Grandad Hemmingsen’s Maiden Aunts and The Skovdrivers of Hattfjelldal Parish.

A sigh escaped two maiden sisters long ago that echoes still: Elen and Anne Marie Hemmingsdatter of Groli Farm; Great-granddad Ole Hemmingsen’s dear sisters.1 They had shared a partner, albeit several years apart.2 To each, came a child. He was a skovdriver, their Gustav Henriksen. Skovdrivers came out of nowhere, and soon, they were gone.

The Church Book for Elen’s otherwise blessed event was not hopeful that she would marry and that for Anne Marie said Gustav had abandoned Hattfjelldal Parish. In truth, it looked as if their father, Hemming Paulsen, had run him out of town, but that is conjecture.

To keep Ole Hemmingsen straight: great-granddad Ole Hemmingsen and the sisters were grandchildren to that old patriarch Ole Hemmingsen, b. 1800, who about went mad over goings-on next door at Nerli Farm. That tale was told two posts ago when Gunder Dahlby swooped into their parish and squired their Aunt Elen Oline off to Wisconsin. That good man, Gunder, had skovdriver on his resume too. This picks up where that left off, late Little Ice Age, mid-1870s.

On the new half-sibling cousins: Church Books deemed these innocents as uegte for their parents’ leiermaal (archaic) unions. Not to judge any of it today; more than fierce cold was dispiriting our people. Elen’s sweet Ingrid Mathilde Gustavsdatter was taken by the measles of 1875, when only eight months old. The child was surely named for Elen’s grandmother, Ingrid; perhaps Mathilde favored his. Then, Hemming Gustavsen, Anne Marie’s son of her short liaison, arrived in 1877. Anne Marie named him for her father, quite likely.

To be fair in reporting, Great-granddad Ole welcomed a bundle of his own two months after Elen’s arrived and that was only two months after his wedding. This timing, though, conformed to custom of our people who were accepting of offspring before a church wedding, if after betrothal. Actually, Ole married Beret Has Mathisdatter on the very same day wee Ingrid Mathilde was baptized.

It was Friday, October 30, 1874 at Hattfjelldal Church. Beret’s people of Hatfjelddalen Farm were there for her wedding. Ole’s parents, Hemming and Gurine too, of course. His sister, Pauline and her husband, Lars Rued, witnessed the baptism; those two, all the time plotting their own off to Wisconsin. Anne Marie sponsored the infant as well, along with a Halsten Thorgersen. Halsten was a skovdriver from Oppland, waiting in the wings to insert himself again.3

The day was eventful beyond marriage for Ole. It fell to him to furnish remarks relevant to the baptismal record. He said Elen acknowledged her child was out-of-wedlock, with this the first unlawful partner for each.

Meanwhile over on our Branna Farm – run by the old patriarch’s daughter Mali, and her husband, Ole Anderson – their daughter, Ingrid Oline Olsdatter, who was of course, cousin to Elen and Ann Marie and of similar age, was distraught over grave losses of what looked like a first indiscretion. Her Adolf Marius had been born earlier in 1874. He was baptized at home and died the next day. Poor Ingrid Oline; her partner, Amund Andersen (1847-1873), had drowned in Elsvasselva River, some months before, possibly thieving her of a published promise to marry.4

There was no promise ahead of the birth of her Ole Thorvald to that Halsten Thorgersen, in June of 1875.5 The ledger confirmed this as Ingrid Oline’s second unlawful association, and the skovdriver’s first. Elen Hemmingsdatter witnessed this baptism just weeks after burying Ingrid Mathilde, for it would be so that this bereaved mother witnessed many happy events for Groli Farm.

Ole Halvorsen, Ingrid Oline’s third leiermaal partner, fathered their Anne Marie in 1878, but he had given no promise either.6 It seemed he had followed another Halvorsen to town, an older skovdriver, and then hurried on home. Perhaps they were familiar, hailing from Stjordal Parish of Nord-Trondelag, right where our ancestors originated.

Skovdriver was a forestry job noticed in our family records, particularly during the mid-1870s. The somewhat unique identifier was looked at, hoping for a better picture of the gentleman. The result is given in the attached PDFclick entitled “Skovdrivers Come to Hattfjelldal Parish.”

The archive showed small numbers nationwide (580 hits) and a narrow timeframe of use of the term (55 years from 1865 to 1920), clustered mid-1870s in the area of our parish... With these numbers, surely the needle would shine from the haystack, to easily illuminate Gustav Henriksen.

