Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roundtrip - Norway to Italy

I have been working really hard at filling out my Norwegian Grandmother's tree. I can go back 12 generations from me, and I still have more generations to add. I am also being very careful about adding sources on my tree. When I first started genealogy research, I would just take a picture of the document, but now I know I should put the source down first and then add the picture. I need to go back to my grandfather's side to do this.

There are a few genealogy walls I have run into lately, but those are what make the hunt fun. I expect to find my answers sometime; I just hope it doesn't take too long! Today I learned something new that might help from a blog I follow, Slekt og Slikt. The site of the article is http://lailanc.blogspot.com/2009/10/karens-family-in-norway-tips-and-tricks.html. It mentions a site for members of the Genealogy Society of Norway (please read the comment posted by the author regarding membership), to upload a GEDCOM file of your tree. It merges into the database, and the member will get information in return, such as a list of members working with the same people/farms/areas. I definitely hope to take advantage of this once I have my tree the way I want it, or closer to it anyway, and if I can become a member! Ancestry will do a similar thing by finding you other similar trees on their databases, but sometimes I find they are not stringent enough. I do get tired of all the leaves with possible hints and matches that end up being quite far-fetched. But I do love my Ancestry site, so I can't complain too much!

On to Italy now! I have translated my grandfather's letter from his father, sent to him in 1914. I plan on posting it, and the translation, this week. So look out for it. I also received pictures of each page in my grandfather's diary, written in 1915. More on that to come as well. It is rather exciting to have the information, for my grandfather's diary is about 100 pages long. My mother owns it along with some other things I can't wait to get my hands on soon. As I have mentioned before, it is so hard to get information in Italy. I have to depend on relatives, and at some point a visit in person to find records and tombs (if they still exist).

One exciting find today is that my half-cousin is on Facebook. My grandfather was widowed before he married my grandmother. He had a son with his first wife who is quite a bit older than my mother. They did not have much contact while my mother was growing up. However, occasionally there were visits. Her half-brother also lived in the area of Rome, which was some distance away. Luckily, I had the pleasure of meeting my uncle and one of his sons in 1982 (picture on the left shows my half-uncle and his wife, third and fourth person from the right. Their son is toward the left, to the right my other cousin in the red shirt. I am in the middle in the striped shirt, and everyone else are aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as my grandmother on the left in the black dress). His son was really nice and fun, I remember. Anyway, I lost contact after that summer. But now that I have had questions about my grandfather's life before my grandmother, it's important that I talk to my cousin. Who knows what they know. They may have some pictures, too. I also want to know something about my grandfather's first wife. At any rate, I had finished writing my cousin a letter when I thought to check Facebook. And there he was! He had just joined, it seems, in the last few days. Coiincidence? Fate? Who knows. But I can't wait for him to answer my email so I can share what I know, and our grandfather's diary, and anything else worth sharing... and see what he has to share.

More to follow soon!

Tombstone Tuesday

 Gustava Jonsen Bye 1876-1953 and Kristian Olausen Jordbaerhaugen 1878-1962. They are my great-grandparents on my grandmother's side, Vestre Baerum, Norway. Their son Trygve was buried with them in 1987 followed by their daughter Astrid in 2003.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Visit to Norway Circa 1969

Today I wanted to post the only pictures I have with my great-grandparents Thomas Alexius Haugen (1889 - 1969) and Joergine Amalie Ludvigsdatter (1889 - 1972). I believe these were taken only a few months before my great-grandfather died. I have posted previously about Thomas with regards to the Haugen name. He and Joergine also appear in the pictures taken when they went to Finland where my grandfather was born. My great-grandmother Joergine also wrote a lovely poem about her childhood in Vesten and the timber life, which I also previously posted. I feel pretty lucky to have some pictures with them, although I wish I remembered them. I believe these were taken in Oestfold, Norway (Fredrikstad area).

Great-grandparents Thomas and Joergine Haugen... and me (quite a bit younger) circa 1969.

Great-grandmother Joergine with me circa 1969.

My great-grandparents and my parents.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

You don't really know where you're going until you know where you've been...

I heard the line in my blog title in a movie tonight, and it really clicked with me. Maybe this is why I am so interested in the past.

