Sortehaug - screengrab. | Copyright: Google maps.

Homestead | the Sortehaug farm saga | Norway

Skodje sogelag and Louis Giske wrote the history of the two Sortehaug farms and its inhabitants back in 1986.

The municipality of Skodje

Skodje is a municipality in the county of Møre og Romsdal, Norway (Sunnmøre). The administrative centre of the municipality is called Skodje – and the second main centre of the community is Valle. As per 1 January 2016, the total population was 4 620.

The Sortehaug – or Svortehaug – farms

Originally, there may have been just one single Sortehaug farm. However, as most of the available records show, there seems to have been two separate farm units here for a very long time:

  1. Sortehaug Nestehaun – 1529-30/1
  2. Sortehaug Øvstehaun – 1529-30/2

The Google map coordinates are 62.483386 6.637947 – and the references for the interactive property map of Norway – – are 1529-30/1 and 1529-30/2.

An Introduction to the landscape

In parts, the landscape runs fairly steep down towards Skodjevika – the bay of Skodje. During parts of the year, the farm has no direct sunlight as it is situated on the north side of the mountain ridge.

You will find the farm Svorte to the west, the farm Flåte to the east, the sea to the north and the mountain outfields of the farms Valle and Glomset to the south.

Recommended read: The old Norwegian farm – its land and surroundings

In earlier times, the land here was simply called Hougen or Haugen – meaning the hill. Svorte was added to the name later but it is not known exactly why. It may be that the land here once belonged to the neighbouring farm Svorte.

The buildings were once placed much further up the hill, evidenced by traces of cultivated fields and other remains. Sortehaug Øvstehaun is the upper farm (meaning Sortehaug the upper hill) and is assumed to be the oldest property unit. Sortehaug Nestehaun is the lower farm, closer to the sea.

The total amount of land is about equal to the land of the neighbouring Flåte. The farm units are probably not among the oldest in the community as they are not mentioned in the tax records of 1606. However, it is possible that the people living here were all lost during The Black Death – between 1349 and 1350 – and that the land was later reoccupied in the 1600s. The farm units are mentioned in the tax records of 1667.

In 1667, the land here would feed 14 cattle and 1 horse. In 1723 there were 2 horses, 6 cattle, 11 sheep and 8 goats.

The landscape hasn’t been the easiest to cultivate but people seem to have struggled by. Together with the neighbouring Flåte, the people living here had the right to extract turf or peat from the mountain outfields further up the hill to the south.

On smaller hill farms like this, much of the winter feed for the domestic animals had to be found in the outfields and in the surrounding mountain areas. In addition to hay, that could, for example, be leaves and moss.

During the summer, the livestock was sent up to the summer dairy in the mountains, at Vallesetra, south of the mountain ridge.

Recommended read: The old Norwegian farm – the tradition of summer pasture

Like in so many other places there have been conflicts in the area, related to the Sortehaug livestock grazing on other people’s land.

In 1932, a sawmill was built on the river crossing the property, Hauelva. The farm was never a large forest owner – but after the year 1900, there has been quite a lot of work put into the forests here – where trees have been planted and cultivated.

Both farms seem to have had their own grain mill, also on the river, Hauelva. Elias L. Mo (see SH2-D-4 below) is also said to have had a windmill here – used for the threshing of the grain crop.

Hunting for tiur (capercaillie) – and other big birds, hare and seabirds – has always been part of life here: putting food on the table. Fishing in the sea has also been very important. Stor-Daniel (Big-Daniel) – who moved here after the big fire of Ålesund in 1904 – and who lived here for a while – also organised large-scale fishing from here. His boathouses were placed in Skodjevika.

The main road passes across the property, running parallel with the sea. The owners gave land away for free to have the roads improved along this stretch. Between 1953 and 1974, John Bruteig had a local country shop in his house by the roadside (see SH1-G2 below).

Sortehaug seen from above – screengrab. | Copyright: Google maps.

Historical owners of the land

In earlier times, most of the land in Norway was owned by large landowners, like the crown, the Catholic church and others. The local farmers were leaseholders, living on and cultivating the farms. In addition to paying rent, they would also pay taxes.

In the 1600s, the land at Sortehaug was owned by the large Giske estate. In 1723 it was owned by the heirs of Mayor Smith. Later it was owned by Knud Høegh and in 1774 his widow.

Chr. Wallin was the owner after this time and in 1838 he sold Sortehaug Nestehaun (farm unit 1) at auction. The buyer was Sjur Flåte – probably acting as a middleman for Ole Tormodson Jøssån (see SH1-D-1 below) – the man who became the first owner and farmer of this unit.

