#52ancestors: In the census

This weeks 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge is: In the census

This weeks challenge calls for surprising finds in the censuses. I can’t say I have had any surprises in the cenuses so instead I have tried to find one of my ancestors that appear in the most censuses.

As you might know Norway held one census in 1801. The next censuses held were so called numeric censuses. They contained no names, only numbers relating to the population and properties. Then in 1865 the next nominal census was held. from then on regular nominal censues were held. You might want to have a look at my article “Norwegian censuses” The link is provided below.

Note: A few of the numeric censuses does contain names as they were added by mistake

I would like to present my 2G-Grandfather Hans Hanson Kyrkje-Sylte, son of Hans Hanson Sør-Sylte and Gunnhild Olsdatter Kyrkje-Sylte, was born on 08 Jun 1831 in Kyrkje-Sylte, Sylte sogn, Veøy Prestegjeld.

Kyrkje-sylte Photo: by permission from Romsdalsmuseet

Hans was born on the cotter’s place (husmannsplassen) Innlågå under the farm Kyrkje-Sylte. I talked about this area in my first “52 ancestors” article : My favourite picture. Link below. Their dwelling is not in the picture above, but would have been to the left of this farm.

Tresfjord Church (1828) By Henny stokseth (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 no], via Wikimedia Commons
He was christened on 26 Jun 1831 in Tresfjord Kyrkje. He grew up to becom a tailor as his father and grandfather.


Hans married Synnøve Larsdotter Bjermeland, daughter of Lars Erikson Eidhammer and Marit Haldorsdotter Bjermeland, on 12 May 1856 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, . Synnøve was born on 24 Nov 1832 in Bjermeland, Sylte Sogn, Veøy Prestegjeld.

Hans and Synnøve’s son Bendik was born 3 years before they married.

Children from this marriage were:
i. Bendik  was born on 08 Oct 1853 in Eidhammer, Tresfjord Sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld and was christened on 30 Oct 1853 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld.
ii. Hans  was born on 20 Feb 1857 in Eidhammar, Tresfjord Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld and died on 18 May 1931 in Eidhammar, Tresfjord Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld at age 74.
iii. Martha  was born on 30 May 1858 in Løvik, Sylte sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld and was christened on 25 Jul 1858 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld.
iv. Lars was born on 16 Feb 1860 in Løvik, Sylte sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld and was christened on 09 Apr 1860 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld.
v. Gunnar  was born on 05 Dec 1861 in Eidhammer, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld, was christened on 19 Jan 1862 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld, and died in 1862 at age 1.
vi. Gurianna  was born on 08 Sep 1863 in Eidhammar, Tresfjord Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld, was christened on 08 Nov 1863 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld, died on 27 Oct 1957 in Stokkeland Br nr 1, Vestnes sogn, Veøy prestegjeld at age 94,
and was buried on 04 Nov 1957 in Vestnes Kyrkje, Vestnes prestegjeld.
vii. Ole Anton was born on 29 Oct 1865 in Eidhammer, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld, was christened on 14 Jan 1866 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld, died on 15 Oct 1950 at age 84, and was buried on 20 Oct 1950.
viii. Hans  was born on 05 Mar 1868 in Eidhammer, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld and was christened on 21 May 1868 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld.
ix. Serianna  was born on 09 Nov 1869 in Eidhammer, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld and was christened on 13 Feb 1870 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld.
x. Bård Gerhard, my Great.Grandfather  was born on 17 Feb 1872 in Hansplassen under Indre Eidhammer, Tresfjord sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld, was christened on 20 May 1872 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld, died on 18 Feb 1957 in Remmemsvik, Vestnes i Vestnes prestegjeld at age 85, and was buried on 25 Feb 1957 in Vestnes Kyrkjegard.
xi. Helmar was born on 06 Apr 1874 in Eidhammer, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld, was christened on 12 Jul 1874 in Tresfjord Kyrkje, Sylte Sogn, Vestnes prestegjeld, and died on 20 Jan 1943 at age 68.

