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Masts of HMS Warrior 1860

Schwartz family

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 Part 3: Hans Jürgen Schwartz Jr (1785 - 1844)


Working life

Hans Jürgen Schwartz (Hans Jr) was the third child of Hans Jürgen Schwartz and Margaretha Spiekermann, and the only one to survive infancy. He was born 17 January 1785 on the island of Fehmarn. Hans Jr’s whole life was constantly linked to the sea. By the time he was 18, he had gone away to sea and in 1812 he settled in Norway where he became a timber merchant, ship owner and ship’s captain. It is possible that it was his business interests that took him to Norway initially, or he may have decided to seek a better life in what was effectively another region of Denmark: from 1397 until 1814, Denmark (which was in possession of Fehmarn) and Norway were part of the Kalmar Union (which had also included Sweden until 1521).


Marriage to Marie Cathrine Johansen Wærner

Hans was 38 when he married Marie Cathrine Johansen Wærner (1803 - 1889) on 02 May 1823 in Strømsø parish church, Drammen, a port city located south-west of Oslo in Buskerud County, Norway. The city’s location where the mouth of the Drammen River meets Drammensfjord meant the city was a key place for timber and shipping industries.

Marie was born 23 September 1803 to Johan Wærner and Elisabeth Arbo. Elisabeth had been born in Canterbury, England in 1772 to a Norwegian father and English mother. Throughout the 18th century, England had been heavily reliant on importing timber and Norway was its biggest supplier. This may have been why Elisabeth’s father Jens Arbo spent some time in England. The Arbo family later moved to Norway and Elisabeth married Johan, a kjøpmann (trader or shop keeper) in 1796. A decade later Norway, which had had a neutral policy regarding the French Revolution and the early Napoleonic era, was forced to side with Russia and Napoleon. In retaliation, Britain began blockading Norwegian ports, which weakened the country and hampered links to Denmark. In 1814, when Napoleon was exiled to Elba, Denmark lost possession of  Norway to Sweden and the two countries were united under a single monarch, though they retained separate constitutions, until Norway gained independence peacefully in 1905.

Hans Jr and Marie had ten children, nine of whom are known about and one daughter was stillborn: Johan Jørgen, Wilhelm Anton, Thomas Wærner, Jens Arbo, Eliaser Julius, Thor August, Elisabeth Margrethe, Hanna Cathrina Augusta and Hans Jørgen Nicholai Mathias. According to family accounts published about Johan Jørgen, it was ‘et sjeldent lykkelig Ækteskab [sic]’'[2] (a rare and happy marriage), despite the 18 year age gap. The family was very fortunate to have had nine children survive infancy. Although infant mortality rates steadily declined during the 19th century in Norway, rates were still around 100 per 1000 live births (in 2002 it was four per 1000). Sadly, many of Hans Jr and Marie’s children experienced the death of their own infant children, sometimes caused by illnesses that are manageable today, such as asthma, epilepsy (convulsive fits) and bronchitis. [2]

Since the Napoleonic Wars, timber had been exported to Holland from Norway for use in housing and warships. Hans Jr died returning from Holland onboard his ship in Flekkefjord, a town on the south-western coast of Norway, on 05 September 1844, aged 59. He was buried 14 September in Drammen and on his tombstone was the inscription: ‘Han var en retskaffen [sic] og virksom borger, trofast Ægtefelle og kjærlig fader, derfor vil slægt og venner evig velsigne hans minde’ [3] which roughly translates as: ‘He was an upright and effective citizen, faithful and loving father, therefore, his relatives and friends will bless his memory forever’. Marie appeared to take over the running of the family shipping business and died in Drammen 16 February 1889, aged 85. [4]


Hans Jürgen Schwartz Jr (1785 - 1844)


Marie Cathrine Johansen Wærner (1823 - 1889)


It is sometimes difficult to trace Norwegian ancestors as families tended to follow a patronymic system: a boy’s surname was his father’s first name and the suffix ‘sen’ (e.g. Carlsen); a girl’s surname was her father’s first name and the suffix ‘datter’ (e.g. Carlsdatter). Sometimes the surname was an occupation, the farm’s name or a nickname. This was common until the late 19th century and although patronymic systems had existed in Schleswig-Holstein and Fehmarn, the Schwartz family did not follow this custom.