PDF by Marilee Wein

While descendant perspective may bias toward “she said” in these skovdriver cases, much impact on our family was benign. Ole Saxesen, husband of the old patriarch’s daughter, Ingaborg Anna, declared himself so, but only once. Unrelated skovdrivers reported our farms as home or took farm names for surname.

Our Gunder Dahlby was among the first to introduce the ranks from outside counties to Hattfjelldal, late-1860s. They touched families of both wives of Ole Hemmingsen: Beret Mathisdatter and Alette Ingebrigtsdatter. Alette’s brother, Karl Nikolai Ingebrigtsen, was one of the last announced in Church Books; at his wedding in the early 1890s, and just that once.


Elen Hemmingsdatter died in March of 1880. She never wed. Her ledger of death was quite barren of detail. Perhaps, her heart was broken.

Elen’s sisters are graphed above so as not to confuse in the further telling, for they included so much Anne: Anne Marie, Ingaborg Anna Marie and Anne Oline. It cannot be left out that while Elen died on March 8, the marriage of ‘Ingaborg” went forward on July 4th. Those Church Books suggested why; the couple had an early event on February 2, and baptized their son, March 29. Their promise needed to be made good, no disrespect to dear Elen.

Pauline Hemmingsdatter’s husband, Lars Rued, stole off to Wisconsin to close out 1880. They had planned his “escape” whereby she and the children would follow. The next post will tell that tale, informed by output of a 1959 audio tape left by their daughter. Hilarious and poignant, it will be best appreciated with this backdrop of hardship in the 1870’s.

Ole Hemmingsen followed Pauline to Wisconsin, actually just as his third son was born in 1882. Beret Mathisdatter and three children sailed in 1886, two more, in 1887. Beret died in Wisconsin soon after and Alette Ingebrigtsdatter, who had sponsored that third son at baptism, wed Ole in 1892. The blog celebrates these families of our direct ancestry.

Anne Oline Hemmingsdatter wed Beret’s brother, Mathias Martinus Mathisen, in 1883. The family emigrated to Iowa in 1888; another story already blogged. The year was marred when young Matias Hemmingsen died of a chest ailment.

Next year, June, saw the death of Ingrid Arntsdatter (1802-1884) at Nerli. That left old patriarch Ole (1800-1896) to handle the ever changing family dynamics alone. He was last of the sixsome who left Stjordal Parish in the early 1840s, including brother Paul, with Marith and sister Mali, with Svend. Nerli Farm would soon fall under care of Ole’s son, Andreas Olsen Nerli – the “almost emigrant” of our Mali Hemmingsdatter – Fiplingkrogen Tales.

Sara Hemmingsdatter, the family baby, married Ivar Ivarsen in July of 1884. They became principals of Uglevatne Farm in Hattfjelldal, former home of patriarch Paul Hemmingsen (1797-1869) and Marith Olsdatter (1807-1849).

Anne Marie Hemmingsdatter wed on 20 Nov 1884. has a small photo of her. Her husband, Laurits Johnsen, was a farmer. He died in 1915, while she was favored until ninety. Many of their children (Note C) adopted the farm name, Aasen. Many were likewise long lived. Not Elen Mathilde, though, who was lost to diphtheria at five. She was likely named for Elen and Ingrid Mathilde, reminding of Gustav Henriksen.

Her partner and Elen’s, Gustav Henriksen, never gave his accountable particulars of age and where from. Best evidence said he was not local. He let skovdriver slip, so had he associated with others whom he followed to town? The PDF continues the evidence.

Elen’s daughter, Ingrid Mathilde (1874-1875), may have elicited a fatherly gaze or even a cuddle. It is not known if he held her during her fatal illness.

Anne Marie’s son, Hemming Gustavsen (1877-1966), left home sometime after 1893. He formalized a forename change to Henning. Whether or not he met his father, was favored with paternal half-siblings or enjoyed any recognition from that side of his family remains unknown.

Henning, or Hemming, Gustavsen led a remarkable life, a journey of continuing surprise. He is memorialized at Granddad’s Cousin: Hemming Gustavsen 1877-1966; A Larger Life Than Lean.

