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Request for help locating great-grandfather in Larvik in mid-1800s


Louise Ober

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Good afternoon,
 
My name is Louise Ober and I am writing to ask if someone there could assist me in locating information about my Norwegian great-grandfather, who was born in Larvik, Norway in 1833 or 1834, and moved to Boston, Massachusetts (USA) in 1850.  I apologize that I do not speak or read Norwegian, so any help would have to be provided in English. I have tried to look through archived local parish records in Larvik from the time of birth as well as his subsequent departure for the US, but I am not able to read or translate the entries.
 
Here is what I know:  When he arrived in the US in 1850, he used the name "William Henry Brown."  His birth date in Norway was 1833 or 1834; meaning he would have been only 16 or 17 when he came to the US.  He was from Larvik, Norway. He may have come to the US on a ship (technically a "bark") called the Bellona, that sailed from Arendal, Norway, landing in Boston on September 5, 1850.  I could not find any passenger list from that trip - it is unclear whether he was accompanied by anyone;  he may have been aboard as a hired hand or sailor, rather than a paying passenger (subsequently he worked as a "seaman" and harbor pilot in Boston). It is possible, of course, that he came to Boston via another city (and not directly from Norway). 
 
I also found a record of the same person (William Henry Brown) returning to Boston from Norway in 1887 (via Liverpool), which makes me think he went back to Norway that year to visit his family (e.g., perhaps upon the death of a relative?).
 
I expect his name (William Henry Brown) may have been Anglicized from the Norwegian, so perhaps his first name was something like "Wilhelm" and perhaps his surname was a patronyn, as may have been customary at the time, like "Henriksen" (his father's first name was Henry). Or his surname could have been something similar to "Brown," like Bruun or Brun.
 
It seems like the next research steps would be to check for references in the local Larvik parish archives around the times of (1) either William's birth (1833 or 1834), (2) his emigration to the US (1850), or (3) the time when he returned to Norway - perhaps the occasion of a parent's death? (1887).
 
Please let me know if you are able to assist, and/or need any additional information that I might be able to provide. Or if you have other suggestions about where to look or whom to contact, please let me know. 
 
I am coming to Norway later this year and would be so excited to visit the town where my great-grandfather is from (Larvik), and to learn more about his heritage.
 
Warm regards,
Louise Ober  
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Hi Louise, looks like you have a nut to crack here.
I do not have Ancestry access, so I cannot see the petition records.
How do you know his father's first name was Henry? It seems unlikely to me that any official papers would list only the father's first name and no other information about the father or parents.

You may know this already, but someone "coming from Larvik" may have been used to denote a person coming from a much larger area than the Larvik parish.
Larvik the parish is much smaller than Larvik the municipality (Larvik kommune), which is much smaller than the Larvik Countship (Grevskapet Larvik/Laurvig) which became part of the Jarlsberg and Larvik Amt in 1821. I live in Sandefjord, the town just north of Larvik, and my maternal grandmother's side is from Larvik the municipality. If you want to search for births in what would possibly have been called Larvik in 1850, you need to include at least Tjølling and Stavern, possibly even all of Vestfold south of and including Tønsberg.
And if so, there is an interesting candidate born January 12th 1833 in Tønsberg. https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/255/pd00000036196283
Father's name Thor Henrich Brun, son's name Thorvald Henrich Johan (Brun) Note: This candidate has been excluded as he died as a child, see Anne Tonby's entry below.

There may be a distinction between "born in/at" and "coming from". If the phrase is not "place of birth", he or his family may have moved to the Larvik area after his birth.

 

This may be the ship Bellona https://digitaltmuseum.no/021176790650/bellona-1850 
I see from the newspaper "Christiansands Stiftsavis" December 18th 1851 that Bellona is listed as an incoming ship leaving Hull (in England) December 5th, and from Arendal. The collection of online newspapers is not complete.



 

Edited by Inger Hohler
Candidate excluded by further information
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1 time siden, Inger Hohler skrev:

do not have Ancestry access, so I cannot see the petition records.

whb.jpg

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1 time siden, Ivar Moe skrev:

And we also have this former convict, the (ship's) carpenter who apparently lives in Boston

 

https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/8/pe00000000021158

 

 

Maybe it's possible to find him in the criminal record/index

The original source has not this information:

 

Akershus, Oslo fylke, Emigrantprotokoll nr. 11 (1883-1885)
Permanent bilde-ID: em20110222660807
Brukslenke for sidevisning: https://www.digitalarkivet.no/em20110222660807
Permanent bildelenke: https://urn.digitalarkivet.no/URN:NBN:no-a1450-em20110222660807.jpg
 

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Louise Ober

 

I don't want to confuse things further, but here is my experience...

