Jens Jørgen Jørgensen’s Norwegian Narrative
1777 – 1897
As of October, 2003
Assembled by his great great grandson, Larry Smith
315 Laurelwood Drive
Jacksonville, Oregon 97530
Much of this family information was gathered prior to and soon after our September, 2003 visit to Norway.
The roots of our Norwegian family come from two different areas of Norway. Great Grandfather, Jens Jørgen Jorgensen, was born May 23, 1860 in Kongsberg, which is located in the south central Norwegian county of Buskerud. (Norway is divided into 19 counties, somewhat like our states.)
The Danish Kings controled most of Norway for 400 years until the “union” was disolved in 1814. Western Noway, especially in the Kongsberg area, still reflects its Danish past through the language and place name spelling.
It was explained to me that Norway basically uses three forms of Nowegian language. That which has Danish roots, “old Norwegian” and a more modern form of Norwegian that has standarized spelling and pronounciation.
Great grandmother Dortea Olsdatter was born in Grue Parish, county of Hedmark, located in the southeastern section of Norway. Dortea’s family was part of a massive Finnish migration that settled into eastern Norway in the 1600s. The Grue (pronounced “Grua”) area, near the Swedish border, is still known as “Finnskog”. Translated as: “ Finn forest”. There is census evidence that suggests our Finnish ancestors did not learn Norwegian until the mid 1800s.
Our ancestors have lived in the Grue area since migrating from Finland in about 1600. Dortea’s family has been thoroughly documented, but much of JJJ’s ancestororial history remains to be researched.
Running the full length of Buskerud County is the Numedal River, the third longest river in Norway. Towns and Kommunes such as Dagali, Uvdal, Nore, Veggli, Rollag, Svene, Kongsberg, Sandsvaer, Lardal, and Tjølling line the banks of the Numedal River.
Most of Jens J. Jorgensen’s family comes from farms located in the Sandsvaer District.
Jens Jorgensen’s parents (my great great grandparents) were driver Jørgen Guttormsen and Anne Kirstine Anundsdatter.
Anne Kristine Anundsdatter was born October 5, 1821 in Sandsvær (near Kongsberg).
Her parents were: Anund Arnesen Gran-ejet and Anne Margrete Nilsdatter
(Anne Margrete Nilsdatter died in 1831, 30 years old, and Anund was
Anund Arnesen Gran (27) and Anne Margrete Nilsdatter (20) were married in
Efterlød church November 6, 1820. They were only married 11 years. (Efterlød is a “sub parish” of Sandsvær parish).
Please note that “gran” and “gran-ejet” are farm names. Basically their address.
Church of Norway
Certificate of Baptism
The Church records of Kongsberg congregation, in Kongsberg County,
shows that Jens Jørgen, son of parents, driver, Jørgen Guttormsen,
and wife, Anna Kirstine Anundsdatter,
was born May 23rd, 1860, at Kongsberg,
baptized on March 8th, 1863, at Kongsberg.
Where are Numedal and Kongsberg? Kongsberg is southwest of Oslo and about an hour by train from Oslo. The Numedal Valley lies in the heart of southern Norway between Oslo and Bergen in Buskerud fylke. It is a beautiful, long, narrow valley that runs alongside the Lagen River. Kongsberg, which is the heart of the Sandsvær area, lies at the south end of the valley. Lardal and Larvik are in Vestfold Fylke but they are the two that border the Numedals Lågen River from where it leaves Sandsvær and flows into the ocean.
The valley is about 90 miles long. It begins at Dagali and Tunhovd in the north. Here the country is very rugged as you are close to the famous “Hardangervidda.” The terrain gets less rugged, but no less beautiful as you go south to Kongsberg. The land around Kongsberg is much more gentle and therefore more accommodating to agriculture.
It is no accident that Numedal is called the medieval valley. It features a number of cultural treasures like four beautiful “Stav” churches — perhaps no other area in Norway can boast of so many. They are located at Uvdal, Nore, Rollag, and Flesberg. Perhaps some of our ancestors went to church in one of them. Among the spectacular scenes from top to bottom of the valley are many quaint old farmsteads which include some of the oldest houses and most beautiful stabburs still in use in Norway today.
Linda and I drove from the start of the Lagen River within Hardangervidda National Park down to Kongsberg in September, 2003.
Kongsberg, the “Silver City”, was founded by King Christian IV of Denmark in 1624. The activities of the Kongsberg silver mines peaked in the 1770s. Kongsberg was granted full city privileges in 1802 and is now a major industrial town and commercial center and the home of a number of educational institutions. Skis and skiing have played a prominent part in its history.
Kongsberg Church is in the center of Kongsberg. It was inaugurated in 1761 as Norway’s largest church seating 2400 worshippers. The church is elaborately furnished with baroque and rococo furnishings. The architect of Kongsberg Church was Joachim Andreas Stukenbrock, a mining foreman who led a committee formed in 1738 to provide a new and larger church to replace the earlier cross-shaped timber church from 1631. The foundation stone was laid down April 21, 1740 but the church was not finished until 1761.
Linda and I visited the Kongsberg Church on September 10, 2003.
JJJ’s family chart
Guttorm Jorgensen – born: 1795, age at marriage: 23, at Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway – June 6, 1818
Ragnild Jensdatter – born: 1797, age at marriage: 21, June 6, 1818 at Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway
Their son: Jorgen Gutormsen (Guttormsen) – born: December 9, 1820 in Kongsberg Married: July 3, 1847 in Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway. Anne Kirstine Aundsdatter (Anunsdr) – born: 1821 (Another source says that she was born February 10, 1819 at Eiker, Buskerud, Norway
(Larry, I found the family of Anne Kirstine in the bygdebooks also. She was born in 1821 on the farm Nordre Nessett which was part of the main farm called Gran. She was the oldest child in the family. Her mother died in 1832 and her father married again. It is her father’s second wife in the census of 1865. Her parents were Anund Arneson Gran born in 1793 and died in 1874. Anund married in 1820 with Anne Margrete Nilsdatter Gunneseiet – 1799 – 1832.
son: Gutorm Jorgensen – Christening: Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway, Dec. 26, 1847
son: Anthon Jorgensen – born: January 19, 1850 – Christening: Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway, 1850, died: March 10, 1850
daughter: Anne Margrethe Jorgensen – Christening: August 7, 1853, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway
son: Rudolph Anthonn Jorgensen – Christening: July 1, 1855, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway
son: Gustav Adolf Jorgen Jorgensen – Christening: December 27, 1857, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway
son: Jens Jorgen Jorgensen – Christening, March 8, 1860, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway
daughter: Ragna Mathilda Jorgensen – born: November 16, 1863 – Christening, 1865, Kongsberg, Buskerud, Norway – died: May 10, 1865
The 1865 census for Kongsberg, Norway, shows
Jens Jørgen Jørgensen ( age 6) living with his parents and four siblings.
Jørgen Gutormsen (46) born at Kongsberg (1820)
Anne Kirstine Anundsdatter Næse (45 ) born in Sandsvær (near Kongsberg) (1821)
Huusfader g Kjørselsmand
Gutorm Jørgensen (18) born at Kongsberg (1848)
Anne Magrethe Jørgensdatter (14 ) born at Kongsberg (1852)
Rudolf Anton Jørgensen (11) born at Kongsberg (1855)
Gustav Adolf Jørgensen (9) born at Kongsberg (1857)
Jens Jørgen Jørgensen (6) born at Kongsberg (1860)
I found the family of Anne Kirstine in the bygdebooks also. She was born in 1821 on the farm Nordre Nesset which was part of the main farm called Gran. She was the oldest child in the family. Her mother died in 1832 and her father married again. it is her father’s second wife in the census of 1865.
Her parents were Anund Arneson Gran born 1793 and died in 1874. Anund married in 1820 with Anne margrete Nilsdatter Gunneseiet – 1799 – 1832.
This is on page 585 of volume 5 in Sandsvær books.
I doubt you’ll be able to find out much more about Nesset other than in the
bygdebok she mentions. It was a cotter’s place and hence not registered.
Most cotter’s places have been reabsorbed into the main farm, although
there are some exceptions. The spelling Næsset is archaic:
If you notice, there are a couple of buttons at top left. These allow you to
check neighboring farms etc. If you click on the left one, you’ll get the
other Næsset. The people don’t seem to be related. A couple of more clicks
on the left will lead you to the two Gran sub-farms.
Farm names were commonly used as surnames.
Jens Jorgen Jorgensen, born: May 23,1860 in Kongsberg, Norway – Christened, March 8, 1860- died: October 10, 1947 in Theodore, Saskatchewan, Canada. Had been granted Canadian citizenship around 1931 so he could receive a government pension. On December 15, 1891, a year before his wife died in Norway, which is very curious, Jens appeared before the Clerk of the District Court, Ramsey County, North Dakota declaring his intention to be come a citizen of the Untied States. Five years later he filed an affidavit stating he had resided in the United States for five years and in North Dakota for one year. He renounced allegiance to the King of Norway and Sweden. Signed by the judge on October 27, 1896. This was a year before his daughters, Helga and Dagny arrived from Norway.
This means that JJJ entered the United States in most likely in 1883, as some records show. Or around 1891 by backing up 5 years from the date of JJJ’s petition. His family ended up living on welfare while he was in the United States. His wife Dortea was buried at public expense.
Jens and Dortea were married in the Gamle Aker kirk (Old Aker Church) in Kristinana (Oslo) on July 30th, 1879. Jens is listed as a factory worker. He most likely worked in a nearby textile mill named Hjula vever i, a large weavery.
Dortea (Dorthea) Olsdatter Jorgensen – born; 1859 in Grue parish, Hedmark County (near the border with Sweden). Died: Age 33 on July 6, 1892 in Oslo as listed in the Sagene parish. According to the parish record, Jens was living in America at the time of her death. It was not uncommon for European men to go ahead and check things out and begin a homestead before they brought their family over. What is a little bit intriguing is that in the Oslo address book Dortea Jørgensen is listed as a widow.
Ole Arnesen and Karen Danielsdatter Skjulstadberget farm in Grue.
(From Tove) According to the parish records when Dortea was buried she was very poor. She was buried on the public’s expense. If she was ill probably she could not work much, and maybe Jens Jørgen Jørgensen did not send her any money? Hjula veveri was a large weavery. The old buildings are still there, but it is no longer a weavery factory. More like office.
I have been to the archive again to go through parish records on microfilm
cards and have been able to find more information.
This information also confirmed that it was indeed the right Dort(h)ea I had
found at the farm Skjulstadberget in Grue, Hedmark county.
First of all: I have found the marriage of Jens Jørgen Jørgensen and
Dort(h)ea Olsdatter. They were married in the Gamle Aker kirke (= Old Aker
Church) in Kristiania (= Oslo). This is a very old church. I have a photo of
that church at home which I can send you.
The marriage date was July 30th 1879.
The marriage record has information that Jens Jørgen Jørgensen was a factory
worker, that he was born at Kongsberg 1860 and that his father’s name was
Jørgen Guttormsen. Dort(h)ea was born in Grue parish 1859, her father’s name
was Ole Arnesen.
The address where the couple is living is Fossveien 26.
(Source: Gamle Aker mini 5 1873-81)
I have also found the records for sister Helga Mathilde. She was born some
months before the parents were married.
Helga Mathilde was born January 19th 1879 and christened July 10th 1879 in
the Gamle Aker kirke.
The address of the parents Jens Jørgen Jørgensen and Dort(h)ea Olsdatter is
Vogts gade 30
(People moved around a lot in those days).
(Source: Gamle Aker mini 4 1872-79)
I have also found that Helga Mathilde Jørgensen was confirmed April 9th 1893
in Sagene church. (Sawmill Church)
Her address is Thorshovgaden 1.
(Source: Sagene mini 2 1880-97)
Spelling is sometimes Dortea and sometimes Dorthea, sometimes Matilde and
Spelling is also sometimes Skjulstadberget and sometimes Skulstadberget.
For hundreds of years Sandsvaer was a complete district, but when silver was discovered within the district in 1664, the Danish King, Christian lV, took a sudden interest in Norway and carved the new kommune of Kongsberg, including the newly discovered silver mines, out of Sandsvaer District.
Norway was under the control of Danish kings for 400 years until 1814 when Norway declared her independence. Norway’s freedom lasted less than one year at which time Sweden grabbed the country as a “prize” and payment for its participation in the Napoleon Wars. The “Great Powers of Europe” not only gave Norway to Sweden, but forced Norway to pay Denmark’s staggering war dept. It was not until 1905 that Norway gained its full and independent status as a full fledged nation. That is until the Nazi’s grabbed the country in 1940 and plundered the country for five years. It was not until the discovery of oil in the North Sea in the 1960s that Norway was able to strengthen its economy and become a strong and independent country. The journey took 1,000 years.
Before 1850 rural society managed to accommodate the growth in population, and much new land was cleared. This required labor and the number of small holders and their families continued to rise until it peaked in 1850 at 67,000, but by then there was little space left in many rural communities.
Up until the late 1700s, cotter (husmann) was a term for small holders. Later, a small holder was an owner or leaser of a small parcel of a larger farm. And it was registered in the land registry. A cotter’s place on the other hand, was a patch of land given a farm worker by the farm owner for his use – sort of as part of his pay. It was not registered as an entity. It could be reabsorbed by the farm owner when the cotter died or left. In a way this did not suit the authorities, because if it wasn’t registered and it
wasn’t assessed and hence not taxable. But that doesn’t seem to have been a
big problem. A croft is another term meaning essentially the same thing as a cotter’s
place. Carting I suspect refers to a man with a wagon who used it for transporting goods for hire. A ‘vognmann’
In 1800 there were almost 900,000 people in Norway, and the numbers rose sharply during the century. In 1865 the figure was 1.7 million and in 1900 2.2 million.
Royal decrees create booms and busts
Through much of Norway’s history, the Danish kings kept strict control of the country’s timber harvest. Permission to harvest timber was doled out to the King’s rich friends and patrons. When this practice was abondoned in the early 1800s, timber harvest exploded. Now the small farmers, including our ancestors, could harvest their own trees and thus provide an additional source of income to supliment their meger farming income. A cash economy began to develop within the country. Norwegian boards and planks were in high demand throughout Eroupe and especailly in England. England’s Industrial Revolution was creating a new class of rich merchants who needed large manor houses to showcase their recently acquired wealth.
