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The Ravn Family from Trondenes, Northern Norway

By Carsten Berg Høgenhoff. Translation by Patti Goke, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA (Se norsk versjon)

The information about the Ravn family is based on information from Hans Rafnung's articles «Rafn-ætta fra Trondenes», Harstad Tidende (1933), family history prepared by Arthur Ravn (ca 1960?), information from family (1996), brochures from the Røkenes Farm (1995) and other sources. Rafnung's articles are the main source of the information. Where his text deviates, I have tried to be consistent as to where the information was obtained.The complete text from Hans Rafnung's 1933 series in the daily newspaper Harstad Tidende is presented in original on this site. See photocopies of all articles. The text is in Norwegian.

In Norway there are four different Ravn families (also written Rafn):
1 .
The Telemark Family Rafn. The founder of the family was called Hans Rafn, and his son Christen Hansen Rafn was born in 1681 and married to Anne Sophie Meidel. To this family there is a link to Peter Andreas Ravn, minister in Haram, Sunnmøre 1681.
2.
The family Rafn in Sande, Vestfold. The ancestor called Hans Rafn was born in Voldborg at Sjælland ca 1650. To this family there is a connection to the learned professor Carl Christian Rafn, together with cabinet member, Carl Gottlob Rafn.
3.
The Romsdal-Nordfjord family Rafn. The ancestor called Mathias Rafn, presumably a ship captain in Bergen, born ca 1650. To this family there is a connection to Tollef Lem Ravn, born 1854 in Moss and later lived in Buskerud.
4.
The Nordland family Rafn, whose ancestral farm was the farm Røkenes in Trondenes, and whose ancestor is Hans Rasmussen Rafn. It is this family that is mentioned here. The material is obtained from Hans Rafnung's articles in the newspaper Harstad Tidende, 1933. There are many things that suggest that these four families have the same origins. Thus, it is quite interesting that the ancestors to three of these families have same first and last names, and lived roughly at the same time. Among them, C, some family members moved northward according to the saga. It has anyway until now (1933), in spite of investigations both in Denmark and Norway, been impossible to point out some affinity.

 

1. Hans Rasmussen Rafn
Hans Rasmussen Rafn came about 1680 from Bergen to Røkenes in Trondenes. It is told that he came to Bergen from Jylland in Denmark. This in accordance with Rafnung, while the brochure «Velkommen til gårds» from Røkenes Farm and Guesthouse published in the 1990'ies, states that Hans Rasmussen Rafn came to Røkenes in 1673 and that he came from Holbæk at Sjælland in Denmark. He was, again in accordance with this brochure, married to Ingeborg Johnsdatter, who was a widow at the farm - and this is the origin of the family who today run Røkenes.In accordance with Rafnung's 1933 articles, Hans Rasmussen Rafn had no children in his marriage with the widow at Røkenes farm - and he calls her Margrethe Michelsdatter and not Ingeborg Johnsdatter.Again Rafnung's text:In the census of Trondenes taken in October 1701, it is indicated that Hans Rasmussen Rafn was 55 years old, thus he was born around 1646. It mentioned further about him: «A citizen of Bergen with small Negotie (business), who owns boats to the benefit of the citizens». When he died is not known, but he was still alive in 1712.Hans Rasmussen Rafn did net fishing, usually with a small cargo boat, to Bergen, also a small cargo boat to Finnmark, and stayed at a fisherman's shack there. The tax collector in Senja mentions this in one report of 28 December 1687, and it indicates a fortune of 800 Riksdalers. He had 9 servants.It is said that Hans Rasmussen Rafn could be related to Judge Pofel Egede of Harstad, I (Rafnung, editor's note) have not found a reference though. I recall an article in the weekly paper Hjemmet ca 1921 that brought me to think about it. I do not have a clear answer, but it is a thing which speaks in favour of it. Why did Hans Rasmussen Rafn come up to the Trondenes area? Maybe at the request of Judge (chief magistrate) Pofel Egede.Hans Rasmussen Rafn was married the first time to the widow Margrethe Michelsdatter, who owned the farm, Røkenes. She had been well off (financially), but was set back some because her fishing fleet several times were plundered by the Hessians. In this way comes the farm Røkenes, which was the most beautiful farm in Trondenes, into the hands of the Rafn family. In this marriage there were no children.After Margrethe's death Hans Rasmussen Rafn was married to Johanna Nilsdatter Hveding, who was the daughter of Riborg Danielsdatter Skunck and Nils Mortensen from Sørvik in Trondenes. Nils Mortensen's father was Minister Morten Hveding (see the Hveding family ) in Torsken. (There is also a possibility that Nils Mortensen was the son of Morten Parchmann Gjelsten - see Norwegian version for details). In this marriage to Johanna Hveding, Hans R. Rafn had eight children, but only five made it to adulthood. Of the three children that died, there was a daughter named Ingeborg and two daughters with the name Margrethe. The five that grew up to be adults were:

2. Nils Hansen Rafn
The ancestor's youngest son, Nils Hansen Rafn, born at Røkenes 27 January 1690, died December 1767. He took over the farm and achieved like his father and was a very clever and capable man, who left behind a large fortune. It was Nils Rafn who together with his brother, Rasmus, and Judge Pofel Egede's children, were informed of student Peder Schjelderup from Hamarøy. Rasmus Rafn, Nils Rafn and Greenland's prophet Hans Egede were thus childhood friends.Nils Rafn was also a captain, and travelled regularly to Bergen. In 1737 it is related that Nils Rafn was one of the few skippers who was in Somd's tinglag (smallest judicial district). He took over the congregation's needs and sailed to Bergen with their fish and cod-liver oil. On one of their travels to Bergen (some contend to England) he had with him the church bell from Trondenes Church. The bell was to go to Holland for repairs. When Nils Rafn returned without the bell, the same year, it was rumoured that he had sold it, for there was a lot of silver in the bell, that he made himself wealthy on it. He said nothing about the slander, as had won credence among many people in the city, and the next year he had the bell with him, when he returned. He asked for one particular favour, because of the rumours, and it was a favour he made to the church by transporting the bell to be repaired and back again.Nils Rafn asked for a place to be buried in the church for himself and his family, and he got it. Nils Rafn and his wife were interned there in 1767-1768. Here they were laid to rest with 16 of their nearest relatives. In the altar niche, behind a wood wall on left side of choir door, in the grave niche all 18 coffins were placed.Trondernes
The plaque with Niels Rafn's name hung on the wood wall that covered the crypt until about 1930: « Written my privileges Niels Rafn». Here we read also the names Burchard, Dass and Schelderup. (Photograph: Carsten Berg Høgenhoff)

In the altar niche where the 18 coffins were placed, this same remembrance plate carved in wood hangs still today. The text on the plate is: «M.L. Burchard -M.L. Daß - M.J. Schelderup / Written privileges of Niels Rafn». On the wall in the crypt hangs a picture with three Biblical figures and two candles that burn during church services. Such have the Ravns, in one way, held their place in the Trondenes Church.Schjelderup is Nils Hansen Rafn's wife's maiden name, Burchard is two of the daughter-in-laws family's names (see 3. generation, Hans Rafn and below in this instalment), and the Dass name is well known by all Norwegians from the priest and the hymnologist, Petter Dass. This family history includes Schjelderup as well as Burchard families, but how the Dass family fits to here if left to be discovered.

Trondernes The crypt lies to the left of the altar. (Photograph: Carsten Berg Høgenhoff)

