Before I share what is written about the family living at the Grasdalen ("grass valley") farm, let me put this into some geographical context. As I wrote about in my last post, Norway is broken into nineteen counties and over a thousand parishes. Each parish is then broken into farms. And sometimes farms are split into sub-farms. That is the case with where my grandfather was born.
My grandfather, Charles Hovick (born Tjerand Torbjørnson in 1873) lived with his family (parents, six siblings, two aunts and two uncles) in this two-room house on the Grasdalen farm, which is a sub-farm, part of the larger Håvik farm.
And Skjold parish lies in the county of Rogaland in southwestern Norway.
So when it came time to find out what lightcould be shed on my family history by
thebygdebøker (the historical farm books), I looked to the two-volume set on the Skjold parish.
Gard og ætt
Farm and Family
The chapter on the Håvik farm begins on page 17 of volume I. And here, on pages 31 and 32, in Norwegian, is the information on my family living on the Grasdalen sub-farm.
GRASDALEN (og kalla Dalen)
Skyldsett i 1955 som bruk 8.
53. Andor (Anders) Tjerandson (Kjreranson) fra u. Førde i Sveio (147a), f. 1802 u. Berge i Sveio, d. 1846, g. 1827 m. Brønla Torbjørnsdtr f. 1800 pa Årek (10n), d. 1861.
a. Tjerand f. 1827, d. 1827 (½ time).
b. Tjerand f. 1829, d. 1854, ug.
c. Torbjørn f. 1833, Grasdalen u. Håvik (54).
d. Siri f. 1836, d. 1922, ug. (skredderske/fattiglem).
e. Rasmus f. 1843, Grønnemyr u. Bjerga (29) og Hatlastad (38).
Andor kom flyttande hit som «TienesteKarl» eit par månader før han og Brønla gifta seg i 1827. Brønla var søster til Ariel Torbjørnson, ein av gardbrukarane her.
Det blei halde skifte etter eldste sonen Tjerand i 1855. Auksjonen over det han åtte, hadde innbrakt-nesten 55½ spesiedalar. Denne summen blei ikkje redusert med meir eon vel 8 dalar under skifteforretningen. Ungkaren Tjerand Grasdalen åtte seks verer, ein sau og eit svart saulam då ban dødde. Han var elles godt utstyrt som fiskar med m.a. eit par gamle sjøstøvlar, skinntrøye og skinnbukse og sju vårsildegam. Han åtte vidare halvparten i ein fiskebåt med segl og «øvrigt Tilbehør». Båten hadde ein verdi på 14 dalar, sildegama kom opp i 12½ dalar.
54. Torbjørn Andorson f. 1833 i Grasdalen u. Håvik (53c), d. 1881, g. 1862 m.
Inger (Ingrid) Nilsdtr f. 1838 på Aursland (21d).
a. Brønla f. 1863, flytta i 1887 til Iowa, USA.
b. Astrid f. 1865, flytta i 1887 til Haugesund.
c. Nils Andreas f. 1868, flytta i 1888 til USA.
d. Andreas f. 1871, flytta i 1888 til USA.
e. Tjerand f. 1873, flytta i 1888 til USA.
f. Torger f. 1875, flytta i 1887 til Haugesund.
g. Inga Serina f. 1878, flytta i 1887 til Hau-gesund.
Torbjørn er allereie i 1855 nemnd som husmann i Grasdalen. Først sju år seinare, etter at mora var død, gifta han seg. I 1865 heldt han og kona Inger tre krøte_r og 19 sauer på Grasdalen-plasset. Dei hadde satt 1¾ tønne havre og 2½ tønner poteter. Ti år seinare var buskapen auka til tre-fire kyr eller ungfe, 16-20 sauer og fire geiter. To av kyrne; 12 av sauene og alle geitene heldt Torbjørn i foster for andre. På åkerteigane sine hadde plassfolket i 1875 sått halvanna tønne havre og same potetmengda som ti år før. Av dette rekna dei med å hausta åtte korntønner og ti potettønner.
Torbjørn og Inger heldt to tenarar i 1865. Tenesteguten var 15 år og heitte Bård Nilsson. Åsa Nilsdtr var «Barnepige». Begge to var sysken av Inger. Dei to andre som budde på plasset, Rasmus og Siri, var sysken av Torbjørn. Rasmus var skulelrerar og Siri skreddar.
- Each number indicates a nuclear family. So number 53 below is the record of Andor and Brønla (my great-great grandparents) and their five children; number 54 is of Torbjørn and Inger (my great grandparents) and their seven children.
