Jensen Family papers


Descriptive Summary

Title: Jensen Family papers
Dates: 1750-2005
Collection Number: Col-5
Extent: 30.8 cubic feet
Repository: California State University, East Bay University Archives
Abstract: The Jensen Family Papers document the family's immigration to the United States from Germany and years in the Hayward area of California through correspondence, sketches, and extensive secondary source materials collected by family members.
Language of Material: English


Collection open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Preferred Citation

Jensen Family papers. California State University, East Bay University Archives

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Jensen Family, 1976; accretions, 1983, 2010.

Biography/Administrative History

The Jensen family was one of the first families to settle in the Hayward area of Alameda County (Randall, 1975). In 1860, Erich Rickert Jensen moved to California, followed by his brother, Jens Christian, in 1864 (The Emigration). Together the brothers bought 450 acres in the Hayward hills/Eden Canyon area in 1867 (Randall, 1975). In 1871, their mother, Elene, and the five younger children all moved to California from Fohr because their father, Nahmen, died. Erich traveled back to Föhr to help the family immigrate to California while Jens Christian stayed in California and completed the ranch for the family (125 Years). Also in 1871, the brothers completed payment for all 450 acres of land at a price of $7.00 an acre (The Jensen Family). The ranch house was completed in May 1872 in time for the family’s arrival (125 Years). The brothers, Erich and Jens, later married sisters and lived together on the Jensen Ranch (Randall, 1975). Jens Christian married Emilie in 1876, while Erich Rickert married Christiane while in Föhr on the trip to bring his family back to California (The Jensen Family). The Jensen Family was active in the local area schools and Jens Christian was a school trustee for many years. In 1892, the family helped join together districts to form the Union High School District #3 and the first graduation ceremony in 1894 included Newton Jensen, the son of Jens Christian and Emilie (Randall, 1975). Erwin Jensen, who donated the Jensen Family Papers to California State University, East Bay, is descended from Jens Christian and Emilie.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Jensen Family Papers document the family’s immigration to the United States from Germany and subsequent years in the Hayward area of California through an extensive body of correspondence written by various family members and spanning from 1750 to 2005. The bulk of the records are dated from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The collection includes materials in both English and German. Many of the German letters have been translated into English. The correspondence provides a wealth of information about the experience of immigrating to the United States as well as information about agriculture and the social life of the family in their new home in California, including birth, death, wedding, baptism, and confirmation announcements. Also included in the collection are watercolor paintings and sketches by family members, part of their book collection, and an extensive secondary source collection of materials collected by the family members that provides historical context and genealogical information.

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