The first census Hans appear in, is the 1865 census. We find him listed under the farm Eidhammer indre. He is a cotter with land. The fact that he mainly worked as a tailor is not mentioned here. His record in the transcribed version of the census can be seen here. If we want to see the scanned version of his record we need to follow the link “Show content page” to the right under “Digitised version.” This brings us to a list of the different school districts in Sylte parish. I had to browse these lists until I got to the farm Eidhammer and found his family listed here. This gives us the additional information that the family had ten sheep and sowed 3/4 barrel oat and 3/4 barrel potato.

Their oldest son Bendik is not listed with the family. He is listed at one of the Kyrkje-Sylte farms where he works as a farm hand.

Hover mouse over the picture to the left to see an enlarged version. Note that as this is a cotter’s place, the property is not listed with any farm or plot numbers (Matr.nr/Gnr – Løpenr/Bnr) i.e., cotter’s places were not identified as a separate property in the land register.

The 1875 census is only in parts transcribed and indexed. Work is under way to have the complete census searchable. In the scanned version, I find Hans and his family still living at the cotter’s place at Eidhammer indre. Now he is listed as “cotter with land and tailor”. Now the four oldest children have moved out and naturally the children born after 1865 is listed.

If we turn the page, we can see that Hans and Synnøve had 1 cow (“kjør”), 1 calf (“ungnøt og kalve”) and 6 sheep (“Faar og Lam”). They sowed 1 barrel oat (“havre”) and 1 barrel potatoes (“poteter”).

There were a census in 1885, but it was only held in the towns. (Except some rural areas in Finnamark)

Tresfjord. The Eidhammer farms in the background.
(Permission: Romsdalsmuseet)

The next census we find Hans is in the 1891. This census is also called 1890 census. The 1891 census is only partially transcribed (106 out of 561 census districts).

This link shows us what census districts that are searchable. For the rest we need to know where our ancestor was located, to find any information.

Hans is still at Hansplassen and listed as Skrædder og husmand → tailor and cotter. The census record tells that he is self employed. We note that in the heading it says “Husliste No.”, in this case 66. If we use the “turn page” feature we can see the 5 persons belonging to Hans’ household. I will come back to the 1891 census in a separate article. We see that Olaf born 1887, the son of their daughter Gurianna, is listed with the family.

Census 1900

The situation in the  1900 census is pretty much the same in the 1891 census. This is searchable and Hans and his family is found here. Here is the scanned page of the 1900 census. By turning the page we are told that Hans and Synnøve did sow grain or potatoes. They had animals. They did not have poultry or beehives. They did not grow vegetabes (except potatoes) and they had no orchard.

The last census Hans and Synnøve appeare in (and the last census that is published in Norway) is the census from 1910. The only other person that lives with Hans and Synnøve is their grandson Olav Kristoffersen. This census is the first that lists birth dates.

Hans died on 02 Sep 1914 in Hansplassen under Indre Eidhammer, Tresfjord sogn,
Vestnes Prestegjeld at age 83, and was buried on 09 Sep 1914 in Tresfjord Kyrkjegard.

Synnøve  died on 22 Jul 1920 in Hansplassen under Indre Eidhammer, Tresfjord sogn, Vestnes Prestegjeld at age 87, and was buried on 26 Jul 1920 in Tresfjord Kyrkjegard.

After Hans and Synnøve passed away, the land of the cotter’s place they rented was included into the farm it belonged to.

Link to my articles


3 thoughts on “#52ancestors: In the census

  • February 6, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Martin, I always enjoy reading about your family. How wonderful family still live on your ancestral farm! Your articles about genealogy always give me another clue of where or what to search. This article mentioned searching schools for information about families, where would I begin?

    • February 9, 2018 at 2:18 am

      Hello Barbara

      Thanks for Your kind Words.

      The mentioning of Schools in this article refers to the census being organised based on the School Districts. In the municipality of Vestnes the school districts are numbered and a certain amount of local knowledge is required to learn something from it. In other municipalities the School Districts are named like e.g. in this record


Tell me what you think about this article!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this. Cookies are only used for traffic measuring. No single user can be identified from these cookies.