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Modalen Bygdebok

     The Vaksdal bygdeboks have been placed online and can be accessed by clicking on the following link: Vaksdal Bygdeboks Online

Vaksdal Bygdebok Band III


     Farm and family history of Stamnes up to 1945 is presented here by The Vaksdal Local History Committee. The area was originally called Heard Bruvik. It was separated from Haus County in 1870. It included the two church parishes of Bruvik and Stamnes which became separate parishes in 1868. Heard, a third parish, was excluded in 1911 when Dale Parish was separated from Bruvik parish.
     The municipal local history committee originally had 12 members, 4 from each parish. Nils Dyvik, Lars Gammersvik, Einar Eide and Anton Salhus were selected for Stamnes parish. Ole J. Fosdal, Anders Vaksdal, Erik Stavnes, Olaf Rimmeride were selected for Bruvik parish. Ole I. Hesjedal, Nils I. Hesjedal, Amfinn Nygård and Arthur Stavenes were selected for Dale Parish. Later, the number of board members was pared down to 9, 3 from each parish. In addition to those mentioned above, these have been added: Ole Torkildsen and Konrad Ulevik from Bruvik parish, Sigurd Fotland and Johan Takvam Dale parish. Arthur Stavenes has always been the chairman and Einar Eide deputy chairman of the board. Ole J. Fosdal was treasurer until he died in 1954. After that time the county treasurer Lars Rasdal led accounts.
     In 1964 the county boundaries were changed. The part of Bruvik parish lying in Osterøy County was removed and was replaced by Bergsdalen and Eksingedalen. They had belonged previously to Evanger and Modalen Counties. The new municipality was renamed Vaksdal and the local history board adopted the same name as for the 1964 boundaries to match the county name. The board is now six members: Arthur Stavenes, chairman, Einar Eide, vice president, Lars Gammersvik, Sigurd Fotland, Magne Hesjedal and Konrad Ulevik.
     When the municipal local history board was established in 1945, it laid a foundation for rural treatise by gathering and investigating for several years. The scope of some of this was printed in Soga um Stamneskyrkja 1936 and Bruvik, kyrkjor og kristenliv 1608 - 1867 - 1937. Parish councils and parish boards were publishers, and they had local historian John. Litleskare as the main author. In these writings there were explanations by Einar Dyvik and Anton Salhus.
     Around the same time the locals had knowledge of some of the large research work of Nils O. Langhelle. He was born on Langhelle in Bruvik parish, but was living in Bergen and was the conductor on the Bergen Railway. For many years he used all his spare time to investigate in the State Archive of Bergen and the National Archives in Oslo. He collected a large amount of information from the church books, tax records, mortgage books, estate settlements, court registers and other records. Some of the results of his investigations he presented in a lecture, Glimpse of Bruvik history through 300-years partition 1600-1900.     This lecture was held at a general meeting at Dale 17/1, Vaksdal 15/2 and Bruvik 2/5 1937. Lots of locals showed up, and heard the wise and thorough study. It was generally agreed that Langhelle had laid the foundations for local history, and that the work had to be continued forward. A local history committee was established. Teacher John Leira was elected chairman. Both he and his brother, a lecturer Andreas Leiro, were ardent researchers. They worked out a plan for a local history and inquiries for various subject areas. The idea was for workers in the three parishes to collect materials and work out the manuscript for various sections of the book. Train conductor Langhelle worked on family history, and had moved this work far forward when he died in the spring of 1945. Bruvik local history committee took over the Langhelle manuscript collections in 1950. Somewhat later materials were collected for the story to incorporate into the municipal local history archive. Most were written up by John Leiro, John Dale, Andrew and Ole Dæmring Gammersvik.
     The municipal local history committee made a decision to appoint an editor for further work. Annual appropriations at the council budget and grants from Bruvik savings bank were the economic basis for the decision. In 1954 an agreement was made with Brita and Ivar Skre that they would serve as editors from the seventh 1956. They had to work part-time. Health and working conditions meant that they did not have as much time to spend in local history work as one might like. Work on archive records and work on manuscript has therefore stretched over a longer period than previously estimated from the first. We hope that conditions will improve and better facilitate the work of the rest.
