Narum Family

1766 - 1887

The Narums came from Telemark County in Norway. "Narum" is the Americanized spelling of "Nærum" which is a habitational name from farmsteads in eastern Norway. It is derived from the Old Norse word Nórheimar, from nór which means "narrows" or "narrow passage (in a river, fjord, or lake)" and also the word heimr which means "homestead" or "home". The vast majority (80%) of Narums settled in Minnesota, however, our Narum family settled in Wisconsin, which was also a popular location for Norwegian immigrants. It was also sometimes spelled “Norum”.

Narum became the family name sometime in the mid 1800's. Prior to that, it had been the name of the family's farm in Gjerpen, Bratsberg, Telemark, Norway. Many Norwegian surnames were merely the name of one's father with the appendage "sen" (son) or "datter" (daughter) on the end. This meant that children had different last names from their parents, wives did not take their husband's name and siblings had different last names from each other if they were different genders. The Narums followed this tradition until they immigrated to the U.S., at which point they dropped their patronymic names and began using an Anglicized version of their former farm name, Narum, as their surname.

The Narum family actually begins on another farm named Bolvik in Solum, Telemark County, Norway. Johannes Gulbrandsen (b. abt. 1643) first married Anne Torsdatter but they had no children together and she died in 1702 so he remarried a year later to Karen Jansdatter in 1703. She gave him seven children in Solum, though only four survived to adulthood.

  1. Anne Johannesdatter (b. 1703, d. 1705)
  2. Martha Johannesdatter (b. 1705)
  3. Jacob Johannesen Nærum (b. abt. 1706)
  4. Isach Johannesen (b. 1708, d. 1708)
  5. Anne Johannesdatter (b. 1709)
  6. Halvor Johannesen (b. 1712)
  7. Maria Johannesdatter (b. 1716, d. 1722)

Johannes died in 1738 at the age of 95 in Solum, Telemark, though it’s unknown when his wife Karen died. Daughter Martha married Ole Andersen (Frønes / Foss) and died in 1737 in Gjerpen. Surviving daughter Anne married three times before dying in 1790 at the age of eighty-one. Son Halvor, although he lived to be thirty years old, never married or had children. Son Jacob first married Karen Aasoldsdatter in February 1740 when he was 35 years old and had two daughters in Solum:

  1. Anne Jacobsdatter (b. 1740)
  2. Aaste Jacobsdatter (b. 1742)

Karen then died the following year and Jacob married for the second time to Kirsten Torstensdatter in 1746. She also died only a year later before they had any children together and soon afterwards, Jacob moved to Gjerpen, Telemark, which has now been incorporated into Skien. Here Jacob settled onto the Nærum farm and married for a third time to Magnilda Olsdatter on September 24, 1748. They had five daughters together in Gjerpen before Magnilda’s death in 1762 when she was 34 years old. Their children’s names were:

  1. Karen Jacobsdatter (b. 1751)
  2. Anna Maria Jacobsdatter (b. 1754)
  3. Karen Kistine Jacobsdatter (b. 1756)
  4. Kistine Karen Jacobsdatter (b. 1760)
  5. Maren Jacobsdatter (b. 1762)

Given the names, it’s probable that at least one of the girls named Karen died as an infant or child. It also appears Magnilda may have died in childbirth given that she died the same year her last child was born and they were buried together. By now, Jacob was fifty-six years old, had been married three times and had no sons. After Magnilda’s death, he married for the fourth and final time to forty-one year old widow Inger Isachsdatter (b. 10 Feb 1723 in Bamble) on November 2, 1764 in Gjerpen. She had previously been married to Hans Christensen Lindrup and had eight children by him. Jacob’s fourth marriage and Inger’s second only produce one child, which is not surprising given that Inger was forty-three years old by this point:

  1. Hans Jacobsen (b. 1766)

Jacob died in 1774 at the age of 69 when Hans would have been only eight years old. It’s unknown where Hans was living after his father’s death since his mother can be found still living on the Nærum farm in the 1782 census of Gjerpen and Hans is not listed. On October 27, 1791, Hans married a woman named Inger Simonsdatter Bomen, who was born around 1772 (Bomen was shortened from Bommens, which was the name of her family's farm). Her father, Simon Bommens, was born about 1746 and died in 1773 in Gjerpen. Her mother may have been Marthe Ereksdatter.

