Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- The Christophersons, Part V

Jonette Kristoffersdatter

Jonette Kristoffersdatter (Jordbaerhaugen) was born 22 August 1853.  She is my great-great grandmother, the third of six children born to Ellen Hansen (Christophersen) and Kristoffer Pedersen; she was also sister to Martin, Hans, and Haagine Christopherson, all of whom became Mormons and left Norway for Salt Lake City, Utah.  Martin, in particular, was an important figure in the LDS church, and there is a lot of information regarding him and his family.  I wish Jonette had as much recorded history about her as her brother does.  Unfortunately for me, although I can fill in her biography with several facts, I will probably never know the personal details about her as I have learned about Martin or even Hans and Haagine.  Jonette's sibilings' Utah descendants have written memories about them for people like me to find.  I am afraid that anything personal about Jonette died with my grandmother and her siblings, and it makes me a little angry to think of the times Jonette's picture was pointed out to me but I didn't think to ask what she was like or what was remembered about her.  Perhaps my grandmother would not have had so much to say as she was not a big talker, but her sister, my tante Astrid, had the gift of gab, and she would probably have had many answers for me.  Moral of the story: Ask your older relatives questions, and ask them deeper questions than "what was her name and where did she live!"

Jonette was born on Burud Farm, but she was raised in Skollerud, in Baerum, with Ellen's sister, Anne Marie.  The 1865 census places her there with Anne Marie and her husband and children.  I am not sure, but I believe that when Ellen and Kristoffer were told to leave Burud Farm that they may have been desperate for a way to care for all their children while trying to find a new living.  In Jonette's case, she was placed with family while Ellen and Kristoffer left for Kristiania.  Jonette's confirmation record on 18 October 1868 states she is still living in Skollerud as does her marriage record.

On 31 October, 1875, Jonette married Olaus Kristensen (1846 - 1915) and left Skollerud for Grini mølle where Olaus was living.  My understanding is that this was the easternmost farm in Baerum, bordering Aker, and is now part of Oslo.  Mølle in Norwegian means mill, and, in fact, until about 1888 Grini had a mill alongside the river.  There was also a sawmill, brickworks, and a lime burner according to Wikipedia (here).  I assume my great-great grandfather Olaus must have worked in one of these industries or, at some point, perhaps all of them.

The timeline I have developed for Jonette suggests that she and Olaus lived at Grini from 1875 to about 1881, which is when they moved to Skollerud, in Baerum, for two or three years.  Although they lived in Grini, in 1875, after their marriage, it seems that during 1876 they may have lived in Østern, which is close to Grini, and then returned to Grini by the time my great-grandfather Kristian was born.  Then, circa 1883, they moved to Jordbaerhaugen Farm where they lived the rest of their lives.

During their time in Østern and Grini, Jonette and Olaus had three children.  Anne Mathilde (1876 - 1877) was their first child (born in Østern), but she sadly died shortly before her first birthday from the flu.  Their second child was Kristian (1878 - 1962), my great-grandfather, born at Grini, and the third was Martin Einar (1879 - ?) also born at Grini.  While living at Skollerud, Kristen (1881 - 1938) was born. The rest of their children were born at Jordbaerhaugen: Anton (1883), Nils (1885 - 1982), Paula (1889), Gunda (1892), Peder (1894), Margit (1895), and Jenny (1899).

Jonette and Olaus did not become Mormons as Jonette's mother, Ellen, and three of her siblings did.  I thought that perhaps she did not have much contact with them because she was raised separately from them; however, there is evidence that Jonette did in fact have contact with her mother and siblings.  One of her brother's children living in Salt Lake City wrote that there was a family living in Norway, in Baerum, and specifically at Jordbaerhaugen Farm.  This can only refer to Jonette.  Furthermore, I have found and had contact (through my father) with Jonette's grandson and his wife in Baerum, Norway.  They have a photo album that belonged to Jonette's daughter Margit, but may actually have originated with Jonette, and in the album is a photo of three children that was taken in Salt Lake City.  I am guessing these are children of Jonette's brother Martin or perhaps Hans.  Jonette's grandson and his wife had no idea where the photo came from, but now they know about the relatives who went to Salt Lake City.  It is more likely that the children in the photograph are Martin's because he traveled several times to Norway from Salt Lake City and back.  This is one album I can't wait to see when I travel to Norway this summer!

Jordbaerhaugen House

Jonette Kristoffersdatter Jordbaerhaugen died 21 April 1921 from heart failure.  As one can see, I have quite a bit of knowledge based on facts, but I would have liked to know more about her personally.  Was she musical as some of her siblings were?  Was she artistic?  What was her personality like?  What did she like to do? So many questions I may never have any answers to because I waited too long before realizing the need to ask the questions.  But I hope that I will meet one of her descendants who might know something.  Perhaps her grandson who is still living, although it did not seem like he had much insight; but one phone call is not enough to determine this, and I hope a face-to-face meeting may spur some information.  The problem is that he is the son of the next to youngest child and Jonette was dead by the time he was born.

If anyone reads this, and you believe you descend from Jonette and Olaus Jordbaerhaugen, please enlighten me with any information you may have.


  1. Astrid, I my heart almost stopped there for a second, Østern? My husbands family came from Østern! I have not workded so much on his line there, so I haveto check that out. I think there were 2 farms. His family is mentioned in the old Bærum books.....

  2. Small world! I would never have learned about this new farm if I hadn't accidentally found that they had had a child who died before my great-grandfather was born. I think everyone thought he was the first. Genealogy is always so much fun! By the way, will you be in the Oslo area this summer?