#52 ancestors: Unusual Name

I am one week behind with my contribution to the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. This time: An unusual name.

Featured photo is from Jølster by Severin Worm-Pedersen. It is owned by Norsk Teknisk Museum. License (CC BY 4.0) 

Going through my database to find an unusual name I ended up with my 11th Great Grandfather Crispinus Johanneson Sandnes. 

As you can tell, it’s the name Crispinus that I find interesting.

Trying to find an origin to this name, the only thing I find is Rufrius Crispinus who was an equestrian who lived during the later Julio-Claudian dynasty (27 BC to 68 AD) (Wikipedia). In addition, I find Saint Crispina who died December 5, 304 (Wikipedia).

Crispinus Johanneson Sandnes was born ca 1538. Where he was born is not known. One theory is that he was the son of a person called Johannes Sogning meaning “Johannes from Sogn” and (perhaps his wife) Anne Jensdotter Sandnes. If that is so, he was probably born in Jølster, Sogn og Fjordane county.  

In any case, he must have spent time away from Jølster because in 1561 he returned to serve as a minister in the parish. He held his first service in Helgheim church June 24th that year.  Crispinus married the local girl Kari Tollefsdotter Huus. Their firstborn son Tollef was born in ca. 1564. Their son, my 10th Great Grandfather, Anders was born in ca: 1565.

The rectory in Jølster was at the Ålhus farm (Joleik 1967:661) It is likely that Crispinus and wife lived here. 

Crispinus was known as a pious and God fearing person. He served as the minister in Jølster until 1572 when he died January 2nd in Sandal, Jølster. He held his last service Christmas day 1571 and allegedly he told his congregation that this was his last service “because his time had come” (Joleik 1967:18). 

The name Crispinus was reused by many of his descendants.

Crispinus’ widow Kari Tollefsdotter married the new minister in Jølster Peder Nilsson

The little I know about Crispinus comes from his Great Grandson Jens Nilsson’s diary. Snippets of this are presented in the bygdebok “Soga om Jølst (1967)” by Albert Joleik. Crispinus is included in the book Bergens Stifts Biskoper og Præster efter Reformationen. Also, Norwegian historian Yngve Nedrebø has made a transcription of the diary and made it available on the internet.

Astruptunet in the vicinity of Sandal, Jølster, Sogn og Fjordane

Wolfmann [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons


  • Lampe, Johan Frederik, Bergens Stifts Biskoper og Præster efter Reformationen (Utgitt 1895-1896 av sogneprest Daniel Thrap. Digitalarkivet), side 130.
  • Joleik, Albert, Soga om Jølst Jølster sogenemd 1967
  • Nedrebø, Yngve Lensmannsdagboka Digitalarkivet http://digitalarkivet.uib.no/sab/bergensposten/lensmann.htm 

2 thoughts on “#52 ancestors: Unusual Name

  • January 22, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    This is a very interesting article, Martin. I can see why you would be interested in the name. It would be so nice to know why he received that name. I found my Swedish family by googling my morfar’s farfar’s name (Salomon Risell). What I found was an article written within the last five years for a local genealogy newsletter by a Swedish genealogist about the Risell family’s unusual names given to their children.We visited the Swedish genealogist on our trip and are still corresponding.

  • January 23, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Thank you Kay. It is special to be able to piece together a liitle context to a person living in the 1500s


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