Anna Larsen Stigen 1844 - 1918

Links for Anna Larsen

Anna Larsen History

Anna Larsen was born 2 October, 1844 to Lars Christophersen and Mari Hansdatter. It is not known for certain if Anna was born on the Upper Stigen or Lower Stigen Farm. Because of the timing it is believed that she was born at the at the Upper Stigen (Øvre Stigen) farm. This farm was split off from the Lower Stigen farm in 1839 and established by her father. The two farmhouses lie perhaps 100 yards apart. The Lower Stigen farm was run by Lars' older step-brother Hans Christophersen after the death of their father in 1835. It is a question of exactly when the house on the Upper Stigen farm was built, which is not known. It could have been before the upper farm was created up to sometime afterwards.

The Stigen Farms lie on a hillside outside the city of Ringebu in the valley of Gudbrand. Ringebu is located a couple hours drive north of Oslo. The meaning of Stigen may be "the ladder" or "to climb". When you look at the slope of the pastures on the farms you understand why the name makes sense.

Upper Stigen Farm
Photo October 2014 by Michael Baird

Lower Stigen Farm
Photo October 2014 by Michael Baird

For more photos of the Stigen farms and descriptions of them from my visits to them please go to this link.

Anna was christened on 20 October 1844 at the State (Lutheran) Church in Ringebu, Norway.

Christening record for Anna Larsen Stigen ( source )

Note the spelling of her name in the birth record - Ane. This would be pronounced ahn-eh in Norwegian. At various times her name was spelled as Anne or Ane in the Norwegian records. Later when she came to America the spelling was changed to Anna. Also note that her father Lars is listed as from "Stigen". No differentiation is made between the upper and lower farms.

The Church in Ringebu dates back to the 1220 AD. It is called a Stave Church as it is made out of wooden staves. Below is a picture of the church. This is the church were christenings etc. were performed for the people that lived in Ringebu and the surrounding areas. The Ringebu parish records date back to around 1690.

Ringebu Stave Church
Photo October 2014 by Michael Baird

Below is a picture of the baptismal font in the Ringebu Stave Church. This font dates back to before the Stave Church to the Post Church that was there some 100 years before the Stave Church in the 1100's.

Ringebu Stave Church Font
Photo October 2014 by Michael Baird

Anna's father died in 1857 when she was about 13 years old. Her youngest sibling, Laura, was born nearly 5 months after her father's death. In Laura's christening record her father's residence was noted as Maehlumsveen. This would seem to indicate that is where Laura was born and not on the Upper Stigen farm. It appears that after the death of Anna's father Anna's family no longer lived at the Upper Stigen farm and was scattered about. In the 1865 census Anna's mother was living alone, lending further evidence to the family being scattered with the children perhaps fostered out.

Anna's confirmation in the state church (Lutheran) was at age 15 on 29 April 1860. The confirmation record notes that she was born at Stigen but living at the Smestadmoen farm.

Anna Larsen Confirmation record from 1860 ( source )

In the 1865 Census at age 22 Anna was living at the Furuseth farm, near the town of Åmot in Storelvedal as a "tjennestepige" which means "servant girl". Åmot is south and east of Ringebu about 50 miles as the crow flies. In the 1865 census none of Anna's family was living at the Stigen farm. Anna's older brother Hans was also living at place or farm called Ingeborgstuen in the same area near the town of Åmot in Storelvedal working as a shoe maker.

Anna Larsen 1865 Census ( source )

On May 8, 1870 Anna was listed as a witness to her niece Ragna Hansdatter's christening in Ringebu. Ragna is the daughter to Anna's younger sister Karen (3 years younger). Because of this record it seems likely that she moved back to Ringebu sometime between 1865 and 1870.

Anna listed as a witness (Anne L Stigen) ( source )

On April 3, 1871 at age 26 her first child Martin Ludvig was born in Trondheim. The father was Oluf Teslie.

