Ingvald Johan Hansen Bratli – a military man

My great grandfather, Ingvald Johan Hansen, born 1815 and died in 1888, was married twice, first with Karen Oline Jahnsen and then with her niece Birgitte Jahnsen. He had 13 children in the two marriages and you will find him in this post. But only eight of his children came of age. Only one son lived to adulthood, Ingvald Johan Hansen Bratli (1866-1931).

Ingvald Jr. as I will call him, had an exciting life. He had more schooling than most children born in the 1860’s, maybe because he was the only boy, but perhaps also because his father had more assets than most in the same occupation. Ingvald Jr. also served in the New Zealand forces during World War I in Britain, to spare his son, he enlisted even though he was almost 50 years old (to old to serve) as only one man was sent from each family.

Ingvald Johan Hansen Bratli from the book Studenterne from 1886.

A long time ago I found Ingvald Jr’s emigration to New Zealand. And then I found his curriculum vitae in this book of Norwegian students in 1886. They are high school graduates, having passed the Norwegian exam called artium and are about 19 years of age. Ingvald enrolled for university studies by a matriculation ceremony called immatrikulering in Norwegian, which is very solemn occasion. A black cap was worn, in accordance with German tradition. This was also worn on special occasions like Constitution Day, 17th May, until the 1960’s, when having examen artium or being a student was no longer a privilege for the few.

The book of students was published in 1911, 25 years after they finished school. They have answered a questionnaire which has been edited only slightly. In 1886, 482 took their examen artium, as the final exam was called. 85 failed. The number who passed were 262 in the classic course, learning Latin and more, while 126 took the mathematics course (realfag). In the book one will find out which courses they took. The book also contains some statistical information about what kind of education they took later, and how many had died at a young age.

Ingvald Jr. says in this piece that he took the Latin course exam at Katedralskolen (The Cathedral School), while he had studied at Hauges Minde. His future brother-in-law Christian Solberg attended the same school, according to the same book. Ingvald Jr. studied law for two years (1888 to 1890).

This picture is from a collection of Ingvald Johan Hansen Bratli’s family. Can this be him? And from his parents’ garden?

He attended the Norwegian Military Academy from 1886 to 1887, and took part in combat training (vaabenøvelserne) in the years 1888, 1889 and 1890. His father died in August 1888. Ingvald maintained he emigrated to England first in 1890, later to Australia and New Zealand. In December 1894, he married Margaret Mills in Pelorus Sound, NZ, while he was naturalized in January 1894. But I found him in Norwegian books as late as 1897, recorded as being a second lieutenant in Bergens Infantry Regiment. And he sold an important property in his family, St. Halvards gade 17, a building in Oslo, in 1890. I also found him reported as missing from his army unit (Forsvunnet Officer) in a Norwegian newspaper article. And I have discovered more, but I will tell the rest of his story at a later time.

I have gotten to know Ingvald better by studying his life in Norway and having his descendants in New Zealand and Australia tell the story from their point of view. He has omitted to tell his family some facts, and embellished others. By using all the available sources, what more can I learn? And when can we say that the job of telling one person’s story is finished?

Here is the story of his sisters, the photographers.

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