Saturday, 3 February 2018

Our ancestral homes, part 3: Aunet

The house in the photo below is the main house of the croft which used to be formally known as Grostadgjerdet ("The Grostad Fence"), situated on land belonging to Grostad farm in the upper part of Ingdalen in Sør-Trøndelag, near the mouth of the Trondheim Fjord. This house, originally built in 1819, was the birthplace of my direct paternal great-great-grandfather Martin Pedersen (1876-1910), Y-DNA haplogroup R1b-L1335. The croft was later bought by Martin's brother Gunerius and turned into an independent farm under the name Aunet ("The Deserted Pasture"), which had always been its local name. Names like Aunet, Ødegård ("Deserted Farm"), etc., refer to places left deserted after their inhabitants died from the Black Death, the bubonic plague epidemic of 1349.

Photo source: "Ingdalsboka" by Anders Aune (Gunerius' son)

Martin and Gunerius were the sons of Peder Pedersen (alternative spelling Per Persson; 1836-1916) from the croft Bjørnbethåggån or Hesthåggån in the neighboring village of Geitastranda. Peder had been living alone with his aging mother (Maret Evensdatter Geitaneset 1791-1872) in this tiny seaside village for years, eking out a meager subsistence as a fisherman. In 1870, however, he moved to Grostadgjerdet/Aunet, where his older sister had lived earlier. Peder then became known locally as "Per Aune", using the name of his residence as a surname, as was the custom at the time.

Two years later, Peder married Ane Olsdatter Rian (1845-1932), and the couple had four children, all sons; the youngest, Andreas, died as a child, while the oldest, Peder Odin, emigrated to America. My great-great-grandfather Martin moved to the city of Trondheim around the year 1898, so it was Gunerius, the youngest surviving son, who continued to run the family croft. Today, Aunet is still owned by Gunerius' descendants, but the land has been leased away, and the house is now used only as a vacation home.

Gunerius' descendants still use Aune as their surname. The surname Aune (without a t) is the indefinite form of the word; the t in the place name Aunet is a neuter singular definite article (equivalent to the English word "the"). I don't know why different grammatical forms are used for the place name and the surname, but the practice has become tradition now, and is not likely to change.

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