I have been fortunate enough recently to have discovered dozens of birth, marriage, and burial documents for my family by searching in online and scanned census and parish records from the counties where they lived in Norway. Tonight I wanted to see if I could find the original marriage record for my great-great-grandparents, Jens Rasmussen and Ovidia Olesdatter.
Ovidia’s obituary from 1956 states “She was married in [Norway] Sept. 14, 1884”.
Her daughter Olga Hanson Schmidt’s recollection was “While [Jens] had [a job secured in Wisconsin], he thought he’d better go to Norway and get married. So he did. His girlfriend lived in Bergen, as did his mother. But, rather than go to Bergen directly, he first decided to go visit his three brothers who lived north in Rørvik [Rasmus, Andreas, & Hans]. One day [Ovidia] was out in the yard near the dairy and a young man came to borrow a tool for his brother. A short time later, [Jens Rasmussen] brought the borrowed tool back and Ovidia was the only one there, so they talked. She invited him to come to a harvest party in the neighborhood and he accepted. Three weeks later they were married in Rørvik and on their way to America.”
So, according to family lore, Jens was visiting his brothers in Rørvik [Vikna, Nærøy, Nord-Trøndelag, Norway] when he met Ovidia and got married to her. I had already checked the parish records for the Rasmussen family and not seen the record there, so I started looking in the Nærøy records when I came across this record for Jens’ brother Rasmus Rasmussen getting married to Gjertrud Nilsdatter on 15 Aug 1884:
[Click on images to enlarge or download.]
12) 15 Aug 1884, Rasmus Rasmussen (Ryum Farm, b 1852, son of Rasmus Hansen Østreim, confirmed in Lindås in 1867 and 1873) and Gjertrud Nilsdatter (b 1856, daughter of Nils Sjundsen Østreim, confirmed in Lindås in 1870 and 1883), both from Lindås, were married. Witnesses: Hans Rasmussen Ryum and Jens Rasmussen Ryum.
So Jens had, in fact, come North to Vikna to attend the marriage of his brother, Rasmus, and was listed on the marriage record as a witness. He was listed as Jens Rasmussen Ryum, not Jens Rasmussen Østreim. We will get to that later.
I then turned the page, and at the top of the very next page was the record I had been searching for:
17) 12 Sept 1884, Jens Rasmussen Østreim from Ryum Farm, born Lindås in 1847, confirmed in Lindås in 1861, son of Rasmus Hansen, & Ovidia Kristina Zachariasdatter, born in Ryum in 1866, confirmed in Gaested in 1881, daughter of Ole Zachariasen, were married. Witnesses: Rasmus Østreim Ryum [groom’s brother] and Albert Olsen Ackvik [bride’s brother].
This record offers us many interesting bits of information. It confirms Jens as being from “Ryum Farm”, which means he wasn’t just visiting his brothers, but had been working on the farm with them. His trade is listed as sømand [modern spelling: sjømann] or sailor.
It’s also worthwhile to note that Ryum Farm (also spelled Rjuum, and other ways) was the farm where Ovidia’s family lived. In Norway the “farms” were more like townships. Large pieces of land with many different families living on them. Some farms like Østreim Farm or Hopland Farm had 5 or even 20 families living on them. The Ryum farm was said to have been owned by the Gundbjorn family.
I’d be very interested to see if I can find a plat map of Norway from that time showing the location of the different farms.