The development of water powered sawmills flooded the market with an over abundance of lumber caused the price of timber to fall which promped even more production.
In the mid 1800s the Swedish King, in an effort to raised lumber prices, placed strict controls on lumber production. Small farmers lost their main souce of income. They could no longer provide for their large families which in turn caused an enormous economic uphevel throughout the country.
Norway’s farming population continued to explode. Improved nutrition, a drop in infant mortality, better and more varied food, full recovery from the decimating effects of the Black Death, and the introduction of domestic meat and fish into the diet, caused the population to more than double during this time in Norway’s history. The simple invention of the chimney and heating stoves made houses cleaner and more healthy. Until improved smoke removal systems were developed, Norwegians evacuated smoke from their houses through holes in the roof making the home environment smokely unhealthy. Increased mechanization also contributed to the displacement of millions of former farm workers. Some headed for the United States and others, like Jens Jorgensen and Dortea Olsdatter, headed for Oslo (then know as Kristiania) to find work in the dozens of new water powered factories being built along the Akersulva River. One record says that Dortea left Grue for Kristiania (Oslo) on November 27, 1878.
The “Big Weavry”
Located at the Øvre Vøyen falls are Norway’s two pioneering textile factories, Hjula Veveri (Big Weavery) and Nedre Vøyen Spinneri. Both of these factories were started in the 1840’s. By 1854, Hjula Veveri comprising 400 weaving machines and about as many employees, was the largest industrial business in Norway.
The capital Kristiania (Oslo) increased its population from 9,000 in 1800 to almost 40,000 in 1855.
Censuses records show that Dortea’s parents raised 17 kids. The 1875 Grue census only lists 8 children living on the family’s Skjulstadberget farm, along with a newly born grandson, Carl Kareliussen. Seven of the children had either died, left home or were living on nearby farms as foster children. Such was the documented case of son Petter Olsen, born in 1867, but given up as a foster child to live on the nearby farm of Storkrogen by 1875, aged 8.
By age 15 or 16 Dortea had left home and headed for the new textile mills being built in Oslo. Young Norwegian women poured into the city from the countryside in ever increasing numbers until 80% of the textile workforce was made up of mostly single women. The Hjula textile factory, on the River Aker in Oslo, where Dortea worked for perhaps 15 years, was founded in 1849. One public record says that Dortea left Grue on November 27, 1878 and headed for Oslo. Age:
But Helga was born in Oslo January, 1878 so there is a bit of confusion as to when Dortea actually moved to Oslo.
JJJ and Dortea were married in Oslo in July, 1879 six months after Helga was born.
The working conditions were harsh and unsafe at the Big Weavry. Mechanical machines had only recently been invented and most lacked safety devises. The huge buildings were cold and drafty. The huge amount of water running through the weavery caused damp and humid conditions depending on the time of the year. The woman also struggled with the large amount of lint and dust continuously floating in the air.
Dortea, along with many other working women, were exposed toTB. Dortea succumbed to the disease in 1892 at age 33, leaving two young girls (my grandmother, Dagney age 9) motherless and basically fatherless because JJJ had lit out for America several years earlier looking for free land.
Great Grandmother, Dortea Olsdatter, was born in Grue Parish, in 1859.
Gathered in 2003 – The following family information is from Oskar Nordgren, age 77, a third cousin living in Jessheim, Norway. “The people who went to the USA did not come back or communicate. We do not know what happened to them.”
Larry’s great great grandparents, Ole Arnesen and Karen Danielsdatter, married December 29, 1853. Produced 10 children.
Jørgen Olsen – 1853
Olea Olsdatter – 1855
Arne Olsen – 1856
Maren Olsdatter – 1857
Dorthea Olsdatter – May 28, 1858 (My great grandmother)
Ole Olsen – October 29, 1860 – went to USA
Karelius Olsen – 1862
Martthea Olsdatter – 1865
Petter Olsen – April 26, 1867 – went to USA
Niels Olsen – 1869
Then Karen died on June 25, 1869, 15 days after childbirth.
Ole Arnessen then married his second wife, Inger Olsdatter in 1874. They had five children, plus Inger* brings two children of her own into the marriage. Census records indicate that not all of the children, especially Inger’s, lived permanently in the Olsen household. By the age of 8, Petter Olsen is listed as living as a foster child, on the neighboring farm of Storkrogen. Petter eventually left to live in the United States. Petter’s half brother, Ole Bredesen lived in nearby Hof, but would come out to Skulstadberget farm to visit his mother.
Bernhard Olsen – 1875
Julius Olsen – 1878
Johanne Olsdatter – 1879
Karen Olsdatter – 1881
Agnethe Olsdatter – July 14, 1884 – went to USA
*Inger’s son – Ole Bredesen – 1864
*Inger”s son – Julius Pedersen – 1870
According to Oskar, “Karl Jørgensen Nebben – born December 12, 1881 – went to the USA. Karl is the son of my grandfather Jørgen Olsen, and is my uncle, brother to my mother, Karen.”
The family’s summer farm was Nordgrensaeter. Located near the family’s Skjulstadberget farm, near Lake Namsjøen, in Grue Parish. After being in the family for over 200 years, the farm was sold following Helge’s (Oskar’s brother) death two years ago. The “Vinter” (winter) farm, where the family stayed year round, was Nebba (Namsjobraten). The two farms were located less than 5 kms from each other.
9-29-03. From Thomas Westerlund: That you asked for is not the same place, Nordgrenseter is the summer farm were Oskar and Helge lived and Namsjøbråten (the old name) now we call it Nebben is the place there they lived in the winter. Now we use it for a “walkation” place.
Nebben is laying with the lake named “Namsjøen, and Nordgenseter is inside the “wood”.
THE 1822 GRUE CHURCH FIRE
On Whit Sunday in 1822 more than 500 hundred people were gathered for service in the old church in Grue. During the sermon, held by Rev. Iver Hesselberg, one could hear crashes of thunder from outside. From the southwest side part of the church, smoke and fire drifted inside the church. It blew hard from the southwest, and in the strong wind, the old dry church made of wood covered in tar, quickly caught fire. The church burnt down and 117 people from the district died dramatically in the fire. Because the doors in the church went inwards, it was impossible to open the doors. The doors were also small and tight so that they would keep the evil spirits out. Dragon heads on the roof had been installed to scare away the evil spirit. Following the tragic loss of life, Norway decreed that all church doors would be enlarged and the door would open outward. Many church historians bemoan the fact that many beautiful door casing carvings were lost because of the required door enlarging.
The pain and drama words cannot describe the loss. In memory of all the people who
died in the fire in the old church in Grue in 1822, there has been raised a stone monument near Grue Church. After the church fire, the royal authorities decided that all public houses in Norway must have doors going outwards.
In 1828 the present church in Grue was built, made of stone. The drawings was made by Hans Ditlev Frans Linstow, who also had designed the Royal Castle in Oslo. You can find signs even from classicism as from then newer gothic style, notice the pointed arch in the doors and windows and the pilaster on the outside wall. Grue church has 4 double doors, one for each four directions. All doors goes outwards. Grue Church is probably the first church built in newer gothic style in Norway.
We were told during our visit to Grue in September of 2003 that the old church site has since been claimed by the Gloma River as it has enlarged its banks. The present church sits high above the river, some distance back.
FAMILY FARMS IN NORWAY
Skjulstad is the main farm located, near the Gloma River, about one mile north east of the town of Kirkenear. Apparently none of my family lived on the main farm, but instead lived on several sub farms in the area.
The main farms would be located along the river where the soil was deeper and the crops more productive.
Sub farms, and summer farms were established in the mountains where gardens were grown and cattle and sheep run. Sometimes less than a mile separated the winter farms and the summer farms, but normally the farms would be several miles apart.
A sub farm of Skjulstad – located in Grue Parish. Berget means “forest”. The farm is located about 15 miles northeast of the small farming town of Kirkenear. (Means town near the church.) Skulstadberget is located east of Lake Namsjoen )Navnsjoen)
Great grandmother Dortea was born here in 1859 Many of her siblings were also born on Skulstadberget.
Sometime between 1855 and 1856 Ole Arnesen bought Skulstadberget Farm.
The 1865 census shows my great great grandfather Ole Arnesen, born 1828, owning the farm and living there with his wife Karen Danielsdatter, born 1842, along with 8 of their eventual 17 children.
The 1875 census show that Ole Arnesen still owned the farm but worked as a laborer paid by the day. His new wife is Inger Olsdatter. They had 8 children living with them and one grandson.
My great great grandmother, Karen Danielsdatterr, born 1842, was living on Skulstadberget farm when she met and married Ole Arnesen, born 1828, of nearby Navnsjoholmen Farm. The the new couple then moved to Skulstadberget Farm.
Karen’s father was Daniel Pedersen. He is listed as a “cottager” at the farm, which means he was tenant. Tenants were allowed to live there, and were provided a house, but had to work so many days on the farm to pay rent on the house. The Pedersens were also allowed to garden a small plot of land to raise food for their immediate family. Most likely the family was of Finnish decent. Their name indicates that.
By 1900 my step great great grandmother, Inger Olsdatter, ( spelling changed to Olsen), born 1842, is widowed and living with her stone blaster and farmer son, Bernhard Olsen who was born 1875 and is unmarried.
Linda and I visited the farm on September 14, 2003. The trail/road leading up to the farm is gated, so we walked about a mile from the gravel road. Many of the old log buildings remain. The main house has been replaced at the top of the knoll with a well kept 1940s looking house. It is now used as a summer home. I “broke” into the old log cabin. Two built-in beds still remain in place. The fireplace is a low, typical Norwegian brick and plaster heating device with a raised hearth. The log house was probably at least 200 years old. Two rooms. The walls were papered with old magazines from the 1920s. Old skis and other ancient artifacts still cluttered the house. A 1940s milking parlor sits in the center of the farm shows that it was active until the 1970s when the record recording stops.
We walked through several of the old log barns and granaries filled with ancient horse drawn carts and farming implements. I felt I was in a living museum.
Peder Danielsen Skulstadberget83,84, born 09 Mar 1837 in Skulstadberget u N Skulstad, Grue, Hedmark, Norway85
Notes for Peder Danielsen Skulstadberget: (Dortea’s ancestors)
HERADSMARKA OG KILA–SKULSTAD–BRUK UTSKILT FRÅ SKULSTAD: Along the east–east Namsjøen–lies Skulstadberget. The oldest parcel here was split from Skulstad in 1864. It was PER DANIELSEN who bought it then for 200 daler. However, the place had been cleared long before. It was Per’s ancestor who took up the place early in the 1700s. He was Daniel Person (born 1731), and he and his wife, Gjertrud Tommesdtr, had son Per (born 1775), who in 1807 was married to Karen Olsdtr Skulstadmoen and had son Daniel (born 1808). His wife came from Byermoen–Mari Olsdtr–, and their son was the Per Danielsen who bought Skulstadberget. In the 1860s the parcel was made up of 6 mål workable land and 20 mål meadow. Per raised 1 cow, 4 sheep and 5 goats. In 1904 he turned over the parcel to his son PER P. SKULSTADBERGET.
More About Peder Danielsen Skulstadberget:
1865 Census: Skjulstadberget, their son, unmarried, born 1837 Grue86
1875 Census: Skulstadberget, hf, married, born 1837 Grue87
Baptism: 18 Jun 1837, Skulstadberget u N Skulstad, Grue, Hedmark, Norway88
Title/Occupation 1: 1865, Hjælper faderen samt tømmerdrift
Title/Occupation 2: 1875, Gaardbruger
Additional information on Skulstadberget/Skjulstadberget
The farm is under Skulstad. Per Danielsen bought it for 200 daler in 1864. His g-grandfather Per took up faming here in the 1700s. Daniel Persen (b. 1731) and wife Gjertrud Tommesdtr, had a son Per (b. 1775). In 1807 he married Karen Olsdtr Skulstadmoen and had a son Daniel (b. 1808). His wife was from Byermoen, Mari Olsdtr. Their son was Per Danielsen who bought Skulstadberget. In 1904, he sold the farm to his son Per P. Skulstadberget. (Grueboka II, Harald Hveberg p. 173) (See marriage records below.)
∑ Census year: 1865
∑ Municipality: Grue
∑ Municipality number: 0423
∑ Name of domicile: Skjulstadberget
Apparently Dortea Olsdatter was born and raised on this farm in the Grue area. Her siblings and parents were all born in Grue.
Ole Arnesen, age 38, born 1828. Listed as a “Selveier af Plads” which is the owner of a cotter’s place. During the 19th century many cotters were able to buy the place where they lived, under the main farm. Cotters were originally farm hands who, in addition to pay for work on the main farm were allowed to hold a cottage on the main farm. Some also got a small patch of land where they could grow some vegetables and perhaps keep a cows or a couple of sheetp. Some did not have this patch of land and would be termed “husmand uten jord”. Ole Arnesen had one cow, four sheep, 1/4 barely (maybe 150 lbs), 1 mixed grains (maybe 500 lbs), and two potatoes (maybe 1,000 lbs.)
Karen Danielsdatter, his wife, age 38, born 1828.
