Ole Larson's Folks

Samuel Jorgensen, Bjerke, Øyer, Gudbrandsdal, Norway. New information.


Well, I’ve gotten my nose back in those Norwegian churchbooks again. Thanks to the ever-addictive Digitalarkivet. I had left off with the Samuelsen branch back at Samuel Jorgensen, the father of my great-grandmother Anne Samuelsdatter, Isaac’s mother. About all I knew at the start was that he was from Tretten, Gudbrandsdal, in the parish of Øyer. I was unclear whether Anne was born in Norway or America.

I’ve written to a descendant of one of Anne Samuelsdatter’s siblings (there were some Samuelsen brothers), but I haven’t heard back. I spent a little time on this branch a few months ago, using a two-step method to search the Internet. I kind of stumbled onto the method, and it works well for me. First, with as little info as first name, patronymic name, and approximate date, I search the index at the LDS website, FamilySearch.org, It gives a list of names (sometimes quite long) along with the name of the parish community associated with the record. If I know the parish I can narrow the search down to one or two prospects (or none).

I can’t remember exactly what I already knew; I think only Anne’s birth date of 25 Jan. 1845. That was enough to find her in the index at FamilySearch.org, then locate the images at Digitalarkivet . All the examples are from the Ministerial books for Øyer parish. The first two examples are from the book for the years 1842-1857.


Anne Samuelsdatter christening

Year 1845; Entry 18: Born 25 January, christened 16 Feb, twin girls, Ingebor and Anne. Parents were Samuel Jorgensen and Marit Pedersdatter.  The farm name Bierke (modern spelling, Bjerke) is the big key here. Witnesses were also a bunch of Bierke’s and one “Svend” from the residence (farm) of Sandvig. That may help in a little while.

Now I had the mother’s last name, and the farm name. By deduction I guessed they were married on or before 1844. Sure enough, a search of the index turned up their marriage record.


Samuel & Marit married 1844

Year 1844; Entry 74, Date Nov. 13. [Bachelor] Samuel, farm Bierke, age 29, son of Jorgen, marries Marit, farm name Glommen, age 24 1/2, daughter of Peder. The farm name of Bierke connects it up nicely. If you are a skeleton-hunter, note that the marriage date is just two months before Anne’s birth.

New info is the age of bride and groom. Now we know that Samuel’s birth date was approx. 1815, and Marit’s about 1820. Voila, Samuel’s christening. From Ministerialbok 1784-1824.

Samuel Jorgensen christened 1815

Samuel Jorgensen christened 1815

Year 1815, christened 26 Dec., Parents Jorgen and Ømbjør Bierke, born 20th same month; baby: Samuel. Once again, witnesses include Bierke’s and Sandvig’s. What we don’t yet have, though, are the patronyms of either of Samuel’s parents. That pretty well nixes the use of FamilySearch index, which uses patronyms almost exclusively, and almost never uses farm names. Looking up Jorgen Bierke brings up nothing. So we have to resort to searching the microfilms, pretty much “raw.”

The logical next item to look for is the marriage of Samuel’s parents, in the years prior to 1815. Search page after page of  the Gothic handwriting shown above, for the marriage of *some* Jorgen to *some* Ømbjør, and hope to spot the farm name of Bierke to nail it.

As I say in the fiction,

“To be continued”

Harvey the Horse
Genealogical Graffiti