Sunday, November 29, 2009

Samuel Andreasen (1841-1875?) and my Swedish Roots

The day I discovered the Norwegian Digital Archives site was the day I immediately jumped on searching information on my paternal grandfather's line.  I already had some information on my grandmother's side from a bygdebok, and she had also been alive a lot longer for me to learn more about her roots.  Therefore, I opted to start with my Bestefar (grandfather in Norwegian) and quench my curiosity.  My initial goal was to learn the origin of the Haugen name.  I have posted before regarding this discovery  

To start, I needed an idea of where "Haugen" all began, and my father told me how his grandfather Thomas had once used the surname Samuelsen as a child before he used Haugen.  Samuelsen was actually my father's great-grandfather's surname before he, too, took the name Haugen.  Since Norway used the patriarchal naming system, we surmised that his great-grandfather's father's name was Samuel... but Samuel who?  Therefore, the first mystery to solve was the full name of my great-great-great grandfather.  

My father did know a little about Samuel X.  When he was a boy, my father interviewed his great-grandfather Emil for a school report -- a report he still had.  His great-grandfather had recounted about his father Samuel -- a seaman who had died when Emil was 3 or 4 years old.  The story was that his father had sailed to South America on his ship and fell from the bramsail when he was up there to make a repair.  He fell to the deck and was killed instantly.  

My hunt for Samuel X began by searching for my great-great grandfather Emil Samuelsen Haugen (seen in the picture above) in the 1900 census.  I found him as Emil Samuelsen, with his wife, Hanna, and their son Thomas, all living in Moum Soendre farm in Borge, Oestfold, Norway.  The good thing about the census find was that it gave me a birth year for Emil and a location -- Vestre Fredrikstad, 1871.  However, I was unable for a long time to find a birth record for him in the parish archives.  I have since found out this is because his mother Akoline Oleane and father Samuel had joined the Methodist church before Emil was born, and Methodist records are not always available online.  However, it seems that after Samuel's death, Emil and his mother did rejoin the state church (although, at the time, I did not know yet about the Methodist connection). I, in fact, did find a confirmation record for Emil in the Vestre Fredrikstad Lutheran parish archives instead of the elusive birth record.  In this record, his father's name is Samuel Andersen, and his mother is noted as Akoline Oleane Johansdatter.  

This is a good place to go on a tangent and tell you what I have learned regarding names in parish and census records in Norway: there are many errors and inconsistencies.  In the case of Emil's mother, I soon learned that her name was often just Oleane without Akoline.  She was also sometimes Johansdatter, and other times Jakobsdatter.  As it turned out, her father was Johan Jakob Ruth, and she seemed to use either his first or second name as a surname.  Overall, the most common entry for her ended up being Oleane Jakobsdatter.  But by figuring out what seemed like a game of musical chairs with her name, I eventually found two wedding records... and... a surprise... she had married Samuel Andreasen (not Andersen), and they were BOTH from Tanum Parish, Vastra Gotalands, Bohuslän, Sweden.  The record also had their respective ages, so I now knew the probable year of birth for Samuel Andreasen (1841).  From there I found the record stating they were both leaving the state church for the Methodist church.  I also found a note in the state church records stating that Oleane Jakobsdatter and Samuel Andreasen had had a son, Emil, and the correct birth date was mentioned, too.  The Lutheran state church obviously still kept records of those who had left the church.  In the end, there were now several records pointing to the name Samuel Andreasen, and he was originally from Sweden, as was Oleane.  As I understood it, there was a story of Swedish roots circulating in the family, but everyone was surprised both of them were Swedish.  

One of the marriage records stating that Oleane Jacobsdatter marries bachelor seaman Samuel Andreasen from Trosvigbjerget, Glemmen Parish, 12 December, 1869.  The record says they were both born in Tanum Parish, Sweden.  The other marriage record also states their parents' names, but it is hard to read, so I opted not to post that one.