     The editors have tried to implement a division of labor. Ivar Skre has done most of the collection work on the farms. Brita Skre has arranged the collection and set up the bulk of the manuscript. Ivar Skre has viewed the manuscripts for Vik, Dyvik, Furnes, Verpelstad, and part of Straume. He has reviewed all manuscripts before they were sent to the printer and has been responsible for proof-reading. He has primary responsibility for the Image section of the book.
     The committee and editors set up a plan to build the book that falls into two main parts: one for the general story from the earliest times until the present, and a farm and family history divided into several parts. Farm and family history of Stamnes will become the third in the series, because the farms should be in the order in the land register. Practical considerations mean that editors wanted to set up the script for the farms in Stamnes parish first.
     The saga of the individual farm is set up according to a pattern outline from the Norwegian Local History Institute. We want to thank institute’s staff, Dr, Philos. Rolf Fladby, Professor Andreas Holmsen and docent Halvard Bjørkvik for valuable advice. Halvard Bjørkvik has studied Langhelle’s collections and come up with proposals for supplementary archival work. We thank the National Archives, State Archives in Bergen, Nordhordland magistrate office, Bruvik parish municipality for all the archival materials made available. Transcription work was carried out by Kåre Bjerke, Ebba Jansen, Leif Berggreen, Mary Bruvik and Mary Dankertsen. Curator Egil Bakka at the Historical Museum, University of Bergen, registered historical discoveries in Bruvik 1956. A copy of the registration was sent to the local history archives, so that discussion of prehistoric discoveries could come with the farm story. Photos in the book are mostly aerial photos, taken by Widerøe Airways A/S. Overview map was drawn by Vaksdal municipal engineer's office. Most of the manuscript was tape recorded. Mary Dankertsen transcribed it. We thank all these colleagues for the best. We also thank JW Eide's printing-house A/S for good work and pleasant cooperation.
     Bygdebok work has had a solid economic basis, thanks to Bruvik appropriations from the municipality, the municipality and Vaksdal Bruvik Savings Bank. Bruvik Savings Bank and has taken it upon itself to distribute the book within the village. We thank you for all the goodwill that they have created.
     Last but not least, we thank all those rural people who have been so hospitable and who agreed to serve as editors for during collection efforts. The editors have visited almost all the farms in the old Bruvik County, and people have responded to a lot of questions, both written and oral. They have checked the script and come up with supplementary information. The members of the Board Stamnes, Nils Dyvik, Einar Eide and Lars Gammersvik, have had the main responsibility for supervising this, and they deserve a special thanks for their work.
     It is our desire that the book, when finished, will increase the historic interest and strengthen the ties that bind people to family, farm and village.

Dale Kvamm
in November 1965

     [There are some idiosyncrasies that it is well to be aware of when attempting to trace family lines across the various generations and to the many different farms in the area. Surnames were not passed on in the same manner that we are used to in America or in modern day Norway. There was a name given to each person at birth. What we would consider a middle name was added in the form of the father's given name with either son or daughter (datter), as appropriate, added on. The surname was almost always the name of the farm or community where one lived. If a person moved from one place to another the surname would change.

     This is well illustrated by my great grandparents who were born Hans Jakobson Otterstad and Marie Nilsdatter Elvik. When they married, Hans moved to Elvik to work on the farm there, and became Hans Jakobson Elvik. Hans died fairly young and his oldest son, Jakob Hansson Elvik became head of the family, and a few years later he inherited the family farm on Otterstad. When he moved there he became Jakob Hansson Otterstad. His mother apparently moved there with him and she is buried in the cemetery at Mo as Marie Nilsdatter Otterstad. My grandfather, Nels Hansson Elvik, was Jakob's younger brother. He stayed and worked for the owner at Elvik until he emigrated when he was nineteen years old. Therefore the name remained Nels Hansson Elvik, later Anglicized to Elvick.]

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