Heiberg family origins. Family coat of arms.
On the bottom of a title page of a Christian III Bible, where through
at least 6 generations, there is a handwritten record of how the family
originated, is for the first time mentioned. This account is written so
it seems that it could be from 1713 and is unfortunately so damaged by
the ravages of time that it is only partly legible. It states: "These
male persons had their source from a not unknown priest (?) at(?)
Hessøer (Hessøen?). His name Anders. Died 1620. With only
his father's name..........Andersen Heiberg of Sogndal, which was
customary for the times, used it........1713. His portrait is owned by
the Gabriel family heirs."
If one accepts that this account is authentic and the
family's progenitor was an Anders from Hessøer, died 1620, there
must be a link between him and the two oldest Heibergers, the brothers,
bailiff Anders and bailiff Søffren Lauritzsøn, must be
believed to be filled by a Lauritz Anderssøn, which because of
the names and timing, permits the assumption. In the oldest tax census
for Indre Sogn, from 1563, there is found a Lauritz from
Rønnø who paid 1 daler. Since the Rønnø
(Rønneid) farm in Gaupne parish in Luster belonged to bailiff
Anders Lauritzsøn (Heiberg) in the beginning of the 1600s, it is
not improbable that the aforementioned Lauritz of Rønnø
was the bailiff's father and the missing link between the Anders in the
bible record and the bailiffs Anders and Søffren
Lauritzsøns. If the progenitor Anders was from Hessøen in
Borgund parish, he could hardly have been a priest since no priest by
that name is listed in Borgund, neither in "Den Norske Kirkes
Geistlighed" (The Norwegian Church Clergy) by Bang, or in "Bergens
Stifts Biskopper og Præster" (Bergen diocese's bishops and
priests) by Lampe-Thrap.
In the "Court Record for 1599" there is on the 12 June
1599, a judgement given at Bergenhus according to which Ornum at
Skifftun in Ryfylke and Erich Jakobsøn of Hauge sold the Amble
farm in Sogn to Bernt Guttormsøn and his wife Euphemia
Andersdatter. Axel Axelsøn of Amble and Samson Farteigsøn
of Store Linge felt aggrieved by this sale. They produced a document
dated at Hesbye (Finnøy near Stavanger) Candlemas Day 1586. A
suggestion that the Bible account's Hessøer is identical with
Hesbye is not excluded, even though we know of no priest by the name of
Anders in that time. However, the problem is unsolved, since we do not
know Axel Axelsøn's genealogy. It is rather certain that both
Axel and Samson belong to the Losna family and that Axel, married to
Barbara Olavsdatter of the Koll family owned Amble, which at that time
was undivided and one of Vestlandet's largest properties. " that
annually for the assessment owes 200 riksdaler and 2 'engelot' (ca 4
riksdaler) for skiøtingsøre'
When Gert Andersøn Heiberg, 100 years later, bought
Lillejorden in Amble and claimed his wife's allodial right, I can find
no other possibility other than that she descends from Axel
Axelsøn and thus belongs to the Losna family or the Kolla
family. The later owners of Amble, she could not have descended from.
It has been alleged that the family came from Jutland and
that the bailiffs Anders and Søffren were the family's first
members in this country. As support for this theory there has been
proposed, that tyhey were first named as bailiffs for Danish noblemen
for their properties in Bergen's diocese. For Anders
Lauritzsøn's own situation it can be so, inasmuch as he is
identical with Lage Urnes' 'managing bailiff' of the same name.
Søffren Lauritzsøn, on the contrary, first appears as a
farmer on the Talle farm in Luster and is first so mentioned in 1613
under the name Søffren Larssøn Talle. As Byrge Juell's
manager, we meet him 11 years later and as bailiff 20 years later.
When headmaster Jon Laberg, in his book 'Luster, Bygd og
Ætter', Bergen 1926, without any historical support, proposes the
contention that the brothers Anders and Søffren were of Jutland
origin, not only is proof lacking, but also all probability speaks
against this. The solution of the problem of the Heiberg family's
origin is not easy to resolve as long as there is a lack of the
necessary written sources. But however, one can assume that the Anders
Lauritzsøn, who paid tax in 1618 for allodial land of 7
'løper' (100 kg) butter and 4 hides and 28 'mæler (73 l)
grain in Indre Sogn, was no newcomer at the place. Gaining allodial
entitlement was a slow process in those days and can be assumed to have
taken several generations. He had clearly started with a basis in
inherited land and family connections.