 

One of my great- grandfathers resided in Boston. His petition is full of errors or lies.

1. he was 9 years older than stated on the petition

2. he arrived in the United States years later than stated on the petition

3. his birth year and birthplace are wrong

(Yes, he is the right person, confirmed by DNA)

 

According to the petition he arrived in the USA at age 15, his actual age was 29. Here is my opinion - a foreign-language speaker is asked when he first arrived in the USA. Being a sailor, he gives the date that he first set foot in the USA as a sailor, and not the date of arrival for settlement.

 

He might have arrived in the USA as a sailor, which means it is probable that he "jumped-ship", which means no immigration record on him. MANY young Norwegians (and others) jumped-ship, but most returned to Norway.

 

Here is what I found in the general area in Norway:

1. Henrik Vilhelm Bruun, born 1807 in Kristiansand, married 1837 in Agder (these places are in bordering counties). Possible candidate for William Henry Brown's father. I don't know if they ever lived in Larvik.

 

Did you find the following?

1. William's marriage record

2. William's death record or obituary

3. His child(ren) marriage record

4. Census records

5. His children's death records

At times, these records provide information such as William's birthplace...

Depending on how strong your interest is, you may have to turn to DNA.

 

 

Edited by Richard Olsen
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16 hours ago, Louise Ober said:

I also found a record of the same person (William Henry Brown) returning to Boston from Norway in 1887 (via Liverpool), which makes me think he went back to Norway that year to visit his family (e.g., perhaps upon the death of a relative?).

 

Is this the record you are talking about? This record does not mention Norway?

 

Wm Brown

in the Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963

Name:Wm Brown

Gender:Male

Age:55

Birth Date:abt 1832

Departure Place:Queenstown Ireland and Liverpool England, Ireland and Liverpool England

Arrival Date:3 Sep 1887

Arrival Place:Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Ship:Pavonia

 

https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/3549226:8745?tid=&pid=&queryId=b2d177bee68f790727ad7d7d2691191c&_phsrc=mxB7&_phstart=successSource

 

 

 

 

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4 minutter siden, Anton Hagelee skrev:

 

Is this the record you are talking about? This record does not mention Norway?

 

Wm Brown

in the Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963

Name:Wm Brown

Gender:Male

Age:55

Birth Date:abt 1832

Departure Place:Queenstown Ireland and Liverpool England, Ireland and Liverpool England

Arrival Date:3 Sep 1887

Arrival Place:Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Ship:Pavonia

 

https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/3549226:8745?tid=&pid=&queryId=b2d177bee68f790727ad7d7d2691191c&_phsrc=mxB7&_phstart=successSource

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/8/pe00000001015721

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7 timer siden, Inger Hohler skrev:

How do you know his father's first name was Henry?

https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/70787835:2495?tid=&pid=&queryId=eb91796da38f9ffd243b77449e0db90a&_phsrc=ITW19558&_phstart=successSource

 

William H Brown

in the Massachusetts, U.S., Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988

 

Name: William H Brown
Event Type: Marriage
Birth Date: abt 1833
Marriage Date: 23 Mar 1861
Marriage Place: Ashby, Massachusetts
Marriage Age: 28
Father Name: Henry Brown
Spouse Name: Melia A Morgan
Spouse Marriage Age: 17
Spouse Father Name: Parker Morgan
Spouse Mother Name: Nancy Morgan
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I checked the baptism records for Larvik  from 1828 - 1840. Nothing remotely close to William Henry.

 

I checked confirmation records from 1843 to 1847, also nothing.

The closet was a Hans Henrik Bruun, born 1829. Later, I will check 1848 -

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2 hours ago, Sven Hjortland said:

 

I notice that the passenger next to William Brown is a Klara Brown born art 1861. Perhaps he took his daughter on the trip. Louise Ober, perhaps someone in your family tree has a record of who or where in Norway they went to visit on that trip?