Jørgen Olsen, his son, age 13, born 1853
Arne Olsen, his son, age 10, born 1856
Ole Olsen, his son, age 6, born 1860
Karelius Olsen, his son, age 4, born 1862
Olia Olsdatter, his daughter, age 11, born 1855
Maren Olsdatter, his daughter, age 9, born 1857
Dortea Olsdatter, his daughter, age 8, born 1858
Martea Olsdatter, his daughter, age 1, born 1865
This list shows how the Skjulstadberget farm came into our family in
Dortea’s’ Finnish-Norwegian line, The Räisäinin family:
1. Per b. abt 1600 d. 1686 Løvhaugen, Grue Finnskog
+ Kari Olsdatter b. abt 1610 Helsingland, Sweden
2. Thomas b. abt 1630 Løvhaugen
+ Sara Bertelsdtr Kemppainen b. 1646
3. Ole Tomassen b. abt 1667
+ Karin Danielsdotter b. abt 1677Gammelgarden, Medskogen, S. Finnskogen
4. Ingrid Olsdtr b. ? Pekkola, Grue Finnskog
+ Peder Steffensen Navilainen b. 1701 Mulkiärn
5. *Daniel Pedersen b. 1735 Rotneberget, Gru Finnskog
+ Gertrud Tomasdotter b. 20 Oct 1736 Mangen,Sweden
6. **Peder Danielsen b. 1773 Skulstadberget, Grue
+ Karen Olsdatter b. 1785 Skulstadmoen, Grue
7. Daniel Pedersen b. 10 April 1808 Skulstadberget, Grue
+ Mari Olsdtr b. 1807 Byermoen, Grue
8. Karen Danielsdtr b. 18 June 1828
+ Ole Arnesen Skulstadmoen
Marriage record (Grue parish records):
1) Parents of Dortea Olsdtr
29 Dec 1853 Ole Arnesen Skulstadmoen 23 F: Arne Arnesen Navnsjøholmen
Karen Danielsdtr Skulstadberget 24 _ F: Daniel Pedersen Skulstadberget
2) Parents of Karen Danielsdtr
1829 Daniel Pedersen Skulstadberget
Mari Olsdtr Byemoen
3) Parents of Daniel Pedersen Skulstadberget
29 Dec 1807 Peder Danielsen Skulstadberget
Karen Olsd Skulstadmoen
4) Parents of Peder Danielsen Skulstadberget
Near Skulstadberget Farm. In 1875, Petter Olsen, born 1867, the brother of Dortea’s, is living on Stokrogen Farm and is listed as a foster child. Apparently the family had given him away because of having too many children to feed. He was only 8 years old. Petter eventually left for America.
Navnsjoholmen is an islet in Lake Navnsjoen.
In 1853, Ole Arnesen was living on Navnsjoholmen Farm when he married Karen Danilesdatter. The family name indicates that the Arnesens were of Norwegian decent.
Ole’s father, my great great great grandfather, Ole Arnesen, was living on Navnsjoholmen in 1874.
The farm is located one mile north of the town of Kirkenear and is located right on the main north/south road.
My great great grandfather, Ole Arnesen, was born on Skulstadmoen Farm in about 1833.
My great great great great great grandmother, Karen Olsdatter, was living on Skulstadmoen Farm when she married Peder Danielson, Skulstadberget, in 1807
Linda and I visited Skulstadmoen Farm in September, 2003 and had a nice visit with the present owners. They gave us copies of farm maps drawn up about 1900.
In 1900, Jorgen Olsen, born 1853, Dortea’s brother, is living on Naebben Farm which is in the neighborhood of the other farms. Naebben is up in the forest so many of the men are listed as working in timber business.
Jørgen Olsen, tenant farmer and worker at timber business, b. 1853
Karen Nilsdatter, wife, b. 1853
Ole Jørgensen, driver at timber business, b. 1875
Karl Jørgensen, son, feller, b. 1883
Mathilde Jørgensdatter, daughter, b. 1891
Inga Jørgensdatter, daughter, b. 1894
Peter Jørgensen, son, b. 1898
Farms Nordgrensaeteren and Navnsjobraaten
Karen Jorgensen is Dortea’s niece.
Married July 7, 1922: Ole Olsen Nordgrensæteren, forest worker, residence: Norgrensæteren, b. Hof 1880, son of freeholder Ole Olsen Kveset……(unclear), Hof. Karen Jørgensen Navnsjøbraaten, dressmaker, residence: Navnsjøbraaten, born on Navnsjøbraaten 1879, daughter of forest worker Jørgen Olsen Navnsjøbraaten.
Born March 6, baptized June 3, 1923: Helge Norgrenn. Parents: Forest worker Ole Olsen, Karen Jørgensen. Residence: Norgrensæter.
Born December 13, 1925, baptized May 30, 1926: Oskar Konrad. Parents: Farmer Ole Olsen, Karen Jørgensen. Residence: Navnsjøbråten.
Helge died a year or so ago.
In September of 2003 Linda and I spent three days with Oskar Norgrenn, his wife, their daughter and son-in-law, their two grandchildren, Thomas and , and her little son Robin.
Thorsberget Farm next to Skulstadberget
Home of my great great aunt-in-law, Karen Nilsdatter.
Married January 5, 1875: Bachelor Jørgen Olsen, Dortea’s brother, Skulstadberget, b. 1854, son of Ole Arnesen Skulstadberget. Maiden Karen Nilsdatter, Thorsberget, b. 1854, daughter of Nils Pedersen Thorsberget. Thorsberget farm is “just around the corner”.
Linda and visited Thorsberget Farm on September 14, 2003. A very tired looking farm. Had to walk a mile from the gravel road to the top of the knoll. Only a couple of log cabins and sheds remaining. We ate our lunch on a rock overlooking the farm.
3rd cousin, Oscar Konrad Nordgren, age 77, Jessheim, Norway, gave me this history of the family written in Norwegian. I had it translated November, 2003.
—— Forwarded Message
From: “Jan Ivar Kristiansen” <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 2003 19:26:39 +0100
Here is my translation of the text you sent me. I don’t know where it is from or who has written it. It obviously is longer with parts both in front of and after the sheets which you sent. I have translated also the additions and corrections made by a pen on the sheets. Dorthea Olsdatter’s birth year is given as 1858, while I have found it as 1859. And as we know, she did not emigrate to America. Her brother Ole Olsen, who is given as a shoemaker journeyman in the below text of course is identical with Dagny Marie’s godfather “O. Olsen, shoemaker journeyman”. Interestingly two names occur in the below text which are known to me: Kvesetberg(et) and Sollien. Erik Kvesetberg is leader of Solør Family History Society and Finn Sollien is an “expert” on Solør area genealogy and has thousands of names in his database (as has the Solør Family History Society). Maybe you want to contact them? Their e-mails are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com <mailto:fisollie@@online.no>
“… June 23, 1876), who first settled and cultivated a part of (the land on) Henriksholmen (“the Henrik’s islet”), which is ca. 3 dekars big. Arne and Olia moved from Monsrud to Navnsjøholmen probably some time between 1835 and 1838.
Arne Arnesen was son of Arne Nielsen Monsrud (b. ca. 1766, d. March 3, 1832), who was cotter on South Monsrud, and his wife Kari Pedersdatter. Arne Nielsen was probably son of cotter Niels Danielsen Monsrud and his wife Kerstin Nielsdatter, who lived on Monsrud from ca. 1770.
Arne Arnesen in 1828 married Olia Nielsdatter, who was daughter of Niels Olsen Skulstadmoen and his wife Ragnhild Pedersdatter.
In 1865 Arne Arnesen lived here together with Olia and the daughters Andrine Arnesdatter (b. February 12, 1843) and Nina Arnesdatter (b. December 26, 1850), the son Peder Arnesen (b. September 18, 1839), who was cotter and shoemaker, Peder’s wife, Karen Johannesdatter from Hof (neighbouring parish) (b. 1840) and their children Olivia Pedersdatter (b. July 25, 1862) and Arne Pedersen (b. September 6, 1865).
In 1875 Arne’s widow Olia still lived on the holm, but died the year after. Karen and Peder too still lived on the holm, but the daughter Olivia now lived on Holmslien as fosterdaughter with Ole Olsen and his wife Oliane Olsdatter. Karen and Peder’s son Arne still lived on the holm, as did his younger sisters Anne, Johanne and Kaja. Besides Peder’s sisters Karen and Andrine still lived there, as did two of Andrine’s children, Olivia Hansdatter (b. February 23, 1871) and Oliane Oliversdatter (b. 1873), all together 3 generations with 11 people, of whom 6 children.
The census also tells that Peder Arnesen had 2 sheep and 2 goats. The sheep were sheared each autumn and spring, and the wool was carded and spun, and that created enough yarn for knitting of some pairs of socks and maybe some mittens. If they managed to have the sheep mated and got hold of enough feed so that they survived the winter, there could the next year be some two-three lambs and some meat dinners, and small fur rugs as well. From the frugal goats they got a little milk and brown cheese. Kids and lambs were good playfellows for the children on the islet.
The cotters hardly paid any rent for the place, but worked duty days for the farmer on Sorknes. They were not paid for the work, but had free board and lodging. (Because of the distance, they stayed overnight on the farm, and their feet were their conveyance.) The duty days were spead over periods in the summer halfyear, in the work seasons on the farm. The cotters’ wives also took part in some of the farm work, Gunder Paulsen tells in his “Memories”. Probably the cotters got some left-overs to bring with them back to their family when the duty days were executed to the freeholder’s satisfaction. The cotters could give catch of fish and maybe also some venison in exchange for bread meal.
Henriksholmen very probably has got its name after Henrik Eriksen (Nils-Henrik), who was married to Andrine Arnesdatter Navnsjøholmen (see F.) and moved here in 1877 with three children from his first marriage. He had, by the way, lived here (or on Granerudsholmen) for a while earlier (1872-73).
How long there lived people on Henriksholmen I haven’t been able to trace, but it probably was the last holm in the lake Navnsjøen to be left.
In 1955 Kaspara Sorknes sold Henriksholmen to Arnulf Hylin, who built himself a holiday home there.
Arne Arnesen Navnsjøholmen and his wife Olia got 8 children:
A. Ole Arnesen Skulstadberget (September 18, 1828 – April 12, 1889) was born on Monsrud before his parents became cotters on Navnsjøholmen. He married in 1853 to Karen Danielsdatter Skulstadsberget (1828-1869). Her parents were cotter Daniel Pedersen Skulstadberget and Mari Olsdatter Byermoen. Karen and Ole settled on the cotter’s place Eastern Skulstadberget. Ole became a freeholder in 1864. In 1865 they had 1 cow, 4 sheep and 5 goats. Karen and Ole got 10 children:
A1. Jørgen Olsen Navnsjønæbben (October 17, 1853 – April 6, 1944) married to Karen Nielsdatter Thorsberget (born 1853) and settled on Torsberget as a day labourer. Karen’s parents were cotter and carpenter Nils Pedersen Thorsberget (b. 1819) and his wife Karen Gundersdatter (b. 1823). In 1885 Jørgen became cotter on Navnsjønebben. His occupation in the census of 1900 is given as tenant farmer and timber worker. Karen and Jørgen got 8 children:
A1a. Ole Jørgensen Nebben (b. September 10, 1876 or September 11, 1877) lived on Nebben in 1900, timber hauler. Later moved to Brandval. Many children.
A1b. Karen J. Nebben (December 15, 1879 – May 21, 1938), dressmaker. She had a daughter Jenny by Karl Botilsrud Nyhus ? before she married Ole O. Norgen (November 15, 1880 – July 12, 1968), by whom she got 2 sons:
A1b1. Jenny (January 1, 1906 – December 14, 1992), married to Kristian Huatorp (August 6, 1903 – November 30, 1980), lived on Monsrud.
A1b1a. Mary (b. March 29, 1929), married to Kåre Habberstad (December 29, 1926 – September 29, 1992). Two children:
A1b1a1. Erik (b. March 15, 1956), has 3 children.
A1b1a2. Tove (b. October 16, 1958), has 3 children.
A1b2. Oskar b. December 13, 1925.
A1b3. Helge b. March 6, 1923, d. 2001?
A1c. Karl J. Nebben (b. December 10, 1881) lived on Nebben in 1900. Emigrated to America.
A1d. Georg J. Nebben (1887 – 1899). Died of an accidental shot.
A1e. Petter J. Nebben (b. and d. 1891).
A1f. Nanda Mathilde J. Nebben (b. March 5, 1892) married at Brandval.
A1g. Inga Karoline J. Nebben (b. September 17, 1894).
A1h. Petter J. Nebben (b. January 30, 1898).
A2. Olea Olsdatter Skulstadberget (b. February 20, 1855), had the son Carl Kareliussen by Karelius Arnesen Einarsrud in 1875. Olea moved to Hurdal in 1878.
A2a. Carl Kareliussen (b. May 7, 1875), confirmed at Grue October 6, 1889.
A3. Arne Olsen Skulstadberget (September 2, 1856 – 1929). Unmarried. (Mentally retarded.)
A4. Maren Olsdatter Skulstadberget (b. November 8, 1857), moved to Christiania in 1876.
A5. Dorthea Olsdatter Skulstadberget (b. May 28, 1858), moved from Skulstadberget before 1875? Emigrated to USA.
A6. Ole Olsen Skulstadberget (b. October 29, 1860), moved in 1873 to Christiania as shoemaker journeyman. Later he emigrated to America, where he married Karen Berger from Lillestrøm. 2 daughters.
A7. Karelius Olsen Skulstadberget (b. October 13, 1862) lived on Skulstadberget when he on April 21 1888 married Hilda Johansdatter Hjerpberget (b. 1861) from Sothern Finnskoga, Värmland (Sweden). Hilda was daughter of Johan Nilson Hjerpberget.
A7a. Karl Oskar (b. May 15, 1888 on Skulstadberget).
A8. Marthea Olsdatter Skulstadberget (b. September 22, 1865, d. 1949 at Sør- Odal) moved to Sør-Odal in 1887. She married farmer Christopher Sæther (1865 – 1893). They got 4 children. Marthea was remarried to Bernt Torkildsen Perslykkja (1870 – 1963) and got 4 children in this marriage. Marthea and Bernt lived on Kjensli near Sterstøa. In 1914 they built a new house on Gamlehaugen and moved there.
A8a. Amund Christophersen (1887 – 1968) married Berit Amundsdatter Gjersøyen (1892 – 1948). They got 10 children:
A8a1. Bergljot (b. 1913) married to Arne Olsen Jeffring, Disenå.
A8a2. Asbjørg (b. 1914) married first time to Hans Nikolai Heggen Sætre from Sætre in Østerdalen (valley). Asbjørg second time married to Irving Hayworth Bjørnvold from Nordland county. Children by Hans:
A8a2a. Helge Anders (b. 1937), doctor in Falun (Sweden).
