28 May 2015

Genealogen no. 1, 2015

The latest issue of Genealogen, the newsletter of Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (The Norwegian Genealogical Society), arrived around 3 weeks ago, so it is on time to write a few lines about its contents.

The cover photo shows a seal stamp found in 1998 at the farm Huseby in Stange in the county of Hedmark. The stamp is dated to the late 14th century, and the genealogist Frode Myrheim has written an article about the finding, the owner of the seal stamp, Goden Jonsson and how it could have ended up at Huseby.

There are many other rather interesting articles in the issue. Per Ole Sollie, Grete Singstad Paulsen and Lars Østensen have documented new information about the Arctander family, Torbjørn Pihl has written about the Brøgger family and the librarian Sølvi Løchen has written about genealogical sources and records at the NTNU Gunnerius Library in Trondheim. Elaine Hasleton has contributed with an obituary of the Norwegian-American genealogist Priscilla (Sorknes) Grefsrud (1932-2014), while Are S. Gustavsen has written about the late historian and genealogist Gunnar Christie Wasberg (1923-2015).

This time I have contributed with 3 articles. Wilhelmine Brandt is hardly known outside the boarders of Norway, and I don't think many knows her name within the boarders either, but in January 2015 it was 100 years since she died. Brandt is regarded as one of the first truly professional genealogists in Norway, and from 1893 until her death in 1915 she even received a grant from the Norwegian state. Her main work was Slægten Benkestok published in 1904. My article about Brandt is titled Hundre år siden Wilhelmine Brandt døde («Hundred years since Wilhelmine Brandt died»).

In 2012 the 100th anniversary of the Norwegian author and artist (among others) Thorbjørn Egner was marked all over the country. Even the Norwegian Genealogical Society contributed to the anniversary, as it published - on 12 December 2012, which would have been his 100th birthday - a draft of Egner's ancestry at Slektshistoriewiki, the Norwegian Genealogy Wiki. Earlier the same year Anders Heger published the biography Egner. En norsk dannelseshistorie. In the book Heger points to the fact that Egner was born on 12 December 1912 (12.12.12), and writes that Egner himself had been told by his parents that he was even born at 12 o'clock (noon). Heger more than suggests that Egner's parents had stretched the time a bit to underscore "the time of birth's magical symmetry". But as I have written about earlier, there are ways of finding out when people were born even 100 years ago. The midwife reported the birth to the Oslo (then Kristiania) Health Council, and the birth reports are stored in Oslo City Archives. So it was a rather easy task to visit the archives, find the birth report for Thorbjørn Egner and then write the article Sannhet eller myte om Thorbjørn Egner's fødselstidspunkt («Fact or myth about Thorbjørn Egner's time of birth»). And the answer? Yes! According to the midwife, Egner was born exactly at 12 o'clock. A copy of the birth report is published together with the article.

My third article this time around deals with the late Johan Martin Ferner (husband of Princess Astrid) and his family: Da Ferner Jacobsens barn fikk Ferner til etternavn («When Ferner Jacobsen's children adopted Ferner as surname»). I have written about this several times before, last time when Johan Martin Ferner died in January 2015:
By the Ministry of Justice and Police's grant of 21 November 1927 Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were given the right to adopt their father's given name Ferner as their surname. The grant published in Norsk Kundgjørelsestidende said:
Ved Justisdepartementets bevilling av 21. november 1927 er kjøpmann Ferner Jacobsen og hustru Ragnhild Jacobsens barn Inger, Finn Christian Ferner og Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo meddelt tillatelse til å anta navnet Ferner som slektsnavn.
("By the Ministry of Justice's grant of 21 November 1927 shopkeeper Ferner Jacobsen and wife Ragnhild Jacobsen's children Inger, Finn Christian Ferner and Johan Martin Ferner, Oslo, were given permission to adopt Ferner as surname.")
Johan Martin Ferner himself commented on the grant in his 70th birthday interview in Aftenposten in 1997. So this is hardly news. Still, VG.no claimed in an article at the time of his death that he got the surname as an adult... Not very accurate when he was 4 months old! What is new, however, are the details about the grant, which I received from the National Archives. The act relating to personal names of 1923 allowed people to adopt a new surname, but surnames which were «not widespread» were protected. If you wanted such a surname, you needed the permission of those carrying it. At the time there was no national register, so it was the National Archives which got the task to find out if  there were others with the surname Ferner in Norway. The National Archives referred to Per Edvard Ferner's family, who lived at Høybråten in Aker (now part of Oslo). Ferner Jacobsen received permission from Per Edvard Ferner, b. 1866, and his family, and in this way Johan Martin Ferner and his siblings were granted permission to adopt Ferner as surname. It is interesting to mention, however, that according to the 1910 census there was also another Ferner family living in Trysil (Vilhelm Ferner, b. 1872), and as far as I can tell there are numerous descendants of that family living in Norway even today, but the National Archives never mentioned them. Was there a connection between Wilhelm and Per Edvard Ferner, by the way? I hope someone will follow up on that question some time in the future.

The documents about the Ferner name grant can be viewed here.

Updated on Thursday 23 July 2015 at 14.45 (typo corrected), Thursday 28 April 2016 at 18:15 (typo corrected).

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