Skurdal – It’s Complicated
The Skurdal area (Skurdalsgrenda) is one of the largest and most varied in Sør-Fron parish. There are at least six farms whose names contain “Skurdal,” and more than ten others that are part of the “grenda.” Of primary interest to us is the southern portion of the area. In Anne Larsdatter’s birth record (1801), the farm name was given as simply “Schurdal.” This would include the entire area above, and more. Adding to the uncertainty, Anne’s residential surname is shown in other documents as “Skurdalshaugen.” Here the confusion begins.
Skurdalshaugen, number 6 on the above photo, has been an independent farm since at least 1723. But it is not the birthplace of Anne Larsdatter, and it is unlikely that she ever lived there. My fondest thanks to Pål Kjorstad for helping me sort this out. We will come back to this Skurdalshaugen later, in connection with another line of ancestors.
As it turns out, a certain resident of Skurdalshaugen named David Jonsen (David was a very unusual name at that time) occupied a plot some 1 km to the south, in the late 1700’s. This farm is now called Davidhaugen (after its original resident), but went by other names before it separated from its “parent” farm in 1905. This was not uncommon for tenant farms, which were not officially distinguished from their ownership. Here are two of my photos of Davidhaugen (#7 in the above map).
David Jonsen had a son named Lars Davidsen, who in turn had a daughter named Anne Larsdatter, our great-great-grandmother. Moreover, after Lars Poulsen married Anne (1820), I believe that they lived on this same plot of land to raise their large family. The documents I have found are inconclusive, but suggest it in subtle ways. Finally, I got a feeling here. Not an overwhelming, knock-you-down kind of epiphany, but a definite sense of connection with this place.
Next: Tretten – birthplace of Anne Samuelsdatter, future wife of Ole Larson, and my great-grandmother.
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Sør-Fron, Part 3: Anna Moen’s Mother « Ole's Blog
Sep 18, 2011
[…] will remember from an earlier post that I had thought Skurdalshaugen to be the birthplace of Anne Larsdatter (mother of Ole Larson), […]
Jun 11, 2014
I am searching for the location of a farm in Norway that was/is named Brenden u/Skurdal sondre, Skurdalsbrenna, and Skurdalseie, sondre. My great grandfather, Svein Sveinson Brenden was born there on June 26, 1838 and emmigrated to Vernon County, Wisconsin, United States in 1865. Do you have any information about this location?
Jun 11, 2014
I have only seen the place name once before, associated with the sister of Ole Larson (namesake of this website). In an inscription she made in a book, she calls herself “Marit Larsdatter Skurdalsbrenden.” In another book, she used “Skurdalseiet” instead. See this post: https://olelarsonsfolks.net//2010/06/26/the-hand-of-oles-sister/.
“Skurdalseiet” may have referred to any husmansplass under Skurdal; it was a generic term. Other names of tenant farms tended to be rather fluid. A name like “Skurdalsbrenden/brenna” may have referred to different plots at different time periods. Plus, when a person moved, usually their “residential” surname changed.
With that in mind, I think your ancestor was not only acquainted with mine, but was on the same ship with them — the brig “Atalanta” from Christiania to Quebec. I will email you an image of the passenger list. The name I think may be his (although with a different farm name) comes right after Ole and his family, including Marit.
As to the precise location of Skurdalsbrenden, I can only assume it was somewhere in the south part of the Skurdal complex. It does not appear on any maps I have seen.