A8a3. Anne Margrete (b. 1917) married to Ole Tronbøl (1910 – 1955), children:
A8a3a. Kristoffer Sæter Tronbøl (b. 1951) married to Randi Hansen from Sætersagen (b. 1952).
A8a4. Kristoffer (1920 – 1923), died in an accident.
A8a5. Ragna (b. 1922) married to Gunnar Aaserud from Årnes.
A8a6. Herborg (b. 1924) lives at Dilling (Østfold county).
A8a7. Jorunn (b. 1927), widow, lives at Dilling.
A8a8. Åsta (b. 1931) married to Johan Siebke from Oslo, lives in Oslo.
A8a9. Berit Kristhild (b. 1935) married to Søren Vandsemb at Nes.
A8a10. Ingvei (b. 1938) married to Hans Julius Sundby from Ullensaker, they live at Jessheim.
A8b. Karen Christoffersdatter (b. 1899) married to Lars Asla from Hamar.
A8c. Margrete Christoffersdatter (1892 – 1925) married to Johannes Hoff.
A8d. Anna Christoffersdatter (b. 1893) married to teacher Ivar Salsegg.
A8e. Ragnhild Berntsdatter (b. 1897) married to Oskar Kvisgaard from Snertingdal, shopkeeper at Gjøvik.
A8f. Aagot Berntsdatter (b. 1899, dead as a small child).
A8g. Aagot (b. 1908) married to Kristian Lie from Gjøvik, moved to Nordstrandhøgda.
A8h. Håkon (b. 1910) married to Gjertrud Markussen. They lived on Gamlehaugen.
A9. Petter Olsen Skulstadberget (b. April 26, 1867). Emigrated to America. Married, 2 children.
A10. Niels Olsen Skulstadberget (b. June 8, 1869).
Karen, who died 2 weeks after Niels was born, thus left behind 10 children, the oldest 15 years of age.
Ole Arnesen remarried to Inger Olsdatter Purustorpet (1842 – 1925). She was daughter of Ole Purustorpet – called “Årans-Ola”. Inger then already had the sons Ole Bredesen (b. 1864) and Julius Bredesen (b. 1870). Ole and Inger got 5 children:
A11. Bernhard Olsen Kvesetberget (May 21, 1875 – March 9, 1951), stone blaster, married in 1901 to Karen Kristiansdatter (1876 – 1941), daughter of Kristian Gundersen Kvesetberget (1840 – 1919) and his wife Marthe Kristiansdatter (1833 – 1897). They moved to Vestgarden (“the western farm”) on Kvesetberget at Hof Finnskog ca. 1904. Bernhard died at Hof. They got the children:
A11a. Olaf (1901 – 1978) married to Olga Kvesetberget (b. 1903) from the neighbouring farm Østgarden (“the eastern farm”) Kvesetberget. They settled on Sorknes, upper Grue. Moved to Dovre (Oppland county).
A11b. Magnhild (1902 – 1977) married to Sigurd Sæther (1908 – 1990) (shoemaker). They lived for several years on Monsrud and got many children, among whom Kåre, Nelly, Magne, Thor, Else and Birger. Later they moved to Kirkenær.
A11c. Isak (b. 1903) died in a fire ca. 1850 (= 1950?). He lived near Brumunddal where his wife was from.
A11d. Karsten (b. 1905) married to Astrid Langberget from Sorknes at Grue, where they lived for a while before they moved to Høland (Akershus county). 3 children, all dead.
A11e. Birger (1908 – 1986) emigrated to Minnesota in 1924, where he married Orpha Holst who had her roots at Solør and Odalen.
A11f. Kristian (1909 – 1973) lived on Vestgarden Kvesetberget and ran the farm. He married Gunhild Lie (b. 1925) from Kanalbråten at Hof Finnskog. Her parents were Olaf B. Lie (1877 – 1970) from Muslien at Åsnes and Johanne Olsdatter (1883 – 1966) from Hesttjernskoia east of lake Namsjøen. They had one daughter:
A11f1. Karen Johanne (b. 1944) married to Kai Jakobsen from Skansen at Åsnes.
A11h. Gudrun (b. 1910) married to Ola Olsen at Lørenskog (just outside Oslo).
A11i. Bergljot (1912 – 1993) married to Peder Sollien (1913 – 1989). They bought the lot Haugli at Hof in 1941, where they built a dwelling house and outbuildings and cultivated 22 dekars. The dwelling house burned down and a new one was built in 1975. They got one child:
A11i1. Villy (b. 1943) who was married to Anne Grethe Skarstrøm from Oslo. Anne Grethe and Villy got 2 children:
A11i1a. Mona (b. 1965) and Tommy (b. 1967).
A11j. Rolf (1915 – 1995) married to Martha Jakobsen from Velta, Åsnes.
A11k. Malki (b. 1917) married to Anders Rauken (b. 1916) from Western Rauken at Hof Finnskog. Anders bought the former cotter’s place Dulpetorpet in 1938. Malki and Anders got the son Oddbjørn in 1939.
A11k1. Oddbjørn Rauken is married to Synnøve Klundseter (b. 1941) and lives on Åsa.
A12. Julius Olsen Skulstadberget (September 4, 1878 – May 22, 1881).
A13. Johanne Olsdatter Skulstadberget (October 17, 1879 – 1952), married in 1901 to Oskar Skoglund (1876 – 1948) from Hof. Children:
A13a. Harbo Skoglund (b. 1901), married in 1927 to Dagny Åmodt (1904 – 1993) from Sørkedalen. Children:
A13a1. Torbjørn (b. 1928), married to Synnøve Bogen from Oslo.
A13a2. Birger (b. 1937), married to Marit Sagmoen from Åsnes Finnskog, lives in Oslo.
A13a3. Reidar (b. 1939), married to Bjørg Wassdal from Nordland county, lives at Asker (between Oslo and Drammen).
A13b. Olaf Skoglund (b. 1903), moved to Oslo.
A13c. Jørgine (b. 1906), married to Roald Kvam, Oslo.
A13d. Olga (b. 1908), married to Johan Pedersen, Oslo.
A13e. Marius (1910 – 1992), married to Dagmar Sandlie (1915 – 1993). Children:
A13e1. Kari (b. 1940), married to Ole Svendsrud from Tobøl, Eidskog.
A13e2. Håvard (b. 1945), married to Lise Lindal from western part of Hof. Children:
A13e2a. Kristian (b. 1975).
A13e2b. Elin (b. 1980).
A13e3. Grethe (b. 1946), was married to Roar Håbakk, later live-in with Odd Kontorp.
A13e4. Unni (b. 1948), married to Arnfinn Sparby.
A14. Karen Olsdatter Skulstadberget (b. July 28, 1881), married to farmer Gustav Rismoen. Children:
A14a. Oskar Rismoen (b. 1904) married to Dagny Edvardsdatter Smestad (1909 – 1995). Children:
A15. Agnethe Olsdatter Skulstadberget (b. July 14, 1884), emigrated ca. 1903 to America.
B. Karen Arnesdatter Navnsjøholmen (1833 – August 5, 1920), born on Monsrud, married ca. 1880 to Arne Olsen Navnsjøholmen (called Hjelmen or Tigerhjelmen (= “the Helmet” or “the Tiger Helmet” (!)) (ca. 1831 – September 14, 1913). Karen hardly lived in the area in 1865, but in 1875 she again lived on Navnsjøholmen and subsisted by needlework and was maid servant with her brother Peder Arnesen. Hjelmen was son of Ole Jørgensen, who in 1805 lived on Smiholen, in 1813 on Stemsrud, in the period 1814 – 1833 he was cotter on Monsrudteppen, where Hjelmen was born, moved thereafter to Skulstadberget. Ole Jørgensen was probably tailor, he died ca. 1840, he married in 1813 to Inger Andersdatter from Brandval (1792 – 1876), who before 1865 moved to Navnsjøbråten (Holmslien) where she was provided for.
Karen and Hjelmen lived for a while on Navnsjøholmen, but moved to the leasehold place Holtet (called Hjelmenhemmet = “the Helmet’s home”) under Tuver. Their last years they lived on Forkerud.
C. Arne Arnesen Skulstadsæteren (November 18, 1835 – January 18, 1930) was born on Monsrud. He married Marte Nilsdatter Thorsberget (b. 1842) in 1862 and was in 1865 listed as cotter without land on Thorsberget and owner of 2 sheep and 5 goats. Marte’s parents were cotter and carpenter Nils Pedersen Thorsberget (b. 1819) and Karen Gundersdatter (b. 1823). They moved to Skulstadsæteren (Sæterlien) between 1870 and 1875 and got 4 children, all born on Thorsberget:
C1. Axel Arnesen Skulstadsæteren (b. January 27, 1862).
C2. Nils Arnesen Skulstadsæteren (b. March 6, 1864).
C3. Carl Arnesen Skulstadsæteren (f. May 10, 1867), moved to Nes at Romerike (Akershus).
C4. Ole Arnesen Sagen (b. February 28, 1870, d. 1936). Married in 1895 to Kaja Midtskog (b. 1876), daughter of Johannes Kristiansen Midtskog. They moved to Teglverkstuen (“the brickworks cottage”) under Navnerud and later to a cotter’s place Sagen on Monsrud. In 1900 they still lived on Teglverkstuen and had these children:
C4a. Marie Olsen (b. 1895).
C4b. Jenny Olsen (b. March 6, 1898).
The Kristiania probate material’s death report records re. Dortea shows no heirs or relatives, just that she died on July 6, 1892 at age 33 at the hospital and was buried on July 12 at the poor relief’s cost. Sagene church register gives her husband as being canvas worker (unclear, but likely) Hans Jørgen Jørgensen (in America). Hans of course wrong for Jens. Her death cause is given in Latin and is besides very unclear, so I don’t know what she died of.
I have searched for “Christ Eugen Jørgensen” in the Kristiania census 1900, as well as in the computerised Kristiania emigration records, unsuccessfully. Neither do I find JJJ in this material. And neither is he listed in the Kristiania directories for 1881 and 1882. In the 1885 census Dortea lived at the adress Bensegade 27 (Sagene parish) with her daughters listed as Matilde and Dani. Dortea given as factory worker. “Christ Eugen” not listed as living with her.
Your guess, however, that “Christ Eugen” was Dortea’s son and not JJJ’s turns out to be the fact:
Sagene church register 1880-1893, page 127:
Born November 4, 1885, baptized February 28, 1886: Kristian Eugen. Parents: Widower, bricklayer worker Hans Johannesen, b. 1856, married wife Dortea Hansen, b. 1859. Address: Bentsegd. 27. Godparents: Paper worker Karl Kristoffersen, ………. worker Kristian Madsen, wife Maren Olsen, maiden Marie Kristoffersen. The child’s father is deceased. The child mother’s husband is in America. The child’s birth has been reported by its mother.
Hansen on Dortea of course is wrong. The godmother Maren Olsen = of course very probably Dortea’s sister.
Now I found one “Eugen Hansen, b. 1885, labourer at spinning mill” as fosterson of one “Kristoffer Gulbrandsen” and his wife “Karen née Larsen” at the address “Arendalsgade 12” in the 1900 Kristiania census. Although it may seem quite likely that this is “Christ Eugen Jørgensen”, I can’t say that for sure, of course.
The maiden name of his wife, Smitte, I have never heard before. Elida was quite common. Gurema uncommon.
Best regards to you and your wife
JJJ’s family in Kongsberg, Norway
Driver Jorgen Guttormsen, 26, married Anne Kirstine Anundsdatter, age 25, in Kongsberg on July 3, 1847. Jorgen Guttormsen is also listed as a day laborer. Perhaps worked in the mines.
There son Jens Jorgen Jorgensen born May 23, 1860. Father – Driver Jorgen Guttormsen. Mother – Anne Kirstine Anundsdatter.
Siblings: Guttorm – 1848, Anton – 1850, Anne Margrethe – 1852, Rudolph Anton – 1855, Gustave Adolf Jorgen – 1857, Ragna Mathilde – 1863, They had at least seven children, with one dying one day after death and one dying as a toddler.
The family lived at “1st Baggade from Ekermogaden.” This is a Danish description saying the family lived on the the first back street from Ekermogaden. Using the present Norwegian spelling – the street is spelled: Eikerveien which means “a flat area with oak trees”. We drove along the street and walked several of the back streets during our September 10, 2003 visit to Kongsberg. Several old wooden houses survive in the area, but we could not find any old houses on the back streets. Much of this area of the town, up from the river, has been modernized. Very little of the old town survives.
All of the family is listed as having been born in Kongsberg, except for their mother,
Streets in Oslo where either Grandmother Dagney or the Jorgensen family lived. 1879 – 1897
Fossveien 26 (foss = waterfall, a very old road) This is where the Jorgensens were living when they were married in 1879. They were married in the Gamie Aker kirk (Old Aker Church, on July 30, 1879. Jens is listed as a factory worker. He most likely worked in a nearby textile mill name Hjula vever i, a large weavery or he could have worked at the factory located on Fossveien Street. When we visited the street on 9-11-03, we found #28, but could not find #26. The street dead ended into a giant factory. Perhaps this is the factory where JJJ was employed. Since the street deadened into the factory grounds, perhaps the family actually lived on the factory grounds.
Vogts gate 30 (named 1864 after Jørgen Herman Vogt) This is where the Jorgensens were living when Helga Mathilde was born on August 19, 1879. When we visited on 9-11-03 we found a large four story apartment building still mostly intact. I talked to the care taker. He showed me the backyard where the outhouses and wash houses would have stood. The TI lady at the City Hall, who had lived in the building as a child had drawn a layout plan of the back yard when she lived there. The caretaker told me, “You have to be on drugs to live here now. Most of the residents are on welfare. Well, they have to live somewhere. This used to be a very nice place. A high class address.” JJJ is listed as a “dock worker” while living on Vogts gate.