Sometime between May of 1870 and before April 1871 Anna moved to Trondheim. Likely in the summer of 1870. Trondheim is hundreds of miles away from Ringebu and Åmot. There is no record to tell us how Anna and Oluf met. Oluf was in Trondheim in the 1865 census and Anna was in Åmot. Certainly they had met by the summer of 1870 as Anna became pregnant with Martin around July of 1870. There seems to be two likely possibilities to their meeting. In the first possible scenario they meet in the Åmot area where Anna was in the 1865 census. Oluf's two older brothers, Halvor and Johan were also in Åmot area at a place called Sørbakken, about 50 miles away from where Anna was at the time of the 1865 census (source). They were both single in the census. Perhaps Oluf moved to Åmot sometime after 1865 to be with his brothers, possibly for work, and that is where he and Anna met. The other possibility is that Anna moved to the Trondheim area for work and they met there.

Martin was christened on 7 May 1871 at "Vår Frue Kirke" Parish in Trondheim, which interpreted means "The Church of our Lady" Parish. Below is the christening record. The father is listed as "Single young man, worker, Ole Iversen Tiller, which has an error as it should read Oluf not Ole. Tiller is an area just south of Trondheim and is likely where Oluf was living. The mother is listed as Anne Larsd. Stigen of Ringebo (Ringebu). She is listed as living at "Aasvejen, hos Vaardal". That is to say she lived on Aas street with the Vaardal family. One of the witnesses to Martin's christening is Martha Vaardal. In looking at the other baptism records in the same time period it appears that the Vaardal family had a number of young pregnant women living with them until the child was born. In some of the Vaardal records it says "Stenberget". Stenberget is the same area as Gamle Aasvei (Old Aas street) today and is on the western side of the Trondheim city center. It is possible then that the Aasvejen where Anna lived with the Vaardal family is the same as Gamle Aasvei today.

Martin Ludvig Teslie Christening Record ( source )

The child is listed as "Uegte" which means illegitimate. Nowhere in any records is there an indication that Oluf and Anna were ever married. All three children they had together were listed as illegitimate and in the census records they are listed as living together but each is single.

11 June 1874 a daughter Margrethe Christine was born. Anna was living with Oluf at 1685 Øvre Møllenberg, Trondheim, Norway at the time. The street still exists today. The houses from that time are still there today. For sure renovated on the inside and likely on the outside too. Sometime in the past the street numbering system was changed so I have not been able to identify which house it was yet.

Øvre Møllenberg Street, Trondheim Norway
Photo by Michael Baird October 2014

Christening record for Margrethe Christine Teslie ( source )

7 September 1875 there is recorded in the Ringebu parish under the "Emigration" records that the unmarried young woman Anne Larsdatter Stigen, born 2 October 1844 and confirmed 29 April 1860 gets a "permission" to leave to Storelvedal, where she has been for several years. In September 1874 she leaves for Trondheim.

Anna Larsen Emigration from Ringebu record ( source )

This record is a little puzzling. We know in the 1865 census Anna was in Åmot which is in Storelvedal, so that part makes sense. However we also know that she was in Trondheim before 1874. At least as early as 1871 when Martin was born and then in 1874 when Margrethe was born. It is possible that they could have been living in Åmot and traveled to Trondheim for the birth of Martin but seems unlikely given the distances involved. When I asked the local Ringebu historian about this, he said quite often the emigration records entries were after the fact. There is no doubt that the record is about Anna.

In the 1875 Census Anna is still living at 1685 Øvre Møllenberg Street, Trondheim, Norway with Oluf and Margrethe.

Anna Larsen 1875 Census ( source )

Note that Anna's name is spelled Ade in this transcribed record. Also it lists her family position as "his fiancée" and as unmarried. Oluf's family position is a lodger in this place and he is working as a stevedore. It is interesting to note that Anna's oldest child Martin is not living with them. He is about 4.5 years old at this time. I had long suspected that since Anna and Oluf were not living together at the christening of Martin and since he was not living with them in the 1875 census, that he was fostered out. During my visit to Oslo, October 2014, where I met some of the descendants of Martin Tesli, they confirmed this to me and gave me information that led me to find his foster parents. You can read about it on Martin's page.

Anna Larsen (Date unknown)

The above photo was taken in Trondheim. Research on the photographer, August Nielsen shows he was registered as a photographer at Nordre gate (Northern street) 6 and 8 in Trondheim from 1870 to 1890. This would place the photo between 1870 and 1885 since in the 1885 census Anna was in Christiania (documented a little further down). My best guess based on her apparent age (I'm guessing late 20's, early 30's) in the photo is was taken somewhere around 1875 plus or minus a few years. In the Allen Family LDS Family and Individual Record Book, (pg 24) it lists Anna as having blue eyes and blond hair.

