Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- The Christophersons, Part II

Kristoffer Pedersen of Burud Farm -- my Great-Great-Great Grandfather

Kristoffer Pedersen (22 June 1821 - 31 October 1862) was born on Burud Farm, in Baerum, Norway, and represented the fourth generation as a leilending or tenant farmer there.  He married Maren Hansdatter (17 November 1820 - 22 February 1849) from Loeken Farm on 20 November 1846.  They had one child, Peder Kristoffersen, born 01 November 1847.  Unfortunately, Maren developed a nerve fever, according to her death record, and died on 22 February 1849.  Kristoffer Pedersen married again, exactly one year after Maren's death, to Maren's sister, Ellen (27 August 1822 - 24 March 1899).  Together with Ellen, they had seven children -- Martin, Hans, Haagine, Jonette, Kristian, Nicoline, and Line.  The first four children were born on Burud farm, and the others were born in Kristiania (Oslo) because, in 1857, Kristoffer Pedersen was dismissed from his position as a tenant farmer. 

I obtained the information of my ggg-grandfather's dismissal from a Bygdebok -- books that provide a wealth of genealogical information by giving brief histories of communities and the farms and people in that community. The bygdebok did not specify the reason for the dismissal, so I can only speculate.  In order to do this, though, I need to understand the leilending system of the time.  John Follesdal wrote a very nice article about Norwegian farms, and he explains how tenant farmers rented the land to work it and pay the landskyld, which was based on the productivity of the farm and not directly on the size of the farm.  The landskyld was payable in goods produced by the tenant farmer; this could include cow hides, butter, fish, etc.  John Follesdal believes the landskyld was originally set at 1/6th of the gross annual production of the farm.  Originally, farms were leased for one year, but later on the term of the leases increased to three years. This did not mean that a tenant farmer would have to move every three years; it meant that the landlord could take the farm back at the end of the lease term.  I imagine that Kristoffer Pedersen could not pay what he owed, for one reason or another, and was evicted, along with his family, for this reason. 

There isn't too much information regarding Kristoffer Pedersen once he moved to Kristiania with his family.  He lived on Trondhjemeveien in Oslo, a road that runs through the old section of Oslo today.  In 1862, just 5 years after leaving Burud Farm, he died, but the record does not state the cause of his demise.  I imagine his death must have been very difficult for his wife and children to accept and that they must have endured extreme hardship because of it.  But the Kristoffersen children and their mother, Ellen, were not easily intimidated.  Several of them would soon embark on a quest to quench their spiritual thirst and end up in a new world -- one they called Zion.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Christopherson saga!

*Picture from


  1. What a great blog you have, Astrid. Love all these stories. Do you have any Dinelli ancestors in your Italian line? A long shot, I know, but always worth asking.

    Thanks for visiting Ancestors Connect at - feel free to send me your brick wall names any time and I'll post them for you.

  2. Hi I'm related to Anne Marie Hansdatter. These are nice stories about her sisters. Thanks for sharing. Kirt