Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- Akoline Oleane Jakobsdatter Part IV

I left off last time with my ggg-grandmother Akoline Oleane's conversion to Methodism, her marriage to her second husband, her return to the Lutheran Church, and the birth of her fourth child, Amine, by another man while her husband had disappeared in America for 10 years.  As it turns out, the father of Amine, Martinius Johannesen, was a boarder in Oleane's home.  He was 16 years younger than Oleane, and the story is that when Oleane became pregnant he was scared and ran away.  I learned about this from Amine's grandson, whom I met thanks to my computer.  He also added that Martinius did see Amine until she was about 10 years old, but he stopped after this age.  With this information in hand, I was able to find a series of records to help piece together the probable sequence of events.  Martinius moved to Hvaler to work at stone-cutting, and it was there that he married and started a family -- about the same time he stopped seeing Amine. 

In the meantime, according to Amine's grandson, Oleane worked cleaning at Sarpsborg Hospital (circa 1900).  She was also a strict mother, understandable when one is a single mother without any support from family.  One story Amine told was how Oleane had scraped together enough money to hand out a good bag of candy to Amine and some friends for Christmas. Well, Amine in her young life had never seen so much candy at once and was so enthralled by the view before her that she wanted it all to herself. As punishment for this, Oleane said there would never be another Christmas, which ended up meaning there was never a Christmas tree again in the living room.  And that was that!  Poor Amine made her own tree out of a broom the next Christmas. I do think Oleane's punishment goes a bit too far, but Oleane had lived such a hard life, never having a husband to help with the bills and children.  It would be hard to know what went through her head.

One interesting, quirky thing I learned about Oleane is that she smoked clay pipes, which was highly unusual, and certainly inappropriate for a lady. In any case, she would quickly put the pipe in her apron pocket when there were strangers at the door; her apron pockets were always full of scorched holes.  This image beckons me to write such a character into a book.  I love reading about women who do unusual things for their time.

Overall, Oleane and her children had hard lives, with the exception perhaps of her son, Emil, my gg-grandfather.  Of course, his youth without a father was not likely to have been easy, and then his step-father disappeared in America.  But he eventually did pretty well for himself working the lumber and other jobs; he also married and built his own house.  In fact, in 1900, the census shows that he and his wife took in his mother, Oleane, and two of her children, Hartvig and Amine.  Harda was married by then.  But, in contrast, Emil's half-siblings did struggle much more during their lives.  Harda married an alcoholic, Hartvig was an alcoholic, and Amine had a child out of wedlock with an unknown man, although she did eventually marry a good man.  However, I shall share these stories with more detail when it is their turn to have their biographies told. 

Oleane moved to Lilleaker, Oslo, to help Amine when she became a single mother.  She stayed there until she died, according to Amine's grandson, on 24 August 1924.  I tried to find her death record, but it would be found in Ullern Parish, and for some reason, they have not released many records to the digital archives.  I hope to attain this record directly from the parish at some point.  I did write to them several months ago but have not received a response.

Next time on the Sunday Biography Series, another ancestor takes center stage, so stay tuned!

Click here for Part I, Part II, and Part III.

*Woman smoking pipe:

1 comment:

  1. Astrid, congratulations on the Akoline biography. Very well done.