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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

52 Ancestors: Week 6 "So Far Away": Halvor Ryen

My 10th-great-grandfather Halvor Ryen is the most distant ancestor that I have identified in my maternal grandfather's direct paternal line. Halvor was born about 1580, and was also known as Halvor Skoje (or Skoge). In 1611, he lived on the Skoje farm in Sauland, Telemark, Norway, where he owned 1 tønde (73.3% of an acre) of land. He was the allodial farmer at Skoje; Sveinung Vreim and Torvill Espedalen also had allodial rights. Halvor also owned 4 ½ tønde land (3.3 acres) of the Ryen farm in Heddal (Hitterdal), 3 tønde land (2.2 acres) of the Folserås farm in Gransherad, 4 ½ mæle (a grain unit of measurement , approximately 15-17 liters) of the Skårdal in farm Sauland, and a part of the Lona farm in Bø.

According to the Odelsrett (an ancient Scandinavian allodial title), if a farm has belonged to a family for a specified amount of time, family members have the right to buy it if it is sold. If the farm is sold to someone who is not a family member, family members have the right to buy it back within a specific period of time. Sveinung Vreim and Torvill Espedalen must have been Halvor's relatives. Several generations of a family can have allodial rights, so more information is needed to determine what the relationship was.

Halvor was probably married to Torgon, the widow of Jon Skoje. Jon had lived at Skoje from 1593 to 1602. Halvor was the stepfather of Gjermund Skoje, who lived at Skoje from 1640 to 1648.

Halvor and Torgon had a daughter, Svanaug, who married Petar Haraldsson Folserås. Halvor also had a son, Gregar (my 9th-great-grandfather), who was born about 1605.

Jordebok 1615 for Telemark og Numedal indicates that Halvor Skoje still owned the Skoje farm in Sauland in 1615. He resided in Sauland. Sveinung Vreim  and Torvild Espedal (who both resided in Bø, Telemark) were also owners of the Skoje farm. Halvor also still owned property at Rygi nedre (also called Ryen nedre), Heddal; Folserås, Gransherad; and Skårdal søndre, Sauland.

By 1645, Halvor was a widower. He was living on the Ryen nedre farm in Heddal, and was known as Halvor Ryen. Gregar and his wife Gunne Halvorsdatter also lived at Ryen nedre. Halvor was still living at Ryen nedre in 1650. He died around 1660.

Koppskatt, Telemark, med ekstrakt, Bratsberg, Telemark, 1645. Hitterdal. Available from

Thanks to Rick Mathews from the Norway Genealogy Research community for help with translation, copies of Bygdebok entries, and information about allodial rights in Norway.

The Allodial Rights Act
Boe (Bø) and Halvorson-Otterholt; Shared Roots in Telemark. Compiled by Melvin and Alpha M. (Boe) Brodshaug, 1984. Published by Arlene (Boe) Christensen and Marjorie (Boe) Bergee. Printed by Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, Iowa.
Henneseid, Stian. Bø-Soga II: Telemark, Gards- og ættesoga. Band I. Ed. Gregar Nordbø. Bø Kommune, Norway, 1982.
Holta, O. H. Hitterdalsboken: Gaarde og slegter. Porsgrund, Norway, 1926.
Jordebok 1615 for Telemark og Numedal
Karlsrud, Gjertrud Kleveland. Hjartdalsoga: Gard og ætt Sauland. Band II. Hjartdal Kommune, Norway, 1992.
Koppskatt, Telemark, med ekstrakt, Bratsberg, Telemark, 1645
Quamme, O. A., Tjønnås, Ketil, and Nisi, Aaste. Gransheradsoga. Notodden Kommune, Norway, 1977.


  1. Hello! I believe we are 10th cousins. Gregor (1605-@ 1671)and his wife Gunne (1609-1688)are also my 9th great grandparents. I descend through two of their children, Halvor and Torgunn. At least I believe so. Their names came to me from another tree and I am still sourcing my way up to them. Thank you for including references!

  2. Yes, I think we are cousins! We may be closer than 10th cousins, since I also descend from Gregar and Gunne's son Halvor. I looked at your profile and see that you're both Norwegian and Swedish. I am too. My father's mother was 3/4 Swedish and 1/4 Norwegian. Most of her ancestors settled in Chicago (one branch went to Indiana). My mother's father was half Norwegian. His Norwegian ancestors settled in Minnesota. Our common ancestors are on my mother's side of the family. Thanks for contacting me!

  3. Halvor Nilsson Sanda (Ryen)
    Norwegian: Halvor Nilsson Sanda
    Also Known As: "Halvor Nielsen Gåra / Ryen / Sanda"
    Birthdate: circa 1630
    Birthplace: Øvre Ryen, Heddal, Notodden, Telemark, Norway
    Death: after 1670
    Bø, Telemark, Norway
    Immediate Family:
    Son of Niels Andulvsson Ryen
    Husband of Kari Bjørnsdtr Grivi
    Father of Niels Halvorsen Sanda; Niri Halvorsson Gåra and Niri Halvorsen