Who is Bernt Conders?

Sometimes we find information about an ancestor in unusual or unexpected places. While reading in the Norwegian periodical “Bøgda Vår,” I ran across a story about a man by the name Bernt Conders that caught my attention. Could this be my ancestor, the missing link I have been looking for?

I was looking for an ancestor by the name of Jochum Berntsen Conders. Conders is an unusual name in Norway and should therefore be fairly easy to identify. Here are the research steps I followed:

  • I found Bernt Conders’s great-granddaughter, Elisabet Jochumsdatter Conders, in the 1794 birth and christening records for Edøy Parish, Møre og Romsdal County, Norway. Her father was Jochum Hendrichsen Conders, born in 1772, and her mother was Hellebor Pedersdatter.
  • Next, I searched for the birth of Elisabet’s grandfather, Hendric Conders, in the records for Edøy Parish, but could not find him listed there. I did find a Rasmus Hendrichsen Conders, born in 1753 to a Hendrich Conders, and felt he must be a brother to Hendrich Jochumsen. The christening records for Edøy start in 1751, so I concluded that Hendrich Jocumsen Conders must have been born prior to 1751.
  • The next step was to search the probate records to see if Jochum Berntsen Conders could have left a probate. Because of the patronymic naming system, I knew Hendrich was the son of Jochum, and I hoped he would be listed in his father’s probate.
  • I found a probate for a Jochum Conders, in which it stated he lived on the farm of Gjøen, on the island of Smøla. Edøy is the parish where the records for Smøla are kept. His probate indicated that he, Jochim Berntsen Conders, died in 1754 and left behind a wife, Marite Hendricksdatter. The oldest of their five children was Henrich Conders, age 13. Here was proof that Henrich Jochumsen Conders was age 13 at the time of his father’s probate, so therefore he must have been born around 1741, which is before the parish priest started to keep records.

The probate record did not state where Jochum Berntsen Conders was born. I was just about to give up on finding him until I ran across an article in the periodical “Bøgda Vår,” 2001, p. 29. The article was about a traveling salesman named Bernt Conders. Could he be the father of Jochum Berntsen Conders? Yes! This is what I found: Jochum Berntsen Conders was born in 1696 to Bernt Albrigtsen Conders and his wife Maren Reinholdsdatter. His parents lived in Trondheim. They married around 1696 and shortly thereafter moved to Oppdal where they stayed until Jochum was about age 11/12. He and his brothers Albert and Reinholdt born in 1698 lived with their parents in Oppdal, Norway from 1697 until they moved to Tingvoll. A daughter, Kirsten, was born to Bernt Conders in 1710 in Tingvoll. Jochum later moved to Gjøen on the island of Smøla. It was on the farm Gjøen on the island of Smøla where I was able to locate his probate in 1754.
If it had not been for the “Bøgda Vår“article I would most likely not have found the two additional generations of this family. So, in your research, don't forget to keep your eyes open for unusual sources!