Østgaards gate 39 (named 1874 after Nicolai Ramm Østgaard) This is where the Jorgensens were living when Dagny Marie was born on October 19, 1882. When we visited the street on 9-11-03 we found the short street, but alas #39 has been replaced with a modern apartment house. The area is full of blacks, Indians, Asians, and Muslems. We did find Sagene Skole, a large school building built in 1880. Most likely this is where the two sisters would have attended school. Two old house are still standing on the street which shows the types of wooden housing the Jorgensens were living in 1882.
Bentsegata 27, older spelling: Bentzegaden (named in 1864. Bentse Brug was
originally a grain mill from about 1700 with owner Ole Bentsen) Several very old, leaning half-timbered houses are still located along this very narrow street. But #27 has been replaced with modern apartments. This is where the family was living when Dortea died on July 5, 1892 at the age of 33. Judging from the narrowness of the street and the few remaining leaning wooden houses, the Jorgensens were struggling financially. JJJ had been in America for several years at this point. It seems like he just abandoned his family.
All of the family’s houses were located “just around the corner” from each other. They moved 5 times in 13 years.
Sagene (meaning “the sawmills”, this area has its name after all the small
sawmills that once were located along the river) Dortea and her two daughters were living in the Sagene Parish when she died at age 33, on July 6, 1892. According to the parish records when Dortea was buried she was very poor and was buried at public expense. She was working at Hjula Weavery at the time of her death.
Torshovgata 1 (named in 1866 after a farm named Torshov. Torshov means a place for worship of the norse god Tor). This is where the two sisters were living when Helga Mathilde was confirmed on April 9, 1893 in the Sagene Church. This was about 9 months after the death of her mother. It is assumed the confirmation training was carried out by a relative who had taken the two sisters into their home on Torshovgata. When we visited the building on 9-11-03 we found a large four story corner apartment building little changed over the years. Since the doors were open, we wandered through the hallways and into several apartments that were being worked. The building had been allowed to run down, but with a shortage of student housing, the building is being fixed up and the welfare people are being displaced. This area of former water powered factories is slowly being improved and of course the prices are going up.
Norwegian Migration to the United States.
Between 1825 and 1930, close to 900,000 people emigrated from Norway. 35,000,000 emigrated from the whole of Europe during this same period.
After 1815 Norway’s population increased as more and more children survived into adulthood. This population increase placed a heavy strain on the labor market. Farming was slowly being mechanized and required less hired hands.
By 1865, the number of renters/cotters (of which were some of our ancestors) had doubled, and there were many more itinerant farm workers. However, the increase growth of the fishing, farming and logging industry could not provide a living for every Norwegian. The majority of the migration came from western and eastern Norway.
Ten percent of Norway;s population emigrated between 1880 and 1890. Beginning in 1865 the composition of the emigrant groups changed from families to more and more young, single people. Those with higher education and special skills looked to America for job opportunities largely because Norway had no jobs to offer.
The U.S. Homestead Act of 1862, giving every man or woman one-quarter section of land, was a clear factor in encouraging Norwegian farms to emigrate.
American wages, which far exceeded those in Norway. In the 1880s, a farmer could earn summer wages of about NOK 100 a month in the US while as a tenant farmer or hired hand in Norway, he would earn only NOK 150 a year.
With the transition of shipping from sail to steam, immigration encouragement became a new industry. The steamship companies were active and innovative in selling tickets, giving rise to a network of agents throughout Norway. A small settlement could have subagents for as many as ten different ship companies where an emigrant could purchase a steamship ticket. Throughout the U.S. Midwest, tickets could be purchased at railroad stations and sent to relatives and friends in Europe.
This probably was the method JJJ used to send tickets to his two daughters and his stepson.
Ships under sail took about 60 days to travel from Norway to America. The advent of the steamship reduced the crossing time to about 15 days. Some could do the corssing in only 8 days.
Norwegian girls were very popular as domestic help in American families, as they were known for being fastidious and industrious. These jobs taught them about American food and housekeeping customs. When they married they took this knowledge to their Norwegian families–for they preferred to marry fellow Norwegians or Danish men.
This accurately describes my Norwegian grandmother, Dagney Marie Jorgenson Rasmussen, and the other Norwegian women who married into the Rasmussen family.
OUR FIRST DAY IN OSLO,
WE WILL RETURN IN TWO WEEKS.
Day Six, Wednesday, August 20, 2003 2:06 PM
I have not had a chance to check our e-mails from land thisweek. We have been in five cities but have not found one internet café,. They do not seem to be as common as they were in England. Perhaps when we get to Denmark we will find one.
Please send messages to us here on the ship. That way we can at least keep track of what is going on. I hope our e-box is not too full from the junk mail. I need to get it cleaned out or it will start bouncing. Combine your messages because the ship charges $2 per message. They do have a size limit, but I think it is mostly for photos, etc.
We entered the Norwegian fjords at about 4:00 this morning. Beautiful country. The fjords are narrow in places with just enough room for the ship to squeak by. Lots of little isolated villages. I wonder how they come and go. Must be fishermen or they live off the land.
It has been a beautifully warm day. Even the Norwegians were surprised. “Sometimes we have six weeks of rain in August”. A clear, blue sky.
We left the boat a bit after 8:00 a.m. and walked the half mile into downtown Oslo. One of the cleanest European cites we have seen. The setting at the mouth of the fjord is outstanding. The air is clear and brisk. Everything is in sharp focus. Oslo is about the size of Portland. Half million.
A well preserved 1400 fort “guards” the city harbor. It is the first sight we see as we walk into town. It is now a major city park, but the army still has a post within the old walls. The public is welcome to wander. We walked down to the 1930 City Hall to meet Tove and Susan. We had time to walk a park, a plaza, and look around the downtown a bit before Tove showed up at a bit after 9:00. She is a trained librarian and is good at what she does. Enjoys researching. Very nice and helpful. She brought me maps and schedules and booklets to help us with our return trip in a few days. About 45 years old. Lives with her 85 year old mother. Seems to live a quiet life so enjoys meeting people. I met her on the Net while sending questions to the National Library. She has been most helpful. Would not take any payment for her postage and other expenses. We gave her a Crater Lake book plus a couple of other J’ville type gifts. She was really appreciative. Speaks excellent English.
Tove showed us around a bit and explained life in Norway. At 10:00 Susan showed up at City Hall. She said she would be wearing a knit cap which helped us to find her in the crowds of tourists. Susan is American, who has been married to a Norwegian for about 15 years. They have a girl about 12 and a boy 9. Susan seems to get her joy from meeting international people. I think she misses the US and is trying to make up for it. She is leaving for five weeks in Canada next week, but her husband has invited us to stay with them for a couple of days. They live 30 minutes out of Oslo, which will make it very handy when we return. Susan has many guests, so it is not unusual to have people coming and going from their home.
Tove had to leave for work at the National Library, so we sat down with Susan on the City Hall steps, in the warm sunshine and looked at the material that she had brought. She is very well organized. Lots of photos. Has made a lifelong study of weaving and knitting and making yarn from native materials. She even uses dog hair. Is very talented. She wants to sell internationally, so is working on contacts.
We shared gifts and photos. Susan made arrangements for us to tour City Hall at 2:00 with her favorite guide. We then spent the remainder of the time with Susan walking to the Parliament, the University, the Royal Palace (surrounded by beautiful lawns and groves of trees), and then back to the 1400 fort. Susan talked quite candidly about her many home and physical problems. Interesting that she would be so open to strangers. Susan had to leave by train to pickup her son from school, so we bid her goodbye, and walked back to the boat for lunch.
At 2:00 we walked back to City Hall and took the tour. Very interesting. The City Hall has some of the largest wall paintings in the world. It stands in a prominent spot at the head of the Oslo Fjord with a magnificent view of the surrounding area.
Many stories are told about the German occupation. The Norwegians seem to still dislike and not trust the Germans after what they did to them. As we floated in this morning we saw one fort that had been guarding the fjord in 1940. There were rumors that the Germans would be coming, but nothing for sure. One dark night in 1940, two young soldiers who were on guard duty at the little fjord fort spotted a darkened ship sneaking past the fort. They had no idea what the ship was or what it was doing so they made a hasty decision and launched a torpedo sinking the ship and sending 2,000 young German marines to the bottom. The two soldiers were heroes. The ship sinking gave the Royal family and government time to flee to England and some to the US where they set up a Norwegian government in exile.
The Germans mostly concentrated on wiping out the Jews, which they did very effectively. Only about 200 remained in the country after the war. Starting to see a few blacks and other colors on the streets. The Norwegians are taking in war refugees. Many Norwegians are not happy about it. “Many are criminals and bad people”, we were told. 70,000 Muslims are living in the country.
After the tour I went downstairs to the information center to get a city map so I could find the street locations of Grandma’s family. I handed the list of addresses to the woman at the desk. She did a double take, and said, “30 Votesgate” is the same location that I lived when I was born and growing up!” Of all the people in Oslo I could have talked to, I was able to meet a woman who had lived in the very house that my great grandparents had lived in! The woman then drew out the floor plan of the house. It was a large four story apartment house that had been turned into two room apartments. The outhouses were still located outside when she was living there, just like when my great grandparents were living there. She also showed me on her map where the wash house was located and where the laundry was hung to dry.
Her name is Wenche Nilssen Olsen. Amazing coincidence.
She then looked at the second address. “My husband grew up on that street!”
Found out that two weeks ago Wenche had played in a concert in the very church that my great grandparents had been married in. The lady then found the other two house locations plus the textile factory that my grandparents had worked in. At its peak it had employed several thousand people. It was at this factory that Great Grandma Dortea came down with TB and died. Wenche told me that this was quite common.
I thanked her and thanked her. By now Tove was off of work and she joined us again at City Hall. The late afternoon was warm and sunny with lots of people out enjoying the warmth, so Tove took us along the water front to look at the statuary and the many public works of art. It is everywhere. Many of the art pieces are of naked people. In City Hall there is a giant painting of about 50 naked boys playing outdoor games. Some urinating. A strange picture to have in a serious City Hall. “We don’t know how it got here”, I was told by the guide.
We then walked back to the Boat at 5:30, visited a bit more, bid our farewells and Tove left for the train station and home.
We are now sailing toward Copenhagen. Should be getting in about 2:00 in the afternoon. Wish they could be getting there sooner.
When we come back to Oslo Tove will join us and help us find the five addresses where the Jorgensens lived, and the two churches they used and the factory they worked at, which is now an office complex. So many of the old factories have been turned into offices and stores. Who needs to make stuff anymore?
It is now heading toward 11:00 p.m., so will cut this off.
VISITING NORWAY AND MEETING FAMILY September 2 – 15, 2003
Fart control (I should hope so!)
Tuesday, September 2, Day 19 of our month long northern European visit. Left Stockholm at 10:30 after walking 3/4 mile to Hertz “towing” our bags. Glad that we had switched over to rolling bags. Hertz upgraded us to a Ford Opal Astra, a very popular car in Europe. Drove across Sweden toward Oslo stopping just across the border at 6:00. Passed through several small villages and large cities and past numerous small, well kept velvet farms. Clear and partly cloudy – 55 degrees.
Sweden is full of picturesque settlements, small farmsteds and dotted with dozens of lakes, tucked between rolling, forested hills. The beauty is rather breath taking. Lots of forests remaining, but the trees are small. Heavily managed. Most of the farm houses are either red or yellow. The common wisdom is that these colors stand out brightly during Norway’s bleak and dark winters. Some log houses and sheds are still in use.
Stopped off in Kongsvinger, just over the Norwegian border – no check point at the boarde. We just drove on in. I phoned our cousins, the Westerlunds. Talked to Thomas, age 24. He speaks good English, but talks slow. Still recovering from an auto accident 4 years ago where he sustained serious brain damage. He has a hard time speaking on the telephone, so he had me phone his father – Trond. (It took awhile and several dollars as we tried to figure out the Norwegian phone system.) Trond suggested we come by their house tomorrow at 4:00.
We found a hotel in town. A bit expensive considering its neglectful state, which is an exception in this neat and organized society.
We are in the Gudbaudsdaln Valley. Farms in Norway are subsidized in an attempt to preserve the countryside. This would not be allowed if Norway joined the European Union. The EU has strong rules about keeping everyone equal and economically knocked down to the same level.
The weaker dollar makes things more expensive for us.
Wednesday, September 3 Day 20
We left after breakfast and drove north along the Gloma River to the Kommune of Grue and the city of Kirkenear (City near the church). The weather was a warm 68 degrees. Short sleeved.
Found the 1823 Grue Church where my great great grandparents attended. The church was having a funeral service, so we walked the church yard. Most of the graves are less than 20 years old. If the family does not renew the “rent” then the bones are dug up and rerented to another family.
While waiting for the service to end we drove over to the nearby Rathus – Town Hall to see if they could help me locate some of the family farms. The reception lady did recognize the name of “Skulstad” farm, but was not sure of its location. She drew out a map and suggested that we drive out about 2 kms and we should find it along the Gloma River. She also suggested that we stop by the church office in town and perhaps they could help me.
I stopped by the Grue Church office across the street from the historic train station, but they could not help me. The lady made some phone calls, but nobody was home. At least she tried.
We drove back to the Church and waited until the people left. We introduced ourselves to the lady associate pastor as she was locking up. When she learned of my family connection she graciously took the time to allow us to tour the church, plus she shared bits and pieces of church history. For seven years she sang in the church choir in Old Aker Church in Oslo where my great grandparents were married. We had a very nice visit with the lady. I was especially interested in the baptismal font that had been used by members of my family. I wonder how many of my Great Great Grandparent’s 17 children had been baptized in the church?
After a short drive northwest of town we found a sign pointing to Skulstad farm. There were about 10 houses on the road. Uncertain as to which farm we were looking for I drove to the end of the road just as the owner drove in on his large farm tractor. Very friendly. Is a full-time farmer. Farms two farms. He inherited Skulstad farm from his wife, but they do not live here. They live on the other farm.
2260 Kirkenear, Norway
Gjermund’s friend who was with him was: Ove Tingvold
For an hour we swapped family stories. He showed me an old family tree hanging on the wall of the abandoned farm house. Surprised he does not take better care of such a valuable document. He did tell me later that I have peaked his interest in family history and he will interview his father-in-law and get the story of the farm and then his son, who writes good English, will send me the translation. “This fall after the harvest is in.” The main house was torn down 75 years ago, but he had an excellent photo of it and will send me a copy when he gets a chance.
