Friday, July 22, 2016

Torp Times Two

Just when I thought I had it all figured out...

My great grandmother, Gunhild Mathea Johannesdatter, said that she hailed from Drøbak, Norway. But my research revealed that her early vital records are recorded in the neighboring parish of Vestby. Parish boundaries have changed numerous times over the centuries. So what is Vestby today isn't necessarily what was Vestby in the mid-nineteenth century.

The Torp farm that I enthusiastically wrote about earlier this week is in what is now Ås Parish. (The "å" or "a-ring" is pronounced "oh-uh.") Its close proximity to Drøbak seemed to seal the deal. The fact that it was in yet a different, third parish, well, perhaps changing parish boundaries would explain that discrepancy.

Since last posting, I have been trying to learn about "Stokkholm." Referred to in the passage about my family in the Vestby bygdebok, Stokkholm seems to be the sub-farm of the larger Torp farm, on which my family lived and held a lease. Google kept thinking that I wanted to search for Stockholm, Sweden, but I persisted with what seemed like a misspelling.

I eventually did find a Stokkholm farm. But this is where things got complicated. Yes, it's near a farm named Torp, but it is a different Torp! This one is located in yet another parish, Hvitsten.

Multiple farms with the same name are common all over Norway. That is why, in doing research, you need to know the big three: farm, parish, and county. Missing any one of those makes your research so much more difficult.

So which Torp? Ås or Hvitsten?

Arguing for Ås is its proximity to Drøbak. But arguing against it is how far Torp is from Vestby. Could parish boundaries have changed that much?

Arguing for Hvitsten is Stokkholm itself. This is the only Stokkholm that I can find. The fact that it is further from Drøbak (about 13 miles) seems less important at this point. Perhaps it was easier for Mathea to say that she was from the town of Drøbak because it was on the coast, closer to Oslo, and perhaps better known than the inland town of Vestby. Additionally, this Hvitsten Torp is very close to the Vestby parish boundary. It's easy to think that the boundaries could have shifted that little bit over time.

So scratch everything that I wrote about Torp in my last post. I now believe that the Hvitsten Torp is the correct one.

Torp and Stokkholm are about a quarter of a mile apart, now separated by railroad tracks. Looking at the spot with Google Earth, there are no buildings where Stokkholm is indicated, just a forest of pine trees. So what will my sister Jeanne and I find when we get there? Ruins hidden by the treetops? Hopefully at least evidence of a house's foundation. In any case, we leave one month from tomorrow!!

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