I have been working on my grandmother's line lately. I found out that my grandmother's maternal grandparents were first cousins. This was probably not so unusual at the time. I also discovered a gggg-grandfather from Denmark (Agger Sogn) who was a constable. He was born circa 1780, but I need to find his Danish birth record. One good thing is that Danish records are freely available the way Norwegian ones are. Also, Norway was a union with Denmark during this time, so it makes sense. I admit that I still need to look up more about this part of Norwegian history.

Another interesting aspect of genealogy is looking at death records. Many of them tell you what caused a person's death. I find that tuberculosis, cough, pneumonia, etc... caused the most deaths. I am sure the flu was probably a much bigger killer than it is today, and people often died from complications. I did run into one strange cause of death. One of my ggg-grandmothers was married once before to a man who died by "naturlige kopper." They had a baby daughter who also died a few months later by "naturlige kopper." I assumed that this was copper poisoning, but my father says it is small pox.  

Some other things I have been working on is planning the reunion in Norway. I have a Web site going, but I wanted to complete my grandmother's tree a bit better before going live. Then I hope to contact my grandmother's sibling's relatives through the Web site, and I also hope to contact all other relatives, too. I am still hoping to have some pictures found, especially the pictures that belonged to my grandmother's sister, Astrid. As I said in my last post, they ended up somewhere after she died. But I have found a way to get still-shots from video -- I have a video I took in the 90's of my grandmother's and her sister's pictures. So I tried to get some still-shots from it, which I am posting below. They did come out a bit warped and blurry, but I am posting a few here to give you an idea how they come out. I hope to find the originals so I can have them scanned instead and be of much better quality.

Gunnar, Kjell, and Trygve in front. Gyda, my grandmother, and her sister Astrid behind the boys. Rex the dog, too. This picture was taken circa 1926.

The oldest boy here is John, and then the other boys are Olav, Oivind, and Gunnar (the youngest). Raghnild is the oldest girl, my grandmother Gyda is on the left, and Astrid is the youngest girl in the picture. Gunnar was born in 1917, so judging by his age in the picture, this was taken circa 1920. My grandmother was around 7 years old in this picture. Trygve was probably just born, and Kjell was yet to come.

Three sisters, Gyda, Raghnild, and Astrid

Gyda, Raghnild, and Astrid

Astrid and Gyda

Monday, October 5, 2009

Jonette Kristoffersdatter Jordbaerhaugen and Olaus Kristensen Jordbaerhaugen

Ellen Hansdatter's (Christophersen) grave in Salt Lake City, Utah (1822 - 1899)

Early in September, I posted some exciting news about finding my great-great grandmother's brother, Martin Christophersen, who had left for America circa 1871. My gg-grandmother, Jonette Kristoffersdatter, stayed in Norway, and her line continued there until my father came to the U.S. in the 50's. Strangely, though, I discovered Jonette's mother, my ggg-grandmother Ellen Hansdatter, had left for America with her two sons, Hans and Martin (pictured below). They were converted Mormons and moved to Salt Lake City where they died and are buried today -- Ellen Hansdatter's grave is pictured with the surname Christophersen.  She is buried next to her sons, Martin and Hans Christophersen. So I am a first-generation American with a ggg-grandmother who lived and died in Utah. 

As far as I know, my grandmother did not know what happened to her great-grandmother and grand-uncles. However, it seems that Jonette was not raised by her mother, so perhaps she did not talk much about her own mother to my grandmother. Jonette's father died when she was about 9 years old, so this could be why she was raised by her mother's sister, Anne Hansdatter, in Skollerud (Vestre Baerum, Akershus). Jonette later married Olaus Kristensen, and circa 1883, they moved to Jordbaerhaugen farm in Vestre Baerum. As far as I know, they are the first ancestors living at Jordbaerhaugen. They had 10 children, and 7 children were born at Jordbaerhaugen farm.

Martin Christophersen 1850 - 1927

I have been searching for the pictures of Jonette and Olaus for a while now. My grandmother's sister Astrid had their pictures on her wall, but I don't know where the pictures ended up after she died. My uncle is helping me find out where all my aunt Astrid's pictures may be. However, I was smart several years ago and video-taped all my grandmother's and my Aunt Astrid's pictures. The problem is that the videotape isn't very good, and when I try and take a still-shot off the video, the picture is a bit blurry and warped. Nonetheless, I was quite lucky to get pretty good still-shots of both Jonette and Olaus.

Jonette Kristoffersdatter Jordbaerhaugen 1853-1921

Olaus Kristensen Jorbaerhaugen 1846 - 1915