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A few words on the Crogers and on the strategy of this inquiry.
The many forefathers and ancestors of the present Crogers here, there and everywhere are least of all statistic figures in censuses and church records as they are datafiles, plain texts, updatings, attachments or installments. Once upon a time the Krøgers and their Crogers were just like us, people of flesh and blood and with all their faults and virtues, dreams and sorrows as human beings always will have them and I have tried as best as I could to treat them with respect, trying to tricker their fixed memory.
Since the very first beginning of this genealogical project November 1996, I have felt myself being in a very good company both with the departed and the living Crogers. I have enjoyed every minute of it and still am, even if some of them have followed me far from home with their ghostly, nightly footsteps to express their gratitude, coming to life on request of the living Crogers.
Life, trading background and economy.
When Hans Krøger of Bergen, Norway, in 1640 steps out of the old records and onto the scene in the bright daylight of family history by getting his first tradesman's licence, the former power of the Hansas was declining, but hundreds of merchants and shipmasters of the Nordic sphere were nevertheless still sailing and trading between those cities, which, in the Middle Ages, had been the seat of Hanseatic trading stations like Hamburg, Rostock, Lübeck, Wismar, Stralsund, Oslo and Bergen, mostly carrying malt, salt, grains and clothes, returning to Germany with timber or dry fish and cod.
The Kontore of the Hansa in Bergen with its nearly twohundred employers was still very active in trading and indeed, too, as unpopular among the ordinary citizens of Bergen as ever.
In general and as they always had done, the old trading companies of the Hanseatic cities were still sending their younger members of their families, mostly young boys of sixteen, up to Bergen to be trained as Gesellen in the commercial knowledge of the Hansas. To the great annoyance of many Norwegians in Bergen, these young Germans lived openly together with their Norwegian women as couples, but without being married. After some years and after finishing their education they again left Bergen, settling in Hamburg, Lübeck or in one of the many neighbouring suburbs, where they established their own family and trading business.
When and why did Hans Krøger The Younger settle in Bergen?
The question of the exact year of birth of Hans Krøger is still hypothetical. Counting backwards from the year of the granting of his trading licence he may have come out of his "mothers wombe" (phrase from his own will of 1664) around 1610, perhaps a little earlier. The information from the Books of Citizensry of Bergen, that Hans Krøger (The Younger) was from Hamburg, does not necessesarily mean, that he also had been born there.
Exactly how and when Hans Krøger arrived in Bergen from Hamburg is hard, even impossible to tell. Surely he was not the only Krøger among a lot of other shipmasters with a permanent or temporary address living in Bergen at that particular time. Most of the many other Krøgers from parts of Lower Saxony did not arrive before in the late part of the 17th century.
Hans Krøger (The Younger) may have come to Bergen, Norway, BECAUSE of the Hansa and like many other German emigrants, found himself a Norwegian woman to marry, gotten his trading licence and according to local law bounding himself to stay and settle for good, untill he eventually decided to terminate his trading licence.
Hans Krøger and his family and forefathers may have belonged to a very old trading dynasty, dealing with Bergen for centuries. He may then as a youngster have decided to settle down and start his own trading company, doing business with England, Holland, Germany and maybe even with Spain and Brazil.
Hans Krøger and the Hansa.
The assumption that Hans Krøger did not at all belong to the inner circles of the Hansa at least after 1640, is partly confirmed by the fact that he, like Hans Krøger The Older, did pay custom duties (per ship's cargo) and was more or less regularly taxed as an ordinary Norwegian citizen (1645), while the employers of The Kontore by the Hansa at Bryggen paid a particular tax and custom duty.
Another proof of Hans Krøger's socalled non-Hanseatic status and role after 1640 is, that he was burried in the Nykirken and his wife in the Korskirken, not in the German Maria Church. Afterwards his descendents continued to use especially the Nykirken for bap- tizing and wedding ceremonies and burrials of their own family members.
Nevertheless, one of the goodfathers of Anna and Beata, daughters of Immelcke and Hinrich Olssøn, Claus Edon, Master of the guild, came from the staff of The Hanseatic Kontore at Tyskebryggen in Bergen.