When it came to naming children, there was a specific pattern followed in Scandinavian and Germanic countries and this is somewhat evident in the Schwartz family:

  • First boy named for the father’s father

  • Second boy named for the mother’s father

  • First girl named for the mother’s mother

  • Second girl named for the father’s mother

  • Additional children named after parents’ grandparents and siblings

  • If a spouse died and the surviving spouse remarried, the first child was named after the deceased spouse

  • If an older child had died, the next child might be given the same name [5]


 Children of Hans Jürgen and Marie Cathrine Johansen

Johan Jørgen (1824 - 1898) was born 19 February 1824 in Drammen, Norway. He was a merchant with interests in shipping and sawmilling, and later became a director of the Norges Bank, though he went bankrupt in the economic crisis at the end of the 1870s. From 1857 to 1876 (except for a short period from 1865 to 1867), he was a Conservative stortingsmann representing Drammen in the Norwegian Parliament and supported the expansion of the railways. He was also mayor of Drammen from 1862-1866 and awarded orders of chivalry from Norway, Sweden and Denmark. He even had a ferry boat named after him, the DS-Stadshauptmand Schwartz. 

He married Anna Marie Mathee Lassen (1831 - 1877) in 1851 and they had three children: Paul Lassen (1853 - 1922), Marie Cathrine (died one day old 1857), and Hans Jørgen (born and died the same day 1860). Paul Lassen became a major, possibly serving with the Royal Norwegian 2nd Akershus Infantry Brigade. This meant he may have been involved in the defence of Akershus Fortress in Oslo, which was of great strategic importance to Norway's defence. Paul married Elna Johanne Rebekka Holm (whose sister Rebekka married Paul's cousin Hans Jørgen Kjær). They had seven children, the oldest being Johan Jørgen Schwartz. One of their daughters, Elna Särström-Schwartz, was a noted painter who studied at the Académie Colarossi in Paris.

Johan Jørgen Schwartz died 16 March 1898 in Drammen. A bust of him by the noted Norwegian sculpture Gustav Vigeland was unveiled outside Drammen Station on Strømsø Torg in 1900, and is still there today. [6]


More information aboiut Wilhelm Anton (1825 - 1902) appears in Part 4.


Thomas Wærner (1829 - ?) was born 10 August 1829 in Drammen. He was a trælasthandler (timber merchant) and sagbrukseier (sawmill owner). For most of his adult life, he lived in Fredrikstad, a town to the south-east of Drammen, which he represented from 1868 to 1878 in the Norwegian Parliament. He married Wilhelmine Dorothea Ramm (1858 - ?) and though they never had any children of their own, they adopted a son, Sven Busch Brun, born 22 June 1861 in Oslo. Sven's birth parents were the famous actors Johannes Finne Brun and Louise Larsine Gulbrandsen. They had married in 1851 and had eleven children, seven of whom survived infancy. Louise died after the birth of twins in 1866 and although Johannes continued to raise some of those children, it is likely the others were adopted like Sven.

Thomas, Wilhelmine and Sven seemed to have had a comfortable life with three or four servants. Sven later married Signe (maiden name unknown) and they had four children: Wilhelmina, Thomas, Johannes and Fredrik. Thomas Wærner died sometime after 1900 and Wilhelmine died either in 1910 or 1916. Nothing else is known of Sven and his family.


Jens Arbo (1831 - 1902) was born 01 August 1831 in Drammen and became a høyesteretts advokat (high court lawyer). He married Anne Margrethe Allum (1834 - 1920) in 1857 and they had five children: Elisabeth Marie known as 'Elise' (1858 - ?), Hans Jørgen (1860 - ?), Johan Allum (1862 - 1914), Anton Julius (1865 - 1949), Lilly (1868 - ?) and Thomas Wærner (1874 - 1951). 

Elisabeth Marie married Carl Oscar Wulfsberg, twenty years her senior, who appears to have been a politifullmektig (junior police prosecutor). She was widowed after eight years of marriage and returned to live with her parents to help raise her sons, Bjarne and  Jacob Mansinius. She became a lærerinde (school teacher) though it was unusual for women to work after marriage. Johan Allum was an overretssagører (lawyer) and for many years a captain in the Kristiansand Infantry Brigade. Although he died in September 1914, his death was unrelated to World War I as Norway was neutral at the time (he died from phlebitis, the inflammation of the veins). Anton Julius became a doctor and emigrated to America in 1894, living in a Norwegian community in  Palestine Township, Iowa (near Des Moines), with his Norwegian wife Aletta Marie Carlsdatter. It is not known if they had any children and it is possible they divorced as he later married Ella McGregor Renton (originally from Scotland) in the USA in 1919, and Aletta died in Norway in 1937. Lilly travelled to Quebec in her early twenties to visit her cousins, particularly Lily Schwartz, daughter of her uncle Wilhelm Anton Schwartz. Nothing else is known of her and it seems she never married. Thomas Wærner was a manager of a trading company and married Birgitte Munthe.


