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A Norwegian Colonisation Undertaking


The Debora Expedition sailed from Bergen in 1879 to establish a Norwegian colony on an Indian Ocean atoll called Aldabra. The organisers endeavoured to find practical and Christian people to create a settlement based on the teachings of the Norwegian preacher Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771 -1824). The expedition was aborted in Madagascar - a few of the participants remained in Madagascar and the rest settled in the British colony of Port Natal (Durban). They were the first group of Norwegian emigrants to settle in Port Natal.

The forty-seven persons who took part in the Debora Expedition were:- Captain Tobiassen and wife, mate Berentsen and wife, mate Oftedal, A Olsen and wife, I Iversen and wife, O Heidalsvig and wife (Høidalsvig), J Finsen and wife, K Bang and wife with three children (Amanda, Severin and Knut), F Larsen and wife with six children (Angel, Emil, Sigvart, the three sons of the late Sivert Andersen Hordnes, and Petra, Ludvig and Karl), H Johnsen and wife with three children (Sina, Josefine and Karl), A Andreassen and wife with three children (I don't remember their names), R Andersen, R Rasmussen, K Jensen, Hesselberg, Grang, O Fosdal, E Eriksen, P Bang, E Ellingsen, widow Egelandsdal and Miss Serene Larsen. Two children were born on the voyage: a son to Mr and Mrs F Larsen and a son to Mr and Mrs Andreassen.

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Descendants of: Serene Larsen

David Larsen wrote:

Dear Michael Fisk,

Thank you for your letter dated 30th April 1998.

Yes, I phoned Elise Hoyland, she told me about your recent visit and how pleased you were to see the information she has on Debora related matters. We had a long talk about the Debora and the Debora families - see note at end of this letter.

I spoke to David Hansen's sister Dorothy, she cannot recall any mention of a Rev. Julius Hansen. See note at end of this letter. The address for David Hansen is correct, I checked the address with his niece - she says that perhaps there should be an N in the Zip Code as follows: David Hansen: Bj Bjornsons Gt 19, Stavanger, N-4021, Norway.

The information that you have found on reading through the extracts of Rev Peder Eidberg's book are indeed interesting. Can you read Norwegian or are the extracts in English? In his will Fredrik Larsen left a portion of his farm to the church but it did not say what church. I was told that this was the "Assembly of Believers" but in fact it could have been the "Community of Believers" see note attached.

The 12 page document "Incidents in the life of Severin A Bang" must be interesting reading. Yes, please send my notes on to the Historian who comes from Daniel Nelsen's area of Norway.

Your notes about the Debora passengers were most interesting. You wrote: "Serene Larsen was CYRENE SOLBAKKEN states Serverin Bang. She was the sister of Mrs Fredrik Larsen. She later married a Captain Olsen who soon after died of fever."

As a result of your note I followed up on recent information on the Larsen family set to me from Norway.

The Miss SERENE LARSEN on the Debora could well be Serene Olsdtr B1838-12-20 the older sister of Sivert Andersen Hordnes' widow, Marie Elisabeth Olsdtr who married her third cousin Fredrik Johan Larsen (Lervig - Leervig - Lervik). Fredrik Johan Larsen later adopted the three sons of Sivert Andersen Hordnes. They were three of the "Larsen" children on the Debora. Their names were Angele Edvard Sivertsen and the twins Emil Sivertsen, and Sigvart Sivertsen. These three boys later used the surname of their stepfather Fredrik Johan Larsen. Sigvart was my grandfather. Miss Serene Olsdtr could have used the name "Larsen" as she may have been part of the Larsen family on the Debora.  This could account for yet another Debora passenger. (see file B3).

Thank you once again for all the information and I look forward to more news.


David Larsen

Yngve Nedrebø wrote:

Subject: Greetings from Bergen
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 09:33:49 +0100
From: "Nedrebo, Yngve"
To: "'larsen@salbu.com'"


A long time has passed, and I have had a crash or two on my computers, but now I will like to point out the web-version of the recollections of S. A.Bang of Debora: http://digitalarkivet.uib.no/sab/sabang.htm

We have now also identified with certainty Oftedahl on the Debora:
Johan Oftedahl, born at the Malde farm in Håland parish near Stavanger April 8, 1856. He was the son of farmer Jonas Oftedahl (1811-) and Johanne Oftedahl (1832-). We have found him in the Seamen's rolls of Stavanger, and he made one trip in 1876, then registered on Debora. He is on record there as having died at "Bandrive, Lake Nyasa, Africa Jan. 29, 1884".

Marie Elisabeth Sivertsdatter Nygaardsvik was born Aug. 20, 1844. She was a widow when she married Fredrik Johan Larsen. And she had a sister Serene Sivertsdatter, born Dec. 15, 1838 in Askży parish near Bergen. This is most likely Cyrenne Solbakken, Fredrik Larsens sister-in-law, and one of the persons leaving Debora in Tulear.


Yngve Nedrebø
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