Peder Jacobson Glomset (see SH2-D-3b below) purchased Sortehaug Øvstehaun in 1863 (farm unit 2) – but on the very same day he handed it over to a new landowner Lars Peter Jørgensen Valde. Later, in 1889, two of Valde’s children, Jørgen Olaus and Johanne Marta, inherited the land. As late as in 1901, Sortehaug Øvstehaun was sold to the first owner and farmer living and working here (see SH2-D-5 below).

Historical leaseholders of the land

The first proper Norwegian census was conducted in 1769. Records prior to that time were not always complete. The oldest listings below will therefore mainly contain the men of the household and often only men above the age of 12 (those old enough to be called out to military service should there be a war).

  • 1611: Nils and Knud Hougen are the registered leaseholders. They must have been father and son. In the same year, Knud is called out to war.
  • 1624: Laurits Hougen is the recorded leaseholder.
  • 1625: Knud Sortehoug is mentioned in the records. This may be the same Knud that went to war in 1611.
  • 1628: Eirik Ollufson and Ellend Pederson are the recorded leaseholders.
  • 1647: Ellend and Arne are recorded.
  • 1666: The names Ellend and Arne are still here. At this point they are both 50 – therefore it is not likely that this Ellend is the same as the Ellend in 1628. Ellend is recorded as having the sons Peder (9), Clemet (8) and Oluf (7).
  • 1681: Clemet has taken over after his father but an Arne is still here. It is unclear whether this is the same Arne as in 1666. After Clemet and Arne, new families seem to take over.
  • 1704: Engebrett Larson (63) and Anders Olson Sortehaug (43) are the registered leaseholders. Amund (6) and Lars (3 ½) are registered as the sons of Engebrett. Anders has a step-son, Ole Pederson Sortehaug (6). In addition, there was a cotter here at this time, Lars Olson Sortehaug (54). His sons were Hans born 1682 and Lars born 1685. Lars the elder may be the one getting married to Ingeborg Andersdotter Sortehaug in 1712 – but he is then registered with the last name Ytre Skoie. It is not known whether Lars Olson had any daughters but one Brit Larsdotter Sortehaug had a son, Lars, baptised in 1724. His father was the bachelor Amund Knudson Valle.
  • 1711: Engebrett and Anders are still here.


Below, you will find a list of the more completely recorded families and generations living on the Sortehaug farms. Initially as leaseholders, later as owners.

Explanation of the reference code being used:

  • SH1 stands for the Sortehaug farm unit 1 – Nestehaun. SH2 stands for the Sortehaug farm unit 2 – Øvstehaun.
  • The letter following, for example, SH1 indicates the individual family living there – so, for example, SH1-A would be the first family living at Nestehaun, SH1-B the next family etc.
  • The last digit indicates the generation of that family – so, for example, SH1-C-1 means the first generation of the third family living at Nestehaun.

Farm unit 1: Sortehaug Nestehaun

SH1-A-1 Ingebrigt Larson Sortehaug 1645-1711

married 1. to unknown first name Størkesdotter (Skodjevåg), died 1700.
1. Marte born 1693 – married to the next leaseholder Lars Jonson Nedre Skotshals, Stordal.
2. Amund born 1697.
3. Lars born 1700.

married 2. in 1700 to Brite Iverdotter (Flåte) 1673-1748.

SH1-A-2a Marte Ingebrigtsdotter 1693-1738 | married in 1719 to Lars Jonson Nedre Skotshals, Stordal 1690-1762
1. Gunhild born 1723 – married to the next leaseholder Bendik Arneson Grindvik.
2. Marte born 1725 – probably died young.
3. Knud born 1728 – married to a daughter at Grindvikkjære. Lived at Sortehaug for the first few years of their marriage as some of the eldest children were born here.

SH1-A-2b Lars Jonson Nedre Skotshals, Stordal | married 2. in 1739 to Eli Rasmusdotter Parr, Sunnylven 1693-1763.
Lars was the brother of Anne Jonsdotter at Sortehaug Øvstehaun – farm unit 2 (see SH2-B-1 below).

SH1-A-3a Gunhild Larsdotter 1723-1795 | married 1767 to Bendik Arneson Grindvik 1743-1815
They had no children. Gunhild was fairly wealthy at the time of her passing. When her estate was completed, in 1796, its net worth was 146 riksdaler, 4 ort and 4 skilling. Half of the estate went to her brother’s children at Grindvikkjære.

