The USA line of this family is descended from a Danish fisherman, Niels Albrecht Kirkemann, and his wife Josephine Atkinson, both of Kalundborg, Denmark. New information tells us that Niels Albrecht Kirkman was born 2 February 1795 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the great grandson of Niels Knudsen Kirkman. Niels was born in 1707 in Copenhagen, and married his wife Olive Pedersdatter on 9 January 1739 in Trinitatis Church. His son, Knud Nielsen Kirkman b 1739 was a shoemaker and also a seaman. Knud’s son Leopold Christofer Knudsen Kirkman followed in his father’s footsteps as a shoemaker and seaman in the Danish Navy. He fought with Admiral Nelson in the battle of Rheden.
Niels Albrecht & Josephine had seven children in Kalundborg: Christian Wilhelm Kirkemann b 1828, Christoffer Nielsen Kirkemann b 1831, Frederik Christian Kirkemann b1833, Wilhelmine Josephine Kirkemann, b 1835, Nielsine Henriette Kjerkmann b1838, Carl Christian Ferdinand Kirkemann b1840, and Caroline Christine Kirchman b1842.
Christian Wilhelm apparently was the only child to emigrate to America. He left home at age 14 in 1842 and spent 10 years as a crewman on sailing ships. In 1852, when Christian was 24, he made port in New York City, and wound up in the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where Christian married Bertha Marie Olsdatter, a 29-year-old immigrant from Stavanger, Norway. They moved to Little Neck, Long Island in 1857. Christian (“The Captain”) had three children by his first wife: Nelson b 1853 in Greenpoint, Frederick b 1857 & Emma b 1860, both in Little Neck, NY. Frederick married Mary Jane Sugden 10 June 1883 in Brooklyn, New York. Mary Jane's line can be traced back to the Mayflower. Their children were Frederick Sugden Kirkman and Evelyn Kirkman. Christian’s second marriage, late life, was to Ellen Elizabeth Lee Sparrow, and produced Christian William III b 1882 in Bridgeport CT, Ellen II b 1887 in Manhattan NY, and Charles b 1889 in Jersey City NJ.
In the late 1870s, eldest son Nelson married Sarah Mott. They had 8 boys (Christian William II, Richard Frederick Nelson, George Moore Still, Samuel, Washington, Adam, James and Albert), and 3 girls (Bertha, Sarah and Mary). The most noteworthy member of the Captain’s second family was Christian William Kirkman III, b 1882 .Like his father, Christian III had two marriages. His first wife was Edith Elizabeth Foster Kirkman of Flushing. In 1906 they had a son, Christian William Kirkman IV, but they divorced soon after. In 1909, CWK III married Anna Jelinek Fiala, a divorcee who had 3 children. Legend holds that Anna chased CWK III from New York to Minnesota and forced him to marry at gunpoint!
To learn more about this family, visit Chris Kirkman’s web site, beautifully authored by Chris’s late father, Washington Post journalist, Don.