Anyway, it would have seemed quite natural for a man in his outstanding position to have done business with some of the people of the Hansa in Bergen without necessarily being an active member himself of the Hanseatic League.
Property and estates.
According to various local taxations carried out in Bergen 1641 (Shipmasters), 1643 (Boatswains), 1644 (Boatswains and shipmasters) and 1657 (house and land owners) Hans Krøger was not himself a socalled house owner. He is not listed as a man of fortune, but this does not rule out the posibility, that he may have owned some other kinds of estates (properties). Hans Krøger may simply have rented a living house and a warehouse by the district of Stranden, Vågen. (see file (1657) with complete listing of inhabitants of fortune, living inside the district of Rode 9, the Strand or Vågen)
If he nevertheless should have been away from Bergen, while the taxation was carried out, someone else from the local authorities would most certainly have taxed his estates, including potential properties.
In 1664 Hans Krøger stated in his will that "my estates (is) to be equally shared and devided..." so he may in the intermediate years have worked up some sort of an estate or he may have inherited properties from his family in Bergen, Oslo (father/grandfather) or in Hamburg.
First of all he was a shipmaster as well as a ship owner. Do a ship like the Samphson belongs to an estate or property?
Hans Krøger, his trading vessel, carrying trade and settling of accounts (custom duties).
The first sign I have been able to find of Hans Krøger (Hans Kruger) and his ship in trading action after 1640 stems from 1642 where he had paid his "ringpenger" and for carrying trade of the whole cargo of his ship.
September 26, 1644 Hans Krøger and his ship was hired because of a socalled drafting into the Royal Navy of boatswains and shipmaster (Bergen) There task was to transport supplies by ship for the military garison in Christiania September 29, 1644. The shipmasters was then paid for carrying trade.
This happened again in 1645 when "Hans Krøyer (Krøger) from Bergen and his ship" was bound for London.
Two different shiploads of supplies and victuals for the consumption of the Danish army in Copenhagen.
Receipt for loading the ship of Hans Krøger
Dated June 18, 1657. Clearence bills.
(Addressed to: The honourable merchant Kristoffer Orning as a receipt for his delivering of victuals for 500 persons (soldiers) to be transported from Bergen to Copenhagen by ship.
The honourable officer Binte til Østeraad has procured the following supplies and materials. The King's vasal on Bergenshus has supervised the loading of the seabound ship of HANS KRØGER . Cargo (for 500 men) from here to Copenhagen:
(Source: Bergenshus len 1557-1658. Indtægtsregnskab (Income) 137.2)
Receipt of loading the ship of Hans Krøger
Dated Bergenshus June 1657.
(End of qotation)
One comes pretty close to the trading activities of Hans Krøger. This tells us something about the capacity of his ship. It seems as if there were to be officers onboard the ship, bound for the garison of Copenhagen, Denmark
Officer Binte might be identical with the Alexander Binte of the will (1664)
The various account books (custom rolls) regarding costum duties only give a very few detailed descriptions and specifications of WHAT Hans Krøger was in fact importing, exporting or transporting, except for malt, grain, cod, bread and general cargo.
Nevertheless, his many trading activities must have called for a management of some sort ashore, consisting of woollen drapers, weavers, brewers, fishmongers and clercks and who was engaged in manufacturing, processing of rawmaterials and distribution of the goods.
It can then be of no surprise, that the Crogers of London just like their Norwegian forefathers ended up as fishmongers and brewers and even became musicdealers.
Obviously, Hans Krøger (The Younger) must have been away from home in rather long intervals. Wifes and children of most shipmasters, left at home, were constantly worrying that their father should encounter the terryfying Flying Dutchman and the socalled Klabautermann, dangling and laughing in the foremast just before a trading wessel being wrecked) with his eyes glowing in the darkness over the deep waters.
They longed for the great day, when their father was rounding the point at the harbour and was met by a cheering of the children, making big eyes of what their father brought with him back home from his trading voyage. But sooner or later the father had to leave and sail again, carrying on with his hard life at sea. Navigare necesse est, as we say. It is necessary as well as important to be sailing and trading.
The merchant in charge often was onboard together with the shipmaster.
