Oh - I meant to say the surname "Hoff" is a place name; there is more than one place in Norway called Hoff.
You may know but as a note for anyone reading, a boy born in Norway mid-1800s would be given his father's first name plus "son" as a patronymic name. Then after the patronymic name would come another identifier name, such as a place name. In this case, we know only that the father's first name started with M, so we don't know John's patronymic name. We can guess the "John Earl" part is going to be different in Norway.
So that's several missing pieces. One could be looking for Johannes Erland Martinson from Hoff, Vest-Agder, Norway (a name I'm making up as an example).
Norwegian Genealogy links:
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