About 1930, the caskets were moved to the churchyard. Today they all lay under the Goldenrain bush by the west door of the church. At the grave - a round, grey stone - the text «Familien Rafn 1758-1803» is etched into the stone. The Goldenrain is a popular background for wedding pictures when it is in full bloom, and forms a beautiful frame for the old family grave.During the last restoration of the church from 1938 to 1950 most of the dead that were laid under the floor of Trondenes church were moved to the churchyard - there laid several hundred skeletons under the church floor. Whether some of the Ravn ancestors were among these is unknown - but as the Ravns had their own alter niche in the wall, it is probably rather improbable that some were buried under the floor. A church clerk of the Trondenes Church on the 3 August 1996 told Carsten Berg that most of the remains under the floor were unmarked and in bad condition. Some few coffins are still placed in the crypt under the floor, but the identity of only one person who lies there is known, a clerical person.Jacob Parelius Rafn was married to Sophie Amalie Burchard, a sister of Hans Rafn's wife Johanna Margrethe Burchard (see 3rd generation Hans Rafn). From this marriage is descended the Kulseng family who in 1996 still resides at Røkenes farm. Rafnung wrote that Jacob Parelius Rafn and Sophie Amalie Burchard had five sons and one daughter. Whereas only the daughter was married she had Røkenes given to her, and the farm was followed by the family name Normann after the husband, Søren Brønlund Normann. A grandson of Jacob Parelius Rafn and Sophie Amalie Burchard, born in 1829 at Røsnes in Salten, inherited a silver tankard with the inscription «Nils Hansen Rafn and Anne Cathrine Schelderup. Anno 1723». Rafnung wrote in his article in the Harstad Tidende that Jacob Parelius Rafn bought himself a crypt in the church around 1759 and that he paid 8 Rdl for it.

Røkenes Røkenes farm, 3 August 1996. In front: Gjertrud Berg, born Winnem.(Photo: Carsten Berg Høgenhoff)

A postcard with a water-colour painting by Karl Erik Harr, that was for sale in 1994, shows a main entrance to the farm at Røkenes. On the backside of this card we find subsequent information: «The main building at Røkenes Farm supposedly was built about 1750 by Nils Hansen Rafn. Experts show that church builders who had made repairs of the Trondenes church had performed the work. The pure style of the facade is ca 20 m long, with small paned windows, and one splendid rococo portal dominates in the house. In the living room are beautiful rococo door panels, and its architecture the seating of doors, windows, the ceiling beams and the ceiling's height makes the room's appearance very harmonious."In accordance with the style, the house contains more beautiful rooms, antiques and furniture that give it an inviting and cosy atmosphere. As of 1996 the owners and proprietors of Røkenes Farm is in its ninth generation, and can therefore trace the family back to 1670 as inhabitants on the farm. The users of Røkenes received their innkeeper license as early as 1777, so this old and good tradition continues. In the summer of 1996 the owners opened the world's most northern golf course, Harstad golf club, at Røkenes Farm. Toward the end of the 20th century we find greens, one driving range and large, green plains on the grounds that Hans Rasmussen Rafn took over more than 300 years earlier.Hans Rafnung's article from the Harstad Tidende continues:Nils Hansen Rafn was married in 1720 to Anne Cathrine Schjelderup, daughter of Andreas Nilsen Schjelderup, minister in Trondenes, and his wife Anne Hansdatter Nysted. (Rafnung called him Anders Schjelderup, but Alf-Inge Johnsen used the name Andreas in The Schjelderup Family ). Anne Cathrine Schjelderup was born 9 December 1685, and died 1 December 1767, only two days after the death of her husband.Nils Hansen Rafn and Anne Cathrine Schjelderup had in all four children:

3. Hans Rafn
Born about 1724, died in 1794, 70 years old, buried 19th Sunday after Pentecost. He was a merchant, and lived at the farm Ervik in Trondenes. Married 22nd Sunday after Pentecost in 1751 to Johanna Margrethe Burchard, born at Rå rectory in Kvæfjord around 1727, buried on the 8th Sunday after Pentecost in 1794, 67 years old. She was the daughter of the minister in Kvæfjord, Lorentz Burchard and his wife Christine Marie Bremer. Burchard was assistant pastor in Kvæfjord 1720 and died 11 August 1749.Subsequent information is obtained about the devout Arthur Raven:Hans Rafn took over the farm Ervik, and was captain and innkeeper. He owned part of a fast, country style of boat at Røkenes, and in 1763 he had a crew of 12. However, he must have had economic misfortune. 10/4 1785 he sold his part of Ervik his heritable right to the farm, cattle, household goods and all he had to Jens Hamboe for 1200 Riksdalers. The only rest he reserved for himself was "free House and Bed linen, Burning wood needed for Winter and Summer, and Food and Drink by Holmboes table" in 1794. On 5/11 1794 had undertaken the registration. To the four daughters who outlived the parents received as inheritance 33 Riksdalers, 3 ort, 4-1/2 schillings.Hans Rafn and Johanna Burchard had seven children, whereas Christine Marie Rafn was fifth in line.