SH1-A-3b Bendik Arneson Grindvik | married 2. in 1797 to Anna Jokumsdotter Kaldhussæter born 1766.
In 1802 there were 1 horse, 5 cows and 16 smaller animals on the farm. Bendik must have been a merchant at heart. He purchased and sold several farms both in Skodje and in other places. He had no children and therefore there were no children on this farm for quite some time.

SH1-B-1 Anna Jokumsdotter Kaldhussæter | married 2. in 1815 to Jacob Nilson Ytreberg.

SH1-C-1 Arne Pederson had the farm between 1806 and 1808.
In 1808 there were 1 horse, 4 cattle, 7 sheep and 7 goats.

SH1-D-1 Ole Tormodson Jøssvollsæter, Stordal 1773-1844 | married 1811 to Oline Jonsdotter Rødset, Stordal 1782-1860.
1. Petrine Katrine born 1812 – married to Nonsvik.
2. Andrine Birgitte born 1818 – married to the next leaseholder Knud Martinus Knudsen Utvik.
In 1838, the landowner Chr. Wallin sells the farm unit at auction for 110 speciedaler. The buyer was Sjur Flåte but he was probably just acting as a middleman as Ole Tormodson Jøssvollsæter was the owner of the property at his death in 1844. The farm was then handed over to his widow, Oline Jonsdotter Rødsæter, and his youngest daughter, Andrine Birgitte – each owning one of two equal parts. Oline Jonsdotter immediately sold her share to her son-in-law, Knud Martinus Knudsen Utvik for 92 speciedaler.

SH1-D-2 Andrine Birgitte Olsdotter 1818-1901 | married 1844 to Knud Martinus Knudsen Utvik 1815-1880.
1. Karoline born 1847 – married 1870 to Ole Tormodson Skaue, lived at Flåte.
2. Knud Andreas born 1855 – took over the farm.
In 1863 there were 1 horse, 6 cattle and 12 sheep on the farm. In 1875 there were 1 horse, 6 cattle, 16 sheep and 1 pig on the farm. When Knud Martinus died in 1880, his widow Andrine Birgitte sold the farm to their son Knud Andreas for 2 000 kroner plus «kår» (= a kind of pension, giving her the right to live on the farm for the rest of her life and to receive food for her animals, firewood etc.).

SH1-D-3 Knud Andreas Knudson Sortehaug born 1855 | married 1879 to Nikoline Anna Nilsdotter Utvik born 1857.
1. Andrine born 1880.
2. Karen Oline born 1883
3. Knud Martinus born 1885.
4. Nils Andreas born 1887.
This whole family left for America in 1888 and sold the farm to Peter Johan Jørgenson Indrevik for 2 850 kroner plus «kår» to Andrine Birgitte Olsdotter who stayed behind after her son and his family left.

If you have information about this family who left for America then feel free to contact us – to help bridge together the old world and the new.

SH1-E-1 Peter Johan Jørgenson Indrevik 1859-1903 | married 1891 to Petrine Jensine Regine Karolusdotter, Flåte 1864-1935.
1. Karl Johan born 1891.
2. Jørgen Oluf born 1892.
3. Lovise Jørgine born 1894.
4. Bernt Konrad born 1897.
5. Johannes born 1901.
When Peter Johan died in 1903, his wife Petrine was left with 5 young children. The financial burden was too heavy and in 1908 she had to give up the farm. The farm was sold to Ingebrigt Olson Trondstad but Petrine kept the rights for life to use a piece of land – 4 mål – and to dig peat for her own use – and to receive 3 carriage loads of firewood per year. She and her children also kept the right of first purchase should the property ever be put up for sale. Petrine and her children later moved back to her childhood home, Flåte.

SH1-F-1 Ingebrigt Olson Trondstad, Sunnylven born 1868 | married 1899 to Eli Dobakk (possibly from Lesja).
1. Olave born 1900.
2. Martin born 1902.
In 1929, this family purchased Syneshauen after Ingebrigt’s uncle and sold Sortehaug Nestehaun to Knut Gunder Peterson Sorte, Pålgaren.

SH1-G-1 Knut Gunder Peterson Sorte – died in 1933.
Knut Gunder did not marry. A leasing contract regarding the building of a sawmill on the river running across the property was signed in 1932. The annual rent was set to 2 days worth of work. The contract was signed by Knut Gunder, Peter E. Håhjem and Petter R. P. Valde. The contract had a one year’s cancellation clause running until the year 1950. Thereafter, the cancellation period was 5 years.
Knut Gunder’s nephews – John Arnstein and Peter Magnus, sons of his sister Johanne – inherited the property after Knut Gunder’s passing. If the property was to be sold within the following 10 years, Knut Gunder’s siblings had the right of first purchase – for 7 800 kroner. Knut Gunder’s sister, Berte, was given the right to stay at the property for life.

