We have been working on a DNA case for a long time, trying to find the original Norwegian name of a Welsh seaman. One possible person we came across in our search is Gunerius Severin Torbjørnsen Hausland. He turned out to be a cousin of the person whom farther research indicates is probably the right person. They have a few things in common: their Christian name, which is Gunerius Severin, the fact that they went to sea, and that little or nothing was known about their destiny by their families who remained in Norway. (Read about the cousin here: A sailor from Froland: Gunerius Severin Omundsen Skuggestøl.)
Gunerius Severin Torbjørnsen Hausland was born on May 1st, 1870 and he is one of many children from his father’s two marriages. He was born on the farm Hausland in Fjære, Agder, which is in southern Norway.
His father Torbjørn Olsen Hausland (1830-1897) was first married to Gunhild Marie Olsdatter (1831-1862). This couple had two sons; Ole (1860- after 1894 ) and Anton Gunerius (1861-1930). Anthon died in Norfolk, USA in 1910. He was married to Jenny Mathilde Nielsen and had 3 children.
Torbjørn’s second marriage was to Else Marie Knudsdatter Skuggestøl, born in Froland in 1842. More about her brother’s family and her parents here.
Their children were:
- Gustav Martinius (1865 – 1867)
- Knud (1866- ?)
- Anne (1868-1958) Married Aanon Andreassen.
- Gunerius Severin (1870- ?)
- Gunhild (1872-1875)
- Theodor Martinius (1874-1929). Married 1. Laura Marie Hammersland and 2. Anna Marie Karlsen
- Berthe (1874-1875)
- Gunhild Bertine (1877-1935 ). Married Sverre Nikolai Jørgensen
- Elise Marie (1879- ?) Married Tandrup Melius Vegner Jacobsen.
- Gusta Marie (1882- after 1945). Married Hjalmar Peterson in the US.
- Bendiks (1885-1895)
Gunerius Severin was confirmed in the Lutheran church in 1885. His father was a farmer as well as a ship’s carpenter.
Gunerius went to sea about 1888 , we find him in the seaman’s roll where he sails to both England and France. In 1890 he sails to Hamburg and later to New York, where he “jumps ship” on May 29th 1896. It is noted here.
In 1903 his sister Gusta Marie emigrates to the US. We find her on Ancestry here (subscription site) where the manifest informs us that she was intending to go to her brother, Gust Thomsen, in Brooklyn. But her brother, Gustav Martinius, had died at the age of two, so this Gust couldn’t be him! Could it be that she met Gunerius, and that since he went ashore, he changed his name? In the Norway census of 1891, Gunerius was believed to be in England as a sailor. And in the census of 1900 it is stated that he was in the US.
There is a picture of Gunerius where he is probably around 60 years old, so it must have been taken about 1930. It looks like it is from the US. The picture was sent to one of his sisters in Norway and he signed it: your brother Gunerius.
What happened to Gunerius? Was it possible to adopt another identity? Did he stay in the US? That is what the family believes.
And are there any sources (censuses, address books or other) that can help us find Gust Thomsen in New York? His address in 1903 was recorded in Gusta Marie’s immigration record as 355, Wanburn Street. (Could it have been Washburn Street?)