I have concluded that our family most likely did not live on this “main” farm, but on area “sub” farms that were broken off of Skullstad. But I am sure that my relatives did work for the farm because for most of their lives they were tenant farmers living out on sub farms and would have been obligated to work a certain number of days for the main farm to pay rent on the land they were farming.
I did learn that when Grue was settled, two large farms were formed next to each other. One was named “Skull” and the other one was “By”. The farms have been divided many times since then. Skull and By still show up as parts of other farm names to show their origin.
We have decided that we need to return to Grue at the end of our stay in Norway so that we can visit some of the other family farms.
We returned to the church office, but they still had not been able to contact the person who lived near one of our ancestral farms. We will check back when we return in about two weeks.
We left Grue at 2:40 and drove to Eidsvoll West. Called Trond from the post office. He and Thomas drove down and led us up to their house. We were warmly greeted by the family. Trond and his wife, Wenche (“Vinca”), and her father Oskar and stepmother Reidum. Wonderful people. Oskar is 78 and talented working with wood. His specialty is Rosemaling which is the Norwegian art of drawing and painting flower type of scroll work on small wooden objects such as chests, dishes, cups and clocks. Oskar is blind in one eye, but by working under a magnifying glass, he can produce beautiful designs. Oskar gave us one of his beautiful clocks. They will pack it and have it ready for us on our return in a week or so. Rosemaling is an ancient Norwegian folk art tradition.
It seems a bit strange to be talking to family members and not being to visit up a storm. Talking is done slowly. Trond is quit good in English. His wife is a bit slower. We have to repeat several times. Thomas is good, but has to speak real slow because of his head injury. Oskar speaks no English, but when he speaks to us in Norwegian his eyes sparkle. Oskar’s wife, Reidun, seems to understand, but is reluctant to speak. She is very elegant looking. Quick smile. Warmed up to us immediately.
Monica and 3 year-old Robin came over to the house for a visit. They live only 3 minutes away. Cute kid. Very blond. Husband delivers meat. Wenche (Vinca) served the bunch a meal of cold cuts and breads. We spent the evening getting aquatinted with each other. Oskar worried about whether we had a place to stay. Since no invitation had been extended, I made the excuse that we needed to get on down the road. They did invite us to stay with them when we return to the area on 14th, the day before we take off at the airport. This will be real handy since they only live about 20 minutes from Gardenmoen Airport.
Trond, who speaks good English, works for a French contractor at the airport who services SAS. “It is just a job.” Wenche works as a sales person – business to business.
Thomas, 24, works for the same company as his father. Mostly in the office. He worked as a cook for an old folks home four years ago before his terrible head-on car accident. Thomas suffered massive head injuries. Was unconscious for 21 days. In the hospital for 5 months. Is still in rehab. Talks slow. Right side partially paralyzed. Interesting that even through his head trauma he has been able to retain English. Speaks it slow, but easy to understand. He did quit a bit of the translating for us. Thomas hobbles when he walks. Uses a cane. A real nice guy. So friendly. His father told me that Thomas is real lonely. His girl friend and other friends left him during his recovery. He has no friends except his family.
Trond brought out an album detailing Thomas’s accident and recovery. They were willing to answer our many questions. They still are not sure exactly what happened. The car was destroyed. Thomas was the only one hurt.
The Westerlunds lived in their trailer house (caravan) in the hospital parking lot for 2 months during Thomas’s early recovery. Thomas is quite tall and big for a Norwegian. Oskar showed me a people history of the family that someone gave to him. Recently done. I found out that my g.g. grandparents had 17 children rather than the 10 we had found so far. I will get the document translated.
Thomas got a big settlement from the accident and has used the money to buy a new car that is specially fitted with hand controls since he cannot use his right leg and has little strength in his right hand. Has only been driving for a few months. He is also using the settlement money to build a new house about a km from his parents. He and his dad are doing much of the finish work. It going to be real nice. Adapted a bit to make allowances for his disability.
Thomas says he is getting stronger, but he still has a lot of work ahead of him.
The doctor said that he would never walk again nor speak, so he is beating the odds. Trond took a small computer with him to the hospital. He would ask Thomas questions and Thomas would type out an answer. Trond told me, “I know more than the doctor.” The family would tear up whenever they talked about Thomas’s ordeal.
The family took us over to see Thomas’s new $250,000 house. Small by American standards, but about average for a Norwegian. He sure is proud of what they have accomplished so far. About a month away from completion.
The Westerlunds sure were nice to us. Oskar took Thomas and Monica to Florida about 10 years ago. We shared a few gifts with them that we had brought along.
We bid them farewell at 8:30 p.m. and headed north for 30 minutes to Minnekroa, off E6. Rented a small, strange prefab motel room. A cross between a cold storage unit and a storage cubicle. Fairly new, but run by East Indians. So it was predictably poorly maintained and the grounds were grimy. Unusual for this country because Norwegians are very clean and neat.
Earlier I visited with a Norwegian who was very upset with all the immigration pouring into Norway. “But we cannot say anything. If we did we would be accused of being racist. Older Norwegian couples are starving because of the lack of food. They stay in bed because they are too weak to get out. But all of the illegals that are flooding the country are being taking care of with lots of money and food.
I visited with a Muslim Kurdish man, about 35, in Bergan. From Kurdistan. “I used to be Muslim, but I like to drink too much. I do not have to work because the Norwegian government takes care of me and my whole family. I am not married, but have a Norwegian girl friend.”
Day 21, Thursday, September 4
Lilliehammer at 25,000 is the smallest town to ever host a Winter Olympics. Naked statues of peole and kids are found all over the city; in city halls, parks, along streets and in churches.
The Luthern Church is still the state church of Norway unlike Denmark and Sweden where the Luthern Chruch has been separated from the government.
There is less porn here than in many other European countries. Very few fat people. Lots to eat, but somehow the Norwegians keep the pounds off. They do walk and bike to get places. I have seen whole classes out with their teachers, all on bikes.
We left our “meat locker/storage bin of a motel at 10:00 and headed for Lillehammer home of the 1994 Winter Olympics. The Olympic theme dominates the city. We found a room in a 30 room farm hotel overlooking the Olympic facilities. Beautful veiw of the farms, lakes and town. A scenic setting. Ersgaard Hotel. Only two rooms were rented of the 30 available. “Americans are not traveling this year” we were told. The owner gave us a discount for the view room.
We drove down to the outdoor museum, the Machaugen, and spent the afternoon wandering among a recreated historic Nowegian farm towns depicting life in Norway over the last 300 years. They do touch on the Vicking era 1,000 years ago.
The weather has been warm and sunny.
Day 22, Friday, September 5
Had to laugh. Posted in a restroom written in Arabic – were graphic instructions showing Arabs how to properly use a toilet. One drawing shows a guy perched with his heels hanging on the rim of the toilet with a big red X. The second drawing shows a guy sitting comfortably, with his feet on the floor, with a big broad smile. Apparently Arabs do not know how to use a Western WC.
A great breakfast. Spent the morning at the 1994 Olympic ski jump. Climbed the tower – maked my knees weak thinking that people actually ski down the slope. We also visited the Olympic museum in the Hockey Arena. Impressive displays tracing the full history of the Winter Olympics, year by year.
Left Lillehammer at 1:30 – drove to Lom, the location of one of Norway’s oldest wooden stave wooden churches. This one dated to 1150. There used to be over 800 stave wooden churches in Norway, but many have burned because of the heavy tar used to preserve the wood and rest were torn down becaue they were no longer needed. Now only 30 exisit in the whole country and they are all national treasures.
These large stave wooden churches (name comes from the verticle placement of the wooden siding giving the buildings a “barrel look”) are a testiment to the skills and craft of the arly Norwegians.
We climbed for the next hour through glaciated valleis dotted with ancient farms, along side large rushing rivers filled with milky glacial powder. Much of this area has seen little change over the last 400 years. The last big change to this part of the country was their conversion from pagonism to Christianity in the 1500s. Then came the Black Plague that killed 25% to 40% of the people. Some villages were totally wiped out. Then a mini-ice age added to the people’s misery.
As the Reformation swept through Norway in the 1500s, mini wars took place. People killing their neighbors. Catholic churches were burnt down or rebuilt in a simpler style. Records were destroyed.
Life changed rapidly after this. More interact5ion with teh outside world began including the rest of Europe.
We arrived at 5:30 p.m. to the historic Elveseter Hotel, a family farm dating back to the 1500s. Some of the older buildings still exist. We can see glaciers from our hotel room. A large glacier fed river roars below us. The farm has 130 rooms spread out over several long native style farm buildings. Weather has remained warm all day. Linda and I took a walk before dinner.
At 7:30 we celebrated Linda’s birthday, one day ahead, with a dinner at the main dining room. Many Norwegian dishes to try. All we could eat. We tried, but were soon stuffed. We were served by the owner. The farm has been in the family for 7 generations. His mother is English, so he speaks British English. It was his father who turned the small family farm into a major toursit destination point.
Day 23, Saturday, September 6
Linda still has a cold.
Bouerdal Community – “Close to the Fjords”
Mostly cloudy with some sun breaks. 7 degrees C. Left at 10 after packing a large lunch. Tried e-mailing but could not get connected. Drove almost to the summit of Sognefjellsvegan Pass. We took a hike out toward what looked like a somewhat close glacier. Very windy. A few people camped at the top of the pass. An amazing number of tiny wild flowers are still thriving in the harsh environment that is preparing for winter. We finally turned around as we were running out of time.
Crossed over the 1,434 meter (4,302 ft) pass – the highest in Northern Europe. The roaed runs along the edge of Jotunheim National Park. From the pass we could see the two highest mountains in Norway. Galdhøpiggen and Glitterlind. A spectacular viewpoint of glacial lakes and hanging glaciers and 700 foot water falls.
We entered a white knuckle single lane road. Norwegian drivers are fast and will blow their horns if they think you are being too cautious.
We entered the Fjord zone by mid afternoon. The narrow, one lane road clings to the edge just above the water line. Little farms are percarously balanced on narrow fliffs and shelves pread out and up the many side valleys. Neat and well kept but hard to access. Some sheep and a few apple orchards along with a few cultivated berries.
Norwegians sure know how to design their little settlements to be in harmony with their mountainous surroundings. Picture perfect! No signs, no commercialization, no sprawl.
Continuing along the fjord we entered a 3 km tunnel with a ferry waiting for us at the end. Fodnes. After getting off the ferry and rather than going through Europe’s longest tunnel – 15 miles – we chose to drive the 28 miles over the top one lane historic highway that the all weather tunnel replaced. Fodness to Aurland. The twists and turns took over an hour but the views were spectacular. Spotted sheep. Had to stop for a few grazing along the road. After all the road is the easiest trail to travel in this steep country.
When we got to Aurland we found our first choice of cheap sleeps was full, but we found a room in a new lodge across the road. The Fjord Hotel.
After checking in we drove to Flam – 10 miles in search of an Internet connection, but itw as closed. Ate at an outdoor cafe. Surprisingly mild temps. Back to our hotel and planned out our next day. We shared chocolate for Linda’s birthday.
Day 24 – Sunday – September 7
Laundries and Internet connections are difficult to find. If found, then not open.
We had a mignificient view from our Fjord Hotel in Aurland. Raining when we got up. Then it let up. After breakfast we drove to Flam. We had planned to take the 11:00 Fjord boat trip, but it had been cancelled. While waiting for the next one, I checked out the Net, but the connection was soooo slow, I finally gave up in frustration. I think I managed to get one short message out in an hour. Kept freezing up. Nice new equipment though.
We rented a cabin at the local Youth Hostel. This allowed us to use their guest laundry. By now it is pouring rain. Ate – food bars – and headed back to the dock at 1:00 for the boat trip. Rain is really opening up.
The boat is loaded with Japanese. Left Flam to Skjerdo to Undedale then turned the corner and sailed up to Dyrdol and Bakka to Gudvagen. Most of the group got off at Gudvagen and were replaced by a large group of very noisy Koreans.
Many water falls pouring off the 1,000 foot cliffs. Small villages – some dating back 1000 years – dot the narrow shoreline. Green and lush – some are totlly cut off except for an occational boat. Most have a church building. Fishing and sheep raising seems to be the main occupation. Some enterprising residents have opened up B/Bs in their homes. It would take a lot of planning to arrange transportation. The government is starting to carve auto tunnels into some of the village from back behind. Opening up access will certianl improve the economy, but at the same time easy access will change the village culture.
This part of Sognefjors – Naerogfjord, is the narrowest and most spectacular of the many inlets of the Sognefjord. Two hours up and two hours back. The sky lightened a bit as we left Gudvangen at 4:00. Many of the side cliffs are 5,000 feet straight up.
Back to our beautiful and compy, almost new piney cabin with a spectacular view of Sognefjord spread out in front of us and with green cliffs rising high behind us. Our hostel was voted last year as the most beautiful camping spot in Norway. B/W TV. One channel in Nowegian. A few bursts of sunshine.
A steep short line railway serves the town during the summer. Used almost exclusively by tour groups enjoying the views.
Got our laundry dried. Dinner was sandwiches left from breakfast. A quiet evening of study and learning about Norway from the books and booklets that we have accumulated. I also worked on trying to sort out family history for our visit to Kongsberg.
Day 27, Monday – September 8
A bit cloudy, but with sun breaks. Got away at 9:00 – things a bit drippy. Drove to Voss – ate a late breakfast in Voss overlooking a lake.
Arrived in Bergan at 12:30 after passing through a 2 mile underpass tunnel. Ducked into a parking garage at the bus station. Bergan is one of Norway’s larges cities, so there is an overburnden of traffic in this ancient city that was not designed for cars. Much of the charm on the outskirts has been deminished by parking garages, highways, and large commercial buildings.
The historic inner core is still in tact, but it is being changed rapidly. Upscaling and shoping are the two driving forces of change.