This started me on a quest into Sweden and their records.  As it turned out, these were not so easily available because access was not free.  I had to go through Genline to find the information I needed.  But I did eventually find the information... and a whole new world.  Since I intended to focus on Samuel, I will tell you about him and save the information on Oleane for another post.

Samuel Andreasen was born May 3, 1841 in Tanum, Göteborgs och Bohus län (Bohuslän), Sweden and baptized on May 5, 1841. His birth record said his parents were soldier Andreas Rörberg and wife Johanna Olsdotter (37 years old), living at the soldier croft under Rörvik (a hamlet). Godparents (baptismal witnesses): Olof Pettersson, Elias Andersson, Oliana Pettersdotter, Anna Olausdotter; the first three were from Rörvik, the last one from a place called Orrekläpp. The "family state" record also listed Samuel's parents and siblings.  Soldier Andreas Pettersson.Rörberg, was born February 17, 1804 (probably in Tanum since there is no note to the contrary).  By the way, Rörberg is not a family name but is a soldier name.  I learned that in Sweden any soldier who was assigned to this particular croft had to assume the name "Rörberg".  Before becoming a soldier, he had been Andreas Pettersson, which matched the father's name listed in the Norwegian archives marriage records for Samuel Andreasen and Oleane Jakobsdatter.  In the family state document, there was also Samuel's mother, his father's wife Johanna Olsdotter, born October 1, 1804 (probably in Tanum since there is no note to the contrary).  The children listed were son Samuel, May 3, 1841; Olof Martin, Feb 23, 1844; daughter Petronella, May 7, 1830;  daughter Maja Stina, Jan 17, 1833; daughter Agnetha, Nov 2, 1835; and foster son G. Karl, Nov 2, 1838.  

Another husförhörslängd (household examination) record mentions that Samuel joined/registered in the Sjömanshus in 1859 (18 years old) and received a paper, probably to show when signing onto a ship. Sjömanshus /Sailor's house is a trade union, or likewise for the merchant navy, and Samuel probably joined the Sjömanshus of Strömstad. Once he emigrated to Norway in 1869, he would have changed to a Norwegian one. However, it could be very possible, being so close to Norway, and with the Swedish/Norwegian union at the time, that he was on a Norwegian ship already.  He also had two sisters living in Norway before his official emigration to Norway.  I mention these possibilities because relatives, who are also descendants of Emil Samuelsen Haugen, have a chest that belonged to his father Samuel with the name inscribed as Samuel Andreasen and the date 1861 (when I first started my search for Samuel X, I did not have contact with my relatives and did not know the existence of the chest and, therefore, his name).  The chest emblem uses the Norwegian spelling of his name and not the Swedish spelling, and 1861 is years before his official emigration, so I wondered about this.  The story of the chest is that when Samuel died at sea, the chest was sent home to his wife and son.  It passed on from Emil to his son, Hans.  Hans's daughter in Kongsberg inherited it, and there it still is!  It is amazingly beautiful as the picture shows.

 Samuel Andreasen's chest.  When the lid is lifted there is the emblem shown
below.  The flags represent the union of Norway and Sweden at the time.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Samuel's official emigration to Norway was found in the Emibas CD and said: Samuel Andreasson Sjöman = sailor; jordägare = landowner. (unmarried man) Emigrated March 6, 1869 from Ertseröd, Westra, Nytorp, Tanum, Göteborgs och Bohus län (Bohuslän) to Fredrikstad, Östfold fylke, Norge.  It was only nine months later he married Oleane Jakobsdatter in the Glemmen church in Oestfold.  His son Emil was born on September 10, 1871, and Emil was very young when the news came of his father's death.  I am not sure of the year of Samuel's death, but he had the accident on his ship somewhere between 1874 and 1875.  Emil told my father in the school report interview that he believed he was about 4 years old when his father died. 

