Olava was the daughter of Hans Neilssen and Kirstian Pernille Hansdatter. She was born on September 23, 1828 in the Kjaere Farm on Tjome in Norway. Tjome is a small Island in the Oslo fjord south west of Oslo about sixty five miles. It is very near the city of Tonsberg which is the oldest recorded city in Norway. Tonsberg was founded by Harald Fairhair prior to 870 AD.
Hans and Kirstian had five children; Neils Amt(1817), Karen Henrikka (1820), Jorgen (1823), Hans (1826), Olava (1828). Olava married Anders Hansen on January 9, 1859 in Notteroy, Tjome, Norway. They were married for ten years. Anders died in 1869. Olava and Anders had two children; Hans Henrik(1859) and Kirstine Petrine(1863-1871). Olava married a second time to Nils Jorgensen on February 28, 1875.
Olava was a devoted Grandmother to Hans’ sons when their mother, Ingeborg Helene, died in 1894. Hans and Ingeborg had three sons; Andrew (1883), Hagbart (1888) and Haakon 1891). Hans was a sailor and was left to raise his sons without a mother. The boys lived with their Grandmother, Olava, when Hans was at sea until Hans remarried 1898. Olava remained near them and actively involved with their upbringing, living a few yards down a lane on the waterfront in the house in the picture above.
When Andrew, the oldest of Hans’ children began sailing, Olava wrote to him regularly. When he decided to remain in America, she continued to write to him. She and Hans both begged him to come home to Norway at least for a visit.
This is a post card Birthday greeting that Olava sent to her grandson, Andrew, in America for his 25th birthday on September 16, 1908. The post card shows Grimstad, the village that Andrew had left behind. It shows his house which is the small white house in the distance center left of the post card. Olava’s home is on the shore of the inlet of water that you see in the center of the post card and is out of view in the post card.
One hundred and seven years ago today, Olava died in Grimstad, Tjome. She was buried in the Tjome Cemetery.
In Norway, cemeteries are handled differently. Her grave does not remain because there was no money to maintain it. In 2017, my sister, my nephew and I visited Grimstad and the Tjome Cemetery. We could feel the spirit of our relative there but we found no evidence.
Rest in peace, Olava. I am so happy to have found you and the village that we came from. You were a special Grandmother to Andrew and to me too.
Olava is my two times Great Grandmother.