Skaar-Eiesland Family

1702 - 1805

Norwegian families are difficult to put a surname to, since they used patronyms (a combination of one’s father’s name with the suffix “son” or in Norwegian “sen” or “datter”) up until about the mid 19th century. Sometimes, a surname might also be taken from one’s farm name. In this case, Skaar (sometimes spelled Skår) was the name of the family farm from around 1730 (possibly earlier) to about 1775. Eiesland (sometimes spelled Ejesland) was the name of the family’s farm from around 1775 to 1805, at which point the male line acquired the name of the wife’s family farm instead. Skaar was located in Konsmo, Vest-Agder County, Norway and Eiesland was located in Lyngdal of the same county. It’s important to note these farm names were not necessarily considered a surname for the individual, not as we know surnames today. They were much more fluid and dependent on where one lived at the time of the recorded document. So although their farm names were often listed on documents next to or beneath the individual’s name to help identify them, if one moved to a new farm with a new name, parish records would reflect this by listing the new name in proceeding documents.

The family begins with Gunder Tronsen who was born about 1702 in an unknown location. His father’s name may have been Tron Thorssøn (d. 1729) but this is unconfirmed. Gunder married Berthe Gunnersdatter on December 27, 1730 in Konsmo, Vest-Agder, Norway. They lived on a farm called Skaar or Skår in Konsmo and had seven children:

  1. Tron Gundersen (b. 1731)
  2. Leeg Gundersen (b. 1733)
  3. Siri Gundersdatter (b. 1734)
  4. Peder Gundersen (b. 1735)
  5. Gunnild Gundersdatter (b. 1739)
  6. Leeg Gundersen (b. 1742)
  7. Torkel Gundersen (b. 1743)

The first Leeg probably died as a child. Since child and infant deaths were not uncommon, the practise of naming another child after the deceased one was typical, especially among Norwegian families. Today, parents might view this practice negatively, as though merely trying to replace a deceased child with another, which seems insensitive. But in the past, it was probably viewed as honoring and remembering the deceased. The second Leeg was born on the Skaar farm and baptized on February 17, 1742 in the parish of Audnedal-Konsmo but by the time he was in his thirties or probably earlier, he was living on a farm called Eiesland.

Gunder died in October of 1768 in Konsmo. His wife Berthe’s death is unknown, though Gunder’s parish burial record says he was a widower so she probably died before him.

On February 7, 1775 in Lyngdal, Leeg married Ingebor Sveinungsdatter, the daughter of Sveinung Christensen and Else Thorsdatter. Ingebor was born in 1752, having been baptized on April 2nd of that year in Audnedal-Vigmostad, and grew up on the farm Lølandsmonen. Her father had died prematurely in October of 1754 when he was only 26 years old, just two months before the birth of his son Sveinum in December. Ingebor’s mother then remarried in 1755 to Ole Tollachsen which produced several step-siblings for Ingebor but sadly, a few of them did not survive infancy.

On the 1801 census of Norway, Leeg is said to be in his second marriage which means he was married before Ingebor. This is probably why he was 33 at the time of their marriage, while Ingebor was only 23. Who exactly Leeg was previously married to and whether they had any children together is unknown at this point.

Leeg and Ingebor had six known children on the Eiesland farm:

  1. Gunder Leegsen (b. 1777)
  2. Anna Leegdatter (b. 1779)
  3. Else Leegdatter (b. 1782)
  4. Inger Leegdatter (b. 1785)
  5. Ole Leegsen (b. 1788)
  6. Sirene Leegdatter (b. 1792)

This would have made Ingebor 40 years old when she last gave birth. Ingebor’s death is unknown but Leeg died on June 16, 1822 in Lyngdal.

Their son Gunder was born in Lyngdal, probably in 1777, and baptized on March 9th of the same year. Gunder married Aase Olsdatter Fladen (b. abt. 1786) on January 30, 1805 in Lyngdal when they were 28 and 19 respectively.  Aase and Gunder settled on the Fladen farm and had twelve children together:

  1. Lars Gundersen (b. 1806)
  2. Ole Gundersen (b. 1808, d. January 6, 1818)
  3. Inger Serene Gundersdatter (b. 1810)
  4. Rakel Gundersdatter (b. 1812, d. Feb 1813)
  5. Elliot Tobias Gundersen (b. 1814)
  6. Rachel Gundersdatter (b. August 8, 1816)
  7. Ole Gundersen (b. May 18, 1819)
  8. Olene Gundersdatter (b. May 31, 1820)
  9. Appelone Gundersdatter (b. January 5, 1823, d. June 8, 1823)
  10. Abelone Gundersdatter (b. October 7, 1825)
  11. Lars Gundersen (b. July 28, 1831, d. August 8, 1831)
  12. Lars Gundersen (b. September 11, 1833)

In a somewhat unprecedented move, I will now refer you to the wife’s family chapter, the Bruskeland-Fladen Family Chapter, to read about the rest of Gunder and Aase’s life together after marriage. This highlights the fact that the farm names were not truly a surname, since men did not take their wive’s names. But since we are following the farm name as though it’s a surname and Gunder went to live on his wife’s farm, that is the path this family history will take!

© Robin Bauer 2010-2013

Sources:

Skaar-Eiesland Photos and Documents

Lyngdal Church, in Norway, the parish where many births, marriages, and deaths were recorded in the Skaar-Eiesland family.