Without being able to produce any direct proof for it, I
would suggest the possibility that the Heibergs descend from the Sogn
branch of Privy Councillor Paal Erikssøn's family, who had their
family seat at Store Kvale at Løken in Valdres. In this family
family appears the same names as in the oldest Heiberg branch, Anders,
Lauritz, Christine, Bergitte and Anna. Also, the name Axel, which is
now a common name in the Heiberg family, points in the direction of a
connection between the Heibergs and the Losna and Store-Kvale families,
in which that name in the Middle Ages was common, whereas it was seldom
seen outside of these families. In the Store-Kvale family we find it
already in the 1300s, in that Paal Erikssøn's father's brother
was the governor Asle (the same name as Axel and Aslak)
Dugalssøn. Naming customs in those days were so fixed that,
without danger of going astray, one can build on them. It is perhaps
just a coincidence, but the name above the shield in Anders
Lauritzsøn's seal of 1621 is written Andries Larsen. Andries is
the Valdres pronunciation of the name Anders. In the Sogn dialect he
would be called Andres and in Danish, Anders.
The Store-Kvale family, as the descendants of Paal
Erikssøn were called, held much land and partly retained it if
the family far up in time. A document of 1548 tells that 4 brothers
were to get an inheritance from a sister in Syndrol in Valdres.
They must have been born at Leine in Vang in Valdres but lived in Sogn,
one at Bolstad in Luster where the earliest now known operators were
named Lauritz and Anders, one who lived at Nes in Luster, one at Hammer
(Hamre) in Leikanger and one at Vangsnes, and this suggests they had
control over various properties. Already in the 1300s there lived in
Sogn - at Schollegaard in Kaupanger - a member of the Store-Kvale
family. Thus, the family had ample opportunity to spread out over Sogn.
Where is the thread in this tangle? Unfortunately,
hypotheses are one thing, but facts another, and facts are a difficult
commodity to obtain in genealogical questions before the 1600s. What
one can get to weigh for truth in this question will rest on chance
discovery, where good fortune offers it.
With my knowledge of the great families of Vestlandet, of
the property conditions here in the west and of naming traditions,
however, I do not doubt for an instant that the Heiberg family is
As support for the assumption that the Heiberg family is
of Norwegian origin, it is proposed by P. A. Heiberg's, "Nogle
Betragtninger om National- Repræsentationer" (Some reflections
about national representation): "The author's grandfather and father -
both of the same family and both bearing the same name - were the first
persons of this family and of this name who have had their residence
outside of Norway's borders." P. A. Heiberg's parents both descend in
the fifth generation >from bailiff Søffren Lauritzsøn.
If bailiff Lauritzsøn had been of Danish origin then the
tradition would have been there for P. A. Heiberg's time for him to
write about .
Where the family got its name from is still an unsolved
riddle. In Norway, there is no place, as far as anyone knows, where the
Heiberg name is used as a farm name in the 17th century or
before.¹ The Heiberg farms that are now found (cf. the section of
the Heiberg family, unrelated persons with the Heiberg name) have first
gotten that name in the last or current century. Nor in Denmark can the
Heiberg name be found as a place name. In south Sjælland there is
a little village by the name Høberg, and in Viborg in Jylland, a
head parish that bears the name Høiberg, but Heiberg could
hardly be derived from these names.²
¹According to "Samlinger til det norske Folks
Sprog og Historie VI side 588" there was in 1710 near to
Kragerø, an islet or island that was called Heiberg.
² More as a curiosity there can be
mentioned, that near Göttingen on the Weser River, there is a
mountain called Heiberg.
A faint possibility that the Heiberg name could come from
Sogn is found in the can arise in Sogn, we can find in a listing of
farms in Luster in the Bergenhus fief accounts. The present farm Berge
in Fortun parish was then called Høgebierg. The operators in
1603 was a Thorbenn Johanessøn Høgebierg, about whom we
know, that he was present at the proclamation of the king in 1591.
Later in the registry, it was called just Berge. Who this Thorbenn was,
we know nothing. Nor have I been able to find any connection between
him and the Heiberg or Store-Kvale families. A danicization of the name
Høgeberg to Heiberg can be considered.