Walked to the central city – took in the outdoor market including their famous fish market. Everything is so clean. Many small lakes, ponds, and harbor water lapping into town. Lots of open green space. We bought two smoked salmon sandwiches on our way to the elevated railway station. Flasalndest
The funicular railway gives an 8 minute ride to the top of a ridge loverlooking Bergen. Ate our lunch along the ridge wall and then walked down a series of switch back trails back to town. Checked out a lodging house, but it was full. Found a Cyber Cafe and checked e-mails and sent messages. Found a room several blocks away at a new/old apartment hotel through the booking service of the TI. City Apartment Hotel.
Walked over and met the manager a 24 year-old adopted Korean. Asgeir Hansen. A really interesting guy. He had many stories about how, as an Aisan, he had been made fun of and discriminated against. Never did feel accepted. Now working for a Chinese businesman. Feels more at home. Only Chinese working at the hotel. We talked at length about what itis like to be an Asian raised in Norway. It was not easy for him. Picked on and bullied. Had to fight back. We were staying in an old apartment building that is being converted slowly into a lodging house. Paint is fresh. Will be nice when done.
Walked back to the bus station and picked up our bags for the evening. We spent the next three hours walking the old town built between 1200 – 1700, but being moderized to a certain extent. Full of stores and resturaunts.
A big rainbow was visable as we set out. Passed several old castle walls and keeps and towers beautifully flooded with light, all being reflected in the nearby bay of the fjord. Some of the ancient houses lean a bit, but seem to be holding their own. Full of shops and apartments. Ate pizza at a Kurdish pizzza parlor. This is where the Kurd told me that he was no longer a Muslim “because I like to drink too much. I do not have to wrork in Norway. The government takes care of me.” 35 years old, unmarried. Has brought most of his family to Norway.Was haning around the parlor visiting with his Kurdish friend who was cooking the pizza. He translated for us. Gave us a lot of background on his country and why he does not want to live there. Life is much better in Norway. 40 million Kurds are living in four countries. Persecuted for years.
Norwegians smoke and eat lots of ice cream.
Got back to our room on the 4th floor after 10 pm. Had to dodge a few rain showers. We have a long drive ahead of tomorrow.
Day 26, Tuesday, September 9
Bergen to Veggli.
Norwegian shower curtains or shower doors allow water to spray over the whole room. Wood windows included.
All of Europe and Japan sleep beneath one thick comforter which is wrapped in a double sheet. Have to take mine apart and sleep under the sheet. Without layering, the sleeper is either to warm or too cold. They think our system of layering is strange.
Norway is the land of tunnels. Most larger cities have bypass tunnels beneath teh town. Thousands of tunnels exist out in the countryside to make traveling more all weather and quicker.
The Bergen – Oslo railroad, built in 1890, passes through 200 tunnels.
Rained all night. We were 5 stories up, but there was shouting and yelling most of the night. Even in the rain. Norwegians, in cities, party loud. Lots of drinking.
The narrow winding raods and streets are taking a scenic toll on the towns that were not built for heavy auto traffic. Heritage is being lost in the name of getting traffic through town.
Norway and Denmark do have a number of walking streets where traffic is banned. Makes for a nicer experience. Most European countries woke up only 30 – 40 years ago to realize they were losing their visual heritage. The effort is heavy now as cities work to save what is left.
In Norway they capitalize on their 1000 years of history and especially their scenery. Strict preservation laws are in effect even for farming villages. No shopping centers, no ad signs, no sprawl. Nearly every farm village looks 100 – 300 years old.
Lots of traffice, but few jams. A good bus and tgrain system allows people to get out of their cars.
Norwegians have several ways of spelling the same words. This comes from the Danish influence for 400 years, old Norse, and new Norwegian which is trying to standardize the language.
Post boxes look a bit like flat post mounted trash cans. They use the same style for park trash cans.
It quit raining as we left Bergen. Overcast, but in the mid 60s.
Spent several hours walking Bergen by daylight. Linda was looking for some needle point kits. Had a most difficult time trying to figure out how to pay the auto parking fee. Nothing in English. Finally got the arm to lift. The message said “750 ks”. I dropped the money in the box. Nothing happended. Turned out it was the trash can mounted on the exit post for old parking tickets. I had to get out and dig the money out and reassemble the trash box.
Ended up paying by c card.
Took Hwy 7 out of Geren and on toward Oslo at 11:30. 450 kms away.
A windy, windy, scenic road along the fjords. The little towns here are not as neat. The mountainsides are jumbled with summer homes. Stopped for lunch along Hardanger Fjord for lunch.
Leaving Bergen we wandered along the fjords for several hours and then climbed above the timber line and followed the length of Hardangervidda National Park. We stopped by two stave churchs. One built in 1890 which is quit new for stave wooden churches. The other was built between 1100 – 1600. They kept remodeling the building over the years to meet their changing needs. I wonder how the coped with the constant tar smell and deep darknes caused by the lack of windows and tar on the walls.
The mountain plateau provides a wealth of scenic beauty. North Europe’s largest high mountain plateau with unspoiled nature. Several ski parks on the hillsides. It seems to be a status symbol in Norway to own a second summer/winter house. Most are very modest. I wonder where they get their water and what happens to their sewer. They tend to cluster helter skelter along the edge of the National Park.
Lots of evidence of glacial action. Hundreds of lakes and thundering water falls and power dams. Ulvik, Jonkal, Odda, Utne, Gudvengen.
“Skog” is a common word in Norway. Means “forest”. I wonder if my friend Jim Skog knew that.
Towards dusk we entered Buskerud County which contains the Numedal Vally and Norway’s 3rd longest river.
At 7:00 we stopped in Veggli, a wide spot in the road and rented a room. We made a few calls and planned out our next few days as we approach Oslo. Rained a bit.
Kongsberg, the King’s City – was Norway’s center of silver mining for 300 years until the silver ran out.
Tomorrow we check out the city where my great grand father, Jens Jorgen Jorgenson, was born and raised.
Day 27, Wednesday, September 10
Most electrical receptacles in Norway are located near the ceiling, not near the floor as we are accustomed. 230 V. At least they are childproof. Norwegians like warm floors. Often the heat is in the floor, especially cement floors and in bathrooms. Even their travel trailers – “Caravans” – have heat in their floors which allows for winter camping use. Their trailers are often parked in the forests around the country -set up for year-round use.
Our motel shower has a shower curtain which is most unusual in Norway. But the flat floor allows water to run out into the rest of the bathroom.
Most European kings were just Highway robbers in purple robes and gold crowns – they stole so much from their people. In Norway the poor people had to give 10% to the king. But in France it was 75%. The royals kept the people in servitude while at the same time claiming that being in charge was a God-given right. How did they explain God changing His mind so much. Often an upcoming king would behead the ruling king and then claim divine authority.
We arrived in Kongsberg at 10:00. Parked and walked up to the 1761 Kongsberg Church. Largest Baroque style church in Norway. An outstanding and famous organ diminates the interior. They present regular public recitals on the organ. I talked to a lady attendant who answered most of my questions. I was trying to locate my great great grandparent’s farm – “Gran”. She was not sure. I was also looking for “Ekimo Street”. About a mile away she says.
We then walked over to the Silver Mine Museum. The tour mine had closed for the winter, which was a disappointment. The Museum is wonderfully presented. World Class! It starts with the discovery of Silver in the Kongsberg are in 1661 and traces the growth of the trade industry up until the mines closed in 1959 laying off 3,000 workers. The museum traces the growth of high tech throughout Norway, based much on the trades that were begun in Kongsberg so long ago.
Most of the silver was taken by the Danish King to finance his many wars. People suffered greatly, many giving their lives, to extract the metal from the ground just to keep the king rich. The people were proud that they were helping out the King of Denmark. The Danish King had declared that he owned all the precious metals of Norway and that the miners worked for him. Of course he paid poor wages and forced the people to endure unspeakable hardship. Mining is cold, hard, wet work.
The smelter and the Royal Mint are still located in Kongsberg. A very robust town.
Had an interesting visit with Erik Engebertset, a staff teacher. He let us in before the museum opened and answered my questions. He even placed a phone call to a local historical writer who was able to answer some questions about the family farm – Gransneset in Sandsvaer. The writer took 16 years to write a 4,000 page history of the farms of the area. He will be able to answer questions in more detail. I will need to e-mail him.
We had run out time to drive out to the family farm. The author would have been happy to meet with us tomorrow and show us around, but we needed to move on to Oslo. If only we had another day!! He says that there are existing photos of the farm.
We then drove across the river to the neighborhood where my great grandfather, Jens Jorgen Jorgenson grew up. I did not have an address only, “1st Baggade (street behind) from Ekermogaden.” ( which means “flat place with oak trees”. The oaks are long gone.) Most of the neighborhood had been modernized since 1860, but a few old houses still remain, but are mostly empty. At least we had a feel for the neighborhood. The Jorgenson family lived only a few blocks from downtown.
We left Kongsberg at 4:00 and headed for the Bolstads, arriving an hour later. Susan is in Canada, so we were greeted by her husband Rolf and their two children who are mostly bi-language. Rolf is Norwegian and Susan is American. Daniel is 9 and Melisa is 11. The children have interesting accents. They spend nearly every summer with their grandparents in Penn.
We took them out for dinner. Rolf chose a Chinese rest. He seemed relieved not to cook. Checked e-mails for 2 hours. They have a great connection. He wants us to stay as long as we want. Will spend two days. Will take train to Oslo in the morning.
Day 28, Thursday, September 11
We missed our first train connection, so Rolf walked us around a great trail system in their neighborhood and then down to the train station less than one km from their house. We caught the 10:44. Tove was waiting for us at City Hall. We then took off walking, the lady enjoys walking, up to Gamle Aker Kirk (Old Aker Church). There are three Aker churches in Oslo. This one is know as “Old” because it was the first one built in 1150. Burned twice from lightning.
Jens and Dortea Jorgenson, my great grandparents, were married here on July 30, 18790. Jens is listed as a factory worker. We sent an hour with a very friendly and talkative church worker who gave us a complete history of the church. She showed us photos of the church as it would have looked in 1879 before it was restored in 1950.
We then walked to the Aker River and found the Hjulva weaving factory. This is where GGrandma Dortea was working when she got sick in 1893. 80% of the people who worked here were woman. She probably worked here for over 15 years before she died. The company mostly made sail cloth for sailing ships. Was founded in 1849 because of the availability of water power from the Aker River. Since there were many factories located along the river, most likely JJJ worked either in this factory or in a nearby factory at various times.
Tove said it would have been hard work. The building is now restored and has become offices, and restaurants, and businesses with parks and paths along the swift flowing river. Real fancy now.
Then off ot Votsgrade 30. The Jorgensens lived here at the time of Helga’s birth in 1879. Talked to the caretaker. He showed me the backyard of the four story house and where the laundry room and outhouses would have been located. He told me that only druggies are living here now. “They are on ‘Social’. This would have been a wonderful place to live 100 years ago. A high class neighborhood. One of the best. But now full of druggies. They have to live somewhere I guess.” The building is very original on the outside.
Then off to Ostgaard garden where Dagny, my grandmother was born in 1882. Found the short street, several old houses still standing, but #39 was gone. Been replaced with a modern apartment. Houses full of Blacks, Indians, Asians, and Muslims. “They are coming in at 20,000 each year and we are a country of only 5,000,000. When we say anything about it we are accused of being racist, but they can say anything and get away with it”, a Norewegian told me.
Then off to Bentzegaden #27. Several very old houses left on this very narrow street that probably would have been typical of what the family probably lived in. JJJ had left for the US by now and Dortea would have been sick and destitute. #27 was missing. Replaced with a modern apartment house.
All of these houses were just around the corner from each other, so the family did not have to move very far. Wonder why they moved so much.
Then over to #1 Thorshovgate. This would have been where Dagny and Dortea would have lived after their mother’s death. Dortea was confirmed while living here in 1893. Four story on a corner. Original looking. We wandered through the apartments. Some are being restored. The winding stairway is very 1893.
The area is still very much working class/welfare/drug infested/immigrant neighborhood…but since it is so close to the parks and river, the area is being improved and a different class is moving in.
Found a large 1861 school in the area. This is probably where Grandma went to school. The only one in the area. Sagene Skole (Saw Mill School).
Walked a short distance to Sagene Kirke – the family was attending here at the time of Dortea’s death in 1893. The church recorded her death. Once a beautiful church, but is being allowed to get very tired looking. Lots of weeds around. Door locked.
Took a bus back to downtown. Ate dinner with Tove, then took a trolly out to Vigeland Park. 80 acres of 210 naked people, bigger than life, representing struggles and joys in people’s lives. Fountains, grass and trees. Ponds. Beautiful area. Completed right after W.W.II. Vigeland spent 30 years building the park.
As the sun began to set on this warm evening, with many people out and about, we bid our wonderful guide, Tove, goodbye. What a wonderful person. She helped us so much. 56. Unmarried. Lives with her mother. An only child. Tove really does her homework. Was prepared for our our searches. We could never had done what we did without her help in showing us now to search the city, take the bus, train and trolly.
We arrived back in Lier at 9:05 and walked the short distance back to the Bolstad’s house. Rolf answered several of my questions about our drive into Oslo tomorrow. We have made our plans and it should go smoothly.
Day 29, Friday, September 12.
Eple is Apple
Applesen is Orange
Norwegians have no standards when it comes to switches and receptacles. They can be placed anywhere. Electric wires often run on the surface, much like extension cords.
Rolf has been real kind to us. Even washed our clothes for us. He has taken off the last three days of work. Back injury. Sitting at the computer all day hurts, so he has taken the time off to help with the kids also. Susan met Rolf as a pen pal. They met, married, and have two kids. When Susan met us in Oslo two weeks ago, explained their situation. “An open marriage.” There seems to be tension, so Rolf enjoyed having us around. She does not seem to be enjoying her life in Norway. Very restrictive.
Susan is looking for new experiences. Rolf is very quiet and very kind to his children.
We noticed big cars in the Oslo area, but not in the rest of the country. I can see why Nobel got so rich – there is so much rock to blast for tunnels and roads.