Anna's third child Adolf Ingvald was born 28 June 1876. She was 31 years old at that time and was still living at Øvre Møllenberg street and was listed as an unmarried young lady while Oluf was listed as a single young man. The Christening was several months later on 26 November 1876 at the Bakklandet parish.

Adolf Ingvald Tesli Christening ( source )

Adolf died in 1877 at age 8 months. Anna is not listed in the burial record, only Oluf. The residence is still the same however (Øvre Møllenberg street).

16 March 1880 Anna, at age 35, was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to as the LDS, or Mormon Church) in Trondheim. (Sources: records and Anna Larsen's genealogy book in possession of Michael Baird). At this point in Anna's history we find Anthon Lorenzo Schanchy (pronounced skahnk-y or in the USA: skank-y) make an entrance. As we will see he ends up playing a significant role in Anna's life. He was born in Trondheim in 1839 and joined the LDS church in Trondheim in 1861. He served two missions for the LDS church in Norway in the 1860's and then immigrated to Utah, USA in 1868. In his autobiography (pages 51-52), Anthon describes being called to his third mission to Norway:

    "I was called, at the October Conference, to go on a mission to Scandinavia. I left Logan in November 1879 and reached Liverpool, December 12. We had a rough voyage across the ocean. I was sent to Frederickstad for a short time, then to my native city, Trondhjem in Norway."
My best guess is that he was in Trondheim by early 1880 sometime. The timing is critical as Anna was baptized 16 March 1880 in Trondheim. Margrethe in her personal history states:
    "Mother had the missionaries come to their house often and they accepted the gospel."
I think it is likely that Anthon Skanchy was in Trondheim before Anna's baptism in mid-March. To further support this, he mentions later on a bunch of work that he does and then uses the phrase "by early spring" in describing the success he had as a missionary. Anthon says further:
    "Elder Ellingsen, of Lehi, was there when l arrived, but in a couple of months he was released to return to his home. I then remained there alone to represent the gospel of the everlasting covenant, but I harbored only gratitude to my Heavenly Father. I organized a choir, held meetings and preached the gospel with all my might. Many were won to the truth."
No exact date is mentioned as to when Ole Ellingsen left for home. He was officially released from his mission 29 July 1880 but that was when he returned home to Lehi, Utah. Extrapolating from Anthon's autobiography, he could have been left as early as the end of February if Anthon arrived in Trondheim in early January to as late April sometime. I think chances are very good he was still in Trondheim when Anna was baptized. It seems then that either Oley Ellingsen or Anthon Skanchy baptized Anna. It is hard to know which without more information. It is very likely both of them taught Anna and were the missionaries mentioned by Margrethe. Anthon served until late 1881 on this mission. During that time he presided over the branch of the LDS church that met in Møllenberg, Trondheim which is where Anna and Margrethe lived. The branch centered in Trondheim was the branch for all of northern Norway at that time. Anthon served as the branch president for 18 months. He was therefore the priesthood leader for Anna and Margrethe for about 18 months.

Anthon Skanchy's autobiography provides a fascinating view of life in Trondheim from 1840 - 1870 and the 1880's. Also you get a real good feel for life as a member of the Mormon church in Trondheim from the time he joined the church in 1861.

Sometime between 1880 and 1885 Anna and Margrethe moved to Christiania (Oslo). In the 1883 census for Christiania, Anna and Margrethe are not listed at Strandgaden 22, which is where they are living at the 1885 census. Several people at Strandgade 22 in 1883 are listed with them in 1885, so I know I found the correct entry. I don't know if that means they didn't move to Christiania before the 1883 census or if they had moved to Christiania by 1883 and were living somewhere else. The 1883 census is not searchable yet and is almost 6,000 pages, so it is too large to check by hand to see if they were living somewhere else in Christiania in 1883 or not.

