Friday, September 21, 2012

Digging Deeper - a Possible Connection

Hova1763 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A page showing dead people from the church reg...
A page showing dead people from the church register at Os parish in Hordaland in Norway. 27 of 28 people on this page died at sea during a storm known as "Crazy Monday". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I decided I needed to dig deeper if I wanted to uncover a possible family connection between Marit Fjeld's family and my Fjeld family.  (I just hope I am not digging myself a metaphorical grave).  So, to that end, I decided it was time to dig deeper into the roots of Marit's biological parents to see where these led.  I knew Marit's biological parents were Marith Olsdatter and Hans Andreassen Fjeld, but I knew little else.  It was time for some more digging in the parish registers and the Norwegian census.

They were easy to find in the 1865 Norwegian Census.  Of course, they are living on Fjeld farm in Søndre Aurdal in 1865 and the census data list members of the family, their ages and places of birth... and this is why I like to find people in the census first, before perusing the parish registers.  The further back in time you go in the parish registers, the more difficult they become to read.   Not only is the style of lettering different, but in many cases the "events" are crammed together with sloppy handwriting and oodles of ink smears everywhere... in short, it looks every bit like something I wrote by hand with a calligraphy pen, or any ink pen for that matter.  Not very legible at all, even if you are well-versed in the old scripts.  (Of course, being left-handed makes me extra gifted at smearing ink all over the page)!  Additional difficulties with parish records can be faded text, torn pages, holes in pages and missing pages.

It is what it is, though, and I highly recommend looking through the parish records.  It's worth developing the patience.  Tenacity helps, too, especially when the information you thought was correct is farther from veracity than India is from Sirius.  It helps to remember that the parish records were not written for genealogists to peruse at leisure centuries later.  They were written to conform to church edicts and Norwegian law and were probably viewed as a make-work chore by those who were forced to write in them.  A nuisance at best.  I confess, I would write sloppy too.  Not necessarily intentionally, but in speeding through the chore just to get it over with.

Enough about parish registers.  If you follow the link I've provided for the Fjeld Farm two paragraphs above this one, you will see the census listing for the Fjeld farm.  You will see Marit, her parents and some of her siblings.  I used this information to find birth, baptism and even marriage and death information for some of these people.  I also uncovered both sets of grandparents in the parish records using this information as a result.

What did I discover?  Marit's maternal grandparents were Helena Andersdatter Hestekind (1812-1898) and Ole Andersen Kompelien (1807-1902) and that this couple themselves immigrated to the U.S. in the 1880's.  They can be found on the Brosveen farm in the 1865 Norwegian Census.  Marit's paternal grandparents are Andreas Hansen Brufladt, born 1805, and Marith Andersdatter Espelien av Brufladt (1808-before 1865).  I also found many of Marit's parent's siblings this way.

How did this help?  Well, I plugged all this information into my Nussberger Fjeld family tree on and came up with links to photos of many of these family members (joy!) and stories about these family members.  One of the stories I came across was about Marit Fjeld herself.  It was written by Lillian Skarperud in 1980 and tells how Marit came to America to live with an Aunt Kari Nysveen... and there's my connection!  Maybe.  I am a direct descendent of Anne Nysveen and perhaps this Aunt Kari or, if she was married at the time, which I am sure she must have been, her husband is related to my Anne Nysveen.  This would mean there is a biological relationship between my Fjelds and Marit's Fjelds.

Voila!  Another possibility to research and a blog post for another day!  Aunt Kari Nysveen.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marit Olsdatter Fjeld - a Mystery Solved...

Well, sort of. I am writing this post not only because it is a mystery I have been trying to solve for years, but as a more detailed response to an email a gentleman was kind enough to send me inviting me to connect regarding this branch of my family tree as well as inviting me to have a look at his Photobucket albums containing old family photos from this branch of my tree.

Now for some background. Marit Olsdatter Fjeld was born 10 February 1863, married an Andrew Skarperud around 1885 and came to the U.S. with my Fjelds in 1882. The mystery was this: Marit was born the same year as Ingri and Ole Knudsen Fjeld's daughter, Anne, yet Marit was not listed in the 1865 Norwegian Census with the rest of the family. Anne, however, is listed with her family on this census.  Note that I did not know either of these ladies birthdays initially and it would be their birthdays that would prove the key to unlocking the mystery.

I thought I knew Anne's birthday because other researchers had listed her birthday as 4 July 1863. So I assumed that Marit was a twin born the same day or that something was awry with Marit's age as listed in the immigration records.

Beware the work of other researchers, especially where sources are not elucidated. Both assumptions regarding Marit Fjeld were wrong as was the July 4th birthdate listed for Anne! This I discovered perusing the confirmation records for Bruflat parish. I was hoping to find the birth dates of the Fjeld children born during the years for which the parish records no longer exist, as those records burned during WWII. What I discovered was that miss Anne was born 7 April 1863 and not 4 July 1863 as other researchers had listed! (Thus far I have yet to find any hard evidence for the 4 July date). As for miss Marit, I found her birth date in the confirmation records as well... 10 February 1863. It is biologically impossible, then, for these two women to be sisters and, thus, one of them is not the biological daughter of Ingri and Ole Knudsen Fjeld. The final nail in the coffin lay in the confirmation record for Marit, where her parents are listed as Hans Andersen and Marith Olsdatter Fjeld, who themselves came to America in 1889.

So, perhaps, my Fjelds adopted Marit, if only temporarily, in order for her to immigrate to the United States? I am keeping an open mind in this instance, because, for all I know, miss Marit may have been living with my Fjeld family long before they decided to travel to the U.S. Now, the question remains, What is the connection between these two Fjeld families? Is there a biological connection I have yet to uncover? Or were these simply two close families living on the same farm back in Norway? The Fjeld farm was rather large... and I do love a good mystery.

In fact, it seems the more mysteries I solve, the more I discover. No wonder my parents used to send me from adult to adult with my endless questions! I am sure I was an exhausting child!

Now, the connection to the email. The gentleman who sent me the email regarding this branch of our tree is a direct descendant of Kari Hansdatter Fjeld, sister of Marit, our mystery lady. So the answer to the question as to how we are related is we are not related...maybe.
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