- There is no indication that number 52, Anders and Alis are in any way related to my family. I believe that they were simply the prior occupants of the house.
- Children are assigned letters in order of birth (oldest = a, second-oldest = b, etc.).
- There are parenthetical references throughout to numbers and letters. Because one person can be both a child in one nuclear family and a parent in another, this is the system for making those connections. For instance, in family number 53, Andor is the father. As indicated, he will also be found in the Sveio parish on the Førde farm as the oldest child of family number 147 "(147a)." His wife Brønla will be found in the same parish on the Årek farm, the 14th child (!) of family number 10 "(10n)."
- A hussman translates to a cotter, a tenant farmer with a lease to the land.
So many stories of joy and sadness are only hinted at in the few short paragraphs of this historical record. And yet I have such profound gratitude that even these hints have survived!
Skjold: Gard og Ætt, I
Skjold: Farm and Family, Volume I
GRASDALEN (also called Dalen) under Håvik
53. Andor (Anders) Tjerandson (Kjæranson) from the Førde farm in Sveio (147a), was born in 1802 at the Berge farm in Sveio, and died in 1846. In 1827 he married Brønla Torbjørnsdatter, who was born in 1800 at the Årek farm (10n) and died in 1861.
a. Tjerand born and died 1827 (lived for ½ hour).
b. Tjerand born 1829, died 1854 unmarried.
c. Torbjørn born 1833, Grasdalen under Håvik (54).
d. Siri born 1836, died 1922, unmarried (tailor/pauper).
e. Rasmus born 1843, Gønnemyr under Bjerga (29), and Hatlastad (38).
Andor moved here as a hired-hand a couple of months before he and Brønla married in 1827. Brønla was the sister of Ariel Torbjørnson, a farm operator from here.
In 1855, probate was held for their son Tjerand. The auction of his belonging brought in almost 55½ spesiedaler*. This sum was only reduced by 8 dalar** according to the probate records. Tjerand Grasdalen owned six rams, a sheep and a black lamb when he died. He also had good fishing equipment, which included a pair of old rain-boots, leather jacket and pants, and seven spring-herring nets. He also owned half of a fishing boat with sail and accessories. The boat was valued at 14 dalar, and the herring nets at 12½ dalar.
54. Torbjørn Andorson was born 1833 in Grasdalen under Håvik (53c) and died in 1881. In 1862 he married Inger (Ingrid) Nilsdatter, born 1838 at the Aursland farm (21d).
a. Brønla born 1863, moved in 1887 to Iowa, USA.
b. Astrid born 1865, moved in 1887 to Haugesund.
c. Nils Andreas born 1868, moved in 1888 to USA.
d. Andreas born 1871, moved in 1888 to USA.
e. Tjerand born 1873, moved in 1888 to USA.
f. Torger born 1875, moved in 1887 to Haugesund.
g. Inga Serina born 1878, moved in 1887 to Haugesund.***
In 1855, Torbjørn was already referred to as a cotter at Grasdalen. Seven years after the death of his mother, he married. In 1865, he and his wife Inger had three cows and 19 sheep at the Grasdalen place. They planted ¾ barrel**** oats and 2½ barrels potatoes. Ten years later the stock had increased to 3-4 cows, 16-20 sheep and 4 goats. Two of the cows and twelve of the sheep and all of the goats Torbjørn took care of for others. In 1875, they had planted 1½ barrels of oats and the same amount of potatoes as ten years earlier. Of this, they calculated they would harvest eight barrels of grain and ten barrels of potatoes.
Tobjørn and Inger had two hired-hands in 1865. A fifteen-year-old boy named Bård Nilsson and Åse Nilsdatter the “baby-sitter.” Both were Inger’s siblings. The two others who lived on the place, Rasmus and Siri, were Torbjørn’s siblings. Rasmus was a school teacher and Siri a tailor.
In 1875 Torbjørn was supported by welfare even though he was only 40 years old. It could be that illness was the reason he needed outside help. Six years later he died, right before his 50th year. In 1887 his widow Inger moved to live with some of her children in Haugesund. Some of the others went to America.***** Their daughter Brønla was living in Haugesund in 1885. She was employed by the ship builder Halvor H. Wiig.
* an archaic monetary value
** another monetary value
** another monetary value
*** details on how their names were altered and Americanized are here
**** 1 barrel = about 4 bushels
**** 1 barrel = about 4 bushels
***** the widowed Inger and all her children immigrated between 1886-1889.