At the 1885 census for Christiania, Anna (age 41) is living with her daughter Margrethe at Strandgaden (Beach street) 22, Christiania (Oslo). Oluf is not living with them. Anna's occupation is listed as "Waskepige" which means "cleaning woman" or "maid". Her birth place is listed as Gudbrandsdalen which means Gudbrand's valley which is the name of the valley where the farm she was born on is. The year of her birth is listed incorrectly as 1850. At Strandgaden 22 in Oslo today is a building that appears to be a retail or office building. ( Strandgaden 22 )

Anna Larsen 1885 Census ( source )

Sometime between the death of their son Adolf in 1877 and the 1885 census Anna and Oluf split up and no longer lived together. Given the requirement for baptism into the LDS church that couples must be married, it seems very likely then the split occurred between the death of Adolf in 1877 and Anna's baptism in 1880. Their daughter Margrethe, who was 6 years old at Anna's baptism doesn't mention anything about her father in her life history. This would make sense if they had separated between 1877 and 1880, she would have been 3-6 years old when her father left. Related to this Margrethe only mentions that the missionaries were often over at their house when she was young. All evidence also points to the fact that there was little if any contact between Anna and Oluf after separation. Margrethe was unaware of when or where her father passed away (he died in 1888). In a letter written to Margrethe, Martin (her brother), apparently in reply to a question from Margrethe in a letter wrote: "I don't have any idea as to when or where our father died" (Source: Letter in possession of Michael Baird). In my discussions with the descendants of Martin Tesli, they had no knowledge of their ancestry beyond Martin.

Anthon Skanchy again enters into Anna's and Margrethe's life. In 1886 Anthon was called on his 4th mission where he first acted as a traveling Elder for the whole of Norway. Later he presided over the church in Christiania. So once again Anthon was the Priesthood leader for Anna and Margrethe. In 1889 Anthon returned home to Logan, Utah.

July 1, 1892, at age 38, Anna and her daughter Margrethe, emigrated from Christiania Norway. They left on the ship "Montebello" for England.

Emigration Record for Kristiania (Oslo) ( source )
Personal emigration record

Anna and her daughter then caught the ship "Alaska" from Liverpool, England and arrived at Ellis Island, New York July 18, 1892. Note in the Emigration record two above where Anna is listed is an Edv. Berg who's occupation was "missionary". It seems likely that Anna and Margrethe were part of an LDS contingent headed to Utah including a returning missionary.

Immigration Record - Manifest of the ship Alaska ( source )

On July 23, 1892 Anna and her daughter arrived in Paradise, Utah (source: Anna Larsen's genealogy book in possession of Michael Baird). Paradise is just outside of Logan, Utah.

Piece of Anna Larsen's trunk from trip to America
In possession of Michael Baird

The above photo is of a piece from the trunk Anna brought to America. Her name is written out in her distinctive handwriting

Anna Larsen's Norwegian New Testament
In possession of Michael Baird

One of the items that Anna brought with her was a Norwegian New Testament that is shown above. It was published in London in 1823. Again note her name written in her handwriting on the left side page.

On September 8, 1892, One and a half months after arriving in Utah, Anna was married in the Logan Temple to Samuel Jeffries Holbrook

Anna Larsen - Samuel Holbrook Marriage ( source )

Samuel Holbrook and Anna Larsen
Date is unknown, but it seems likely to me that this picture was taken at the time of their marriage in 1892

Samuel Holbrook paid for Anna's passage to America. Below is a promissory note for the money Samuel used to pay for Anna's passage. The back of the note reads: "This note is to secure the emigration ticket paid out for the emigration of Mrs. Anna Larsen Holbrook. December 8, 93. Paid $86 + 1.50. Paid in full $87.50." It is signed by A.L. Skanchy. On the front of the note we can see that A.L Skanchy loaned the money to Samuel Holbrook. So once again Anthon Skanchy comes into the picture in Anna's life. According to Anthon's descendants and his autobiography he helped many LDS church members from Norway and in particular from Trondheim to emigrate to America. I think it is safe to assume that he is the one that arranged for Anna and Margrethe to come to Utah.

Samuel Holbrook Promissory Note
In possession of Michael Baird

We don't know much about Samuel Holbrook. From his record in we learn that he was born in 1840 in Arnold, England. He was married to an Emily Mitchel who died in 1858 along with their child that was also born that year and lived a couple of months. Another marriage is listed to a Sophia Buckley in about 1863. She was also from Arnold England. No children are listed nor is there information about her death, but it must have been before his marriage to Anna as they were married after the manifesto on plural marriage. Someone made a note on his record at that he came to Utah in 1863 with his family. In the 1900 census it states that he came to the USA in 1860, in the 1910 census it says he came to the USA in 1861. At the 1900 US census Anna and Samuel are living on a farm near Paradise, Utah. Samuel's occupation was listed as a farmer and that he owned the farm free and clear. I am not certain exactly where around Paradise the farm was. Since our family line does not go through Samuel, I haven't done any research on him and I don't think anybody else in our family has either so not much else is known beyond this information.