The taxation formular from 1645 noted: Shipmaster Hanns Kröeger and his woman. (Norwegian: QUINDE>KVINNE>WOMAN)
They were both listed as a married couple. This young couple are supposed to have married around 1641 and shortly after that Hans Krøger got his trademan's licence. By the time of the taxation Christiana, who must have been born in Bergen around 1620, was then twenty one and Hans Krøger thirty one, give and take a few years. Because this particular first name seems to have been difficult for people to pronounce, it was gradually changed to Kirsten.
Another and alternative explanation for the change of the spelling of the first name KIRSTEN may be that this first name of a Norwegian woman was changed to CHRISTIANA, due to the translation to English of the will (compare: Hans Krøger>Hans Kroger, Jon Krøger>John Croger)
More than one living Hans Krøger at the same time?
According to a short note in some documents, Hans and Christiana (Kirsten) Krøger both passed away with a few days interval March, 1667. The story has it, that they both got the typhoid fever or died for more natural reasons during the plague, at that time raveging in Bergen. This turns out to be a retrospective and most unreliable note, recorded in a sort of a diary, kept by the members of the Episcopy of Bergen some time after the incident itself in fact happened.
Hans Krøger was de facto burried at a still unknown date 1667 inside the Nykirken of Bergen in a sort of a family vault and not as many others anonymously in one big common grave.* Kirsten Krøger, his wife, was laid to rest in Korskirken November 1690, both churches located in the Vågen-district.
So never believe in a dizzy vicar, more or less infected by the plague and with a bottle of wine in his hand!
*Where the church registers are missing, the records from the mortgages often have informations on the exact year and date of death of the deceased.
Sadly, no morgage seems as far to have been carried out after the death of Hans and Kirsten Krøger in resp. 1667 and 1690. In 1665 John had already married and was one of the overseers following the death of his father. (Sources: Clerical mortgages 1680-1715, Bergenshus)
Children and supposed relatives of Kirsten and Hans Krøger.
Miss Elisabeth Hansdatter Krøger.
Since last report, another daughter of Hans and Kirsten Krøger has been found and we are most happy and proud to present the lady in question by her full name, Elisabeth Hansdatter Krøger.
Elisabeth was 22 years old in 1672, when she acted as a godmother. Supposedly, she must have been born around 1655. She married Dirich Grefue, November 22, 1674. His profession is yet unknown, but he, who was of German stock, may have been in the maritime trading business. This couple got a child, a boy, named Hans, baptized March 2, 1677 in Nykirken. This time another little Hans managed to survive.
Elisabeth (Hansdatter Krøger) Grefue died December 17, 1715 in Bergen.
Her mother, Kirsten Krøger, was most certainly in her early fourties, when the will was set up in 1664, indicating, that if Hans Krøger, her husband, should die before his wife and his widow, Kirsten should wish to marry again, her children of the new marriage should inheret half of the estate. John and Daniel was as far as we know the first of her children to be born, then came Christian, Immecke and Elisabeth. In those days far way back a woman well over fourty five seldom gave birth to children.
Supposing, that Hans Krøger came out of his mothers wombe around 1610, Kirsten was probably born around 1620 and their children seem to have been born between 1642 and 1667, on condition that the marriage of Hans and Kirsten Krøger in 1641 was their very first one.
Nothing new has so far come up regarding the family of Christiana (Kirsten) Meinartzdatter.
Another preliminary listing of the children of Hans and Kirsten (Christiana) Krøger:
*(According to newly discovered information Hinrich Olssön The Older was in fact the father of Hinrich Olssön The Younger)
We now know for certain, that Kirsten Krøger, the wife of Hans Krøger, died nearly 70 years old in Bergen and still as a widow. One may assume that John and Daniel got most of the estates as some sort of an initial capital.
In 1644 shipmaster Johan Krüger (Kröger, Krøyer, Krøger) of Bergen is mentioned in various tax-payings. (Norwegian: ringpenger="ship tied to the ring)
In 1646 shipmaster Niels Crøger (Krøger) of Bergen imported more than twelwe shiploads of malt over a periode of twelwe months.