Ingaborg Anna Marie Hemmingsdatter was widowed early, re-marrying in 1885. She had three children with Olaus Olsen, her groom of July 4th, after Elen’s death. She had two with Olaus Nilsen. One survived a day, the other died of meningitis, in 1891. That was Census Year on Groli Farm, with Hemming Paulsen still managing. Apparently, “Ingaborg” and husband were to caretake Groli next, but she died of TB that same year and after his severe losses, Olaus Nilsen disappeared from the books. Her eldest son, Sigurd Edvin Olausen then found life particularly difficult. He became a father at 14, and soon again, to two older women. His rebound may merit an emigrant story. Understandably, the 1900 Census informed that while Hemming Paulsen and Gurine Olsdatter were still at Groli, they had signed the farm over beyond direct descendancy, in a manner whereby they would be cared for.

When the 1880s closed, Hemming Paulsen and Gurine Olsdatter had made their statement. Of their eight children, two had passed, three would make their lives in Hattfjelldal and three had departed to America.

Impact of the unwed skovdriver father of Groli Farm had been profound. Neither of Gustav’s children had children of their own, ending his legacy as it is known. That of Branna Farm was equally profound and echoed forward.


Inger Oline Olsdatter found stability when marrying Ivar Thomassen Lie of Gausdal (1855-1894) in 1881. This farmer also announced as a skovdriver, but only once and that was at son Adolf Teodor’s birth in 1882.7 They had four children at Gronlid Farm (Note D).

In 1901, a widowed Inger Oline wed shoemaker, Jonas Olafsen, a Swede. They had no children, at least not in Norway. Her final chapter – and echoes of skovdrivers – follow the account below, of her two leiermaal partners, and children left to navigate complicated dynamics of step, foster and half-sibling relationships.

Her partner, Halsten Thorgersen (1852-1937), son of Torger Halstensen and Berte Johansdtr, identified as a skovdriver in the 1875 Census of Vefsn Parish. He let the title go on marriage to Hyberta Anna Mathilde Olsdatter in 1882. The couple resided in Hemnes Parish, Nordland, with three children: Johanna Marie b. 1882, Berte Julie 1885, and Helga 1892. They remained in 1900. Halsten was a widower by 1910, a resident of Mo, Telemark County. He re-wed to Olava Maria Hansen, evidently, no children came. Significantly, in 1920, he was found in Mo again, except this time it was Mo, Nord-Rana, Nordland County. He was likely a responsible father to Ole Torvald.

Their son, Ole Torvald Halstensen, b. 1875-06-15 Hattfjelldal, was a teenaged step-son to Ivar Thomassen in 1891, engaged in livestock and farm maintenance. He likely enjoyed paternal family relationships with those nearby in Hemnes. Hopefully he kept company with his half-sister, the fostered Anne Marie.

Already 25 and single in 1900, Torvald (he dropped Ole) was marked absent from his mother’s household, with an assumed address in Sweden.

He married Emma Kristina Jonsdatter there, in Tarna, Vasterbotten, on 10 Apr 1911. The couple then travelled to Hattfjelldal within the week. They were childless in Nore, Buskerud at Census 1920 where he was involved in construction work. Torvald incorrectly stated to that census that he was born at Mo i Rana. This slip may indicate ongoing contact with his biological father, who resided at Mo i Rana at the time.

Her partner, Ole Halvorsen, left Hattfjelldal after Anne Marie’s birth, telling only that he was born in Stjordal, between 1855 and 1860. Peder and Sivert Halvorsen – skovdrivers – remained in town and had lots to add: Ole was born in Hegra, 1857-07-03, the local parish of our ancestors, to Halvor Nilsen and Sigrid Sivertsdatter. Of note, he had spent 1875 on a farm situated between his parents and one Mette Berntine Olausdatter – and wed her in 1883! Still, other aspects of the story are not known. The couple then disappeared from ledgers. Ole and Mette possibly tracked Sivert to Sweden, or emigrated to Minnesota, along with a number of their family members in Stjordal, but unlikely remained in Norway.

Their daughter, Anne Marie Olsdatter b. 26 Apr 1878 was placed in foster care, certainly by 13 and minimally through 15. Why is not known. Generations crowded homes then, with no external resources for acutely ill, infirm or aged. Households that increased by remarriage found best-fit foster situations for some children. Maybe her skills were actually needed at Varntresk Farm. It is not known how her wee self felt about mother keeping Ole Torvald home, or if she pined to help her with little half-siblings. Nor that her father had abandoned her, even as Uncle Sivert provided comfort from her Halvorsen side. But Sivert would be off to Sweden as she matured. Mother too, would be elsewhere by the time she would marry.

Ann Marie was at Ruderaasen in 1900, home of Johan Petter Kastberg Eriksen. They married in 1903 and took Ruderas as surname. Their family was there in 1920.

