b ELLERTSEN Ellert and wife

Ellert Ellertson was born in Sannidal, Telemark, Norway in 1829 and traveled to America with his parents and siblings in 1843.  If you’re interested, a relative has shared quite a bit of family history, which you can find at geni.com.  The focus of the relative’s writing is Ellert’s father, Even Ellertson, but it provides insight into Ellert’s life as well.


Written on a small slip of paper found inside this cased tintype are the words “Ellert Ellertsen & Wife, about 1862 ages 32 and 22 years.” Although there is no location and it doesn’t identify his wife by name, I was able to make an identification based on photos of the couple, later in life, found on Ancestry.

Ellert’s wife, Karen (nee Johansdatter), was pregnant at the time this photo was taken.  She gave birth to a son, John, on October 17, 1862, in Fillmore County, Minnesota.  He was the couple’s third child of six.

Census records indicate Ellert used the surname Evenson throughout much of his life.  However, the name Ellertson was on his death record, as well as family headstones.  I was confused until I learned of Norway’s patronymic naming patterns.  Simply put, Norwegian families did not use one standard surname.  Surnames were an extension of the father’s given name, with a “sen”  or “son” added to the end if you were the “son of.” Likewise, “datter” was added to the end if you were the “daughter of.”  Please use the link above to get a thorough understanding of this practice.  It is quite interesting!

Ellert died in 1877.  According to the family information provided on geni.com, he succumbed to tuberculosis.  I was not able to locate the source of this claim.

At the time of Ellert’s death, the children ranged in age from seventeen to four years old.  Karen married Olaus Howe in 1879, but just ten years later was again a widow.  In 1896, she wed Hans O. Rud.  He survived her, when she passed in 1905, aged 66 years.

Census records
Find A Grave
U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records (ancestry.com)
Minnesota Deaths and Burials (familysearch.org)
Understanding Norwegian Naming Patterns

3 thoughts on “Expecting

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  1. What a great photograph and history to go with it! My first impression was that Ellert was somehow sympathising with his wife’s pregnancy, by placing his hands where he did… if so, then his serious face belies his sense of humour!

    Liked by 1 person

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