Shipmaster Hermann Krøger, from Hamburg imported various sorts of malt and grain. (see information, appearing on rolls of custom duties, dated Bergen 1642-43, indicating that Hermann Krøger were bound for both Hamburg and Spain with his trading wessel NEPTUMUS)
The true identity of Henning Krøger (1606) is still unknown. He may nevertheless have died around 1635.
Listings of godmothers as well as godfathers in church records (Baptizing and wedding ceremonies) often indicate the presence of both close business associates and family members.:
These people had one and the same thing in common. They were nearly all of German ancestry and had Stranden, Vågen as their individual place of residence.
Church records and a piece of family history.
Place of residence: Vågen, Åfjorden, Bergen, Rode 9. His surname spelled Krögher
Different trading activities. The old city of Deventer in The Netherlands.
Hans Krøger The Older imported mainly malt, meant for brewery, consumed by members of the upper class in Bergen. He was on the annual payroll of the Kings vasal, delivering various goods and clothes, even candlelights to the King's Vasal and fortress. Mostly he was trading with Deventer.
The city of Deventer is located on the banks of the river Isel, a side branch of the Rhine. It has a well preserved centre which is more than a thousand years old. The city used to be a leading factor in the medieval Hanseatic League, a forerunner of the European Union. It was also the home of the famous Renaissance humanist Erasmus and it has a long tradition in education. Being one of the first European cities to introduce book printing is still reflected in Europes largest annual book fair each summer along the banks of the river. The trading ceased in the course of the 16th century.
A naval war for Hans Krøger to cope with.
The Danish-Norwegian king Christian the Second failed in his attempts to recreate the Nordic Union, which primarily was an attempt to free the Nordic area from the Hanseatic domination. He was related to the Spanish-Dutch emperor through marriage. His efforts to attach Denmark to the Netherlands caused the Danish nobility to revolt.
In 1523 he was forced into exile. His successor was pro-Hanseatic, but after his death in 1533 the Danish-Norwegian pact with the League was broken for the benefit of an alliance with the Netherlands.
A war broke out between the Swedes, the Danish nobility and Lübeck. The city of Lübeck was defeated and in the peace that followed in 1536, the Hanseatic League lost their profitable privileges in the Nordic area.
The Hanseatic Kontor in Bergen remained, but deprived of most of its power
The Dutch merchants had been allowed to sail through the Sound (Øresund, Kronborg, Elsinore) in 1525, but new blockades in 1532, 1536 and 1541-44 had a disastrous affect on the Netherlands, causing famines and tremendous rises in grain prices. Not until 1544 was the access to the Baltic totally open again for Dutch trade.
In the Baltic most of the grain was exported via Danzig. During the last years of the 15th century, about 5000 cargoes of grain were exported annually. In the middle of the 16th century the quantity was doubled and in 1618, 118 000 cargos of grain left the town. In 1650 about 50 Dutch commercial houses were established in Danzig and about 20 English agencies. Not only Danzig flourished due to the grain export, but also Stettin, Kønigsberg and Riga exported large amounts of grain.
Dutch merchants brought Polish and Livonian grain to the Netherlands and to Southern Europe, France, Portugal and Spain. The Dutch trade was extremely competitive due to their special grain-ship construction with large carrying-capacity, which only demanded a small crew. The Netherlands expanded their trade and became the leading trading and seafaring nation in Europe, during a period of increasing prices and increased demands.
As a consequence of Christian II's naval war against the Hanseatic trading stations in 1523, three ships of the Hansas carrying grain, malt and other provisions to Norway, were embargoed and taken by Danish pirats.
One year after the trade was severely hampered by the continously embargoing of ships. Even if the continental part of the Hansa tried to keep in close touch with Bergen the prizes for grain rose so strongly that the Kings Vasal tried to get grains from Denmark.
It has become too expensive for the King's Vasal to buy malt and grains from the merchants at the Kontore at Bryggen in Bergen the Kings Vasal, Esge Bille, intended to buy the grains and malt from Lübeck or Copenhagen for the primary need of the castle itself.
Particularly in 1532-35 it became very hard times for all citizens of Bergen and even the Hanseatics were running out of grain and especially of malt for beer-production. Because the kings vasal, Esge Bille, would not pay the price the Hansa-people wanted for the malt, Hans Krøger and a few other shipmasters desided to sail for Hamburg.
