A moment in time: Jølster 1890

Here is a picture capturing a moment in time.

This is from oat harvest at the Fossheim farm in Jølster, Sogn og Fjordane 1890 or 91. You can hover the mouse over the picture to get a closer look.

The persons in the picture are identified as Johanne Fossheim, Nicolaia Bolset and Nils Fossheim Year: 1890-91 Public domain (CC pdm) Photo: Lindahl, Axel / Norsk Folkemuseum

I have made an attempt to further identify the persons.

The couple in the back is probably Nils Mosesen born at the Bolset farm October 9th 1855 (1) and his wife Johanne Markvardsdatter Born June 29th 1859 (2) at the Fossheim farm. They got married June 6th 1876 (3). Nils and Johanne had no children.

When it comes to the young woman in front, Nicolaia, there are a few candidates. I am however, tempted to think that this is Nils’ younger sister Nicolaia Mosesdatter born July 23rd 1865 (4), who has come over from the Bolset farm to help her brother and sister in-law with the harvest. Nicolaia went on to marry Elling Samuelsen Fond March 23rd 1893 (5). In the cesnus for 1900 we find them at the Bratsberg farm in the municipality of Strinda, Sør Trøndelag county. They have now four children (6).

I like these pictures because they are rare snap-shots of people looking up from their work. It is interesting to note their clothing. The type of caps the women wear are still used with the national costumes from Jølster. Nils wear wooden clogs, while we can see that Nicolaia is bare-footed.

We see the oat being reaped with sickles. Even though horse-drawn mowers were introduced at this time, it was not in common use until well into the 1900’s. In the picture below Nils are tieing the oat into sheafs using straws.

Here is another shot from the same situation (same credits). You can hover the mouse over the picture to enlarge.

Fossheim is the modern spelling of this farm name. Throughout history different spellings have been used; Fosseim 1563, Foßim 1603, Fossim 1608, Foessim 1667, Fossem 1723 (6).


  1. SAB, Jølster Sokneprestembete, Ministerialbok nr. A 10, 1847-1865, s. 60
    Quick link: https://media.digitalarkivet.no/kb20070305640491
  2. SAB, Jølster Sokneprestembete, Ministerialbok nr. A 10, 1847-1865, s. 90
    Brukslenke for sidevisning: https://media.digitalarkivet.no/kb20070305640521
  3. SAB, Jølster Sokneprestembete, Ministerialbok nr. A 11, 1866-1881, s. 186
    Quick link: https://media.digitalarkivet.no/kb20070112340565
  4. SAB, Jølster Sokneprestembete, Ministerialbok nr. A 10, 1847-1865, s. 117
    Quick link: https://media.digitalarkivet.no/kb20070305640548
  5. SAB, Jølster Sokneprestembete, Klokkerbok nr. B 2, 1887-1920, s. 138
    Quick link: https://media.digitalarkivet.no/kb20050817010141
  6. 1900 census for Strinda (Digitalarkivet) https://digitalarkivet.arkivverket.no/en-gb/ft/bosted_land/bf01037463000607
  7. Oluf Rygh: Norwegian Farm Names (Dokumentasjonsprosjektet) http://www.dokpro.uio.no/perl/navnegransking/rygh_ng/rygh_visetekst.prl?s=e&Vise=Show&KRYSS194879%4043438=on

7 thoughts on “A moment in time: Jølster 1890

  • March 9, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Very nice pictures. Can’t say I’d be out cutting oats in my barefeet. Ouch!

    • March 10, 2017 at 12:34 am

      Thanks for visiting and your comment Darlene. I really like these pictures as they are of people in their working situation and not the lined up pictures in “Sunday bests” as we often see from this timeperiod. In the summer time people often walked and worked bare-fot to save shoe wear.

  • March 9, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    I thoroughly enjoy all of your articles. Unfortunately, you are producing faster than I can process.

    • March 10, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Thanks for Your kind Words Betty. I am really glad you enjoy my articles. I am doing this as a hobby while working full time, so I may ot alays be able to put out articles on a regular pace. Anyway the articles will be here and you can read as Your time permits.

  • March 10, 2017 at 2:33 am

    I LOVE this photo. Definitely a moment in time of ordinary Norwegians.

  • May 4, 2017 at 4:16 am

    How great to see pictures of “real life.” I’m curious about the identification and mis-identification of the pictures. (Will ask on facebook).

    • May 5, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Hello pen4hire

      Thanks for visiting my blog. I believe we did communicate on Facebook and I am just pasting what I wrote there
      “In the captions on these pictures the people where identified without their patronyms. I identified the couple Nils Mosesen and wife Johanne Markvardsdatter living at the Fossheim farm in the 1900 census and churchrecords. As I mentioned in the article, there were a couple of women named Nicolaia in the area, but I guessed that this was Nils’ younger sister”


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