The Hammershaimb family.
The Hammershaimb family and the family name can be traced back to the year 1642 when Georg Smendein was elevated into the Bohemian nobility with the name von Hammersheimb by the German-Roman Emperor Ferdinand the 3 rd. The patent of nobility is in German and is in the archives of Public Records Office in Prague. In the patent of nobility Georg Smendein is awarded a coat of arms which is described in minute details. The original drawing is lost but my father Thorolf Hammershaimb had a wellknown expert in heraldry (Britze) draw up the coat of arms from the original describtion in order to use it as an Ex Libris. Not much is known about Georg Smendein apart from what appears in the patent of nobility. He probably lived in lower Silesia and it would seem that the family were protestants.. In the middle of the 1600 th century thousands of protestants were expelled from Silesia and this may be the reason why Georg Smendein’s son Wenceslaus Franciscus de Hammershaimb arrived in Denmark around 1674. At this time the Danish King Christian the 5 th employed him as an engineer and surveyor. At the Royal Library several of the maps he drew of Copenhagen, Lolland and Falster (islands) can be found. In 1685 he married Anniche Knudsdatter Tveed by whom he had a son (Jørgen Frants de Hammershaimb) and 3 daughters. At the time of his death in 1696 he resided at Vimmelskaftet (street in the center of Copenhagen). Jørgen Frants de Hammershaimb was born in 1688 and quite soon after the death of his father he came into service with Justitsråd Johan Conrad Ernst (Justitsråd: councellor, title awarded to accomplished people with a legal background). In 1703 he became an apprentice as a goldsmith and worked in this profession up to 1709 when his apprenticeship ended. From 1709 and up to 1723 he held various jobs within the navy as a clerk and as a privately employed secretary. In 1723 he was given the office of Landfoged on the Faroe Isles (Landfoged: head of police, unique Faroese title.) by the King Frederik the 4 th and this was the start of the family’s long connection with these rocky North Atlantic isles. Jørgen Frants married as was the custom the widow of his predesessor (Eva Margrethe Robring) the same year as he took up his position as Landfoged and had two children a son and a daughter by her. After her death in 1727 he married the same year 15 year old Elisabeth Kristine Samuelsdatter Weyhe by whom he had no less than 4 sons and 9 daughters. Jørgen Frants de Hammershaimb served as landfoged up to his death in 1765. The position was then taken over by his son Wenceslaus Hammershaimb (b. 1744) who had already been assistant landfoged since 1862. In 1766 Wenceslaus Hammershaimb married Armgard Maria Svabo by whom he had 6 children. Wenceslaus H. Died in 1828 and there is in the family’s ownership, quite a few items that belonged to him. His oldest son Jørgen Frantz Hammershaimb (b. 1767) came 14 years old to Denmark to continue his schooling at the Grammar School in the town of Slagelse and later he studied law at the University of Copenhagen from where he also graduated. In 1806 he was appointed laugmand on the Faroe Isles. He was to be the last laugmand as the office was closed down in 1816. In recent years the office has, as many will know, been resurrected. Jørgen Frantz married in 1813 Armgard Maria Egholm. In the marriage were 2 children, a son and a daughter. Jørgen Frantz H. died already in 1820 and his widow survived him by 68 years! Jørgen Frantz H. and Armgard Maria Egholm’s son Venceslaus Ulricus Hammershaimb was born on the 25 th of march 1819 at "Stegård" on the island of Vaagø. When the father died in 1820 the widow could no longer stay at the former official residence and in 1822 she moved with her 2 children to Thorshavn. Her only means of income then was a small widow’s pension. V.U. Hammershaimb received early on lessons in latin and when he was 12 years old it was decided he should go to Denmark to further his education. He arrived in Copenhagen in 1832 and in 1840 he graduated from HighSchool (A levels, Studentereksamen), and later studied Theologi at the University of Copenhagen from where he graduated in 1847. During his years of studying V. U. had shown more interest for languages rather than sciences. This interest was developed further during the years to come and in 1847 he travelled to the Faroes in order to collect legends, folksongs etc. In 1849 he became a teacher at Frelser Sogns Friskole (a Free School in Copenhagen) where he remained until 1855. Alongside his work as a teacher he worked on a Faroese Grammar and during the years 1851-1855 he published a number of Faroese songs (kvader). In 1855 he was appointed vicar at Nordstromø parish and this meant his return to the Faroe Isles. The same year on the 10 th of August V.U. Hammershaimb married Elisabeth Christiane Auguste Gad. The following years as a vicar were extremely busy and he had to undertake many travels to all the parishes. Despite this V.U and Elisabeth had 8 children, among these their firstborn Hjalmar Hammerhaimb (my grandfather) born 1856. In 1862 he became vicar at Nes in the parish of Østerø and in 1867 he was appointed Dean. Fron 1866 until his departure from the Faroes in 1878 he was a member of the Lagting by appointment of the King. (Lagting: local government). Apart from his extensive work regarding the Faroese language, he put a lot of emphasis on the development of a proper Faroese schoolsystem with qualified teachers. V.U. Hammershaimb is today regarded as the "Father" of the Faroese grammar and has been honoured by appearing on the Faroese 100 kr. Bill and on a stamp. In January 1878 he was appointed rural dean at the parish of Lyderslev (Stevns) which meant his departure from the Faroes. He remained at Lyderslev until 1897 at which time he and his wife moved to Ryesgade 110 i Copenhagen. His wife died in 1908 and shortly after V.U. fell ill and he died on the 8 th of April 1909. Both he and his wife are buried at Lyderslev as is his mother. My grandfather Hjalmar Hammershaimb was born in 1856 at the Vicarige in Kvivik on North Strømø. He spends the first 6 years of his life there, whereafter the family moved to Nes on Østerø. Later Hjalmar lived for some years with his grandmother in Thorshavn in order to attend school there. In 1869 he moved to Copenhagen in order to further his education at Metropolitanskolen (well reputed grammar school/highschool) from where he graduated in 1874. In 1880 he achieved his law degree from the University of Copenhagen and then spend a few years working as a solicitors clerk before returning to the Faroes in order to take up a post at the council office in Thorshavn. He remained there until 1886 when he returned to Denmark. In 1888 he established his lawfirm in Ålborg and in 1892 became "overretssagfører" (a now extinct title). In 1900 he became Managing Director of the reinsurance company "Fremtiden" as well as member of the board and co-founder of the insurance company "Dana". In 1902 he married Margrethe Kerstens and in the following years between 1903 to 1919 6 children were born. The firstborn Thorolf was my father and apart from him Erling was born in 1904, Armgard in 1905, Sunneva 1907, Venzel Ulrik 1914 and Margrethe in 1919. Hjalmar died on the 27 th of Januar 1923 (on my father’s 20 th birthday) during a business trip to Copenhagen. My father Thorolf graduated in 1921 from Aalborg Katedralskole and took his Masters Degree in Science (Math, Physics, Chemistry and Astronomi) from the University of Copehagen in 1928. All his working life was spend within the Insurance Business, mainly the lifeinsurance company Hafnia in Copenhagen where he also worked at the time of his death in 1967. Thorolf married in 1939 my mother Grethe Knudsen ( 1920-67) and in the marriage 2 children were born, my sister Bente Hammershaimb (b. 1940) and myself Allan Hammershaimb (b. 1946).
Source material: The Hammershaimb family by professor Erling Hammershaimb 1982. Translation by Bente H.