Anna and Samuel 1900 Census ( Entire page )

In the 1910 census Anna and Samuel are living at 288 East 3rd South Street in Paradise, Utah. According to the census they had been living there 7 years meaning they moved there in 1903. For occupation his states "income" meaning he has retired I assume, as he is 69 years old. Anna is listed as "Emma" in the census.

Anna and Samuel 1910 Census ( Entire page )

Anna Larsen (date unknown - probably around 1910 - 1915)
Photo in possession of Michael Baird

In the photo above Anna is sitting on the front porch of her house in Paradise, Utah. The house is shown below. The photo of the house was taken in 1954 probably by her grandson Erwin Allen.

Anna Larsen's home in 1954
L-R Isolene Allen, Owner, Darlene Allen
Photo in possession of Michael Baird

On October 16, 1916 Anna received her patriarchal blessing from Joseph A Quibell.

I have two books that Anna wrote in my possession. The first book is what appears to be a book of poetry. There is no name on the book but the handwriting is Anna's. The poetry appears to be original works by Anna.
The second book, what I call her "genealogy book", is one where Anna wrote down her genealogy and kept track of the temple work she did for relatives and friends. Below are several photos of the genealogy book.

Anna's name and page 1
Book in possession of Michael Baird

Notice the beautiful writing of her name on the left page "Anna Larsen Stigen". On the right page the translation is: "Anna Larsen came to Paradise the 23 August 1892. Married in the temple the 8 September 1892".

Anna's Book pages 2 and 3
Book in possession of Michael Baird

On the top of the right hand side page it says: "Genealogy for Anna Larsen mother's mother side". It lists her grandparents on her mother's side: Berit (Pedersdatter) and Hans (Andersen). It then lists the children of her grandparents - her mother Mari Hansdatter and then her aunts Kari and Karen and an uncle. Note: she had other aunts and uncles besides those listed here.

Anna's Book pages 4 and 5
Book in possession of Michael Baird

On the Left hand side (page 4) her parents are listed (Mari Hansdater and Lars Kristophersen) and then her siblings and then some of her siblings spouses and children. It is not complete as there are children missing from this list including some of her own children.

I have in my (Michael Baird) possession several letters that Anna received. Several are from her son Martin, some from her daughter Margrethe, and a couple are from some of her brothers and nieces and nephews.

An interesting letter I have is one from Anna's husband Samuel Holbrook to Anna's daughter Margrethe (his step-daughter), written after Anna's death. In this letter Samuel states that (spelling and punctuation preserved) "your to under stand that all marriages vows sealings and covnants entered into by me and your mother are by this made null and void as she often told me that she did(n't) want me in the life after the grave". What is interesting is what this says to Anna's feelings about her marriage (remember she was a mail-order bride) to Samuel. He goes on in the letter to suggest that Margrethe have her mother sealed to her father and then Margrethe sealed to her mother and father. There is no record of Margrethe accomplishing the sealing of her parents or of her to her parents. The date shown in familysearch of sealing of Margrethe to her father Oluf and mother Anna by proxy is 1979 and the date of Anna and Oluf Teslie being sealed by proxy is in 1997. Yes, I know those dates aren't sensible but that is what is in familysearch as of my writing this.
An interesting side-note to all this, is if you look at the letter you will note that there is a portion of the letter that is torn out. There are several letters that I have that are like that. My grandmother, Isolene Tolman (Allen), Margrethe's daughter-in-law, and the person that gave me the letters told me when I asked her about this that she (Margrethe) didn't like her step-father at all and tore the name "Holbrook" out of every letter she had where she was addressed as "Margrethe Holbrook".

Anna died 27 February 1918 at age 73 from pneumonia ( source - pg 24 ) in Logan, Utah. She was buried at the Paradise Cemetery, Paradise, Utah.

Anna Larsen's Gravestone