Last year, MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet came across a spectacular old family album at an auction in Israel. He asked our Research team to track down the family it belonged to — and we had the honor and privilege of returning the album to a living descendant of its owner.
Check out the full story in the video below, and read on for more details:
The album was leather-bound with gold leaf inlaid on the cover, and it was full of photographs of people dressed in elegant clothing. It was clear from the way they were dressed that the people in the photos came from influential families.
A dedication was written on the first page of the album:
To Thorkild Gustav Hauge
From Familien Ravn
Gilad is a passionate genealogist himself and recognizes a priceless family treasure when he sees one. He bought the album and passed it to our Research team, asking them to trace Thorkild’s family and find a living descendant we could give the album to.
’I knew very little about my family history’
Our Research team got to work and soon located a young man in Oslo named Max Emil Kørner. We called Max and he was very surprised. It’s not every day you get a phone call telling you a 100-year-old album has been found that belonged to your ancestor!
Max says that before we contacted him, he had little knowledge of his ancestry. It seems that there had been a rift in his family after his grandmother married someone her relatives didn’t think was good enough for her. The only thing Max knew for sure was that one of his great-grandparents was Danish.
Our Norwegian country manager, Jeanette Sandsgaard, took the album and personally delivered it to Max’s home.
At MyHeritage, we understand the power of old photos to connect the younger generations with those who came before. That’s why we are constantly developing new tools for working with old family photos and bringing them to life, such as Deep Nostalgia and MyHeritage In Color.
How did this family album end up in Israel? That remains a mystery.
Thorkil Gustav Hauge was about 16 years old when he received the album from the Ravn family. On the first page of the album is a photo of the Arendal Church: a beautiful church built in the neo-Gothic style. The church was designed by Christian Fürst and inaugurated in 1888, just 5 years before the date written in the album.
The Ravn family was not related to the Hauge family. However, Dr. Jacob Ravn (b. 1847) and his son Trygve Angell Ravn (b. 1853) are also featured in the album. Maybe they were friends of the family?
Who was Thorkild Gustav Hauge?
Thorkild Gustav Hauge (1887–1919) was born in Arendal and baptized in Tromøya Church outside Arendal in 1887. He and his brother Thomas were the sons of Niels Christopher Henrik Hauge (b. 1842), who was himself the son of Thomas Bryn (1782–1827): one of the authors of the Norwegian constitution. Thomas Bryn was a lawyer, a civil servant, and represented the Union Party. He was elected to the Norwegian Parliament in 1827 for Larvik and Sandefjord, and died shortly afterwards. Bryn wrote a diary from Eidsvoll and Henrik Wergeland — one of the pioneers of modern Norwegian literature and culture — used it as a source when he wrote his constitutional history.
Thorkild married Klara Olea Lydia Svår Siljesæther, and was trained as an engineer. He traveled to Melbourne, Australia with his wife, and there they had their only child, Lena Marie Hauge (1912 –1964). In 1915 when Lena Maria was 3 years old, they returned to Norway, where she grew up and received her education. Tragically, Thorkild died of pneumonia at the age of 32 while on a business trip in Stockholm. There is no evidence to suggest that Klara Olea Lydia Svår Siljesæther remarried after Thorkild died.
Lena Marie Hauge grew up and graduated in her home country. She was a journalist and started her career at Dagsposten in Trondheim in 1937. Starting in 1945, she worked at the Oslo newspaper Nationen, and continued working there for the rest of her life. She had no children and died of illness at the age of 50 in 1964. When Lena Marie Hauge died, her funeral was covered by numerous newspapers in Norway, and many of them can be found in the national library archives. There we can read that she used the pseudonym “Murre” and was concerned with the women’s organizations at the time, especially peasant women, and she edited “The Women’s Page” in the Nationen.
Another note in the paper Fjordingen from May 11, 1964 states that she left behind 30,000 kronen, and her mother was her only heir. Her mother died in Sweden the following year in 1965.
Finding a living heir
Thorkild had only one child and his daughter was childless. This meant that there was no direct heir to the family album. So the Research team focused their efforts on tracing the descendants of Thorkild’s brother, Thomas.
Thomas Bryn was married to Else Maria Bryn, and they had several children, a daughter named Karin Andrea Bryn Hauge. Her grandson Max Emil Boholm Kørner is the youngest descendant of Thomas, Thorkild’s brother.
We still don’t know how the album ended up in Israel, but it’s clear that someone took very good care of it: though many of the photos were gone when Gilad recovered it, it was in very good condition.
It was a great pleasure to be able to give this family album to Max for him to treasure and share with future generations.
Max is very grateful to have not only more knowledge about his family background, but also this valuable and tangible piece of his family’s history.
We may not be able to find a rare photo album of your family members, but our Photo Discoveries feature can find photos of your ancestors you may never have seen before — and our photo improvement features can help you rediscover the photos you do have by repairing, colorizing, enhancing, and even animating them! Click here to try the Photo Enhancer now.
The post MyHeritage Returns Long-Lost Family Album to User in Norway appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.
Source: My Heritage