There they loaded their wessels with all sorts of the most incredible goodies and then returned with several tons of malt, corn and other sorts of provisions, they so badly needed in Bergen.
Arriving to the outskirts of Bergen Hans Krøger The Older together with some other Norwegian shipmasters managed with their poorly armed trading wessels to pass a blockade, established by ships of the Danish King Christian the Second and by shooting themselves right through this naval bariere just outside the harbour of Bergen.
Who can't hear the echo of the big tremendous roaring croud of citizens of Bergen when they spotted the wessels through smokes of gunpowder.*
*I found this and some other interesting and intruiging stories, burried in old records called DIPLOMATARIUM NORVEGICUM (From 1200 to1600) (Correspondence between the Kings vasal and the Danish King).
Some other Krøgers.
The following names, taken from account books, are variously spelt:
Import (Account books The King's Vasal, Bergenshus 1577-1600)
A short biography and information on his trading.
Member of the City counsel of Oslo (Board,City Hall) 1565-1567. Merchant and shipmaster, Mayour from 1560 to 1565. Landed proprietor (of a farm called Seter, just outside Oslo)
According to various censuses covering the periode from 1550-1600 Oslo had approximately 500 citizens. In addition, Oslo was just a small harbour and discharging berth for export of timber and fur.
The name of Hans Kröger of Oslo appears together with other local people's in an appeal to the Dansh King protesting against the big recruting of boatswains in the last part of 1561. Together with some other notabilities Hans Krøger signed a written complain from the mayour and city counsel, addressed to the King of Denmark reg. enrolling of crews, signing on merchanthips.
Oslo is represented with 100 shipmasters, boatswains and first mates and officers.
(Source: Correspondence reg.The Kings vasal, pipe and court rolls)
(According to the following extract Hans Krøger pays custom duties for the whole cargo but without specifying it)
Again the surname of Krøger is variously spelt, but it is not at all difficult to differentiate between them.
(Shipmaster Jagann) merchant Messr.(= in polite German: Herrn) Kröger, (Shipmaster Enox) merchant Messr. Kroger, (Shipmaster Hans) merchant Messr Kröger and Krøger
(Source: Account books of the office of the Kings vasal 1557-1558, Akershus. Opbörsel aff Follo Fogderi. Told som hollender och andre Skipper haffue giffiue.Follo (Dröbak) near Oslo and by the coast of Oslo Fiord)
The existence of three different genealogical characters named Hans Krøger in the source material opens up a new line of crucial speculation. Historical deduction is often difficult.
It seems as if Hans Krøger manage to be at different places at the same time!
One may simply ask, if Hans Krøger the Younger in fact is the true and right father of Daniel and John Kroger.
Hans Krøger The Older of Bergen disappears completely from the account books of the Bergen Manor and Castle and from other kinds of local records dating from the year of our Lord 1566.
It could very well be, that Hans Krøger The Older had moved to Oslo around 1566 or 1567, because he already might have been trading with this city, small as it in fact was in the period in question. Each member of a city counsel was most often recruted from older and more mature people coming from the upper middle class of merchants of fortune, just like the old Hans Krøger himself may have been chosen to hold this particular office.
Hans Krøger of Oslo vanishes out of the available records around 1567 and may have died shortly after. The question of the age of the various Krøgers will indeed fit very well into our genealogical mainscheme and frame of reference as Hans Krøger The Older might have been born around 1500.
According to some printed records from the meetings of the City Counsel of Oslo, Hans Krøger did in fact own or dispose of some property, a manor, situated just outside the city of Oslo and in Bergen and it seems highly probable that this property in question could at a later stage have been passed on to his supposed grandson, Hans Krøger The Younger, mentioned in his will of 1664. As a true humanist Hans Krøger saved a woman from being burnt by fire as a supposed witch!
If so, Henning Krøger could, hypothecially speaking, have been a son of Hans Krøger The Older, even if it is documented and proved that the Henning Krøger appearing in the rolls reg. various applyings for citizensry (1606) was born in Bergen.
