Some Ancestors from Hardanger Fjord
Chart #48 connects some older ancestry from Peter Jonsson Sandvin (Chart #29) and Torgeir Torsteinsson Aga Aske (Chart #26a) to the descendants of Tore Gardson discussed in the previous blog (Chart #47). Yet the few individuals on this chart have some quite interesting stories of their own.
Peter Jonsson Sandvin and his wife, Ingebjørg Gudtormsdatter Norheim, were only a few generations descended from Norwegian Royalty and Nobility. Peter's property at Sandvin was quite large with many other farms in the Hardanger area of Hordaland. He had no sons, only three daughters. Old documents give us some idea of his life. In 1304 he issued a letter to take a journey through the woods to summer pasture with the cattle in the mountains. In 1306 he represented his wife at Norheim (Kvam, Hordaland) when the partition of her father's inheritance took place. In 1314 he was granted a place at Bø, when the sons of a deceased wealthy squire transferred property to their wives and daughters. Peter is mentioned several times in connection to boundary disputes with two neighbors where three boathouses stood. In 1329 he confirms that the priest in Øystese had received the stipulated payment for his official capacity. In 1331 there was an agreement about how his three daughters would receive the inheritance after him and their descendants would distribute the property in case one died without descendants. This indicates that Peter died about 1330.
Peter's eldest daughter, Margreta, married Erling Torleiksson, who also had quite some property at Berge in Strandebarm, not far from Kvam.
The farm of Aga is also in Hardanger. It is on the west side of Sørfjorden, which is a smaller fjord coming off the Hardangerfjord. Today the farm is called Agatunet, which is now an open air museum with 30 homes!
Aga was in ancient times a chiefdom, and several ancient burial mounds indicate very early settlement. The farm was one of the largest in Hardanger through the Middle Ages and has had close association with several vestlandske adelsætter (important west land family clans). In the late 1200s, all of the Aga farm belonged to a great man (Sigurd Brynjulfsson på Aga). Later it was divided between descendants. In 1940 there were nine smaller farmsteads divided from the original farm. Overall it included 80-90 buildings. ...
The oldest remaining building is Lagmannstova from about 1250, a unique log house on high basement walls. It is built of timber from Varaldsøy (Kvinnherad) by the judge (lagmann), knight (ridder) and State Council member (riksråd) Sigurd Brynjolfsson - one of the advisers to King Eirik Magnusson (see Chart #48). This is the oldest medieval building in the country where the original still stands. [no.wikipedia.org: Agatunet, translation by Google and Ira Lund]
The museum at Agatunet is also remarkable as it is one of the very few cluster farms remaining in Norway. The cluster farmstead was the Norwegian version of the middle European village. All the houses were gathered in a cluster, while the fertile soil and the surrounding forest was divided into small plots. Each farmer had ownership of multiple parcels, and they lay scattered around the area. A sophisticated system ensured an equitable distribution of good and bad plots.
While we are discussing Hardanger I must mention a couple of famous crafts that come from this area of Norway.
- "Hardanger embroidery or 'Hardangersøm' is a form of embroidery traditionally worked with white thread on white even-weave cloth, using counted thread and drawn thread work techniques. It is sometimes called whitework embroidery." [wikipedia: Hardanger embroidery] This style of embroidery did not originate in Hardanger, came to be called Hardanger embroidery due to the enormous use of it in this area for about 200 years (from 1650-1850) to decorate traditional Norwegian bunads (national costumes) as well as other decorative cloth items around the home. My mother (from Stavanger, Norway) was quite familiar with this and did some Hardagner embroidery herself as well as other kinds of needlework.
- The Hardanger Fiddle has come to symbolize the Norwegian national musical instrument. It has 8 (or sometimes 9) strings rather than the usual 4 on other violins. It was historically used to play the old folk tunes of Norway. Every Hardanger fiddle I have ever seen has been beautifully embellished with intricate designs, often of the acanthus plant which was also used for many Norwegian carvings.
Here are links to some of the key people in my online genealogy database:
- Peter Jonsson Sandvin
- Sigurd Brynjulfsson på Aga
- Torgeir Torsteinsson Aga Aske
- Tore VI Sæbjørnsen Talgje
Here are some links to help you learn more:
Cumberland Family Software: www.cft-win.com