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  1. #1
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    Question Norwegian seaman in South Shields around 1890

    Good evening!

    I am currently researching my wife's family, and I am struggling a bit with a few details. Her great great grandfather, Hans Henrik Johannesen, was born on 12 October 1861 in Sveio/Sveen, Hordaland, Norway, and joined the Norwegian merchant navy in April 1879.

    From 1885 I believe his port of home was in England, based on information from Norwegian merchant navy seamen records. On 12 November 1887 he married Olea/Oline Olsen Skornn/Skorun/Skoonan in St. Hilda Church, South Shields, Tyne and Wear. I guess she also was a Norwegian, but I have no information on her background. They had two children, both born in South Shields, Christened in St. Hilda. Matilda Hanson, born 21 August 1888, Christened 21 September 1888. Rangval Johnsen, born 20 July 1890, Christened 24 August 1890.

    Olea Olsen Johnesen died between January and March 1891, age 25, according to England death registration index. In the England 1891 census Hans Johnsen is listed as lodger, widower, ordinary seaman, living in 157 Regent St, Westoe, South Shields. I cannot find the children in the England nor Norway censuses. They might be on their way to Norway. In the Norway 1901 census the children lives with relatives in Norway. Hans too is listed at the same farm in Norway, but “temporary absence, assumed staying in England”. Church documents from Rangval’s Christian confirmation in Norway in 1904 says Hans was dead by then. I have not been able to find information on Hans’ death in Norwegian church records, and I suspect that he died in England, or at sea.

    I do not know the English archive system very well, and would appreciate any help with information on where and how to look. Is Hans listed in the English merchant navy seaman records? When did he die? Are there any more information available on where Olea came from? I guess Norwegians immigrating to England were recorded in a way? Passenger lists?

    Thanks in advance for any help!

    Regards,
    Anders Presterud
    Norway

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    I don't know if you have a copy of their marriage certificate, but if you haven't I would recommend that you buy one as that will give you details of the father's of the couple - their names and occupations.

    If the father is not listed it means that the child was born outside of marriage.

    Certificates can be ordered directly from the GRO:
    https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/

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    Hi Andersp, I found everything you mentioned, but nothing new Im sorry, I wonder why the children were registered as JOHNSON, unless they spoke there name and did not write it down, I will keep looking and if there is anything in particular I can look up, just let me know, I would be glad to help. Robert

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    Thanks for your kind replies!

    Marriage certificate sounds like a good idea. I just ordered one. Thanks for the advice! Maybe it will give some clues.

    The passenger lists seem to focus on ships arriving in the UK from foreign ports _outside_ of Europe only.

    Yes, the surnames are confusing. But that is rather common when looking for Norwegians abroad. Until around 1880-1900 it was still a tradition in Norway to use patronymic surnames. Hans’ children would be named Nn Hansson/Hansdaughter + the name of the farm the lived on. It seems like they chose a good mix of surnames. Johnsen is probably a simplification of Johannesen. It was quite common for Scandinavians to make their names easier pronounced. It might of course be a misspelling too.

    I subscribed for 1 month on Ancestry. I understand they offer quite a few interesting archives.

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