Elling Christophersen

was born in 1676 at Nedre Valla in Meløy, Nordland. He is the progenitor to the numerous Ellingsen Family in Nordland.
His parents were Christopher Olsen and Karen Jonsdatter. The grandparents of his father’s side were Oleand Dorethe Christophersdatter. They lived at Kråknes in Brønnøy. Through his mother, Karen Jonsdatter, he was a descendant of Margrethe Benkestoks. She was his great grandmother.
His mother was married twice and Elling was from her first marriage and had two sisters, Dorethe, b.1674, and Berethe, b.1678. When their father died, Karen married Hans Pedersen Berg, b.1653.
When his mother remarried Elling ran away from home. In an article in “Lofotposten” from 1941, Mikal Jakobsen is writing:
”In 1707 a 31-year old man came to Fiskevåg in Salten named Elling Christophersen. He was a magnificent guy, dauntless and with a bears strength (he was born in Trøndelag). As many others he ran away from home and was hired on a Danish Ship, telling that he was older than he was, namely 13 years. He was travelling around the World and for a period as ”kaprer” (legal pirate, accepted during war). During a stay in Holland he was hired on ship bound for Målselv in Troms, Norway, fetching timber and fur. They had a horrible trip, wrecked the ship, repaired it and came to Moskenes the first year. In the spring 1707 they came to Hollendernes, the mouth of Målselven (river). At the end of the summer they were ready to return, but all evil spirits followed the ship along the coast. More problems forced them to put into port in Vestfjorden north of Bodø. At this moment the young Elling was fed up, he left the ship and late this autumn he came to Fiskevåg, where Karen Jensdatter, the young widow after the merchant and ship owner, Lars Christensen, now was controlling the business. Karen and Elling married at Christmas 1708.
It has not been possible to verify this information, but he was not born in Trøndelag and Karen and Elling did not marry at Christmas 1708. We know for sure that he was born at Valla in Meløy. His father was born either at Kråknes in Brønnøy, or at Skjeggesnes in Alstahaug.
Elling Christophersen and Karen Jensdatter agreed sharing bed and table and married November 25. 1709. As told, Karen had been married to Lars Christensen, Fiskevåg, who drowned 1706 in Lofoten. Lars was born at the farm Langset in Salten and his father was Christen Jensen, son of Mr. Jens, the vicar at Skjerstad, Jens Pedersen. He came to Skjerstad from Nærøy, where he at an earlier stage had been a priest.
Karen Jensdatter was born about 1680 at Saksenvik in Saltdal. Her parents were Jens Pedersen, Saksenvik, b.ab.1641, d. 1715 and Anna Herdagsdatter, b.ab. 1657, d. May 10. 1736.
At Fiskevåg, Elling Christophersen found surroundings he knew from childhood in Meløy. His grandfather skipper and country police sergeant in Meløy, Jon Olsen at Gåsvær, made business both at land and sea. In many ways Elling resembled his grandfather, and Fiskvåg had a new start. He made the place grow, built a boatyard, transported fish, cod-liver, butter etc. to Bergen and brought grain, rope, sugar etc. back home on ships built by his own hands. He was one of the first in Saltdalen that started this business on Bergen.
Elling Christophersen was a typical representative for the trader at the coast of Northern Norway. He was energetic, tough and interested in all sorts of trade. He also was good at hart and had a good relations to his family. When he found that his mother and her new husband had a hard time making ends meet, he took care of them and helped them with the economy, although they had six grown up sons and a daughter. Their children were: Christopher, b.1683, Jon, b.1684, Peder, b.1687, Hans, b.1690, Berethe, b.1692, Benjamin, b.1694 and Willum, b.1698. When their father died Elling made a home for his mother at his own place and gave her the income from the properties he had inherited in Meløy. This was a part of the Benkestok property. When his mother died, Elling made her a song and it’s told that he at the funeral said: ”When I was young I brought grief to her hart. As a grown up man I have tried to pay back”. He had a guilty conscience for running away from home just 13 years old.


Leidulf Olsrud

Elling Christophersen died 54 years old. On a trip to Bergen the ship wrecked at Folda (one of the most risky parts of the Norwegian coast) June 10. 1730 and drowned. Although he had a short life, Elling was a wealthy man when he died. He left quite a fortune to his wife and children.In the partition of May 17. 1731 is written: ”The Children’s Mother, Karen Jensdatter, take care of the under age Children’s part in her good  Supervision and in safe keeping”. The estate value was 567 riksdaler and 82 skilling and the debt
was just 11 riksdaler and 48 skilling. Elling Chritophersen owned Fiskvåg in Salten and Nedre Valla in Meløy.

Earlier he also had some properties in Helgeland. In 1699 he issued a partition together with his two sisters on a property inherited from their grandmother, Dorethe Christophersdatter:
”We, Elling Christophersen, admit on behalf of Myself and my Sister Beritte Christophersdatter, on her and my Behalf, as well as Peder Bentzøn on his Wife’s Behalf, Namely Daarethe Christophersdatter, her Behalf, We with our free Will have sold, Partitioned and Disposed …to the Honest and Astute Man Niels Jonsen Wefvelstad, our Father nephew: One Pound Fish Rent Farmland at Skiggesnæs in Alstahaug Parish in Helgeland, as for us and our Grand-Mother, who was Daarethe Christophersdatter, living at Kraagnes in the Parish of Brønøe, Inherited and Accrued is, … and accept and acknowledge that Earlier mentioned Honest and Astute Man Niles Jonsen Wefvelstad Fulfilled and at the Correct Value, ….. and Established we as ask our beloved Step-Father to Sign together with us.
Actum Vaage Court of the Parish Rødøe d. 23. June Anno 1699.


Elling Christophersen
With his own hand
Hans Pedersen Berg
With his own hand
Peder Bentzen
With his own hand


As the two others, Elling Christophersen is signing ”With his own hand”, 23 years old, at a time just officials, priest and merchants had this knowledge. This tells us a lot about this man, and all his descendants learned how to write. One of the signers is, Hans Pedersen Berg, as mentioned Elling´s stepfather. He married Karen Jonsdatter in the 1680és.
Elling Christophersen and his wife, Karen Jensdatter, had six children; Christen b.1710, Lars b.1712, Karen b.1716, Christopher b.1719, Jens b. 22/12 1722 and Hans b. 1727.
All his sons followed in their fathers footstep, and were skippers, merchants and landowners.
Karen Jensdatter died in 1744.
Strange letters:
Æ-æ is pronounced as a in bad, Ø-ø as u in under and Å-å as o in pork.

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