.1902
Caroline Blomquist [Karoline Kirstine Blomquist, formally Jensen, nee Sørensen]
Caroline was Danish, and although she and her family has been found in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 Danish censuses, the translated transcriptions do not give much more than the basic information of name, age, place of birth, marital status, and address. More information from the census forms might be gleaned by someone who can read Danish.
Karoline Kirstine Sørensen was born on 3 November 1849 in Thorup, Kolding, Vejle, Denmark. Kolding is a Danish seaport in southern Denmark. Her parents were Marie Kirstine Munch, aged 31, and Mikkel Sørensen, aged 23, who had married on 27 June 1846 in Ebeltoft, Randers, Denmark. Karoline was baptised into the Lutheran faith the day after her birth in Besser, Holbeck, Denmark. Mikkel was as working as a glazier to support his family.
Karoline was aged fourteen when she attended her confirmation on 3 April 1864 in Onsbjerg Sogn [parish], Skanderborg, Denmark. Eleven years later, on 12 November 1875, Karoline married 33-year-old Severin Peder Kristian Jensen in Sankt Nikolaj parish, Kolding, Denmark. On 26 August 1876 she gave birth to their son Marius Andreas Jensen; their son was baptised on 1 October 1876 in the same church that they had been married in.
A move to England
By 1881 the family had moved to England where they ran a sailor’s boarding house at 1 Ratcliff Street, St George in the East, London. Karoline’s name was spelt as ‘Caroline’, and Severin became known as Peter.
Although no death record has been found, Severin/Peter either died around 1886 or had left Caroline to run the boarding house alone.
Caroline gave birth to a son on 27 May 1887 and registered him as William Gustav Andress Blomquist. On 11 May 1890 she gave birth to a daughter who she registered as Harrietta [Harriet] Lousia Christina Sophia Blomquist. Both children’s birth GRO entries record Caroline’s maiden name as Sorrensen. No marriage has been found but when the 1891 census was taken Caroline was recorded as being the wife of Swedish born William Blomquist who was aged 40. Marius, who was working as a glass blower, was recorded as being William’s 14-year-old stepson. Caroline and William were still running the boarding house until William’s death in late 1894.
Caroline’s whereabouts when the 1901 census has not been found but on Friday 21 June 1901, she was admitted from the London Hospital into the Stepney Workhouse where it was noted that she was of ‘unsound mind’. It was also noted that she was the widow of William, an engineer. She was discharged on 15 July 1901 but where she went to is unknown.
Caroline was back in Stepney Workhouse within a few months. The Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records have a statement within that says that for three years prior to 1901 Caroline had been living at 6 Rich Street in the parish of St Anne Limehouse in the Stepney Poor Law Union. On 8 December 1901 Caroline was declared a pauper lunatic and was transferred from the Stepney Workhouse to the Fisherton House asylum in Salisbury, Wiltshire. From there she was moved on 17 April 1902 to the newly opened Horton Asylum in Epsom, Surrey.
Caroline was aged 53 when she died in the Horton Asylum. She was buried on 31 December 1902 in grave 99 in Horton Estate Cemetery, Epsom.
Caroline’s children Marius, William and Harriet were left on their own by 1901. Marius, who would have been around 25, seemingly did not become responsible for his younger half siblings. He may have returned to Denmark or gone to sea as a sailor but there was a Marius Jensen recorded in the UK 1901 census who was born 1876 in Mariager, Denmark, and working as a waiter in the Royal Huts Hotel in Frensham, Surrey. Whether this was him is uncertain.
William and Harriet were recorded in the UK 1901 census as being boarders at the Norwegian Seamen’s Home in 56 Cotton Street, Poplar. William (aged 14) was recorded as being 11 years old and born in Norway while his sister Harriet (aged 11), was recorded as being 9 years old, and being born in London. Both were recorded as being Norwegian subjects. Had Marius left them there after their mother had become too unwell to care for them
William and Harriet were eventually put into the care of the Metropolitan Asylums.
On 23 October 1901 William was sent to T S Exmouth in Grays, Essex. The Exmouth training ship was managed by the Metropolitan Asylums’ Board for training boys for the merchant marine or navy who were under the care of the parishes and poor law unions of London. He was discharged on 10 June 1902 but to where he went is unrecorded. On 10 June 1905 William signed on for 12 years’ service in the Royal Navy but was invalided out in 1907 due to defective eyesight. His whereabouts in 1911 is unknown but on 13 October 1916 he joined the Royal Airforce for the duration of WW1. William, aged 32, was working as a chauffeur/mechanic when he married widow Florence Deal on 9 December 1919 in St Marylebone Parish Church. He stated that his father William Blomquist had been a marine engineer. By 1939 William was living in Esher with his wife and two stepchildren. He died in 1980.
Harriet most likely remained in the workhouse system and was trained as a laundress to support herself once she left. In 1911 she was working as such and living at 28 Cumberland Market, St Pancreas. On 11 December 1915 she married Edward McClean, who was later one of William Blomquist’s witnesses at his marriage in 1919. By 1939 Harriet and Edward were living in Leighton House, Potters Bar, Middlesex. It is not known at this time when Harriet died.