January 14, 2019

Øvald - Grandmother Dagmar's ancestral home

Dagmar Gundersen was born on ØVALD in Eidanger, Telemark, Norway, which was the ancestral family home since the 1600's.

Eidanger kirke, built in 12th century
 The farm Øvald in Eidanger, Telemark, Norway had been in existence since the middle ages but lay vacant after the Black Death. In the 1600's it was cleared again as a small landholding. The bygdebok  Gårds og slektshistorie for Eidanger Fra 1814-1980 by Per Chr. Nagell Svendsen  tells the story. A German noblewoman named Maria Lukretia von Boeselager, b. 1609 in Honeburg, Germany, moved with her daughter to the south of Norway after the death of her first husband. She married a Norwegian customs inspector named Peder Jacobsen and her daughter married the vicar of Eidanger, Jon Lauritssøn Teiste.  Maria and Peder were wealthy and bought three properties in Eidanger and one of those properties, Ødewald/Øvald, she gave as a christening gift to her granddaughter Sophie Jansdatter. Upon her death Maria was buried just outside the front entrance to the Eidanger church. At some point, early on, the small farm became part of the Eidanger rectory, which was farm #43, Øvald being section #5. The section was leased by the year and a farmers male heir (female heir and her husband if a male heir did not survive to adulthood) had the first right to lease in his/her turn.  The bygdebok, (above noted) and Norwegian National census' trace each generation on Øvald.

My grandmother Dagmar was the last of our family line to be born on the farm Øvald. The noblewoman Maria Lukretia von Boeselager had been her seventh great grandmother.



 This home ↑ was built in 1860 on Øvald. At that time Dagmar's great grandparents Nils Jensen and Johanne Olsdatter worked the farm. Johanne was well known for her cooking and entertaining skills as the couple hosted gatherings of family and friends on the beautiful Eidanger Fjord.

 Times were changing in Norway at the end of the 19th century and the small farm, in it's lovely location. was separated from the vicarage and sold by the church. This must have been very difficult for the family that had lived and worked the farm since the 1600's but they were unable to buy the farm outright. Dagmars grandfather, Gunder Nilsen, spent his last years as a poor man on a neighboring farm. The property became a summer retreat during the last years of the 19th century and first years of the 20th. ↓
Telemark Museum - "fair use"

Today the property has the address Nystrandveien 184, Porsgrunn and "Norpost" is one of several companies at that location.
In 1925 Norwegian law required each family to adopt a permanent surname. Dagmar and most of her siblings became Gundersen, the patronymic of their father Nils.  Dagmar's father Nils as well as Nils’ son and grandson, along with others of the family, adopted Øvald as their surname. A sign of respect for the historically family home. They certainly felt they had that “right” as their family had worked the farm for 7-9 generations until it was sold by the church. 


**clicking on photos or documents will enlarge them for easier viewing**
      ** to view each generation from Maria down to Dagmar see "Family Trees" (above)**