Eliaser Julius (1833 - 1845) was born 14 July 1833 and died 01 June 1845, just weeks before his twelfth birthday. The cause of death on the official records is not legible but it seems a number of other young people died of the same cause within a week of each other, indicating perhaps it was a contagious disease.


Thor August (1835 - 1882) was a skibsfører (ship’s captain) for most of his life. In 1879, he became an undertollbetjent (lower customs officer) and was stationed in Reversand and Merdø Island, near Arendal on the south-west coast of Norway. He married Laura Dorothea Backer (1838 - 1915) in 1863 and they had six children: Hans Jorgen (1864 - ?), Zacharias (1866 - 1867), Elisas Julius (1869 - 1869), Elisas Julius (1870 - 1940), Adolphine Marie (1874 - 1874) and Marie Kathrine Augusta (c1881 - ?). Sadly Thor August died 08 January 1882, aged 46, and was buried in his birthplace of Drammen.


Elisabeth Margrethe (1837 - 1914), was known as ‘Betzy’. She was born 01 July 1837 in Drammen and married Hans Theodor Kjær (sometimes written as ‘Kiær’), a grosserer (merchant) in 1856. He was ten years her senior and they had four children. Hans died in 1911 and Betzy, 04 December 1914, in Drammen. 

Their eldest child, Hans Jørgen (1862 - 1896), was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy, was a skipsreder (ship owner) and wrote various articles about astronomical mathematics. He married Rebekka Holm (known as 'Bekka'), whose sister Elna had married Paul Lassen Schwartz (son of Johan Jørgen Schwartz), and they had four daughters: Elisabeth Mariet (known as 'Mariet'), Elisabeth 'Betzy' Eleanor Rebecca, Kate and Hansi. The family lived in Paris for a short time but it is not known why. Betzy and Hans’ second son Elias Cathrinus (1863 - 1939) became a trælasthandler and skipsreder, taking over the running of the family timber business, And.H. Kjær & Co. He married Caroline 'Ninna' Ramm and they had two children: Hans Theodor (born 1891) and Ingeborg (born c1895). Betzy and Hans also had two daughters: Cathrine Theodore Elisabeth (1870 - ?) and Elisabeth Cathrine Theodor (1882 - ?) but nothing else is known of them (though Elisabeth may have married someone called Hjelm-Hannsen).


Hanna Cathrina Augusta (1841 - ?) was born 23 August 1841 and married Lars Zacharias Backer (her brother Thor August’s brother-in-law) in 1865. Lars worked in the timber industry and they had three children: Marius Cathrinus (1866 - 1960), Zacharias (1867 - 1940) and Adolph (c1869 -?). Hanna probably died after 1900.


Hans Jørgen Nicholai Mathias (1844 - 1875) was born 28 May 1844. He was baptised the day of his father’s funeral 14 September that same year. His early adult life saw him as a styrmand (shipmate) or sømand (seaman), then becoming a skibsfører (ship’s captain). He married Ellen Jane Larsen c1872 and they had two sons, Hans Jørgen Zacharias and Johan Jørgen. Their eldest son died aged eleven months. Tragically, Hans and their surviving son Johan died when his ship 'Maria' was wrecked in the Skagerrak strait between Norway and Sweden. It happened between 27 and 28 September 1875 and all hands were lost.


Next: Wilhelm Anton Schwartz



[1] Biography of Johan Jørgen Schwartz from the Norsk biografisk leksikon (NBL), 10-volume encyclopedia published by Kunnskapsforlaget 2000-06 (

19th century infant mortality decline in the Nordic countries’ by Gunnar Thorvaldsen (2003)

[3] ‘Kirkegård og gravminner’ (

Fehmarn Genealogical Site [FGS] (; Historical information courtesy of the CIA World Fact Book, Oslo Region European Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, ‘The Anglo-Norwegian Timber Trade in the Eighteenth Century’ by H.S.K. Kent (1955) Economic History Review journal; IGI; ; 1803 Census of Schleswig-Holstein; Norwegian digitized parish records, immigration records from Oslo 1867-1930 (Norwegian National Archives); Norwegian Census 1865, 1875, 1900; ‘Nordisk familijebok’ (digital facsimile provided by Project Runeberg; Wikipedia; Scandinavian artists’ biographies (; Brahde Family Tree website; Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening (NSF - The Norwegian Genealogical Society); Munthe family website; New York Passengers Lists 1820-1957, 1900 US Federal Census (; ‘Generaladvokaten og det militære rettsvesen’ by Geir-Otto Johansen (internet); Norwegian Social Science Data Centre (; Bagge family history

The Federation of East European Family History Societies ( Norway genealogy resources)


[6] Biography of Johan Jørgen Schwartz from the Norsk biografisk leksikon (NBL), 10-volume encyclopedia published by Kunnskapsforlaget 2000-06