Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- Akoline Oleane Jakobsdatter Part III

I left off on my last post with Akoline/Oleane's roots in Sweden and her migration with her mother to Sarpsborg and the Fredrikstad area of Oestfold, Norway.  We also know she married a Swedish sailor who also emigrated to the same area of Norway and died at sea about 5 years later when their son, my gg-grandfather, Emil, was only 4 years old.  She then married another Swedish man, a shoemaker, and had two children with him, Hartvig and Harda, who were baptized at a very late age.  I had also never found the baptismal certificate for my gg-grandfather, her son from the first marriage to my ggg-grandfather Samuel, but he had been confirmed in the Lutheran church.

One day, I stubbornly decided I was going to find my gg-grandfather's birth/baptismal record... and that was that.  I had searched the Glemmen and Vestre Fredrikstad records time and time again with no luck.  But I decided to check all the diary and "other notes" digitized parish records.  It took a while, but I struck gold!  I found a note regarding Oleane and Samuel having a son, Emil Georg, on September 10, 1871.  I was ecstatic.  But why would this be in the "notes" section? I found the answer two pages prior to this note.  Another notation said: 7 February 1871, the spouses, sailor (”matros”) Samuel Andreasen, Swedish of birth, born 3 May 1841, and wife Oleane Johansdatter born 17 February 1850, living at Trosvigbjerget, have announced today that they have left the State Church (Statskirken) and will join the Methodist society. This occurred before my great-great grandfather was born; therefore, I was sure his birth record could be found in the records of the Methodist Church of Fredrikstad. (Unfortunately, I found these records were not available online; however, my father did manage, a few months ago, to receive a copy of my gg-grandfather's baptismal record from the Methodist Church -- very exciting to finally have this after so much hunting.)

7 February, 1871, my great-great-great grandparents leave the State Church for the Methodist Church. Østfold county, Glemmen, Parish register (official) nr. 8 (1862-1871), Other type of list 1871, page 510. Note: click on picture for larger viewing.

When I learned about the Methodist connection, I immediately told my father, who grew up in Norway, what I had found.  He was quite surprised about this as he had not heard much about Methodists in Norway, nor had he ever heard any mention of these facts in the family. My research shows that Methodism was introduced in Norway in 1853 by the Norwegian sailor Ole P. Peterson, who was from Oestfold and had been converted from Lutheranism while in America. The first Methodist Church in Fredrikstad was built in 1868. John Follesdal wrote an article on Rootsweb (here) where he explains how for several hundred years Norwegian law made membership in the Lutheran State church mandatory. Legal protection of religious freedom was not introduced in Norway until 1845 and allowed Norwegians for the first time to resign their membership in the Lutheran State Church, and also allowed non-Lutheran Christian congregations to be established. The dissenter law required that the local parish priest make an entry in the parish register when someone resigned their membership in the State Church. Parish priests were also required to enter information about the births, marriages, and deaths of dissenters in their parish registers, and dissenters were required to notify their local parish priest of these events. In addition, dissenters were required to maintain their own congregation registers, and once a year they had to submit a report to the amtmann, or county governor, detailing the births, marriages and deaths in their congregation, as well as a list of their members. The amtmann, in turn, passed this information on to the local parish priest. As a result, information regarding the births, marriages, and deaths of dissenters should have been included in the parish registers maintained by the parish priests, although this was not always the case.  (Again, see John Follesdal's article here.)

I soon found more religious dissent related to my ggg-grandmother when she married the second time, in 1877, to Lauritz Andersen, the shoemaker.  I already mentioned she had two children with him – Harda born in 1877 and Hartvig born in 1879.  I had found Oleane and Lauritz’s civil marriage record scribbled into the parish book without a number, and a notation that said “Anmeldelse fra Byfogden af 2/3-77,” which means, “notification from the Stipendiary magistrate March 2, 1877.”  As you may recall, her two children were baptized quite late, on the same day, when Hartvig was 8 years old and Harda 10 years old. On their baptismal records, it said their mother Oleane was no longer a member of the Methodist Church, but it also said their father was a Plymouth Brother and was in America – I am guessing he went there for missionary work.

When Harda Marie is baptized her mother is “forhenv. Methodist” (used to be a Methodist) and her father is a Plymouth Brother. Østfold county, Borge in Borge, Parish register (official) nr. I 8A (1887-1902), Birth and baptism records 1887, page 5.

