A sailor from Froland: Gunerius Severin Omundsen Skuggestøl

The paper Vestlandet from Arendal included news of sailings and accidents involving ships originating from the area. We can see that some ships are headed for Cardiff or other ports in the UK, but also exotic places.

This is the first post in a series about Gunerius Severin and his family. We are trying to answer the question if he is the same man as Cornelius Tamsen, a ships carpenter in Cardiff who first appears in Wales when he marries in 1904. Will we be able to “prove” it by using DNA and performing genealogical research?

Norway has been a seafaring nation for a long time and Arendal and Bergen were the leading ports around the year 1800. From then on, the number of ships and tonnage increased. And later in the century Bergen, Stavanger and the area around Arendal were the leading areas for maritime trade. The consequence was of course, that this gave work to many people, both in shipbuilding and crew. So that Gunerius became a sailor was not surprising.

But let us start with the beginning; Gunerius Severin Omundsen Skuggestøl was born on February 7th, 1875. His parents were Omund Knudsen Skuggestøl born 1838 and Anne Olsdatter from Røyland in Åseral, born in 1841. A blogpost about Anne is here. They lived on the farm Øvre Skuggestøl in Froland, as tenant farmers. Omunds father and grandfather and their families had lived on the farm before him. Anne died in 1912 while Omund lived until September 12, 1923.

The Froland parish record for Gunerius, giving his date of birth, christening date, and parents’ names. The “do.” in the column second from right, implies that he is born in wedlock.

Here is a picture of the place from 1955. It is on page 229, under the name Skuggestøl, Øvre Gnr 17 Bnr 5.

And you can read more in the “bygdebokFroland 2 (page 512) by Egil Fiane. You will see that the family is listed going back two generations. Omund had many occupations; miner, stone mason, butcher as well as farmer. The family had two cows, grew potatoes, wheat, barley and oats, according to the census of 1865.

Gunerius parents married on December 16th, 1870, in Froland, Aust-Agder. They had the following children:

1. Knud Omundsen , 1871- 1897. He married Talette Emilie Nilsdatter Kringlemyr in 1894. No children. Knud disappeared at sea somewhere between Rio de Janeiro and Pensacola in 1897.

2. Ole Omundsen, 1873-1956 married Theodora Amalie Larsdatter Nordbø in 1897. They lived at Granlia in Øyestad, a neighbouring municipality and had several children.

3. Gunerius Severin Omundsen, born February  7th, 1875. More about him later.

4. Andreas Omundsen, born 1876 and died in 1880.

5. Osuld Omundsen, born March 28, 1878, spouse Anne Gundersdatter Holt. He moved to Fjære and lived there in 1920 with his father, his wife and a child.

6. Ane Omundsd Skuggestøl, born 1880, married Karl Karoliussen in 1900. They lived in Fjære in 1910 and Karl worked at the ship yard. They had at least five children.

7. Gunhild Omundsen Skuggestøl born in 1882. Married to Sigvald Ommundsen Skinnaren and lived at Skinnaren. Six children. Gunhild died in 1976.

8. Anne Oline Omundsdatter, born August 23, 1884, married in 1909 to Knut Thorsen Stoet. They owned Øvre Skuggestøl from 1913 to 1920. It is uncertain where they moved to tafter that.

9. Salve Omundsen, born 1886 – married Mathilde Olsen and lived at Traalum in 1910. Two daughters; Anny and Ruth. Died in 1969.

Gunerius Severin was confirmed on the 6th of October 1889 so he was 14 years old. His date of birth is recorded here as April 30th. The students were given grades, his knowledge of Christianity was described as “very good”.

This date of birth is not in accordance with the churchbook record from his baptism.

There was a census on January 1st 1891. Gunerius is listed as a pupil here. His father’s occupation is butcher and farmer, so presumably he spends most time as a butcher.

Census 1891 for Gunerius Severin Omundsen.

On the same month as the census, that is on January 28, he embarks a ship. He was then 16 years old. The record is a seaman’s roll. His date of birth is also stated here as April 30. The place of birth and parents, comply. His career starts on a ship to Liverpool and he is aboard for 10 months and five days. He is then on the Telegraf sailing from Arendal to England. He moves to another ship, sailing the same distance. His next ship sails from Christiania – the capitol to the Baltic Sea. Then it is England and lastly, he sails with the Jona from the small town of Risør to Newport. He now jumps ship (rømt). He has sailed for 31 months and 18 days in total.

What will he now do? He is a paperless refugee.

Thank you to Margaret Helen Strand for help in researching and editing this post.

The ships that Gunerius sailed on from 1891 to 1894.

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