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Who is Niels Gulliksen?

Britha Nilsdatter of Wegemoen was born on 15 Aug 1823 at Wegemoen, Suldal, Rogaland.  She was baptized on 24 Aug 1823 in Suldal, the daughter of Niels Gulliksen and Kari Olsdatter.  Niels and Kari were not married.  (Suldal i Suldal Kirkebøk 1816-1836 p.27).  See Finding Kari Olsdatter for information regarding Britha's mother.

The baptism record is the only source that provides the identity of Britha Nilsdatter's father.  On the baptism record, he is called "Niels Gulliksen from Hvidesøe, Øvre Telemark".  Hvidesøe, now called Kviteseid, is a parish in Telemark.  No record in Suldal or Kviteseid has been found for a Niels Gulliksen.  However, there are records for a Niels Gunliksen.  Is he the same person as Niels Gunliksen?

There was a Niels Gunliksen from Telemark living in Suldal.  His return to Telemark is recorded in both the Suldal and Kviteseid parish records.  These records are only for migration and do not include visits.  When people on the Norway List were asked how difficult it would be to travel between the two places, these were the responses:

"Looking at the map, this looks like it probably was a difficult journey in those years.  About how many miles is this?  How long would it take on foot?  Or would a man have needed a horse to make this trip?" (from Mary Farrell)

"It's somewhere in the region of 65 miles and covers some fairly bleak terrain.  My hunch, which is counter-intuitive and may be plain wrong, is that it might well be a lot quicker in winter on skis than in summer on foot.  Riskier though!

"I can't make a meaningful guess at times though - and I'd have thought it would be conditional on weather.  If he was moving house, then some means of transport like a horse would be essential, I'd think, but if it was a trip with not much to carry, I wonder if a horse might be more of a hindrance!" (from Tabletweaver)

So Niels Gunliksen had moved away from Suldal before Britha was conceived, but he could have returned for a visit.  The different spellings of Niel's patronymic is a concern, but if Britha's father was born by 1801, the one returning to Telemark is the only one of reasonable age in the 1801 census.  When you consider the situation, the difference in spelling could easily happen.  If Niels just dropped in for a visit back about December 1822, and had gone back home by the time of the baptism, there may be no one around that would have more than a general idea of his name.

Who is this Niels Gunliksen?  According to the Suldal migration record, Niels was born in Øvre Telemark ("moved to Øvre Telemarken, where he was born (Upper Telemark, over the mountains, east of Suldal" - Translation by Rune Helland).  Combining the ages on the two records, Niels was born about 1789.

The only Niels of reasonable age in the 1801 census in Kviteseid, is in one of the families in Sunbøe: Gunlek Gunulvsen age 61 [b.c.1740], his wife Kari Olsdatter age 55 [b.c.1746], and two of their children: Niels age 12 and Anne age 9.  At age 12 in 1801, Niels would have been born about 1789.

Niels was baptized on 26 Dec 1790 in Kvitesied, Telemark.  (Kviteseid Kirkebøk 1787-1799 p.40).  He is probably the Niels Gunliksen Steennaasa who was confirmed on 23 p Trin (25 Nov) 1810 (Kviteseid Kirkebøk 1800-1814 p.186).

Having returned to Kviteseid in 1822, Niels does not have any record of further movement shown in the Kviteseid parish register.  However, the Seljord, Telemark parish register shows him arriving there on 1 Dec 1827 (recorded sometime in 1828).  (Seljord in Seljord Kirkebøk (copy) 1815-1854 p.313).  He was married, on 29 Dec 1827 in Seljord to Mari Vigleiksdatter of Heibo.  (Seljord in Seljord Kirkebøk (copy) 1815-1854 p.204).

Niels apparently remained in Seljord, where he and Mari had at least 3 children.


Return to Notes for Niels Gulliksen


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