Yet again, I was struck with a new religion to study. I had never heard of the Plymouth Brothers, but they still exist today and now prefer the name Christian Brethren. This religion began in Plymouth, England and spread throughout Europe in the 1860’s, Norway being one of the countries. The Plymouth Brothers are highly conservative and evangelical and focus on their Bible. Women also subordinate to the men in the church, so I wondered how Oleane was still married to a Plymouth Brother but joined the State Church again and had her children baptized as well. I soon found my answer with the record for Oleane’s fourth child by another man in 1890.  Apparently, she had a "fling" or romance of some sort with her much younger boarder!  They were never married.  The pastor noted in the record belonging to her new daughter that her husband, Lauritz Andersen, had gone to America 10 years ago, circa 1880, and that she had not heard from him in 6 years. In other words, when she had her two children by him baptized, he had already been in America for several years.  She was also still a "wife" without knowledge of her husband's whereabouts in America for several years during her fourth child's baptism.  Perhaps she did not expect he would come back when she had a relationship with the father of this child.

Birth record for Oleane's fourth child, Amine Mathilde.  The record says Amine is the daughter of the bachelor Martinius Johannesen and married woman, Oleane Johannesdatter.  The note in parentheses says she is married to Lauritz Andersen who went to America ten years ago and from whom she had not heard news in six years.  Østfold county, Borge in Borge, Parish register (official) nr. I 8A (1887-1902), Birth and baptism records 1890, page 30.

Stay tuned for part IV coming next Sunday on this Sunday Biography Series.
Part I found here.
Part II found here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

Kitchen towel embroidered by my great-great grandmother Hanna Marie Andreasdatter (Haugen) (1871 - 1943).  The initials H.H. stand for Hanna Haugen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Memory Monday -- Sicily

Picture from

I have many memories of Sicily; they live in the corners of my mind and poke at me when something familiar, like the scent of baking bread, tickles my senses.  Then the movie in my head, the one that stars this jewel of the Mediterranean, speaks to me like a dear old friend.  I see the young girl I once was, hair flying in the warm wind, straddling the back of a Vespa, speeding through narrow, winding roads, the glitter of the sea seen in glimpses as I carom in and out of a white-washed-building-spattered landscape and the occasional thicket of wild olive trees. 

The Vespa in my mind evolves into a small Fiat packed like sardines with family and friends, ascending and plunging over the hills of volcanic streets while hugging the curves with Formula-One-like maneuvers.  If I close my eyes, I can see the orange trees whizzing by, and the open window that lets in centuries old fragrant gusts -- relished smells of old stone buildings, sweet country wine, and, yes, that savory peasant bread that started this all in the first place.  The Mediterranean hugs the landscape as we drive higher on the rocky cliffs. The bright sun glares off the arid terrain and makes halos over the hot-pink bougainvillea flowers. I glimpse a crumbling Greco-Roman ruin and a gray-stoned, medieval castle in the distance.

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I can smell the air. Citrus. Jasmine. I can almost imagine opening my eyes to the view of Mt. Etna smoking in the distance. The sea surrounding it is always bluer than topaz. And it is the same view my ancestors witnessed.  I think to myself, Yes, I have been here before when my ancestors watched the volcano spew its lazy plume of smoke; when they dreamed their dreams while looking out at the sea's horizon.  I have been here many times... because they all still live in me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- Akoline Oleane Jakobsdatter Part II

My last blog post regarding my ggg-grandmother Akoline Oleane Jakobsdatter left off where I found out she was born in Sweden, in Tanum Parish--Göteborgs och Bohus län (Bohuslän).  She had also married my ggg-grandfather Samuel Andreasen, who was also from Tanum Parish in Sweden.  Of course, I right away wanted to take a trip into Swedish records, but I had never searched them before.  The other problem was I really needed a birth date for Akoline (or rather Oleane, as she seemed to be named in most records I was finding).

I had learned from my father's cousin in Norway that Akoline/Oleane had had three husbands, so I hoped that in finding more records belonging to her that one of them would have a birth date.  I assumed Akoline would have stayed in the same area after her first husband Samuel died and decided to search both the Glemmen and the Vestre Fredrikstad marriage records.  I calculated a death date for Samuel based on my father's recollection of his great-grandfather telling him his father had died when he was around four years old.  I then searched the marriage records, pretty much one name at a time, until I hit the names Oleane Jakobsdatter and Lauritz Andersen (a shoemaker), where it was noted both were born in Sweden.  Interestingly, they did not have a number next to their registration, and it looked as if the pastor had squeezed their names into the books as an afterthought.  I soon realized the marriage was a civil marriage that had been recorded in the parish book.  The civil marriage record number was noted by the pastor. 