 

https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/8/pe00000001015722

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Carl Nilsen said:

William, James and Jacob Brown, fishermen from Norway in the 1860 census:

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZHF-V2Q

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9B9V-BB4

 

Possible William in the 1855 Census 

 

William Brown

in the Massachusetts, U.S., State Census, 1855

Name:William Brown

Gender:Male

Birth Year:abt 1833

Birth Place:Norway

Residence:Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

Enumeration Year:1855

Age:22

Household Number:676

Reel Number:6

Volume Number:8

 

https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/3000747:4472?tid=&pid=&queryId=1c0f61bd3f878f8d37a150b8b9e4b4ae&_phsrc=zqx2&_phstart=successSource

 

Jacob as well

 

Jacob Brown

in the Massachusetts, U.S., State Census, 1855

Name:Jacob Brown

Gender:Male

Birth Year:abt 1828

Birth Place:Norway

Residence:Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

Enumeration Year:1855

Age:27

Household Number:676

Reel Number:6

Volume Number:8

 

 

Edited by Anton Hagelee
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3 hours ago, Carl Nilsen said:

William, James and Jacob Brown, fishermen from Norway in the 1860 census:

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZHF-V2Q

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9B9V-BB4

 

It does not solve the real problem, but it might shed some light on who are the Brown brothers. In the 1860 Census posted by Carl is a Gunder Krabel. He is likely Gunder Johannesen born 15 Aug 1823 in Kragero, Telemark. 

 

Gunder Johannesen

in the Norway, Select Baptisms, 1634-1927

Name:Gunder Johannesen

Gender:Male

Birth Date:15 Aug 1823

Baptism Date:31 Aug 1823

Baptism Place:Kragero, Telemark, Norway

Father:Johannes Simensen

Mother:Elen Marie Elevsdr

FHL Film Number:126947

 

https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/13241651:60092?_phsrc=twO10&_phstart=successSource&gsfn=gunder&ml_rpos=1&queryId=9a0eeb1c5b5ddfeca1400a4b635eb749

 

Nr 18

 

https://www.digitalarkivet.no/kb20061204030100

 

His sister Inger Marie Krabel also settled in Essex.

 

 

Edited by Anton Hagelee
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14 hours ago, Sven Hjortland said:

Sven, Thank you so much for finding William's petition for US citizenship!  So much great information here, including the listed Feb 12, 1833 birthday (as you mention), the date he sailed to the US (March 1850), the report that he sailed to New York (not Boston), acknowledgement that he was a minor at the time he immigrated (he would have just turned 17).

 

It's interesting to me that the petition (1) was filed in August 1869, 8 years after he got married but the same month in which his 6 year old daughter (Mary) died, (2) the petition was submitted to a court for the "Transaction of Criminal Business" (not sure there is any crime here), and (3) they had to adapt the standard language renouncing the British monarch (Victoria) and write in "Charles XV  King of Norway." 

 

Question: you have indicated that William's birthplace reads "Laurvig, Norway." I assume that is the same as Larvik? 

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6 hours ago, Sven Hjortland said:

Sven, Again thank you for digging this up!  I had no record of William's death before this. Interesting that the date of birth is different than stated elsewhere (1832 instead of 1833). I suspect the Informant, "Miss Brown," was his eldest daughter, Clara, who never married (and was probably the person who traveled with him to Norway in 1887). 

 

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Anton Hagelee said:

 

I notice that the passenger next to William Brown is a Klara Brown born art 1861. Perhaps he took his daughter on the trip. Louise Ober, perhaps someone in your family tree has a record of who or where in Norway they went to visit on that trip?

 

https://www.digitalarkivet.no/view/8/pe00000001015722

 

 

Anton this is so interesting. Indeed, "Klara" (I guess Norwegian for Clara) was William's eldest daughter.  Clara never married, and it makes sense that she was close to her father and he would have brought her to Norway with him to visit his family perhaps.  It was on Clara's death certificate that I first read that her father's birthplace was Larvik, Norway.  I feel like she would know the correct area name/municipality in that case because she actually went there with her dad. 

Edited by Louise Ober
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5 hours ago, Carl Nilsen said:

Don't know if this is a clue or just randomness, but in the 1855 Massachusetts census, mariner William Brown from Norway (born ca 1833) is listed in a dwelling house together with a mariner Jacob Brown from Norway (born ca 1828), nos 30 and 29 respectively:

https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-69YW-XHC

Carl, I am sure this IS a clue! It would indicate that William perhaps came over from Norway with his brother Jacob (or I suppose Jacob could have come later), who apparently was 5 years older than William.  And it makes sense that William would have been 22 in 1855 (since he was 17 whe he arrived in 1850).  William wasn't married yet so he could well be living with his brother.  Thank you!

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