Heiberg family origins. Family coat of arms.
The Jostedalsrypen.

On the bottom of a title page of a Christian III Bible, where through at least 6 generations, there is a handwritten record of how the family originated, is for the first time mentioned. This account is written so it seems that it could be from 1713 and is unfortunately so damaged by the ravages of time that it is only partly legible. It states: "These male persons had their source from a not unknown priest (?) at(?) Hessøer (Hessøen?). His name Anders. Died 1620. With only his father's name..........Andersen Heiberg of Sogndal, which was customary for the times, used it........1713. His portrait is owned by the Gabriel family heirs."
   If one accepts that this account is authentic and the family's progenitor was an Anders from Hessøer, died 1620, there must be a link between him and the two oldest Heibergers, the brothers, bailiff Anders and bailiff Søffren Lauritzsøn, must be believed to be filled by a Lauritz Anderssøn, which because of the names and timing, permits the assumption. In the oldest tax census for Indre Sogn, from 1563, there is found a Lauritz from Rønnø who paid 1 daler. Since the Rønnø (Rønneid) farm in Gaupne parish in Luster belonged to bailiff Anders Lauritzsøn (Heiberg) in the beginning of the 1600s, it is not improbable that the aforementioned Lauritz of Rønnø was the bailiff's father and the missing link between the Anders in the bible record and the bailiffs Anders and Søffren Lauritzsøns. If the progenitor Anders was from Hessøen in Borgund parish, he could hardly have been a priest since no priest by that name is listed in Borgund, neither in "Den Norske Kirkes Geistlighed" (The Norwegian Church Clergy) by Bang, or in "Bergens Stifts Biskopper og Præster" (Bergen diocese's bishops and priests) by Lampe-Thrap.
   In the "Court Record for 1599" there is on the 12 June 1599, a judgement given at Bergenhus according to which Ornum at Skifftun in Ryfylke and Erich Jakobsøn of Hauge sold the Amble farm in Sogn to Bernt Guttormsøn and his wife Euphemia Andersdatter. Axel Axelsøn of Amble and Samson Farteigsøn of Store Linge felt aggrieved by this sale. They produced a document dated at Hesbye (Finnøy near Stavanger) Candlemas Day 1586. A suggestion that the Bible account's Hessøer is identical with Hesbye is not excluded, even though we know of no priest by the name of Anders in that time. However, the problem is unsolved, since we do not know Axel Axelsøn's genealogy. It is rather certain that both Axel and Samson belong to the Losna family and that Axel, married to Barbara Olavsdatter of the Koll family owned Amble, which at that time was undivided and one of Vestlandet's largest properties. " that annually for the assessment owes 200 riksdaler and 2 'engelot' (ca 4 riksdaler) for skiøtingsøre'
   When Gert Andersøn Heiberg, 100 years later, bought Lillejorden in Amble and claimed his wife's allodial right, I can find no other possibility other than that she descends from Axel Axelsøn and thus belongs to the Losna family or the Kolla family. The later owners of Amble, she could not have descended from.
   It has been alleged that the family came from Jutland and that the bailiffs Anders and Søffren were the family's first members in this country. As support for this theory there has been proposed, that tyhey were first named as bailiffs for Danish noblemen for their properties in Bergen's diocese. For Anders Lauritzsøn's own situation it can be so, inasmuch as he is identical with Lage Urnes' 'managing bailiff' of the same name. Søffren Lauritzsøn, on the contrary, first appears as a farmer on the Talle farm in Luster and is first so mentioned in 1613 under the name Søffren Larssøn Talle. As Byrge Juell's manager, we meet him 11 years later and as bailiff 20 years later.
   When headmaster Jon Laberg, in his book 'Luster, Bygd og Ætter', Bergen 1926, without any historical support, proposes the contention that the brothers Anders and Søffren were of Jutland origin, not only is proof lacking, but also all probability speaks against this. The solution of the problem of the Heiberg family's origin is not easy to resolve as long as there is a lack of the necessary written sources. But however, one can assume that the Anders Lauritzsøn, who paid tax in 1618 for allodial land of 7 'løper' (100 kg) butter and 4 hides and 28 'mæler (73 l) grain in Indre Sogn, was no newcomer at the place. Gaining allodial entitlement was a slow process in those days and can be assumed to have taken several generations. He had clearly started with a basis in inherited land and family connections.
   Without being able to produce any direct proof for it, I would suggest the possibility that the Heibergs descend from the Sogn branch of Privy Councillor Paal Erikssøn's family, who had their family seat at Store Kvale at Løken in Valdres. In this family family appears the same names as in the oldest Heiberg branch, Anders, Lauritz, Christine, Bergitte and Anna. Also, the name Axel, which is now a common name in the Heiberg family, points in the direction of a connection between the Heibergs and the Losna and Store-Kvale families, in which that name in the Middle Ages was common, whereas it was seldom seen outside of these families. In the Store-Kvale family we find it already in the 1300s, in that Paal Erikssøn's father's brother was the governor Asle (the same name as Axel and Aslak) Dugalssøn. Naming customs in those days were so fixed that, without danger of going astray, one can build on them. It is perhaps just a coincidence, but the name above the shield in Anders Lauritzsøn's seal of 1621 is written Andries Larsen. Andries is the Valdres pronunciation of the name Anders. In the Sogn dialect he would be called Andres and in Danish, Anders.
   The Store-Kvale family, as the descendants of Paal Erikssøn were called, held much land and partly retained it if the family far up in time. A document of 1548 tells that 4 brothers were to get an inheritance from a sister in Syndrol in Valdres.
They must have been born at Leine in Vang in Valdres but lived in Sogn, one at Bolstad in Luster where the earliest now known operators were named Lauritz and Anders, one who lived at Nes in Luster, one at Hammer (Hamre) in Leikanger and one at Vangsnes, and this suggests they had control over various properties. Already in the 1300s there lived in Sogn - at Schollegaard in Kaupanger - a member of the Store-Kvale family. Thus, the family had ample opportunity to spread out over Sogn.
   Where is the thread in this tangle? Unfortunately, hypotheses are one thing, but facts another, and facts are a difficult commodity to obtain in genealogical questions before the 1600s. What one can get to weigh for truth in this question will rest on chance discovery, where good fortune offers it.
   With my knowledge of the great families of Vestlandet, of the property conditions here in the west and of naming traditions, however, I do not doubt for an instant that the Heiberg family is Norwegian.
   As support for the assumption that the Heiberg family is of Norwegian origin, it is proposed by P. A. Heiberg's, "Nogle Betragtninger om National- Repræsentationer" (Some reflections about national representation): "The author's grandfather and father - both of the same family and both bearing the same name - were the first persons of this family and of this name who have had their residence outside of Norway's borders." P. A. Heiberg's parents both descend in the fifth generation >from bailiff Søffren Lauritzsøn. If bailiff Lauritzsøn had been of Danish origin then the tradition would have been there for P. A. Heiberg's time for him to write about .
   Where the family got its name from is still an unsolved riddle. In Norway, there is no place, as far as anyone knows, where the Heiberg name is used as a farm name in the 17th century or before.¹ The Heiberg farms that are now found (cf. the section of the Heiberg family, unrelated persons with the Heiberg name) have first gotten that name in the last or current century. Nor in Denmark can the Heiberg name be found as a place name. In south Sjælland there is a little village by the name Høberg, and in Viborg in Jylland, a head parish that bears the name Høiberg, but Heiberg could hardly be derived from these names.²
    ¹According to "Samlinger til det norske Folks Sprog og Historie VI side 588" there was in 1710 near to Kragerø, an islet or island that was called Heiberg.
     ² More as a curiosity there can be mentioned, that near Göttingen on the Weser River, there is a mountain called Heiberg.