As a family name Heiberg is first met at the end of the
1600s, when used by magistrate Anders Søffren's child by his
first marriage with Maren Giertsdatter Morgenstierne. It was common in
earlier times to use only the father's name.
In Lampe-Thrap: "Bergen Stifts Biskopper og Præster"
lists as personal curate in Sogndal, an Anders Heiberg who is a full
priest precisely listed according to Lampe-Thrap at November 4
1729 as a personal curate for Sogndal.
The Heiberg family coat of arms is first met in 1623 in
the signet used by bailiff Anders Lauritzsøn. In this, as well
as the signets used by the bailiffs Christen Anderssøn and
Søffren Lauritzsøn as well as magistrate Anders
Søffrenssøn and Gert Heiberg, there is only one field
with a skull over two crossed bones. In Anders Lauritzsøn's and
Anders Søffrensøn's signets there are plants growing out
of the skull. Later - and the first time on a silver pot, which in 1725
was owned by magistrate Gert Heiberg's widow and is preserved in the
family museum in Amble - the arms are divided in two fields, to the
left the crossed bones and skull over which there is an hourglass, and
to the right, a bird holding a branch in its nib.
P. A. Heiberg wrote in a letter to teacher A. F. Mülertz (J. L.
Heiberg: Letter from Peter Andreas Heiberg) the following about the
arms: "As much as is presently known is that the family's signet, from
ancient times, is a shield divided in two, the upper part has three
death's heads in a triangle on a white field alluding that the Plague
was worst in the winter, and a lower part on a black field, a grouse,
which points its nib to the east alluding to the family mother and the
Black Death, that was said to have come from the Orient." ¹
The present author cannot agree with the attempt to trace
the oldest signets and family arms to an origin in the time of the
Jostedalsrypen (Jostedal Grouse) and the Black Death² and on that
basis localize it to Jostedal.
There are also in our land several commoner family signets
in which both the 'grouse' and death heads appear without there being
any family connection with them and the Heiberg family, but where it is
possible to determine, they have had a clerical origin.
Nevertheless, there is nothing that precludes the Heiberg
family from having their descent from the so-called Jostedalrype. The
family's known progenitor lived in Luster, Jostedalen's neighbouring
parish, and from generation to generation the legend of descent from
the Jostedalsrype has been maintained. It is certain that in Jostedal
there is a large family with the name Rype-family, and their
descendants live in that mountain valley to this day.³
¹ Cf. also Johanne Louise Heiberg: Petter Andreas Heiberg
and Thomasine Gyllenbourg, page 3 - When Mrs. Heiberg in this book
tells that she in in possession of a handwritten family tree that
follows the family back to Queen Margrethe's time (1353-1412) it is
based on an error tht she herself has acknowledged. This family tree,
which she sent to the family museum in Amble, goes no further back than
to magistrate Anders Søffrenssøn.
² H. K. Heiberg: Genealogical record of the Heiberg family:
Johanne Louise Heiberg: Petter Andreas Heiberg and Thomasine
Gyllenbourg, as well as the aforementioned letter from P. A. Heiberg to
³ About Jostedalsrypen and the Black Death refer to H. K. Heiberg:
Genealogical record of the Heiberg family, P. A. Heiberg: Some
reflectionsof national representation, A Faye: Norwegian Folk Tales,
Kraft's Account of the Kingdom of Norway, Periodical published by the
Historical Society of Sogn, booklet 10; Reichborn-Kjennerud: Our
Ancient Witch Remidies.
Because this may be printed off, the pages won't be correct, so
I have placed the footnotes where I felt they would best be located.
Not that they are very useful, anyway.
The reference to the 'Jostedalrypen' - the Jostedal grouse is not well
explained. It would seem to be one of those many stories of survival
from the plague. From the picture, I would assume the story is that
some hunters were out after grouse when they came upon a girl who was
the only survivor of the plague in Jostedal and that she was the mother
of the family. I tried googling, but the only reference I could find
"Heiberg is a Norwegian family that according to family
legend were descended from 'Jostedalsrypen', the only of the Jostedal
people who survived the Black Death. Even though the legend cannot be
proven, it is strengthened in that the two oldest known members -
two brothers - lived in Jostedal's neighbouring parish Lyster. One of
these was Søffren Lauritzsøn." som etter
familietradisjonen skal nedstamme fra "Jostedalsrypen."
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