Samuel's death record is still one I have yet to find.  One possibility is that it may be recorded in the Methodist church records.  I have written the church in Fredrikstad for Emil's birth record and received no response.  I hope to go and visit the church so I can search for it and any death notice regarding his father, Samuel.  I also plan to visit the archives for the navy or seamen records and see if I can find a notice of his death there.  Once Samuel emigrated to Norway, he would have joined a Norwegian seaman's union in Fredrikstad -- another place to search for records!

So, as you can all see, I was able to learn quite a lot about my ggg-grandfather Samuel Andreasen.  And only one year ago, I had no clue what his name was!

Below is a screenshot of the immediate family for my great-great grandfather Emil Georg Samuelsen Haugen.  My apologies; it is probably hard to see, but I believe you can click on the picture to enlarge it.  The name of his father Samuel is abbreviated for the sake of space. I descend from Emil's son Thomas and his son Thorolf.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Trip to Oslo

This is one of my favorite pictures.  I have stood on this corner in Oslo myself, and it is rather extraordinary for me to see my grandfather and great-grandparents standing there circa 1920.  Behind, to the right, one can see the famous Nasjonalteateret (National Theater).  Nothing has changed, including the iron post behind them, on the left.  What is different is the period of time, the clothes, the car sputtering away in the background.  Front row: Eleonore Haugen, Thorolf Haugen (my grandfather), and Norvald Haugen. Second row: Great-grandfather Thomas Haugen, Mailis Haugen (in his arms), and great-grandmother Joergine (Ludvigsdatter) Haugen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday

My great-grandfather on my maternal grandfather's side, Carmelo Dibennardo, was from Palagonia, Sicily. He was probably born circa 1870. He was married to Agrippina Strano, my great-grandmother who died young. My grandfather, Vincenzo Dibennardo, was a boy when she died. My great-grandfather remarried and my grandfather was sent to a Salesian boarding school in San Gregorio where his aunt, the Mother Superior Sister Filomena, worked and lived. My mother has a letter written in 1914 from my great-grandfather to my grandfather while he was at school. 

Here is a translation of the letter. Keep in mind that by "mother" he really means step-mother.  One thing I like about this letter is the names given of family members. Unfortunately, it will not be easy to know if they are related to my great-grandfather or my great-grandmother.

Palagonia, 24 October 1914

My Dearest Son,

It was a great pleasure to receive your dear letter, and a few days later a postcard as well . (And now) you want to know if Maria, Giovannina, and your mother and I are doing well ...( yes, we are as you are ).  We couldn't come to visit earlier because we were waiting for your aunt Giovanna who promised you she would come to visit you at boarding school.  You must know that she came to Catania on the 19th, so she only had 4 days in all for her stay, and because of this, she couldn't come to see you.  But that's okay because you're fine, and your aunt Sister Filomena loves you like a real mother.  Your sister Maria will be back after the Indian Summer, we think around the 12th of November.  You also want to know if I will bring you your sister Maria to visit you at school, and I tell you right now that I will not be the only one to do so, but also Aunt Peppina (Josephine), and also Miss Ruffo, who at this moment is in Palagonia for a short vacation.  You also wish to know what I think about our citrus (crop), and what can I say.... I don't know the answer to your question.  Your sister Maria, your mother and I send you a big kiss, and Aunt Peppina and Uncle Gaetano send their kisses. Your mother and I send you our blessings and our good-byes (we will see you soon).

Your most affectionate father,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This picture was taken in the 1940's from across the Glomma River. The line points to the house built by my great-great grandfather, Ludvig Hansen. This house was built in the 1890's based on a poem written by my great-gandmother.  Below is a picture of the house today.

Ludvig Hansen 1858 - 1929
Born in Oestfold, Tune Parish, Rekustad
Died in Oestfold, Borge Parish, Hvidsten eller Vesten

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Haslum Kirke is a cruciform church built circa 1190 in Bærum, Akershus. Many of my ancestors on my grandmother's side were also baptized and married here. The church has a large graveyard, and I wonder if there are any old headstones like there are at Tanum Kirke. Who knows what I may find when I visit!