   A faint possibility that the Heiberg name could come from Sogn is found in the can arise in Sogn, we can find in a listing of farms in Luster in the Bergenhus fief accounts. The present farm Berge in Fortun parish was then called Høgebierg. The operators in 1603 was a Thorbenn Johanessøn Høgebierg, about whom we know, that he was present at the proclamation of the king in 1591. Later in the registry, it was called just Berge. Who this Thorbenn was, we know nothing. Nor have I been able to find any connection between him and the Heiberg or Store-Kvale families. A danicization of the name Høgeberg to Heiberg can be considered.
   As a family name Heiberg is first met at the end of the 1600s, when used by magistrate Anders Søffren's child by his first marriage with Maren Giertsdatter Morgenstierne. It was common in earlier times to use only the father's name.
   In Lampe-Thrap: "Bergen Stifts Biskopper og Præster" lists as personal curate in Sogndal, an Anders Heiberg who is a full priest precisely listed according to  Lampe-Thrap at November 4 1729 as a personal curate for Sogndal.
   The Heiberg family coat of arms is first met in 1623 in the signet used by bailiff Anders Lauritzsøn. In this, as well as the signets used by the bailiffs Christen Anderssøn and Søffren Lauritzsøn as well as magistrate Anders Søffrenssøn and Gert Heiberg, there is only one field with a skull over two crossed bones. In Anders Lauritzsøn's and Anders Søffrensøn's signets there are plants growing out of the skull. Later - and the first time on a silver pot, which in 1725 was owned by magistrate Gert Heiberg's widow and is preserved in the family museum in Amble - the arms are divided in two fields, to the left the crossed bones and skull over which there is an hourglass, and to the right, a bird holding a branch in its nib.
P. A. Heiberg wrote in a letter to teacher A. F. Mülertz (J. L. Heiberg: Letter from Peter Andreas Heiberg) the following about the arms: "As much as is presently known is that the family's signet, from ancient times, is a shield divided in two, the upper part has three death's heads in a triangle on a white field alluding that the Plague was worst in the winter, and a lower part on a black field, a grouse, which points its nib to the east alluding to the family mother and the Black Death, that was said to have come from the Orient." ¹
   The present author cannot agree with the attempt to trace the oldest signets and family arms to an origin in the time of the Jostedalsrypen (Jostedal Grouse) and the Black Death² and on that basis localize it to Jostedal.
   There are also in our land several commoner family signets in which both the 'grouse' and death heads appear without there being any family connection with them and the Heiberg family, but where it is possible to determine, they have had a clerical origin.
   Nevertheless, there is nothing that precludes the Heiberg family from having their descent from the so-called Jostedalrype. The family's known progenitor lived in Luster, Jostedalen's neighbouring parish, and from generation to generation the legend of descent from the Jostedalsrype has been maintained. It is certain that in Jostedal there is a large family with the name Rype-family, and their descendants live in that mountain valley to this day.³