4. Christine Marie Rafn
Born the 18th Sunday after Pentecost in 1760. The godparents at her baptism were 1. Pastor Kildal; 2. Uncle J.L.Burchard, res. kap., former minister at Sand; 3. Wife of Pastor Kildal; 4. virgin Rebecca Elisabeth Kildahl; 5. Anne Margrethe Sparboe. Christine Marie Rafn was confirmed on the 22nd Sunday of Trinity 1776, and died after 1820. Christine Marie Rafn was well regarded as vaccinator in Hol parish in Tjelsund (as referenced by Reidar Winnem in 1996), a job which otherwise was placed upon the priests.Married on the 2 of August 1783 to Hartvig Pedersen, owner Rambø farm in the Ramsundet. He was born about 1751 and was from Gausvik in Trondenes. He died on 17 May 1818. The widow's inheritance was 46 Riksdalers, 11 schillings, the son's inheritance was 11 Riksdalers, 2 ort and 14 3/4 schillings, and the daughter's inheritance was 5 Riksdalers, 3 ort and 19 3/8 schillings.Christine Marie Rafn and Hartvig Pedersen had five daughters and three sons. Their children took the mother's family name, Rafn, but wrote it with a «v». From number three, Nils Ivert Ravn, came the Ravns at Liland in Ofoten.

5. Nils Ivert Ravn
Born the 27 December 1787, baptised 20 January 1788. His God-parents were Nils Dass Hol and Kristen Klæboe, Sandtorvholmen. Nils Ivert Ravn left Rambø and settled down at Tårstad farm in Evenes, land register number 3, serial number 6, tax of 1 daler, 2 ort. He also owned other farms in Ofoten, among others. the farm Bjellgam. Further he had ecclesiastic interests, just like Nils Rafn at Røkenes. In Evenes Church (1933) there are some mighty candlesticks in silver, which bears his name. Nils Ivert Ravn died 4 September 1872 at Liland. Nils Ivert Ravn was married 16 August 1820 to Marie Alsing Allan, born at Andenes 1794, and died 16 December 1851. She was the daughter of the minister from Ofoten, Hans Fredrik Allan, born 11 July 1762, died 29 January 1847, and his wife Ulrikke Antonette Jalles, born in Molde 6 November 1766, died 2 October 1833, buried at Evenes. A brass plate with an inscription covers the grave.Her parents were justice of the peace Peder Jalles in Molde and his second wife, Cathrine Wungaard (or Wiingaard?), daughter of dean and minister to Bolsø, Hans Wungaard. Hans Fredrik Allan was in 1782 graduated from the Trondheim School, cand. theology. 1785, was advisor in Molde for four years, and with Bishop Schønheyder for two years. Allan was 6 January 1792 minister to Andenes, and 19 June 1801 minister to Ofoten, from where he was honourably discharged on 2 March 1844 with a pension of 250 Riksdalers.Hans Fredrik Allan was the son of shopkeeper William Allan of Molde, died 1777, and his wife Anna Margrethe Fietzeng, who again was the daughter of major Hans Fredrik Fietzeng and Mette Margrethe Sørensdatter Esche (born 1698, died 23 November 1774 in Molde), daughter of Søren Esche. Hans Fredrik Fietzens was born in Scotland and died in Norway (place unknown) in 1748. (Source: Carl Müller)Nils Ivert Ravn and Marie Alsing Allan had six children, it was mentioned, the youngest, together with twin sister Ulrikke Antonette (died unmarried in 1854).

