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tirsdag 26. oktober 2010

Given Names in 1701

The census of 1701 that can be found at Digitalarkivet contains 72 men living in Sandefjord. Their names are quite varied; there is a total of 38 given names among them, distributed like this:

The women - 6 in number - are too few to give an impression of preferences: there are 6 names among them

Dreadful, innit?

Here’s the sad situation of Anders Amundsen, a dignified person of 51 years in 1701, so born around 1650.

Not much is known about him, but he is noted in the census of 1701 for the County of Laurvig, as registered by Ketil Firing Hansen at Digitalarkivet[1].

At this time he was the sacristan in the local church (presumably, the one of Sandar parish, to use the modern designation, which included Sandefjord till late in the 19th century).

In any case, Anders is in Sandefjord, he has a job, but he has no residence allocated to him as an assistant to the vicar – the “degn”, derived from “deacon” but not quite the same function.

Given that he is already well and truly middle aged, and as the job probably didn’t pay all that much, he probably had to rent housing in Sandfjord, expensive even if he had not had to house a couple of sons, too: Amund, aged 13, and Anders, 11.

The latter is noted as “at home”, perhaps implying the elder one was already in service somewhere, but there is no evidence either way.

In any case, Anders Amundsen was been sufficiently aggrieved to notify the census-taker, even if the vicar lived closed by. One wonders who the vicar was at this time – or perhaps there was none?

mandag 25. oktober 2010

Early teachers in Sandefjord

Siffrt Jensen is described as “Skolemester” – School Master – in the register of probates for Larvik 1672 – 1812 that can be consulted at

He is described as the son of Jens Hansen, whose estate was finally closed 16.06.1676, and who is described as living in Sandefjord; whether the son, too, did so is not explicitly noted. In any case, the entry is evidence of the existence of a teacher in, if not Sandefjord itself, the neighbourhood as early as latter half of the 17th century.

The ”1701-manntalet frå Larvik grevskap”, also from digitalarkivet, contains a record of Niels Bentzøn, described as “Skollemester” in Sandefjord.

According to the same above-mentioned register, in 1746, there was a “skoleholder” – someone who keeps a school and, presumably, teaches – in Sandefjord, glorying in the name of Christian Cassius. He was married to a woman called Anna Christina Ulrichsdtr Hassel of what seems to have been a family in Larvik.

In 1801, the teaching profession was somewhat expanded. In the census for Sandherred of that year we find Mathis Hansen Raastad living in Sandefjord, 24 years old and lodging with Mathis Gutormsen Berg in house 27 in Østre Gade, as well as Jens Pedersen Bøeg, 22 years old, living in the house of merchant and ship-owner Wilhelm Olsen Goen at house 14 in Væstre Gade. Described as “conditionerende”, his occupation is given as “Studiosus og informator”, which can easily be interpreted as a student who has come home, or gone somewhere, to make a few bob teaching privately. At any rate, probably a teacher of some description.

One might note, that in the surrounding Sandeherred parish, which contained Sandefjord at the time, there were an additional three individuals associated with the teaching profession: Lars, 21 years old and liv, is described as “Skoeleholder” at the age of 21; from the context it looks like he is son of Ditmng at From Søndreand Lasen, but that would have made his mother 48 when she gave birth. Possible, but perhaps not likely. The others were Ole Olsen , 34,living at Tuve, also “skoeleholder”, and “Skoelemester” Halvor Johnsen, aged 64, living at Houhem, and at this stage a widower.

søndag 24. oktober 2010

Genders and Occupations

When one looks at the occupations of people in the 1801 census – or any other census before the late 20th century – one is always influenced by a sense of which forms of work are associated with women, and which with men. And, if someone is noted as living off “blacksmithing”, the image in one’s mind tends stabilize around the idea of a rather large, quite hairy, bearded or – at the very least – moustachioed, man hammering away at his pieces of red-hot iron until he gets thirsty and visits an inn: in this case, the other part of the occupation given to the census-taker.

One would – one often is – be mistaken, though, for the person who makes a living from “Inn-keeping and smithing-work” is a woman, more precisely, Mrs Maren Sophie Knudsdatter, a 48 year old widow, for the second time, with “housewife” noted as her position in the family[1].

In reality, one imagines, at least one if not both of her husbands – the first called Søren, the second Gjert, judging from the patronymics used Maren Sophie’s children, would have been the black-smith and Maren Sophie has inherited the business and keeps it in order to hand it over to her oldest son, Christen Lorentz Sørensen who, himself, at the age of 24 is a Master Blacksmith.

Another dimension of this little speculation is that Maren Sophie probably looked after the inn-keeping business in a personal manner; the children of the second marriage are on the young side to be useful with anything but the simpler tasks, and any way they are both boys who have been apprenticed to their mother: another somewhat fictional arrangement as one would presume they are learning from their half brother rather than the mother.