As I looked at the names of Oleane and Lauritz Andersen, something looked familiar.  It finally struck me -- I had seen the combination of names before.  As you may recall, my last post stated that the 1900 census showed my great-great grandfather living in Moum Soendre Farm with his family and three people I did not recognize.  I don't know why the census-takers never recorded he was living with his mother, but I took a good look at that record and realized that the Lena Andersen listed had to be Oleane with her husband's surname, and there were two children listed with birth years and place of birth as well.  But Lauritz Andersen was not living with them, so I figured he was probably dead.  However, I had to find her children's birth records to prove my theory that Lena and Oleane were the same person.  I searched the Glemmen baptismal records (the same parish where Oleane's and Lauritz's marriage had been recorded) for children and found two, Harda and Hartvig.  They had both been baptized as older children, 10 and 8, respectively.  They each had godparents I recognized, and Oleane Jakobsdatter and Lauritz Andersen were named as the parents, so I knew I had the right people.  But why were these children baptized so late?  I was coming to realize that Oleane didn't quite do things as expected.  And now I also had a third variation of her name -- Lena.  Anyway, more details on her children's late baptisms will follow on another post; instead, I will focus on her Swedish roots and her arrival in Norway.

I now had a few records that tied together, and the marriage record for Akoline/Oleane had a birth date -- 17 February, 1850.  Sweden, here I come!  I researched a bit regarding finding records from Sweden and soon found out I had to pay a subscription to access these records with Genline.  I have since learned there is an "equivalent" site to the Digitalarkivet site of Norway (found here) that seems cheaper; I have used the latter site on a free trial, and it is very easy to use.  But back then, I only knew about Genline, which was not financially feasible for me at the time... so I did the next best thing -- I posted a request on the Swedish forums on  Amazingly, I received a response within an hour containing information from Oleane's birth record, her household examination record, and her emigration to Norway!

One interesting thing I learned was that my ggg-grandmother was named "Olleana" in her baptismal record, and there was no "Akoline" anywhere to be seen.  This still puzzles me; also, Akoline is a very unusual name, so it must have some meaning that she used it.  In any case, Oleane was born the 17th of February and baptized the 24th of February, 1850.  She was the illegitimate daughter of the farmhand maid Helena Magnusdotter (31 years old) who lived "under" Rungtung in that parish.  The record elaborates that Helena "lives with a soldier, Johan Jakob Ruth, but has a child from another."  Witnesses were Soldier Hvällberg from the croft under Kvarlös in that parish, Catharina Olsdotter in Kålstad in that parish and Anders Magnusson from the same place, and Carolina Olsdotter in Underslös in that parish.  Wow!  No one in Norway who knew some things about Akoline that had been passed down knew any of this!  Oleane used the names Johansdatter and Jakobsdatter, but Johan Jakob Ruth was not her father.  As was often the case with illegitimacy, the father's name was not given in the record, and I wonder if she ever knew it since she uses a surname derived from her non-biological father.  Household examination rolls show that Oleane grew up with Johan Jakob before leaving with her mother for Norway in 1863, and her mother and Johan Jakob did have other children together, although they never married.

Akoline/Oleane's baptismal record (click on picture to view)

On the 14th of December, 1863, thirteen-year-old Oleane and her mother Helena Magnusdotter crossed the border to a new life in Norway; they were headed to Sarpsborg.  I have since learned that during this period in the 1800's, Norway was "America" to many Swedes from the Bohuslän region, who flocked to the Fredrikstad area in search of work in the sawmills and stone-cutting quarries.  My father sent me a link to a site that tells the history behind a play in Norway called "The Barefoot Girl."  Apparently, Swedish girls walked the miles barefoot from Bohuslän, Sweden, into the Fredrikastad area because they did not want to wear out their shoes.  If this is true, then December may not have been the best month for Oleane and her mother to emigrate!

Emigration record for Oleane and her mother Helena Magnusdotter (click on picture to view)

On the next installment of Sunday Biography Series, Akoline/Oleane searches for her religion... and the truth behind her "third husband"...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Four Generations in One Picture

Left to right: my grandparents, Gyda Kristiansen (holding my father) and Thorolf Haugen; my great-grandparents, Thomas Haugen and Joergine Ludvigsdatter; and my great-great grandparents Hanna Andreasdatter and Emil Samuelsen Haugen

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Since today is Mother's Day, I will have to push my Sunday Biography Series to next week.  Instead, I want to say thanks to the women who have been in my life...

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Mystery Solved

Greta of solved the mystery of the location in the picture of my grandmother and her sisters wearing their flour sack dresses (posted here).  Thank you, Greta!  The pictures were taken circa 1930, and I didn't know where.  Greta sent me a link to a site that featured old postcards from the fortress Fredriksten in Halden, Norway, and sure enough the Carl XII monument matched another picture I had with the three sisters standing in front of it.  Now I have another place to visit in Norway.  I do in fact have one set of gggg-grandparents from Halden, so why not?  In fact, as I recall, my gggg-grandfather was a soldier in the 3rd Musketeer company in Halden.  I need to go over my notes to check on the details regarding this, but I wonder if he would have been working at this fortress.  I should note that this ancestor is from my grandfather's line, but it is my grandmother in the picture.