SH1-G-2 Johan Christian Johanson Bruteig, Vatne 1884-1967 | married 1915 to Johanne Pauline Petersdotter Sorte 1884-1928.
1. John Arnstein born 1916 – became the next farmer and later the sole owner at Sortehaug Nestehaun.
2. Peter Magnus born 1920 – married to Edith Lied, Ålesund. Lives in Ålesund where he is an auditor.
John Arnstein was the one of the two brothers who took on the farming of the land here. He built a new house by the main road and had a local country shop there between 1953 and 1974.

Farm unit 2: Sortehaug Øvstehaun

SH2-A-1a Peder Hougen died 1698 | married to Ingeborg Olsdotter 1661-1745.
1. Ole born 1698.
The son Ole from this first marriage seems to have been living on the farm. The church records of 1718 state that an Ole Pederson Sortehoug got married to Marie Rasmusdotter. He died in 1740.

Ingeborg remarried widower Anders Olson Øvre Glomset in the year 1700.

SH2-A-1b Ingeborg Olsdotter | Anders Olson Øvre Glomset 1658-1745.
1. Ingeborg – married 1712 to Hans Larsen Ytre Skodje.
2. Anne – died unmarried in Ørskog in 1746.
There are no records found of Anders having any sons. Therefore, it is probably his nephew – son of his brother also being called Anders – who takes over the leasehold here in 1736.

SH2-B-1 Peder Anderson Øvre Glomset 1706-1767 | married 1736 to Anne Jonsdotter Skotshals, Stordal 1699-1770.
1. Marte born 1736 – married to Indrevik.
2. Anders born 1737 – took over the farm.
3. Knud born 1745 – is not recorded as confirmed in Skodje.
It is likely that Anne Jonsdotter was the sister of Lars living at Nestehaun (SH1-A-2 ) – and that she came from Skotet, Stordal. At the time of her betrothal to Peder, Anne is said to be hailing from Molde. It may be that she lived in Molde at that time.

SH2-B-2 Anders Pederson Sortehaug 1737-1782 | married 1766 to Ragnhild Jonsdotter Utvik 1739-1787.
1. Johanne born 1768 – married to Saltkjelsvik.
2. Peder born 1771 – married to Guri Knudsdotter Kvasnes, living at Hatlane, Borgund (Møre og Romsdal).
Anders got married with the permission of Mister Captain Tauenzeens, indicating that he was a soldier at the time.

SH2-C-1 Lars Larsson Honningdalsnes born 1750 | married 1782 to Anne Larsdotter Indre Skaue born 1750.
1. Rafael 1781-1782.
2. Ragnhild Severine born 1783.
This new leaseholder did not stay long at Sortehaug Øvstehaun. It is recorded that the leaseholder of Sortehaug Nestehaun, Bendik, complained to the landowner claiming that Lars illegally was taking out timber from the forest. Thus, Lars had to leave Øvstehauen. In 1784, he moves to Strømsholm with his family. He dies there the same year. The family who owns the farm today [as per 1986] lived on the farm at the same time as Lars.

SH2-D-1 Elling Jonson Skuset, Norddal born 1741 | married to Inger Knudsdotter Grindvikjære born 1732.
1. Ole born 1768 – took over the farm.
Elling was a cotter at Sortehaug Øvstehaun in 1774. The warrior “Agnes-Knud” from Grindvikjære was his wife’s father. It is possible that this family moved away from the community for a while, however, the son, Ole, was confirmed in Skodje in 1783.

SH2-D-2 Ole Ellingson Skuset Sortehaug 1768-1831
Ole got the lease in 1794. In 1808 there were 1 horse,4 cattle, 5 sheep and 5 goats.

SH2-D-2a married 1. in 1793 to Hilde Olsdotter Glomset 1766-1795.
1. Anne Helene born 1793 – married to Ananias Humlen, living at Furmyr, Borgund (Møre og Romsdal).

SH2-D-2b married 2. in 1796 to Guri Olsdotter Ytre Skaue 1757-1797.
This second marriage sadly only lasted a year. Guri died in connection with the birth of a stillborn baby girl.

SH2-D-2c Married 3. in 1799 to Mette Rasmusdotter Smoge, Norddal 1768-1828.
1. Mette 1799-1799.
2. Mette Helene born 1800 – married to Bernt Åse, Borgund (Møre og Romsdal).
3. Hans Bendik Anders 1802-1803.
4. Berte born 1804 – married to the next leaseholder.
5. Ragnhild born 1807 – married to widower Peter Lerstad, Borgund (Møre og Romsdal).
6. Inger Torina 1813-1813.