Both Hans Krøger the Older (and partly the Younger) from Bergen were importing a lot of clothes esp. from Deventer as a raw material for further finishing. This activity must have called for the establishing of several working teams such as woollen drapers, tailors and maybe of weavers.
Several of the Krøgers, who came to Bergen in the end of the 16th and in the beginning of the 17th century were mostly weavers of profession. This could not have been entirely accidental. There must have existed some sort of an actual family-relationship. The suspicion remains.
My personal belief, reached after being swayed to and fro by the more or less reliable evidence on one side or the other, is that the 3 seperate Hans Krøgers, appearing in various Norwegian sources from the 15th and 16th century are in fact related to one another through family, owing trading companies as well, ran on family lines.
Too, there is no doubt at all in my mind, that the John Kroger, mentioned 1664 in the will of his father, Hans Kroger of Bergen in Norway, is in fact identical with the John Croger, marrying Elisabeth West in London 1665.
Finally, the Hans Krøger of 1640, 1645 and 1667 in the Norwegian source material is undoubtedly one and the same person.
Anyway, we must not forget, that there, too, were a few other Hans Krøgers in the course of the 14th and 15th century and some of whom maybe took part in the Hanseatic trade with Scandinavian countries like Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but I think we can rule them out at least for the time being.*
(These are extract from English sources, explaining why the orig. surname of Krøger is spelled with a kay and with an o)
ANTON KNIP (identical with Anthony Knipe, London 1664) returned to London and established himself as a merchant.
Anton Knipe turns up in Christiania (Oslo), Norway in 1647 and before that he must have been trading with people in Sweden. What kind of connections this Englishman may have had in Copenhagen so that he could get this kind of a job is unknown but it was in fact common in these days in as custom business to emply "pure" foreigners in important offices. It was The King himself who personally employed Anthony Knipe.
The four years Anthony Knipe was holding this office he showed a lot of personal energy judging from the many complaints against him from nearly everyone he dealt with but because of this he ended up breaking the law.
In 1654 he was discharged, denying to defend himself against complaints of corruption.
In 1660 Anthony Knipe established himself as a merchant in London, where he also had been born. He had most certainly been trading with Hans Krøger.
In 1665-66 Anton Knipe and his family were on a visit to the newly build custom house in Bergen, when they experienced a tremendious naval attack, described in detail in a previous report. Anthony Knipe and his family may very well have met with Hans Krøger and his family, living in the nearby Vågen in Bergen.
I have taken a close look at the report of Anton Knipe himself. His signature is ANTHONY KNIPE, just like his name appears on the will!
(Sources: NRR XI, page 232 & NRR XII, page 257f, Statholderskabets Extractprotokol 1642-1650 II, page 5)
One of the creditors of the will of Hans Kröger from 1664 is PETER SPLITT of Wuppen, Germany, maybe related to another Peder Split of Danish origin and the Kings vasal in Norway.
This seems to be as far as we can go at present in the matter of disguising the many early historical characters of the Krøger-dynasty.
A great deal of the mystery of the true origin of the German-Norwegian Krøgers remains unexplained, but it is possible, that further clues in deeds, rolls or records, especially in the Danish State Archive of Copenhagen, may finally resolve the puzzle of the, as it seems, indeed most exciting, intruiging and at times dramatic life and family history of the Croger's Krögers, but that must be left for the future to discover.
Only 5 % of the whole genealogical material has been digitalized yet.This makes investigations both very difficult and time-consuming. As an example, it took nearly a year to locate the unprinted account books from the office of the kings vasal of Bergenhus 1500-1600.
I am sorry to say, that the existing and available mortgages and deeds of the period in question, filed in the State Archive of Bergen, make no mention none so ever of the surname of Krøger nor do the various court and pipe rolls of Bergen city and county.
Inquiries into the lives of the Norwegian decendents of Christian Hansön Kröger and Immecke Hansdatter Krøger-Olsön will have to be left for future investigations.
Most certainly, the missing genealogical link between the German and Norwegian line of the Krøgers will have to be found in the archives of Hamburg, where one might expect to be confronted with the famous skeleton in the cubboard, disclosing even more intruiging and fascinating family secrets of the continental Krøgers!
The State Archive of Oslo.
Skjelborg, Oslo, Norway.
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