6. Villas Mathias Bang RavnVillas Ravn
Villas Mathias Bang Ravn, born April 3, 1832, died June 8, 1918, and his wife Jonette Konstance Klæboe (Photograph from Bjellgam in Liland, by Carsten Berg Høgenhoff)

 

Bjelgam Bjellgam farm at Liland has been in the Ravn family ownership for generations. (Photo: Carsten Berg Høgenhoff, 1996)

Villas Ravn was married to Jonette Konstance Klæboe, daughter of shopkeeper John Klæboe, Liland, born at Saura in Nesna 1789, died 1823, and wife Karen Margrethe Agersborg, born 2 July 1790, confirmed 1807. This was Karen Margrethe Agersborg's first of three marriages. Karen Margrethe Agersborg's mother was a known character in Ofoten, Anne Bendikte Hveding, who is considered an ancestor to several families in Ofoten. (Jonette Klæboe's brother Petter who inherited large parts of the father's goods when he was just nine years old, was later married to Villas Ravn's sister Petrikke.)Villas Mathias Bang Ravn and Jonette Konstance Klæboe had 12 children, whereas half died as child from diphtheria. Those who lived to grow up were:

7. Oluf Ravn Oluf Ravn Gjertrud Ravn
O
luf Ravn was born in 1860 and died in 1953 and his first wife, Gjertrud Olderøy, was born around 1867 and she died in 1901. (The original drawing of Oluf Ravn from 1912 is still found (1997) at Bjellgam, an original drawing of Gjertrud Olderøy is in Gjertrud Berg's ownership in Sarpsborg)

Born 25 September 1860, died 23 February 1953, at 92-1/2 years old. Township treasurer and farmer at Bjellgam in Liland. Married the first time to Gjertrud Olderøy (1868 -1901). In this marriage there were eight children:

In accordance with information from Tami Jenson, Gjertrud Olderøy was the daughter of railroad employee Halvor Larssen Olderøen, born 1834 in Sunndalen, and his wife Maret Olsdatter, born 1831 in Sunndalen. See Halvor Larssen Olderøen's origins !Oluf Ravn was married again to Bergitte Thorbergsen, who was on born 17 May 1877, died 8 May 1973. In this marriage with her Oluf Ravn had seven children.
8. Gulli RavnGulli Ravn
- actually Oluffa Gunhilde Ravn, born 11 November 1898 at Bjellgam in Liland. During her childhood Gulli Ravn lived a year in the home of her oldest sister Jenny in Trondheim, then in Skoger near Drammen where she worked at the farm house of relatives and also a couple of years in Oslo as a housekeeper.Married in 1923 to teacher and farmer Olav Harald Winnem (b. 18 March 1897, d. 18 March 1980). At first they lived at the school in Østervik, but later built the farm and cultivated the soil in Botn, Bogen in Ofoten, just a few kilometres from Østervik. Olav Harald Winnem came from the farm Rydnes at Skogøya, right over the sound from Bjellgam. The two were nearest neighbours from childhood. Gulli Ravn's half sister Torbjørg Ravn still lived unmarried at Bjellgam in her 88th year (1996). She told us that the young Gulli would set a candle in the window to warn her beloved one across the strait that he was welcome to row, or swim, over to her.Gulli Ravn lived at home at the farm in Botn until she was 95 years old. Then she moved to Evenes nursing home in Liland, only some hundred meters from Bjellgam where she was born. At the nursing home she quietly passed away in between three and three-thirty on the night on Saturday 27 July 1996, well into her 98th year. She was buried Friday 2 August from Bogen Chapel. This was a sunny, hot summer day - only one, lonesome thunderclap could be heard in the sky as Gulli Ravn's coffin was put into the ground. Many who were there thought perhaps as I - that our Lord closed the door behind her as she received her reward, after a long, good life here with us.Gulli Ravn and Olav Winnem had four children:
9. Gjertrud Winnem
Born 23 May 1926 in Østervik, Bogen in Ofoten, grew up at the farm Botn, Bogen in Ofoten. Married to Einar H. Berg , born 23 May 1929 in Trondheim. Three children:



     


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