¹ Cf. also Johanne Louise Heiberg: Petter Andreas Heiberg and Thomasine Gyllenbourg, page 3 - When Mrs. Heiberg in this book tells that she in in possession of a handwritten family tree that follows the family back to Queen Margrethe's time (1353-1412) it is based on an error tht she herself has acknowledged. This family tree, which she sent to the family museum in Amble, goes no further back than to magistrate Anders Søffrenssøn.
² H. K. Heiberg: Genealogical record of the Heiberg family: Johanne Louise Heiberg: Petter Andreas Heiberg and Thomasine Gyllenbourg, as well as the aforementioned letter from P. A. Heiberg to Mülertz.
³ About Jostedalsrypen and the Black Death refer to H. K. Heiberg: Genealogical record of the Heiberg family, P. A. Heiberg: Some reflectionsof national representation, A Faye: Norwegian Folk Tales, Kraft's Account of the Kingdom of Norway, Periodical published by the Historical Society of Sogn, booklet 10; Reichborn-Kjennerud: Our Ancient Witch Remidies.

Translators note:
Because this may be printed off, the pages won't be correct, so I have placed the footnotes where I felt they would best be located. Not that they are very useful, anyway.
The reference to the 'Jostedalrypen' - the Jostedal grouse is not well explained. It would seem to be one of those many stories of survival from the plague. From the picture, I would assume the story is that some hunters were out after grouse when they came upon a girl who was the only survivor of the plague in Jostedal and that she was the mother of the family. I tried googling, but the only reference I could find was this:
"Heiberg is a Norwegian family that according to family legend were descended from 'Jostedalsrypen', the only of the Jostedal people who survived the Black Death. Even though the legend cannot be proven, it is strengthened in that the two oldest known members - two brothers - lived in Jostedal's neighbouring parish Lyster. One of these was Søffren Lauritzsøn." som etter familietradisjonen skal nedstamme fra "Jostedalsrypen."

All Rights Reserved
Republication or redistribution of content or any derivative work for "private use only" is permitted, as long as users acknowledge and attribute any use of material found on this webpage to Olaf Kringhaug. No part of this translation or this webpage may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without written consent from 
Olaf Kringhaug
Copyright of Translations © 2004-2008 Olaf Kringhaug