Dorthe on 1801 Norway CensusDorthe was born around 1789 in the Eiker parish of Buskerud (now known as Øvre Eiker).A Dorthe's parents were Ole Christophersen and Mari Olsdatter. We do not have any record of Dorthe's baptism from the local Eiker Church as the records no longer seem to exist for that time period in Eiker.1
Early on the family lived at Bollerud Farm which is where brother Peder was born, but by the time Ole had come along in 1796, the family had relocated to a small place under Gunhildrud (Gunnilrud) Farm. [Since we don't have record of Dorthe's baptism, we can't say how long the family was at Bollerud, just that they were noted there around the time Dorthe was 4.]
The family set some roots down at Gunhildrud which is where they were counted on the 1801 census and again where they were living when Dorthe received her confirmation in 1804.6
After her confirmation Dorthe moved from the Eiker parish to the village of Sande. Here she found work at Eikeberg (Egeberg) Farm (She is documented to be here on 29 Nov 1808, but not sure of the source on that at the moment. We do know her father died on the 28th the following April when Dorthe was about 20.)7
Dorthe Weds Christen (1824)We can officially find Dorthe at Eikeberg Farm in Sande on the 1815 Census where she appears to be living by herself as a servant (likely in the role of housemaid and/or nanny) for Ole Pedersen, his wife Elline Dyresdatter and their 3 children.8
In 1821, around the age of 31, Dorthe lost her mother Mari when she passed away at the age of 72 in Eiker. It's not know if Dorthe ever returned home to see her family in the 13 years after she left, but it was specifically called out in the church record that Mari was extremely poor.10
Three years later, the church book for Sande shows that Dorthe Olsdatter, 34, married a widow named Christen Johnsen Stokke-eiet, also 34, on 29 Oct 1824 in Sande Church. The Best Men were Halvor Larsen Dyet and Lars Pedersen Dyet. Christen was listed a widower, born 1792, while Dorthe was listed as single and born 1790. Dorthe is described as coming from EikerA and that she had been living at Eikeberg farm since 1808.16
Christen had brought in 3 children from his first marriage to a woman named Aase Olsdatter who had passed away in 1817. Those children were 3 daughters: Gurine, born 1811, Ingeborg, born 1814 and Olia, born 1817.
Christen and Dorthe had four children we know of:
JOHANNE MARIA , born 30 Jun 1825 at Gravningen Farm in Sande. SponsorsB: Dorthe Halvorsdatter Donnerrud, Birthe Andersdatter Hertzgården, Ole Johnsen Stokke-eiet, Anders Bertelsen Tangen and Thore Thoresen.17 Johanne was confirmed 1840.18 She has since had the farm Kvisle in Sande added to her name.
CHRISTOPHER , born 19 May 1828 at Orhus farm in Sande. Sponsors: Marthe Dyresdatter Oreberg, Birthe Hellene Hansdatter Stokke, Ole Johnsen Stokke-eiet, Ole Tollisen Stokke and Peder Andersen Oreberg.19
JOHN, born on 21 Jan 1830 at Orhus farm in Sande. There were complications with his birth and the baptism register notes that for whatever the reason, he passed away. No date of death is listed.20
KAREN OLAVA, born 21 Nov 1833C at Orhus farm in Sande. She was baptized at home, which normally occurred when there was a fear the child might not make it to and died before age of confirmation.21. We can confirm that this was true for Karen, as she died 11 Dec 1833 at about 3 weeks old.
If you're paying close attention, that means that Christen died while Dorthe was roughly 2 months pregnant with Karen. This means that during her pregnancy, Dorthe not only had to deal with burying her husband, but she would also have to settle his debts and his "estate" as the farm would be sold off on 4 Sep 1833 while 7 months pregnant.
Dorthe, now husbandless and homeless (living on rented property) while supporting her 8 and 5 year old (possibly Olia as well) had to feel an enormous weight on her shoulders to provide some stability for her family. This came in the form of a man named Christen Jensen Orebsly who Dorthe would remarry on 28 Dec 1835 in Sande23 and soon after, her and the children would move onto the Kvisle farm where the family would stay through at least 1843.24
Dorthe died on the 21 Dec 1851 at the age of 62 in Sande.25
Dorthe lived through the Napoleonic War which lasted from 1803-1814 and saw the Union of Norway and Sweden in 1814. She was born while smallpox was a constant threat and lived to see the creation of a vaccine that eradicated the threat. She lived through multiple epidemics of cholera and typhoid during a time when Norway's rural areas were at their poorest.
The above is a modified and expanded translation from the book "Forfedrene Og Vi" by Sigfred L. Eier. Published in Svelvik, Norway in 1942. Sigfred was a freelance writer for the Svelviksposten local newspaper, a local historian for the towns of Svelvik & Strommen, a family historian, and cousin to Christoffer Christoffersen Lowe. Sigfred also established the town museum in Svelvik.
Ole Christophersen Gunhildrud, 28 May 1752 - 28 Apr 1809
Mari Olsdatter, 12 Feb 1749 - 23 Apr 1821
Christen Johnsen Stokke-eiet, 13 Jun 1790 - 09 Apr 1833
- Johanne Maria Christensdatter, 30 Jun 1825 – ?
- Christoffer Christensen, 19 May 1828 – 25 Oct 1878
- John Christensen, 21 Jan 1830 – 1830
- Karen Olava Christensdatter, 21 Nov 1833 – 11 Dec 1833
Christen Jensen Orebsly, abt 1790 - ?
A Øvre Eiker was originally a part of the traditional region of Eiker at the time of Dorthe's birth. It wasn't until 01 Jul 1885 when Eiker was split into the regions of Øvre Eiker and Nedre Eiker.
B Commonly translated as “Godparents” or “Mentors”, sponsors at this time served a similar purpose as they do today, however it was not common to see just 2 names listed. In this case there are 5.
C This date is not confirmed by the local parish register. The Church book says she was born 13 NOV 1833 however there is a lot of small writing scribbled in the margins that is illegible to me.
D I did not appropriately document where the note listing the date of Dorthe's migration to Sande came from. It does appear the general year of 1808 may have come from Sigfred's family book. My only reason to doubt this information is that Dorthe's father would die the following year, likely resulting in the selling of Gunhildrud (if they did own it) and considering the state which her mother Mari died was extremely poor, I can see this being the time that Dorthe would be forced to leave home to find work just to survive. That being said, a lingering illness that prevented her father from supporting the family would push her out the home sooner.
E A drive to Sande from the area of Gunhildrud Farm in Ovre Eiker is about 40 kilometers. If this distance was walked it would take a full 8 hours on today's paved roads.