The last child is little Berthe Heleene, who is 9 years old at this time. Her christening can be found in the parish records for Sandar, which shows she was baptised[2] on 22 April 1792, daughter of Giert Christiansen Reinert and wife Maren Sophie Knudsdatter. Witnesses included Andrea Henrichsd Sohr (?); Jfr Charlotte Anglia Thue; Sr Jahn Sörensen Töyen, Thor Sörensen; and Giert Jahnsen – all, it seems, from Sandefjord or – as the entry appears to say – “on” (paa) Sandefjord.

In 1801, Maren Sophie and her family lived at 2, Væstre Gade and a few houses away, at number 7, we find one Ole Christansen Reinert, aged 50, and an able-bodied seaman noted as sailing internationally, and his family consisting of a wife (both in the first marriage) and their two small children[3]. This Ole must be the brother of Giert, one presumes.

Intriguingly, there is another blacksmith with an interesting name, Reiner, in Sandefjord at the time: Jeremias Andreasen Reiner and his family live in house 20 in Væstre Gade, and has, as his occupation, Master Blacksmith and Inn-keeper. There is absolutely no evidence f a connection, so far, but it is striking that there are two blacksmiths who also run inns just a few houses apart in a small village that contains no more than 373 souls.

An intriguing possibility:

Looking for a record of Maren Sophie’s baptism, the christening of one Sören-Lorentz was found in the parish records for Sandar for the year 1753, where a boy of that name is noted to have been baptized 29 November, the son of Christen Larsen and Hana Hansd, paa Sandefjord[4].

This child seems to have died young, as he is not included in the 1762 material[5], whereas both parents are there, with three children of their own: Laers, Zyverine, and Johannes, all with Christen as their patronymic, and then a fourth child called Anne Lisbeth Jensdatter, whom they may have fostered or otherwise looked after.

In any case, it is the combination of given names that is of interest here, as Maren Sophie’s two older sons both have the name Lorentz and the eldest even Sören Lorentz, which may or may not be a clue to a relationship.

And with that, today’s speculation endeth.

[2] Kildeinformasjon: Vestfold fylke, Sandar, Ministerialbok nr. 3 (1789-1814), Fødte og døpte 1792, side 24. 
Permanent sidelenke:
Permanent bildelenke:
[4] Kildeinformasjon: Vestfold fylke, Sandar, Ministerialbok nr. 2 (1733-1788), Fødte og døpte 1753, side 54. Permanent sidelenke: Permanent bildelenke:
[5] Ekstraskatt 1762: Larvik m/Langest. og Sandefj., see

onsdag 13. oktober 2010

Food and drink, anyone?

In 1801, too, there were places where a person could get a drink, some food and a bed for the night, perhaps.

Maren Sophie Knudsdatter in Væstre Gade, having become a widow –possibly for the second time – lived off inn-keeping and blacksmithing: a combination that might have ensured some discipline among younger members of the drinking classes.

Another widow, Elen Maria Christensdatter, also in Væstre Gade, provided quarter to travellers besides her inn-keeping.

Jeremias Andreasen Reiner, who was 39, combined his metier as master blacksmith with innkeeping – again in Væstre Gade – but as he was also married to Andrea Kristine Norr aged 29 and had his own mother – aged 82 – living with him, one might be forgiven for suspecting that much of the work in the inn was done by the womenfolk, not Jeremias himself.

In Østre Gade, Johannes Nielsen Grøn managed to combine fishery with inn-keeping but, again, one might suspect the inn was kept by his wife Anne Knudsdatter Hellevad. Both of them were in their late fifties, and both were married for the second time.

In any case, with 373 inhabitants, four inns is not bad, working out as one for every 91 inhabitants. In today’s municipality – which is not really comparable except for the name – that would imply around 440 pubs in Sandefjord? Somebody really needs to get cracking.
A huge transcription work carried out by Ketil Firing-Hansen makes it possible to have a snapshot of the population of Sandefjord in 1701. Naturally the material has its limitations: there are 78 people listed, of whom 72 are men: women appear to have been included only when they are economic actors – and hence tax subjects – in their own right. Hence the inclusion of four widows.

More intriguingly, there are two more women included: they are described as “huusquinder”. The author of this blog is not at all sure what a “huusquinde” was – but someone else might be able to contribute an explanation.

It is difficult to know what the overall population of Sandefjord might have been, given that women were not registered, but if one uses the ratio found in the 1801 census, there ought to have been 85-90 women in the settlement giving an estimate of the total number of inhabitants in the region of, say, 160 people.

On the other hand, the graph showing the distribution of ages among men seems to display a deficit of men in the ages from 15 to 50 or thereabouts: the most productive years. One might speculate that this represents men who were absent, for one reason or another, and therefore not counted. If so, up to 35-40 men might have to be added; perhaps 45-50 women, and thus the total estimated population would be as high as 240-250 people: not inconsistent with the population in 1762.

Be that as it may – it is highly speculative. What is not speculative, though, is the undoubted chivalry of the census-takers: among the six women they counted, none had her age revealed. Plus ça change.