A Correction to the Aasmulen Family Genealogy

On the first Sunday after Trinity (June 13), in 1790, at Harran, in Nord-Trøndelag Norway, were married Anne Lassesdatter Bya and Ingebrigt Svendsen Aasmulen (see here).

What was remarkable about this marriage was its fecundity.  Twelve children were born, eleven of whom survived to adulthood (a remarkable fact for this time and place).  In turn, these children and their progenies were also very fertile, reproducing generation after generation of large families, such that by now this original pair are ancestors to probably tens of thousands of descendants.  These descendants live not only in Norway and Sweden, but also in the United States and probably many other parts of the world.

So as might be expected, Anne and Ingebrigt appear in many family trees on the internet – at ancestry.com, myHeritage, familysearch.org, and elsewhere.  Unfortunately, the majority of these trees contain a major error – one which I will now correct.

The error regards the parentage of Anne Lassesdatter.  Many sites state that she was the daughter of Lars Olsen Solberg, while many identify her with the Anne Larsdatter Sør-Eklo from Verdal (born 23 Oct 1766).  Both of these claims are wrong.

A part of the problem is that there are some discrepancies regarding Anne’s patronym. At the time of her marriage to Ingebrigt Svendsen in 1790 she was called LASSESdatter, while on the 1801 census she was PEDERSdatter (see here), and at her death in 1855 she was LARSdatter (see here). Now Lasse can, of course, be considered a nickname for Lars. But particularly in the 1700s, it was also a not uncommon given name, as any investigation of the name’s usage (in, for example, the Norwegian digital archives’ name search function) will show. Thus, there is a great likelihood that Anne’s father was in fact named, or at least commonly called, Lasse.

Now, one interesting thing about Anne’s death record is her unusually precise recorded age – 89 years, 9 months and 4 days.  If we do the math, subtracting from Anne’s death date of 5 Nov, 1855, we arrive at a birth date of 1 Feb, 1766.  Looking next to the church records for this period, we find that there was a daughter named Anne born to a Lasse Mælen, baptized at Candelmas (or Purification Day), 1766 – that is to say, 2 Feb, 1766  (see here) – a remarkable coincidence of dates.

The conclusion must be that Anne Lassesdatter Aasmulen was born Anne Lassesdatter Mælen, daughter of Lasse Maelen (her designation as Anne Lassesdatter Bya due likely to the fact that she was employed at that farm as a maid or helper at the time of her marriage).

A little further research reveals that Anne’s parents were named Lasse Mortensen Halvardmo (or Mælen, which is a part of Halvardmo) and Kirsten Erichsdatter Halvardmo (see here, here, and here). These sources further indicate that Lasse Mortensen was originally form Nærøy parish.

Now Lasse Mælen must have died shortly after Anne’s birth (probably in 1767, although I have been unable to find the exact date). His widow, Kirsten, then married a man named Peder Johansen Bertnem, on 11 Dec, 1768 (see here).  At the time of the 1801 census, Kirsten and Peder were living in Fosnes parish (see here).

Here, then, we find an answer to why Anne was called Pedersdatter in the 1801 census.  For most of her life, Anne — and others in her milieu — would have thought of her step-father as her father, and applied the patronymic Pedersdatter to her. This was, of course, an incorrect appellation, but one which might have stuck, and was used by the census taker of 1801.

Finally, we may ask, what became of Kirsten Erichsdatter?  Well, it appears that in her later years she ended up living with her daughter, Anne, and her son-in-law Ingebrigt, at Aasmulen.  There she died and was buried on 24 Jan, 1813 (see here).  Peder, thus, must have died sometime between 1801 and 1813.

I have been unable to extend the ancestries of either Kirsten or Lasse any further back.  That must become the research agenda of another day.