Help or direction with Scandinavian Ancestors

+6 votes

I'm looking for any information regarding Alfred Marinius Svenberg and his wife Hulda Christine Finstad. They both seem to have been born in Norway but there are some indications that one or the other of them at least has Swedish ancestors. Alfred's sister Johanna is highly speculative but his other two siblings, Mathilda and Johan George, have reasonable sources. Based on DNA matches I believe there is probably a connection between these two and Anna Marie (Erickson) Hawkins. I have only recently discovered my probable Scandinavian ancestors and don't have much experience researching them so any advice regarding possible name changes or tactics in general is much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

WikiTree profile: Alfred Svendberg
in Genealogy Help by Paul Chisarik G2G6 Mach 3 (35.2k points)

3 Answers

+8 votes

The best site for Norwegian research is the Digital Archives

by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (685k points)
Thanks Lynda,

I thought that site was subscription only but must have been thinking of a different site. Excellent resource.

+7 votes
I located records for Johanna Sofia Svenberg & parents and edited the profiles. However it appears that she is not a sibling of your Alfred.
by Gerry Hagberg G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)

True. I followed the family in the household records and Carl Gustaf Svenberg, born in Nottebäck in 1837 has a whole different set of children.

Thank you Gerry. I suspected that Johanna may not have been a sibling given the large gap between births and the only thing I had to go on was a common surname and both ended up in the same city in the US.
+4 votes
The parents of Alfred Martinius Svendberg were Oluf Svendberg and Petrine Marie Larsen. He was born 23 January 1873 and baptized in Oslo 10 August 1873.
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (591k points)
Thank you Eva. It looks like adding the "d" was key. I couldn't figure out how I'd missed that record but tried searching again without the d and it doesn't show (a Svendborg shows up but no Svendberg, odd?).

I found Oluf in the 1875 Norway census and it lists his birth place as "Botne Socken Sverige" which Google translate doesn't handle very well (Bottom Sock Sweden). I think it's something more like Botne Parish Sweden, but then I only find a Botne in Norway which is especially confusing because I think the Svendbergs may have originally been from Sweden as it seems to be a more popular surname there and my DNA matches on that line are split between Norway and Sweden. Any ideas?

Bless the Swedish parish categories!
There is a Bottna parish in Bohuslän - it may very well make sense for a person from there to go to Norway.

But - uh-oh - bad news: archives for Bottna were destroyed in a fire in 1904!

As for the search with or without a "d" - I can almost never tell when a one-letter difference is going to make a difference at FamilySearch.

Very interesting, Bottna is right next to Kville which I remember from researching ancestors of one of my DNA matches. Also there's a Svenberg family in Bärfendal just 6 km away who had at least five children in the 1780's. Thanks again Eva!

That's cool!

Yes, Bottna seems to be an annexe of Kville, there is also a parish Svenneby in the same pastorate. Records were archived in Kville, and as mentioned, mostly destroyed in 1904.

I'm getting that info from the pages at Riksarkivet parish search - they don't translate those bits.

The province of Bohuslän used to be Norway (ruled by Denmark) - so no surprise that DNA from there is all mixed Norway/Sweden.

I was going to remind you that the attitude to surnames in Sweden in the 1800s was pretty liberal. There weren't any real name laws, people could more or less adopt a name they fancied, without being related. But the Bärfendal family might be worth exploring nevertheless.

So the tree is filling in slowly but I've found a new potential source that has once again stretched my very limited knowledge of Scandinavian surname practices. This looks to me like a possible marriage record for Olof Svendberg and Petrine Larsen except that Oluf (here Olof) now has a middle name Zachaeus and a new last name Andreasson and Petrine is Larsdr instead of Larsen (seems to make sense). It is at roughly the right time, though perhaps a bit late in April 1870 the same year as the birth of their first daughter Elen, in about the right place, and has the exact birth years which seem at least a bit uncommon with Petrine six years older than Olof. Now I remember hearing somewhere that it was common practice for men to move to the farm of their wife's parents and to sometimes adopt a "farm name". Since Svendberg doesn't seem to fit into the standard patronymic naming system, could that be what's going on here? Adding to the confusion there is an Olof Zachaeus Andreasson (b. 1848 in Svenneby) in the Swedish Household Examination books from 1870, 1880 and 1900 that couldn't be the same person that married Petrine (no sign of her in any of the records) and moved to Norway, argh.

On the bright side it looks like Hulda Finstad's father Christoffer Finstad was born in Eidsvold where I've also found a number of ancestors for my closest Norwegian DNA match (60 cM, ~3rd cousin).

How frustrating. The Olof Zacheus in Svenneby, I mean.

The farm name thing is how it worked in Norway, I'm not all that skilled with the Norwegian practices. Thy also used farm names in Dalarna in Sweden (somewhat differently) - but this isn't i nvolved here.

In Sweden it would just make SO much sense for a guy from Svenneby to adopt a name like Sven(d)berg when he moved out, particularly if he moved to a big town.

Older wives and births too soon after marriage. Well, these things may not be as uncommon as one would think.
Hmm. Looked at one of the records:

He is among "kvarstående obefintliga" - the list of people whose whereabouts are unknown. More hopeful, perhaps.
Oh, and that was in 1870.

Same thing in 1880-1890 - he didn't go back!

Perfect! So it's all starting to come together. Olof Zachaeus Andreasson born 12 Apr 1848 in Svenneby, Sweden leaves for Oslo before 1870, marries Petrine Marie Larsen in 1870 and adopts the surname Svendberg. If that's correct I'll do the merge to correct his LNAB.

I also just found Hulda Kristine (Finstad) Svendberg living with her brother Kristoffer Ole Finstad in the 1900 census with her three children Alfrida (who I think is my father's paternal grandmother), Gerda and Ester. Also living in the household is Karl Larsen  perhaps Alfred's cousin, his mother Petrine Larsen's brother's son? Hulda's husband Alfred Martinius Svendberg with whom we began this great journey is likely off to America for the first time I would suppose surveying the possibilities with his brother Johan George, a sailor.

Thanks so much for your insight and generosity Eva, it is very much appreciated!

My insight is a bit lopsided - I don't have a lot of opinions on the norwegian side. Although I can guess that the Larsdatter / Larsen thing with Petrine just shows that Norway was going through the same longdrawn process of abandoning the patronymic system as Sweden.

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