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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