The Adoption Witness On Ancestry: Tøger Arneson Or Torger Hemmingson, son of Alette Ingebrigtsdatter

Torger was the step-son of our great grandfather, Ole Hemmingson. He was born in 1887 Norway, the first child of Alette Ingebrigtsdatter. He passed in 1911, a bachelor of about twenty-four years. His death was accidental, as told by the daughter of his half-sister, Mildred. We know him as family. Yet, he is elusive to the search process because his emigrant register listed him with his mother, under an unusual name, and then a few years hence, he assumed his step-father’s American name.

We remain driven by past struggles of “The Adoption Witness” whose beloved ancestor’s birth particulars were sought; one who was born non-wedlock, then was adopted beyond biological ties – an undocumented event, as was typical to the time. So we lay out stumbling blocks of other complicated genealogies when we find them. For Torger, it is in case descendants on his father’s side may wish to locate him, or, indeed, the chance, albeit unlikely, that he left unsuspected issue.

Birth and Baptism: transcription of Tøger’s records of birth, 11 February 1887, and baptism, 27 March 1887, were found.1 His parents were noted as unwed. Residence data was given for his mother only; Braendmoe.

“Barn Tøger Ingvald” “far Arne Tøllefsen” “mor Allette Emilie Bergitte Ingebrigtsdtr” “Ekte/uekte:u”

Ministerialbok for Hattfjelldal prestegjeld 1878-1898 (1826P)

Part of the ledger was not transcribed – see the many names inscribed below; a great place to start further study. His mother’s birthdate was 1862; father’s 1861.

Emigration: Tøger emigrated to America with his mother, in June of 1888.1

“Out-migration: 1888” “Person: Alette Emelie Gergitte Tustervand” “Birth year:1862” “Migrating to:Amerika” with “Person: Tøger Ingvald” “Position:Barn” “Birth year:1887”

Ministerialbok for Hattfjelldal prestegjeld 1878-1898 (1826P)

Emigrant Record Errors: Alette Tustervand, with son Tøger, though? That discrepancy could throw a wrench in further search. It probably represented recorder haste, given the misspell of her third forename, with the result that her birth residence was given for her surname. Her birth data was then located, in order to confirm that notion – and, of course, to assure the right target was at hand.2

“Births and baptisms: 1862-04-27” “Name:Alette Emilie Bergitte” “far Ingebrigt Nilssen” “Residence:Tustervand” “mor Marit Andersdtr.”

Ministerialbok for Hattfjelldal prestegjeld 1860-1878 (1826P)

Ole, Berith and Alette were likely familiar in Norway, while Alette was about ten years the junior. She resided in the third census district of Hatfjelldal in the 1865 Census, and they, in the first.3 However, the residence she gave at Torger’s birth, fell into the first district. Although her Norwegian records show Alette, her family called her Aletta.

Torger Hemmingson resided at the family homestead in Mason, Bayfield County, WI, over all his available censuses; those of 1900. 1905 and 1910. He was mainly involved in farm work. Torger had six step and seven half-siblings. He rests with family in Mason Cemetery.

Please leave comments, questions and corrections below.

COPYRIGHT: Posts authored by Doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness are copyright © 2018-2019. All rights reserved.

Notes and Sources

1 SAT/A-1459, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre – Nordland, 823/L0325: Parish register (official) no. 823A02, 1878-1898, Transcribed by Jostein Mediaa. Found at

2 SAT/A-1459/823/L0324 SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre – Nordland, 823/L0324: Parish register (official) no. 823A01, 1860-1878, p. 6 Transcribed by Jostein Mediaa. Found at

3 The National Archives of Norway, the Digital Archives Norway Census 1865 RA/S-2231 of Nordland, Hatfjelldal

15 thoughts on “The Adoption Witness On Ancestry: Tøger Arneson Or Torger Hemmingson, son of Alette Ingebrigtsdatter

    1. If asking from law/society stance, I read the law imposed fines early on, but that became less harsh over time. I’ve no “feel” for any societal shun factor on the child. As to recording, the ledgers I used – mostly 1800s – had a unique column for wed/unwed. Those ledgers were constructed to capture at once, dates for each child’s birth and baptism, which were typically a week or so apart. They also capture godparent information because of the baptism, so they are very revealing. There is a unique column to capture the child’s forename(s) only. Child’s surname must be assumed from a column holding the parent’s names and addresses, but the child’s whole name is nowhere written down. That selection is on a first-name patronymic convention. I’ve not encountered a case where the father was unknown and can’t think of any Nordic surname such as Aletteson, Marieson or Henriettason. But then, there is always something new to learn under the sun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting! And that’s a good point about the surnames. It’s a subject that I am pretty interested in, but it’s so hard to know for sure what it was REALLY like, you know? It’s common in Dutch genealogy to see first babies born less than 9 months after the marriage, but that’s because it was not unusual for them to make sure the girl got pregnant first, THEN married. Assurance of fertility.


      2. Totally WOW. That “see first” thing is new to me as European custom, but makes good sense. I also learned that in more northern climes, marriage age tended later, so that unwed was even more likely. It hurts the heart to think, though, that any child would bear shaming for it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think a lot of my Dutch ancestors married somewhat late, as in their 20s and sometimes their 30s.
        I do wonder how much shaming. I have done some research on this for 1920s and 30s U.S., and a huge number of illegitimate babies died and of those that survived many were given up for adoption or “taken” by church or government.


      4. And because they were often poor, too. Wealthy girls and women might be more apt to “buy” a husband quickly. Or to get an abortion? Did they have expensive abortionists in those days? I feel like there is one in Kate Chopin’s novel The Awakening.


      5. My research was mostly late 19th Century in the working class, Families had nothing to spare, with children coming every two years. As they aged, brothers often stayed home to share income while sisters were sent to service – the result should have been no surprise. I’d wonder about shaming her daughters, since so often, the wife-mother had entered the marriage with a child, or pregnant. The wealthy always enjoy an easier “fix” no matter how that is imagined.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s