Only she, of our uegte children, had known offspring.

Peder Halvorsen (1818-1898) seemed responsible for Sivert Halvorsen (1847-1925) being in Hattfjelldal.8,9 Peder was a generation ahead, but unrelated. Still, he became a principal at Sivert’s wedding. Earlier, the men from different origins, became neighbors on Saxen Farm in Fosnes Parish of Nord-Trondlag. That was 1865, coincident with the first searchable use of the term “skovdriver”. Peder was one, with Fosnes an early skovdriver center.

Peder and wife arrived in Hattfjelldal from Fosnes, in 1869. They settled at Vefsnemo Farm with a number of children, right next to Nerli and Branna. They added Albertine Josephine in 1870, who would show the Halvorsen name was not trashed. After all, when Peder died in 1898, Albertine and mother took up residence in Aasen. That was home to Anne Marie Hemmingsdatter.

Sivert followed Peder to Hattfjelldal, married there in 1874, then became a skovdriver. Ole apparently followed Sivert after 1875. Sivert sponsored Anne Marie Olsdatter at home baptism, hinting the two were brothers. He and Ingaborg Mikkelsdatter provided the child with age-peer cousins from her Halvorsen side. Sivert, as widower, emigrated to Frostviken Sweden in 1897. He married Maria Larsdotter there, that year. Those records show him born 1847-04-18, proving that he was Ole’s brother.

Inger Oline’s last chapter may have been written in Sweden at the home of her bridegroom, Jonas Olofson, given her son, Torvald, married in Tarna. Only fostered Anne Marie remained for Census 1910. Still, another of her sons may suggest greater America.


Not a skovdriver, only caught by echo, his actions made for an irrepressible eye-roll and fitting end to this post. Adolf Teodor, born 1882 at Gronli, was first son to Ivar Thomassen, the fleetingly professed skovdriver, and third son to skovdriver-fatigued Inger Oline Olsdatter.

Hattfjelldal holds Adolf’s attestation of 2 Feb 1912, that he originally emigrated to America in 1903 and had temporarily returned to Norway, to marry. His intended bride was not named. That set off a search!

– Adolf Teodor Ivarsen, born 1882 at Gronli in Hattfjelldal, resident of America, fathered a child in Mo i Rana with Sofie Marie Mikalsdatter on 11 Nov 1912. No marriage record was found; their Ragna Elida was marked uegte. Sofie later married another. The child was with that couple in 1920, as Ragna Hansen Fiskkjønmo. Had Adolf Teodor mislead authorities? Follow up was needed.

– Adolf Teodor Ivarsen, born 1882 Hattfjelldal, resident of British Columbia, wed Aagot Lovseth, in Gjerpen, Telemark County on 4 Apr 1912. His ship left Oslo on 17 Apr 1912 with Aagot Ivarsen aboard, destined for Canada.

All this was penned as ancestor truth, while no record remains of possible mitigating factors. The uegte child of 1912 would not even have been discovered if information on the ship’s passenger, Aagot Ivarsen, had been found first. This skovdriver related quandary rose from Gronlid Farm and matched that of Groli and Branna. It is one of responsibility and is one of the ages.

Please leave comments and corrections below, in the Reply Box, after Notes and Sources.


Update 2 Mar 2023: points of word tone and grammar

Note A; Background for this genealogy comes from the Memoirs of Matt Hemmingsen written in 1954, output of audio of Gina Dahlby Plocker (born Rued), of 1959 and The Family History of John O Hemmingsen, written in 1999, all unpublished, and protected here. Also see Source 1 below and previously published posts on this blog.

Note B: Spelling varies in sources, such as : Groli: sometimes Grorli, Grorlid, Grolia // Nerli; Nerlid // Branna; Brænne

Note C: Lauritz Johnsen and Anne Marie Hemmingsdatter married 20 Nov 1884, had the following children: Ragnvald Mathias 1885- 1956, Johan Ingemann 1893-1927, Paul 1895-1984, George Edvin 1897-1993, Ingaborg Anna 1900-1991, Hjalmar 1903-1984 Orange County, CA. Two children died of diphtheria on 16 June 1895: Gunda Jorgine b. 1887 and Elen Mathilde b. 1890. Church Book (CB) from Hattfjelldal Parish (HP) [CBHP]1878-1898 and 1897-1916.