We left the Bolstads at 9:40 and headed to the Viking Ship Museum. An easy 1/2 hour drive to Oslo. We turned off at the museums exit. Got to the parking lot and discovered Linda’s wallet was missing. Found a free toilet to use then to pay phone using my credit card to call Rolf. Yes, Linda’s wallet was sitting next to the computer. Thankfully Rolf was home and did not go to work. Drove the half hour back, picked up the wallet and drove back to the museum district parking lot.
We first visited the Viking ship museum. Dug up 100 years ago from an old burial mound. Built 850 AD. Then to the Kon Tiki museum. Outstanding presentation. One of Norway’s biggest tourist attraction. Details Thor Henderdal’s life of exploration.
Then to the Fran Ship museum. The strongest wooden boat ever built. Used as an ice breaker. Sailed the Arctic regions 1895 – 1925. Spent three years locked in Arctic ice. Great exhibits on Arctic exploration. The Fran, which means forward, was used by several famous Norwegian explorers. Held the record at the time of going the farthest north and the farthest south.
Visited the coastal/fishing boat museum next door. We had planned on taking the water taxi across the bay to downtown Oslo, but it began to rain and besides we were running out of time.
Drove across Oslo and beneath and then stuck in a giant traffic jam for a couple of hours. First one since St. Petersburg.
We worked our way north to Skedsmokorset at 6:00 p.m. where we met with Jan Kristiansen, the genealogist who has done so much research for me. Nice guy. His family was at a soccer game. Secretary of the Norwegian Gen. Society. He is a full-time genealogist. He is the one who found our Norwegian cousins. Oskar’s brother, Helge, died last year at age 80, of asbestos poisoning. His widow called Jan and talked for a long time after I sent her my letter translated by Jan. She wanted to tell him what a wonderful husband and stepfather Helge was. Even after knowing he was dying,he worked hard to fix up their two houses. Helge and Oskar do not seem close. The two families do not seem to know each other. Helge only had step children, none of his own. Oskar only has one daughter, two grand kids and one great grand boy.
Jan shared with us how he did his searches and explained the back ground of Norwegian naming practices. He served us tea and their famous cold waffles. We left at 7:30 and drove on to Kongsgiver (King’s view) and then north up the Glomma River-Norway’s longest, past a dozen of beautiful Norwegian farms and well attended farmsteads sprinkled out in among the gently rolling hills.
We arrived at Grue/Kirkenaer (Near the church) at 9:00 and checked into our motel for two days. We spent the evening emptying the car and starting to repack for the trip back home.
Day 30, Saturday, September 13
British English is used throughout the country for translation. Bathing and bathing costumes for swimming and swimming suits.
Refuges fleeing the German occupation during WW2 used trails through this area on their way to Sweden.
Norwegian bathrooms contain no cabinets or counter space. Even the toilet tank tops are rounded to prevent the placing anything on them. And the floor is always wet from shower water.
In Norway if farms are sold on the open market, the oldest child can take the farm back within two years at half the price. Keeps farms in the family and discourages foreign buyers.
A sunny warm day. We had to switch rooms for tonight. This one has the toilet in the hallway, but cheaper. Very few people around. Quiet. They also have a campground and cabins.
I called Gjermund Haugen, the present owner of Skulstad Farm, which at one time was one of the two largest farms in the Glomma River Valley. The other was “BY”. All farms are named and the names stick with the farms for hundreds of years. They use the farm names as addresses. Sometimes the family will drop their own name and take the farm name as a family name as Oskar’s family did.
Gjermund was going to have a photo ready for me of the Skulstad farm house, but had forgotten. But then the local photo shop’s machine was broken. I was a bit disappointed. As we were leaving for the day I talked to a couple of motel workers who gave me a map showing the farm Skulberget where my great grandmother, Dortea, was born. “Bert” means a farm in the forest. I found it on the map and we headed for the car just as Gjermund pulled up in his p/u. Along with his dog. Gjermund promised to mail me a copy “after things slow down” in the fall. He did offer to drive us up to Skulberget farm. The route the clerk showed me “would not get you there.” We would never have found the farm, located about 10 miles from town, by ourselves. He took us to the gate and told us to walk the last one km on our own. He also showed us another family farm next door. “I have 1,000 tons of potatoes to harvest in the next two weeks.”
Gjermund also promised to talk to his father-in-law and try to write down more farm history. His 22 year-old son will translate.
Linda and I walked up the narrow lane to the farm site. Except for the 1920s house perched in the center, the place would have looked 200 years old. This is the farm where my great great grand parents Ole Arnesen and Karen Danielsdatter were living in 1865, along with their 8 (ages 1 – 13) children. Eventually he would raise 17 and he would remarry after Karen’s death birthing #10.
The record shows he owned the farm. By 1875 Karen has died and Ole has remarried and has another 7 or so kids to raise. The farming was mostly subsistence. Raising eating crops and timber harvesting. They grew what they needed, and sold some. Had a few sheep and cows. Made butter and cheese for sale. Ole bought Skulberget farm some time between 1855 -1856. The walls of the little cabin that we entered was papered with 1924 newspaper. Linda noticed how the woman of the house tried to hang little extras trying to beautify the place. A fancy shelf here, and bit of lace there. Still pretty grim to live out of town this far during the winter. There was a school about 2 miles away.
The little cabin had built in beds, two rusting stoves, skis hanging from the rafters – the kind that tie on with leather thongs. Saw horse drawn carts and sleds in the barns. We felt we were in a time warp. Life has come to a stop. Nobody lives here now. Is used a bit in the summer. Amazing that 17 kids could be raised here. Of course they were spread out and some left home early like my great grandmother. And some of the kids were farmed out and some died. Karen, age 40, died only 15 days after the birth of her 10th kid here on this farm.
Interesting that my great grandmother, Dortea, Karen’s daughter, died in Oslo at age 33 in 1892. The family continued to live on the Skulbertget farm until after 1900. The farm, based on records taped to the wall, was used for dairy production until the mid 1970s. We found the dates in the old milking parlor. It must have been productive at one time.
We walked back to our car, past several ant hills, drove a couple of kms down the road to Torsberget farm. The home of my great great aunt Karen Nilsdatter who married Dortea’s brother – Jorgen Olsen in 1885. They moved to Skulstadberget after they married. She was born in 1854 on Torsberget. We walked up the long road, past a gate. We ate our lunch on a flat rock in front of a long, slowly crumbling log cabin. I let myself in and looked around. The farm did not look productive, but it once had supported large families.
We walked back to our car and drove past Lake Navnsjoen or Navnsjoholm, meaning a small island in the lake. This is where my g.g. grandfather, Ole Arnsen was born and where my ggg grandfather, Arne Arnesen was renting a farm in 1830. When Ole married Karen, they moved from the lake shore to the top of the mountain two kms way. Old Skulberget sure was getting crowded. We drove back to Kirkenaer and Skulstadmoen farm, which is about one mile north of town. My g.g. grandfather, Ole Arnesen was born on the farm in 1830, along with other relatives.
His father, Arne Arnesen was working on the farm as a cottager (renter). Had to work part-time on the main farm to help pay the rent. Usually cottagers lived in a little house at the edge of the farm and was allowed a few animals such as pigs, a cow, but no horses were allowed. They were allowed to grow some food.
The Sund family came out to greet us as we drove in unannounced. The owner is Arne Sund. The wife is Else Sund. One boy about 13 – Thorbjorn Sund. Youngest boy – age 9 – Petter Sund.
Had a nice visit with the grandmother. Born and raised in Canada. Came for a visit over 50 years ago, stayed and married. May & Lus Sund, 2260 Kirkenear, Norway.
The Sunds farm about 150 acres. Skulstadmoen – flat. The family invited us to tea and coffee. Mr. had to get back to work so Thorbjorn showed us around the farm. He could speak English quit well for a 13 year old. They took us through the 200 year-old house and store house full of ancient tools and farm implements. These buildings were here when my relatives lived on the farm!
Every farm has the same collection of storehouses. Most are kept in excellent shape. The Sunds have spent a lifetime collecting old farm items. They explained their usages to us: farm implements, saddles, pitch forks, tables, cabbage “pitchers”. Numerous items dated back to the 1700s. The boy was very interested in showing us around. I wish we had had more time to spent looking. We then toured the grandmother’s 1828 house. Chuck full of antiques. She loves the place and the way she has it fixed up. “…but it sure is cold and breezy in the winter.” We stayed a couple of hours and then bid them goodbye. Arne is going to copy a farm map for me and have it ready tomorrow for pick up on our way to church.
While the sun thought about setting, we drove across the Glomma River to Hof, where my two great great uncles, Julius Petersen and Ole Bredesen were born. In nearby Holt, my great grand mother Dortea’s sisters Olia’s husband was born. Karelius Arnesen in 1850.
By 1880 several more members of the family were living in Hof. A beautiful farming village. We walked around the 1858 stone/brick building. The setting sun glowed off the ancient brick work.
Picked up a couple of eating items at a local store and took them back to our room to eat. Saves money.
A very productive day! Spent the evening studying family history and how it related to the farms we visited and writing up the events of the day.
Day 31, Sunday, September 14.
Norwegians take their shoes off before entering their houses.
Interesting that JJJ’s family moved from the farm to Kongsberg where his father became a driver and then on to Oslo where JJJ worked as a factory worker. But Dortea’s family pretty much stayed on the farm even though some of the kids left for America and some to Oslo and some died.
Skulstad farm, being one of the main ones, next to By farm, followed the custom of the day. the main farm was for growing food and hay along the river with deep soil and plenty of water. “Sub” farms were part of the main farm but off into the mountains, 1 – 10 miles away. The mountain farms were sometimes referred to as winter farms. Cattle and sheep would be moved to the mountain farms in the spring for forage and milking, freeing up the lower farms for food production. Cheese and butter was made in the upper farms during the summer. The livestock would be returned to the lower farms in the fall.
When the Grue Church burned in 1822, killing 117 people, I wonder if there were any of our relatives trapped in the building which held 500.
Drove out to Skulstadmoen farm and picked up several copies of the 1900 farm map from the Sunds. Arne invited us into their house. Beautifully restored. Big by Norwegian standards. Several families probably lived in the house in ages past. Lots of 1700s antiques. Well taken care of. Apparently my gg grandfather did not live in the main house since he was listed as a “cottier” which means he was living in a small house behind the main house. “Out in the woods”. Arne showed me an ancient painting of the farm and out buildings. I photocopied it. We had about 30 minutes before church started at Grue, so we drove out to the Gloma River and parked to take in the view. Who should drive by on his tractor but Gjermund of Skulstad farm. He is all over the place! Of course he stopped by for a visit. “In Autumn, when I have more time, I will send you some more information.” He sure is helpful and really nice. I thanked him repeatedly for helping me find the family farms.
We attended the 11:00 service at the Grue Church. About 80 well dressed, older people in attendance. Beautifully maintained. Almost 200 years old. Very formal. Of course we could not understand one word. A beautiful pipe organ would command attention between the ceremony. Sort of like a Catholic Mass. The building could easily have seated 450 people. Lots of ceremony. Nobody spoke to us. Was a bit disappointed in the lack of being friendly. I did mention to the pastor, as we were leaving, that my g.g.grandparents attended the church over 100 years ago. “I wished I had known that, I would have made an announcement.”
We drove on over to Eidsvold, arriving at 2:00. Stopped off at Constitution Hall – about five miles from the cousins. The Hall was the site of the 1814 signing of Norway’s new constitution when they declared their independence from Denmark. They were free for only about 9 months when Sweden grabbed them. Sweden was offered Norway by the “great powers” as payment for their support during the war with Napoleon. They treated countries and other people as though they were chess sets. It was not until 1905 that Norway finally had the nerve to declare itself free for the second time. They are still using the same constitution.
We took the tour. Very interesting.
A warm summer type of day. I called Trond and he and Thomas drove down and we followed them up to their house. A bit tricky in places. Especially when you cannot read the street signs.
We were warmly greeted. After all we now know each other. We will be staying in their real nice travel trailer. We were invited over to Oskar’s house for the evening. About 15 minutes away. At Jesshheim. Reidun, Oskar’s wife, Reidun, served us four kinds of open face sandwiches. Two desserts. Were stuffed and then they took us out to a Chinese Rest. in town. Oskar showed us a lot of of family history. He gave me several pages that will need to be translated. He showed me photos of his parents, and his grandfather, who was my great grandmother’s brother. (Dortea).
He also showed us the family farm/cabin at Lake Navnsjoen or Navnsjoholm. It has been in the family for about 200 years. Oskar moved the cabin away from the lake a bit and beautifully restored. Had we one more day he would have taken us over to see the place. I would have enjoyed that. Following his brother’s death, the family sold off Helge’s portion. They seemed saddened by that.
Yesterday, we found out, we had passed the little school that Oskar and other family members attended up at Skulstadberget. It was sitting alongside the road.
“I walked to school”, he told me. These farms supported the whole family. That is still a mystery. Now they are summer houses.
We went back to the Westerlunds where I checked e-mails. They offered us soft drinks. Monica came over and showed us wedding photos, and other family doings. Nice. Reidun seemed more relaxed and more open to speaking English. She really hugged us as we left their house.
Thomas took us to his new home so we could see the progress the past two weeks. Trond and Thomas work on the house every night until about 11:00.
Finally to bed by 11:30.
Day 32, Monday, September 15.
Up at 5:30 a.m. Left the house at 6:30. for our 10:50 flight. I followed Trond and Thomas. They showed me where to drop off the rental car and how to get to the terminal. It would have been confusing without their help. It was about 7:00 and they stood around the parking lot, not seeming to be in a hurry. “Don’t you need to be at work?” I asked. “We come when we come”, Trond said rather philosophically.
They seemed to have a hard time saying goodbye.
We arrived at Frankfurt a bit behind. By the time we walked into the terminal, they were already loading.
When we arrived in Portland, Lloyd was waiting for us. We had a nice, but short visit because our flight to Medford had been moved up almost an hour.
Lloyd called the Folks to alert them that we were going to be arriving early. Everyone was at the airport to meet us.
Wow! What a wonderful European month!