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The Trip—Part 2

Copenhagen, Denmark. Our next stop after Norway, this Scandinavian capital city began over a thousand years ago as a Viking fishing village. Today it houses Danish royal palaces, the world-famous Tivoli Gardens, and an historic 17th century waterfront. We spent two days in this amazing city, visiting these places and again searching for our ancestral roots.

My husband/tech advisor had a particular reason for visiting Copenhagen. He descends from Jørgen Rasch, a renowned lute player in the Danish court in the early 1600’s. My husband has spent hours researching this man.

He learned that Rasch likely was born in the late 1500’s in Dessau, in the Principality of Anhalt, now part of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. This city lies along the Elbe River and today is home to the famous Bauhaus college of architecture.

Jørgen, initially known by the German variation of his name, Georg, made his way from Dessau with his musical talent to the court of the famous Danish King Christian IV. During this reign (1588-1648), Jørgen became well-known as a musician. The king seemed to hold him in high regard.

To honor Jørgen Rasch and his other musicians, he had their likenesses painted on the ceiling of one of the rooms in Rosenborg Castle. Christian IV pursued many ambitious building projects including Rosenborg, originally a large country house, erected in 1606. This castle now serves as a museum and houses the Danish crown jewels. It is open to the public.

My husband and his brother eagerly walked over to Rosenborg to see the painting shortly after we arrived in Copenhagen. We spent a long time gazing up at the likeness of their ancestor. Surrounding tourists chuckled at their less-than-successful attempts to take selfies with a ceiling image. They said my husband resembled his curly-haired ancestor.

Like him, my husband trained as a musician on a stringed instrument, the violin. One of Jørgen’s descendants migrated to Norway, and my husband’s Norwegian grandmother belonged to that line. Many in that family play the violin, and my husband likes to think they inherited their talent from Jørgen Rasch.

This second leg of our trip allowed him to fulfill his long-time wish to see his distinguished ancestor’s portrait on the ceiling of a Danish castle.


2 Responses to “The Trip—Part 2”

  • Paul Bernhardt:

    I am also descended of Jørgen Rasch and play guitar, bass, and a bit of piano.

    • thjelmstad:


      Nice to hear from you. I’ve now traced Jørgen’s ancestors and his father was a court musician in Anhalt. The Rasch’s were a rather prominent family in Anhalt. I have a document from a prince of Anhalt’s diary describing listening to their friend’s son play the lute in the Copenhagen court. I’ll be posting this soon on my WebTrees site –

      Is your family tree online? It would be nice to see which line you are descended from.

      I have documents, photos, and publications written by several of Jørgen’s descendants posted on the above mentioned WebTrees site.


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