#52 ancestors: Surprise

Here is my contribution to this weeks 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge: Surprise

As I first got started in genealogy, I was looking for my 2nd Great Grandfather whom I knew lived in Ålesund, Møre og Romsdal county. That and his name; Markus Olsen, was the only thing I knew about him. Well, I knew he had some sort of connection to Molde, the town I live in now. I just didn’t know what it was.

Markus Olsen Moldenes

As some of you will have noticed, I am a psychiatric nurse and work full time as such.

At the time I was struggling to find Markus Olsen, I was sitting with a patient that needed continuous supervision. I sat in a little nurse’s station adjacent to the patient’s bedroom. Someone had left a book here. It turned out the be the history of the fisheries on the coast of Møre og Romsdal (title Folk ved Hav) by Bjarne Rabben. While still keeping watch, to pass the time, I started to leaf through the book.

While the fisheries on the coast up until about the 1860s had been performed in small open boats, they now started to build larger sailing vessels. It was a boom in Ålesund as everyone wanted to invest in a so-called “bank skøyte”.

Bankskøyte. With permission from Stiftinga Sunnmøre Museum

Stopping to read a little bit about this development, I noticed a small paragraph:

In 1872 Mads Trondsen and Markus Moldenæs build a “bankskøyte” in Steinvågen (Ålesund) where they had an improvised shipyard. The vessel var beautiful and well built and were to be used in the cod fisheries with a Swedish crew


Moldeneset Photo: Birkeland/Kirkhorn. Presented with permission from Romsdalmuseet

Then and there I knew that this was my 2nd Great Grandfather Markus Olsen Moldenæs. I knew that Moldenæs/Moldenes was a cotter’s place here in Molde and I could start to look for his birth information.  I later found out that Markus was born here Nov 20, 1833.






Karoline Elise Eidhammer (nee Olsen) ca 1900

Markus Olsen Moldenæs’ daughter Karoline, my Great Grandmother was born in 1872 and it turned out that the person who was buying the vessel Mads and Markus built, K Bjørseth was one of the sponsors at Karoline’s baptism.

Bjørseth is also a name from Molde, so Markus and he might have known each other from their youth.

After having searched so long for Markus Olsen, you can imagine that it was a big surprise to find this information in a book someone had left behind on the desk at the nurse’s station.   

3 thoughts on “#52 ancestors: Surprise

  • February 9, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for this story, yours like my ancestors lived in this place, one of my Great Grandfather was also a boat builder. We visited where the shop was. It is not a surprise I guess that we would have this in common.

  • February 10, 2019 at 11:06 pm

    Serendipity .. great example!

  • February 11, 2019 at 2:20 am

    What a marvelous story & discovery! Thank you for sharing.


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