Hans and Inger had eight known children:

  1. Jacob Hansen (b. abt. 1794)
  2. Anne Hansdatter (b. abt. 1796)
  3. Nels Hansen Narum (b. October 12, 1800)
  4. Simon Hansen (b. 1803)
  5. Isaac Hansen (b. 1806)
  6. Engebert Hansen (b. 1808)
  7. Birthe Kirstine Hansdatter (b. July 22, 1812)
  8. Inger Margrethe (b. 1815)

Hans had moved back to the farm Nærum by the time he was married. In 1801, two “service people” lived with them: Karen Matthiædatter, a 24 year old unmarried woman, and Astri Jermundsdtr, a nine year old girl.

It is interesting to note that by 1835, the Nærum farm had become uninhabitable and so 69 year old Hans was living with his son Simon on the Meen farm, which was owned by a minor named Ingebor Kirstine Hansdatter. Hans was still a freeholder (owner) of the Nærum farm though and so it’s not surprising that by 1865, it was back in use by his son, Jacob. Also living on the farm at this time was Issac and Peter Olsen. Perhaps there had been a fire before 1835, making the farm uninhabitable but by 1865, it was rebuilt.

Hans’ wife Inger had died on July 2, 1831 in Gjerpen and Hans followed her on November 10, 1839. By this point Nels Hansen was starting a family of his own in Bamble, perhaps because the Nærum farm was not habitable. He and his wife Maren Magrethe Christensen married on January 5, 1827 in municipality of Bamble, Telemark County, Norway, which is also where Maren was born on February 16, 1800 to parents Christian Christensen and Karen Gregorsdatter. Nels and Maren had seven children:

  1. Anna Karina (b. 16 Sep 1827)
  2. Hanna Magrethe (b. 18 Feb 1831)
  3. Inger Berthea (b. 12 Dec 1833)
  4. Christiane (b. 22 May 1836)
  5. Karen Dorothea (b. 11 Sep 1838)
  6. Hans (b. 3 April 1841)
  7. Nicoline Maria (b. 7 Oct 1843)

Shortly after Nicoline's birth, when Anna Karina was 17, the family immigrated to Norway, Wisconsin in 1844 where Nels owned 40 acres of farm land by 1849. By 1870, his property was worth $9,000. It was around this point that the Nærum farm name was slightly Anglicized to Narum and became the family surname.

Inger, Christaine and Karen are missing from the 1850 census which suggests that they either died young, were living with neighbors if the Narum household didn't have room for them or (in Inger's case, who was 16) may have married young.

Throughout the years, the Narums had several members of family on both sides living with them. In 1860, Nels' brother Engebert was living with them and Gustaf (age 13) may have been Engebert's son. Edward and Oline Christensen may have been Maren's niece and nephew. By 1870, they had all moved out except Engebret.

Nels was also spelled "Niels" but it appears as the former on his gravestone, located in Norway Lutheran Church Cemetery, which also states his death in 1879. After his death, his wife Maren moved in with their son, Hans and his family until her own death in 1887 at the age of 87.

Anna Karina was born in Bamble on September 16, 1827. In 1848, four years after the family's arrival in Wisconsin, she married a Norwegian man named John Larson on Christmas Eve. They were married in the log cabin church on Norway Hill. For more on their life together, see the Larson Family Chapter.

© Robin Bauer 2010-2013


Narum Photos and Documents

Nels Narum

Nels Narum’s wife Maren Margrethe Christensen