SH2-D-3 Berte Olsdotter Sortehaug 1804-1893.

SH2-D-3a married 1. 1827 to Bernt Olaus Olson Strømme, Sykkylven 1789-1831
1. Marte Severine born 1829 – confirmed 1843.
Bernt came from Sølmongaren, Straume in Sykkylven.

SH2-D-3b married 2. 1832 to Peder Jacobson Glomset 1801-1870.
1. Lovise Birgitte born 1833 – Lovise was not married but had the daughter Hanna Regine born 1863. The father was Nils Larson Rabben. Hanna married Peder Nilsen Brevik, Harøy. At the time of her passing, Lovise was living with her daughter at Harøy.
2. Oline Jakobine born 1838 – Oline was deaf and she was unmarried. At the time of her passing, she was living with her sister Lovise at Harøy.
3. Sigrid 1840-1840.
4. Inger Anna born 1842 – married to the next leaseholder.
5. Olave Tomasine born 1844 – married to Trondheim.
6. Lovise Marta born 1849 – Unmarried, lived in Ålesund.
Peder was the one to purchase the farm in 1863 for 380 speciedaler. At the same time, he sold the farm on to Peter Jørgenson Valde for the same amount – and stayed on as a leaseholder under the new owner. In 1863 there were 1 horse, 4 cattle and 10 sheep.

SH2-D-4 Inger Anna Pedersdotter Sortehaug 1842-1899 | married 1876 to Elias Larsen Mo, Stordal 1834-1902.
1. Elise born 1877 – married to one named Olson in Ålesund.
2. Peter Martinus born 1878 – the next leaseholder.
3. Ole born 1880 – married 1916 to Karen Marie Olsdotter Saltkjelsvik born 1885. They lived at Viset, Ørskog. No children.
4. Kristofa born 1883 – unmarried.
5. Lovise Karoline born 1884 – married to Steffen Urke. Lived in Ulsteinvik.
The parents of Elias moved from Stordal to Ytreberg. After he grew up he joined them there. He built new houses at Ytreberg.

When Inger Anna and Elias got married, Lars J. Valde was the owner of the property. Later, Lars J. Valde’s widow left the property to two of her children: Jørgen Olaus and Johanne Marta.

SH2-D-5 Peter Martinus Eliasson Sortehaug 1878-1956 | married 1898 to Anne Berntine Olsdotter Muldsvor, Hornindal 1874-1958.
1. Edvard born 1898 – married to Anna Johansdotter Saltkjelsvik, living at Flåte.
2. Oskar born 1900 – married to Kirsten Lederli, Ålesund [their son Odd-Egil Sortehaug emigrated to New Zealand].
3. Iver born 1902 – married to Helene Larsdotter Håhjem – living at Håhjem.
4. Ragna born 1904 – unmarried, living at Valle.
5. Karl born 1906 – the next owner (see below).
6. Lars born 1908 – married to Johanne Vestre, Håhjem.
7. Ingeborg born 1911 – married to shop manager Olaf Volstad, Ålesund.
8. Alfred born 1914 – escaped to the United Kingdom during the Second World War, later moved to Canada [died 7 January 1977 in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, worked as a fisherman, lived in White Rock].
9. Astrid born 1916 – married to Gudmund Gulliksen, Ålesund.
10. Margit born 1919 – married to Henry Ingebrigt Hansen, Ålesund.
Peter Martinus purchased the farm in 1901 from the two siblings at Valde (see above). The purchase price was 2 000 kroner and «kår» (see above) to his father.

SH2-D-6 Karl Peterson Sortehaug 1906-1982 | married to Lina Dypvik born 1914 from Borgund (Møre og Romsdal).
1. Per Arne born 1937 – married and living in Langevåg.
Karl and Lina lived most of their life in Langevåg. But after they retired, they moved back to Sortehaug Øvstehaun.

This text is written by LA Dahlmann. In the main, the content is based on the local history book for Skodje, Møre og Romsdal, Norway – written by Louis Giske and his many helpers in 1986 – published by Skodje Sogelag (local history association). We should be in awe of the enormous amount of time and effort that Louis Giske and his helpers put into writing the local farm history. The reader should be aware of the fact that this is a second-hand source and that it may contain unintentional errors.

Main sources: «Bygdebok for Skodje» by Louis Giske – published by Skodje Sogelag in 1986. Page 781. | Statistics Norway |
Main photo: Sortehaug – screengrab. | Copyright: Google maps.

LA Dahlmann | homestead and farm