The Leifsen Family from Jevnaker, Norway

    Astrid «Mimmi» Hoelseth, née Strand, a granddaughter of Lars and Astrid Leivsen, and yours sincerely, in 1970.

Thursday 27 May 2010

Last week I received my copy of Etterkommere av Lars Leivsen født 4 april 1838 Drammen død 3 januar 1899 Jevnaker gift 11 november 1865 Drammen med Astrid Herbjørnsdatter født 21 februar 1840 Tinn i Telemark død 12 mars 1924 Jevnaker.

The booklet lists all the descendants of my great-great-great grand-parents Lars Leivsen and Astrid Herbjørnsdatter (my ancestors no. 38 and 39 respectively), and was published earlier in May 2009 by Gunhild, Kåre and Geir Arne Myhrstuen of Jevnaker Historielag (Jevnaker Historical Society). I have really looked forward to this booklet! First of all because I haven't made too much research on this side of my family, except for the Sandefjord branch, which consists of the descendants of my great-grandmother Astrid Hoelseth, née Strand, and her sister Aagot Charlotte Carlsen (1898-1981). Secondly, this is the first time so much genealogical information has been published about the Hoelseth family. I have worked on the Hoelseth genealogy for many years and hope to publish the genealogy of the descendants of Tollef Olsen Holset (1764-1840) some time, but a lot of research remains to be done.

Lars Leivsen was born at Aaserudeie in Skoger, which today is a part of Drammen municipality, Buskerud county, in 1838. He worked among others as a "bjelkehugger" ("beam chopper"), carpenter and saw miller. In 1865 he married in Strømsgodset church (then Skoger) Astrid Herbjørnsdatter Såheim, who was born in 1840 at Søum in Tinn, Telemark county. In 1873 the family moved from Bakken in Strømsgodset to Jevnaker in Oppland county, where Lars took up work at a sawmill. He died of cancer in 1899, while Astrid lived on until 1924.

The couple had ten children, of whom seven reached adulthood: 1. Jørgen (b. and d. 1866): 2. my great grandmother Jakobine (1867-1949); 3. Hans (1869-1958); 4. Jørgen (II) (1870-1958); 5. Inga (b. and d. 1872); 6. Ludvig (1873-1874); 7. Laura (1875-1959); 8. Halvard (1878-1959); 9. Ingvald (1880-1964) and 10. Ingeborg (1882-1973). Most of the children, and their agnatic descendants, were known by Leifsen as surname. The majority of the descendants live in Jevnaker and other places in Oppland county and in Buskerud county, but there are also branches in the United States and Canada.

I know how much work that goes into a work like this genealogy, as I experienced among others with my research for the booklet about the Robertsen family from Lillehavn in Lindesnes. I think the Myhrstuens have done a great job. The booklet is built on information from the various branches of the family as well as on church books, local newspapers and other sources. The details included in the genealogy are first of all the dates and places of birth, christenings, confirmations, marriages and divorces, deaths and burials, where the descendants lived and to some extent their profession. An index is also provided! The authors haven't found all the details for every descendant, but then again not all information is publically available concerning the younger generations. A minor trifle is that the authors in order to find out where the present generations live today seem to have used the telephone directory rather than the tax list as a source. This explains among others why one of my cousins, who lives in Tjølling, Larvik in Vestfold county, is listed as living in the neighbour town of Sandefjord. It must be because his mobile phone is registered and owned by his employer.

There are - at least not for me - not too many surprises in the booklet. There are no celebrities to be found - this is the history of the common man and woman! Besides the Leifsens and the Hoelseths we find surnames such as Strand, Carlsen, Beck, Helgesen, Steen, Løchsen, Glorud and Braathen, to mention a few.

The name of Unni Holmen, who belongs to the Halvard branch, might be recognized by the readers, though. She was a Norwegian and Nordic Champion in gymnastics in the 1970s. Her son Kim Holmen is a professional football player formerly with FC Lyn Oslo. The fact that he came to Kongsvinger prior to the 2010 season is not included in the booklet, though.

I am responsible for (most of) the information about the descendants of my great-grandmother Astrid Hoelseth. I believe that most of the details are complete, although it is not always easy to keep track of all my second cousins and what they are up to these days. There have been some changes to this branch that took place just before the booklet was printed, but this is difficult to avoid. The authors have written that great-grandmother Astrid was born at Nesbakken in Jevnaker. That is also what is stated in the church book of Hønefoss, where the christening took place (the church unfortunately burned down in January 2010), but Astrid herself said that she was born at Nøklebyeie, where her grandparents lived. There might be a natural explanation for this contradiction, but as I am not too acquainted with the locality, I haven't found an answer yet.

The booklet is meant to cover all the descendants of Lars and Astrid Leivsen, but as the research for the booklet first of all is built on Norwegian sources, there are some names missing from the branches that ended in the United States or Canada. One exception to this is one of my dad's second cousins, who has ended up in Boulder, Colorado and has one son, who recently got married. Nice to know if I should ever visit that part of the United States! One of Astrid Hoelseth's younger brothers, Leif Herbjørn Strand, emigrated to Canada in 1929. He had asked my granddad Arne to go along with him, but he preferred to stay in Norway. The descendants of Leif Herbjørn are all living in Norway as well. I would like to get a photo of Leif Herbjørn's grave in Hudson Bay (he died in 1976) some time. I am sure it should be possible to trace.

The above-mentioned Hans and Jørgen Leifsen both died in Ontario in 1958. It is unknown whether any of them ever got married, but it should be possible to find out, although it might take some time and effort to do the research. The same can be said about Laura's children Andreas and Astrid Andersen, born in 1904 and 1909 respectively. They both ended up in Chicago and got married, but the names of their spouses are not known to the authors, and only Andreas' son Lee is listed, but without a birthdate. I think I have found him in the SSDI, though.

The booklet is only meant to cover the genealogy. The more complete family history must be another project for the future. I am happy enough with all the genealogical details, but I still think the authors could have put a photo of Lars and Astrid Leivsen on the cover. Nevertheless, as I have already said, the authors have done a great job with the genealogy and I am very grateful that they have taken the time and energy to publish it.

This article was originally published on my blog on Thursday 27 May 2010, but due to some tecnical problems it was moved to my website the day after.

Updated on Friday 6 May 2011 at 10.30 (typo corrected).

This page was last updated on Friday 6 May 2011
(first time published on Friday 28 May 2010).

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