Note D: Ivar Thomassen and Inger Oline Olsdatter children: Ivarsen/datter Adolf Teodor 1882, Johan Edvin 1885. Ottar Sigurd 1887. Minda Gurine 1890 // After widowhood, Inger Oline wed Jonas Olofson b. 1865, currently then of Hede, Jamtland, Sweden – father. Olof Reinholdtson // CBHP for 1912 recorded the marriage of her son, Johan Edvin Ivarsen. His family remained in town per Census 1920. // See Source 7 for more on son, Adolf Teodor.


1 Much of this story is sourced at base post particulary in its attached PDF. Also see Note A.

2 Church Book from Hattfjelldal Parish (CBHP)1865-1878. a) Role: Barn; Event: 1874-10-30 baptism of Ingrid Mathilde (Gustavsdtr), born Oct. 12. and far Gustav Henriksen b) Role: Barn; Event 1877-10-14 baptism of Hemming (Gustavsen), born. July 6. and far Gustav Henriksen.

3 Halsten Torgersen Census 1875 Vefsn Parish, Nordland, b. 1852 Birid Parish, Oppland. Occupation: Skovdriver. // Birth: 1852-03-28 Halsten of Torger Halstensen and Berte Johansd – CB from Nordre Lands, Torpa 1847-1859 // Marriage Event 1882-07-04 CB from Hemnes Parish, shows Nordre Land, Torpor and Biri are all valid to describe his birthplace // More: source 2a and 5.

4 Amund Andersen and Adolf Marius Amundsen CBHP 1860-1878, 1865-1878

5 Ole Torvald Halstensen CBHP 1878-1898 a) Role:far Halstein Thorgersen Hemnaes. Event: 1891-05-10, Confirmation of Ole Torvald Halstensen. // CBHP 1865-1878 a) Role: far Halsten Thorgerson, Event: 1875-07-18 Births and Baptisms for Ole Torvald /// Death 1937 CB from Mo (Nord Rana) 1931-1946. // Census 1910 – widower Halsten; 1920 – remarriage to Olava Maria Hansen, b, 1874. /// for Sweden, Emigrants Registered in Church Books, 1783-1991 for 1911; Ole Torvald Halsteinssen for 13 Apr 1911 and Sweden Indexed Marriage Records 1860-1947 for 1911.

6 Ole Halvorsen Census 1865 Ovre-Stjordal for Halvor Nielsen and Sigri Sivertsdtr and son Ole Halvorsen b. 1857 // CB from Stjordal/Hegra local 1850-1862 for Ole b. 1857. // Census 1875 Hegra Local // CB Ovre-Stjordal, Hegra Local Parish 1850-1862 Marriage to Mette Bertine Olausdatter b. 1860 // Hegra Domicile: variations of Kartumplads.

7 Adolp Teodor Ivarsen see Note D and // a) Norway Church Records 1812-1938, subset Telemark Gjerpen 1905-1919 for marriage to Aagot Lovseth b) Norway Emigration Records, 1867-1960 depart Oslo 17 Apr 1912 to British Columbia and Trondheim 17 Mar 1909 to Winnipeg /// CB for Mo (Nord-Rana) 1903-1912 for Ragna Elida // CBHP 1899-1919 emigration 1912 // Also see Note D.

8 Peder Halvorsen Nord-Trondelag Namsos Parish, Overhalla Local Parish 1856 for Peder Halvorsen to Marte Telise Nilsdatter // Census 1865 of Fosnes Parish, Saxen Farm // CBHP 1860-1878,1865-1878, 1878-1898 for Innflyttar, Birth Albertine Josephine 1870 and birth and confirmations of others, Peder death. See also source 9.

9 Sivert Halvorsen // Sivert Halvorsen born 04-18, baptized 1847-05-02 Nord-Trondelag, Norway. Church book from Stjørdal/Nedre Stjørdal (Værnes) parish 1845-1858 Parents: Halvar (Halvor) Nillsen and Sigrid Sivertsdatter // 1865 Census Norway for his family: search Halvor Nielsen at Øvre Stjørdal. Nord-Trondelag. (Hegra local parish) // Ole b. 1857 and Sivert 1847 migrated to Hattfjelldal Parish and integrated with our family (story at around 1870 // Sivert to Sweden 1897: Church Book from Hattfjelldal Parish 1878-1898. /// for Sweden Indexed Death Records 1840-1947 and Marriage Records 1860-1947: Sivert Halvorsen (1847-1925) died at Frostviken Jamtland. Married Maria Larsdtr 26 Sep 1897.

Copyright © Marilee Wein and DoubleGenealogyTheAdoptionWitness 2018-2023, author and owner.

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