I now know that this (above) is the Carl XII monument in Fredriksten, Halden, Norway

Astrid, Raghnild, and Gyda Kristiansen (my grandmother) wearing their flour sack dresses

I wonder if this gazebo is also located in Fredriksten. I'm thinking the photograph must be from the same day since the three sisters are wearing the same dresses, so it is likely.

Happy Birthday, Bestemor!

Happy Birthday to my grandmother... you are always remembered...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Three Sisters in Flour Sack Dresses

From left to right: Astrid, Raghnild, and Gyda Kristiansen (my grandmother).  This photo was taken circa 1930.  My grandmother's sister, Astrid, told me all three wore dresses made from white flour sacks!  They look pretty nice don't they?  I believe this was taken at Akershus Castle in Oslo, but I'm not positive.

Tombstone Tuesday

My father recently visited the grave of his gg-grandmother (my ggg-grandmother) Ellen (Hansen) Christophersen (1822 -1899) in Salt Lake City, Utah

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- Akoline Oleane Jakobsdatter, Part 1

It was less than two years ago I read the name Akoline Oleane Jakobsdatter for the first time.  She is my great-great-great grandmother on my paternal grandfather's line... or maybe it is clearer to say she is my paternal grandfather's great-grandmother.  And in a matter of months, I went from never having heard her name to putting together the pieces of an interesting and sometimes dramatic life. 

My search for Akoline began with my search for her son, my great-great grandfather, Emil Georg Samuelsen Haugen.  I knew more about him because my father and relatives remembered him well.  I also found him in the 1900 census, living in the Fredrikstad area (Moum Soendre farm), Borge Parish, with his wife, son, and three other people I did not recognize.  I next found his confirmation record in the Vestre Fredrikstad parish records, and his mother was listed as Akoline Oleane Johansdatter. (Note: I was unable to find a birth record for Emil, but that is a whole other story for another blog post).  My father had also contacted his cousin, who still lived in the same area and was also a direct descendant, and she knew from yet another descendant she'd contacted that Emil's mother's name was Akoline Jakobsdatter.  Therefore, the first name correlated with the confirmation record I had found but the surname did not.  However, the mystery was solved when my father's cousin told me she'd learned Akoline's father's name was Johan Jakob Roos.  This explained how Akoline could be either Johansdatter or Jakobsdatter. 

Everything so far seemed simple enough, right?  Well, Akoline turned out to be anything but a simple woman.  I knew that Emil's father had died while out at sea when Emil was but 4 years old.  My father had written a school book report on Norway's maritime history and adventures, and he had interviewed his great-grandfather Emil who had once sailed the seas, following in his father's footsteps.  His father was Samuel Andreasen, and all he knew was that Samuel had died off the coast of South America after climbing the mast to make a repair on the bramsail and falling to his death.

Having some knowledge of names and a date of birth for Emil, thanks to the 1900 census, I had an idea of where to start looking for his parents' marriage record.  I assumed they married shortly before he was born but decided to start looking through the records starting two years prior to his birth.  Vestre Fredrikstad did not become its own parish until 1871, the year Emil was born, so I had to search the Glemmen parish records starting in 1869.  These particular records were quite hard to read because the writing was faded, but luckily there were parish register copies for these years.  And when I did find the record, I was more than blown away!  In the marriage record, Akoline was written in by her middle name alone, Oleane, and the surname, Jakobsdatter.  Her husband was Samuel Andreasen.  And both were born in Sweden, Tanum Parish!  My father had never heard of Swedish ancestors, so this was big news to him... and to me. 

Record Translation:
Oleane Jacobsdatter marries bachelor seaman Samuel Andreasen from Trosvigbjerget, Glemmen Parish, 12 December, 1869.

Information: Østfold county, Glemmen, Parish register copy nr. 4 (1867-1875), Marriage records 1870, page 349-350.

Permanent sidelenke:

Samuel was 28 and one-half years old. Oleane was 19 and one-half years old. They were both born in Tanum, Sweden -- “begge fodt i Tanum i Sverige.” They married in Glemmen Kirke, 12 December 1869.

The previous record from the parish register copy was easier to read. Here is the record from the official book. However, again there is the Tanum parish in Sweden listed for both as a birthplace. Also, her father is Johan Jacob Ru?? (hard to make out the name). His father is Andreas Pettersen. You may need to zoom or use a magnifying glass to read it well.

Information: Østfold county, Glemmen, Parish register (official) nr. 8 (1862-1871), Marriage records 1870, page 284.

Permanent sidelenke:

Stay tuned next Sunday to learn more about the mystery of Akoline/Oleane, her Swedish beginnings, and what I learned about her father Johan Jakob and who he really was.