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lørdag 25. september 2010

Sandefjord in 1762: Their Names

The 217 souls in Sandefjord in 1762 shared 104 unique given names (depending a bit on how one counts: is Elen and Elen Maria 1, 2 or 3 names?). They carried 89 second/third names, many of them patronymics, some seemingly fixed family names, yet others related to where they have come from.

These “second” names that are not patronymics are 24 in number:

Tideman Mørk

It is difficult to draw any conclusions from such a small and un-investigated sample, but some of the names are, one can speculate, not of a local origin, and probably not from Norway – at least not originally. 

Bøckman, Holk, Hvid, Langbechs, Lerk, Sylnus, Schølert, Schriber, Tideman Mørk, Wærner, Weyer and  Wright belong in this category and may represent a set of people associated with government functions, trade, or “intellectual” pursuits – a teacher, for example. But speculation it remains.

Among the unique given names, there are many “traditional” names in the sense of being common in the population over long periods (Anne, Berthe, Hans, Inger, Marthe, Paul or Søren, for example), while others appear less usual and more interesting: Abelone, Billo, Magnelle, Magnolea, Nicolaida and Zyverine are examples (although and admittedly, the last one is a spelling variation.

Among girls and women, the most popular given name was Maren (15) followed by Anne (10) and Karen (9). Anders (9) was the most common man’s name, followed by Ole (7) and Hans (5).

31 men’s names and 33 women’s names were carried by a single person – if unique combinations of names, and spelling variations are taken into account.

Without those qualifications, there are 29 unique men’s names and 31 women’s carried by a single person – altogether 60 individuals, or nearly a third of the population.

fredag 24. september 2010

Not all migrants are new kids on the block!

Having come to live in Sandefjord as a kid, via Sweden and Japan, I have always been seen as an immigrant,
someone slightly alien; everybody was frightfully polite about it, but it was made quite clear I was not local like
everybody else. Hence my sense of accomplishment when I found the following family in the 1762 tax
assessment (Ekstraskatt 1762: Larvik m/Langest. og Sandefj.; see

1292 45 Poul Conrad Bøckman Mand betaler for de fattige
1293 45 Maren Olsdatter Hustrue betaler for de fattige
1294 45 Abraham Bøckman Børn
1295 45 Anne Bøckman Børn
1296 45 Hana Mathiesdatter Pige
1297 45 Maren Olsdatter Andre

My enthusiasm was triggered by the surname, and a bit of elementary investigation showed that Poul Conrad
was the brother of one of my ancestors - my 8G Grandfather, no less.

Me, the new arrival, had relatives living in Sandefjord long before most of my friends!

Revenge is sweet, but the people of the village of Sandefjord are good, and I shall seek their friendship.

tirsdag 21. september 2010

Sandefjord 1762: Some Statistical Trivia

The database shown at “Digitalarkivet” under the heading “Ekstraskatt 1762: Larvik m/Langest. og Sandefj[1].” contains 217 individuals in a total of 70 households of varying size.

Most of the inhabitants were women or, to be precise, female - 131 – and the number of male persons was only 86; quite unbalanced, in other words.

Of the 70 households 18, or 26%, were headed by women, the other 74% by men. The proportion of the population in female headed households was 23.9%; that of male headed households 76 %: the latter were only about 10% larger, on average, in terms of numbers of members.

Although one tends to believe that households, in the past, were rather large, the ones found in this sample are not particularly so:

Number of Household Members
Number of Households

In other words, nearly two thirds of the households contained 2 or three people; only 15 % contain 5 or six people. 74% of the population lived in households with 2-4 members: not exactly one’s idea of a traditional, extended family!

Sandefjord 1801: Occupations

The people who lived in Sandefjord in 1801 weren’t idle, but pursued a wide variety of occupations:

All of those mentioned in the chart represent a translation into English of the wording in the census for 1801 (see – so reasonable people may reasonably disagree on some of the terminology.

One little issue is whether such activities as “Handicraft” constitute true “occupations” or might be efforts to make some additional money from an ordinary activity in the household – but never mind: if it were mentioned to the census taker it was probably of some significance to the person giving the information.

Some observations:

  • The largest “occupation” is that which is described as “Service” – which covers a variety of household workers – in Norwegian most often described with the term “tjenestefolk” or similar. These are quite evenly distributed between the two streets: 25 are found in Østre Gade; 22 in Væstre Gade.
  • The same is the case for those engaged in “Handicraft” – 10 and 12 respectively.
  • The “Able-bodied Seamen” whose number is 32, are evenly distributed: 16 in each street.
  • The exact same distribution is observed with regard to “Day labourers”
  • The “Merchants” too are evenly distributed: 3 in Østre Gade and 4 in Væstre Gade.
  • All of which makes it all the more remarkable that 8 out of 9 people who are “skippers” are found in Østre Gade – and only one in Væstre Gade; the latter is also described as merchant and ship-owner. One wonders why.

søndag 19. september 2010

Sandefjord 1801: Statistical trivia

The census of 1801 contains 373 persons in a total of 73 household in two streets: Væstre Gade and Østre Gade: Western and Eastern street with 39 and 34 households respectively.

In terms of individual souls the two streets were even more equal: Østre Gade had 185 inhabitants; Væstre Gade, 188.

There were 172 people of the male persuasion, and 201 of the female.

In Væstre Gade the numbers of males and females were equal; in Østre Gade, nearly 58% were female, and only 42% male.

The males were, at 29.25 years, on average slightly younger than the females at 30.21; overall, the average age was around 29.9 years.


Sandefjord is a small town in Norway. 

Anywhere else in Europe, the place would have been called a village, but we have ambitions, and call ourselves a town. 

The only reason we do not promote the use of the term "city" is that there really is no good equivalent in the Norwegian language. There is certainly no cathedral there, in case you wondered.

So: town it is, and no harm is done.

And as a town, it has a history - officially it came into being in the 1840's - as a separate municipality - in reality as as a much older settlement.

It is to that settlement this blog is dedicated. Or, rather, to the men, women and children who lived there at various dates that can be documented: on the day of the census of 1801, the tax list from 1762, and so on.

The blog doesn't pretend to be scientific. It does endeavour to be testable, though, so for whatever entry appears here there is, also, a little piece of work with annotations, sources, footnotes and the like.

Anyone who wishes to may ask for that version of tings by writing to

And anyone who might want to contribute beyond a comment, may use the same.

I wish you an excellent day, week, month, year, century and millennium.