Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Jordbærhaugen farm in Lommedalen, Baerum, Akershus, Norway.  Jordbærhaugen means "strawberry hill" in English.  I love it!

 My great-great grandparents and their children lived here and used the surname Jordbærhaugen.

Olaus Kristensen Jordbærhaugen 1846 - 1915
Jonette Kristoffersdatter Jordbærhaugen 1853 -1921
Children: Kristian, Einar, Kristen, Anton, Nils, Paula, Gunda, Peder, Margit, and Jenny.

I would like to know how 12 people fit in this house!  

Kristian is my great-grandfather.  I have also written about Kristen (Christen) and Nils Olausen Jordbærhaugen, who both came to America in 1905 and 1907, respectively. The link is here:


Monday, December 21, 2009

Why Do You Study Genealogy? Pass the Question

Over the summer I did quite a bit of running, fueled by my IPOD and ancestors in my thoughts.  The more I could focus on stories of my past, the farther I ran.  Somehow, knowing the history gave me a reason to keep going. Genealogy and uncovering past lives has given more meaning to my life. 

I truly have come to believe what my byline says:  You don't really know who you are until you know where you've been.  But not everyone feels as I do.  I have relatives who have said, "I don't look at the past, I only look forward."  And, yet, there are millions of people interested in their past.  So, I'm curious... why are you interested?  Is it medical history? Is it curiosity? Is it love for a grandparent and knowing more about her/his history?  Please let me know by posting on your blog.

Here are my reasons:
1) My grandparents lived in Norway and Italy -- far from me.  Although I regularly visited, I always felt there was something missing... something my cousins had that I did not.  I wanted to learn their history and where I really came from.  Through genealogy research, I remember my grandparents and honor their lives. 
2) I love history and the tangents I learn by studying an ancestor.  I have learned about lumber on the Glomma, the soldier's life in Sweden, living in a Salesian college in Sicily.  When someone is born in 1750, I immediately think we were colonies of England at the time.  An ancestor died or was baptized in 1865?  Well, there was the end of the civil war in the U.S.  Historic events give the dates and people I learn about so much more meaning.  And then to unfold a person's life, completely unknown at one point, is like watching a flower blossom from a bud. 
3) I am somewhat of a romantic at heart.  These people lived and loved, and I honor their lives by not forgetting them and bringing them back to life.  Don't we all want to be remembered and feel like our lives had more meaning than our short time on this planet? 
4) There are so many questions I did not get to ask my grandparents, and this is how I know them better and still have conversations with them, though they are now gone.
5) I grew up on Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys.  I still like nothing better than seeking the answers to mysteries.
6) I have made new friends and met new people, some of them relatives I did not know.

Please tell me why you do it!

Me with my Norwegian grandparents.  Do you think the retro-loveseat dates me?

My Italian grandparents together.  I'm not sure, but this was probably taken in Rome in the early 60's.

As Spock likes to say: Live long and prosper. (You have to be a Trekkie to get that, by the way.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letter to Santa

Everyone seems to be writing letters to Santa, so here goes:

Dear Santa,   
I haven't always been on my best behavior this year, but I have been pretty good.  Ok... fair? Yes, well, good enough to send you my list of genea-goodies I wish to receive, right?  So Santa Baby, won't you come down my chimney tonight?

1) I'd really like a death record for my ggg-grandfather Samuel Andreasen -- something that tells me when he died and about his accident out at sea.

2) Please give me knowledge of Nils Olausen Jordbaerhaugen's name change in the U.S. and what became of him. Yes, that would be exciting!

3) It would be so nice to learn what happened to Oleane Jakobsdatter's mother, Helena Magnusdatter, my gggg-grandmother.  Did she die? Did she go back to Sweden?  Why does she disappear after 1865?

4) Some pictures of graves in Italy would be lovely, as I don't have any, and I never thought to take pictures while I was there (this was obviously before I became genea-obsessed).

5) Finding lost graves of ancestors would be the cherry on top of all my gifts.  The Norwegian grave-mining site hasn't been too helpful yet because my area of Norway isn't fully included in the database yet.

6) I need one of your elves to help me find more relatives with pictures and information.  The more the merrier. 

7) I need Italian records for all my Sicilian ancestors.  I know this one is hard to do, but I should be able to find something!

Have I asked for too much?  I actually do have more requests, Santa baby, but I will save some for next year.  After all, I don't want to seem greedy.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Visit to Baerums Verk, Norway, June 1999.  My son and niece take care of my grandfather's grave -- Thorolf Johannes Haugen (1914-1981).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Tale of Two Great Uncles

The first time I eyed the Baerums Verk Slekstbok on my grandmother's bookshelf, I was hooked.  Norway is wonderfully rich in its genealogical information, and they even do it for you, publishing it in volumes of bygdeboks by parish, or in this case, a slektsbok (genealogy book) for the town.  It was 1994 when I first leafed through one of these books and read the history of one of my grandmother's lines that went back to 1647.  Names, birth and death dates, farms... it was all there.  Note: I have since found some errors in the information, but who cares!  It makes the research so much easier.  I believe I have stated in a previous post how curious I was regarding the names of those who "reise til America" or left for America.  Where did they go? Who are their descendants? Where do they live today?  I hoped to find out one day, and so here I am, years later, having nearly accomplished finding all who left Norway for the land of opportunity  -- those I know about anyway. 

I have posted before on finding my great-great grandmother's brothers, and even her mother (my ggg-grandmother), who left Norway for Salt Lake City in the early 1870's.  They were converted Mormons, which was a big surprise to me, and they are all buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  I made a connection with a descendant who sent me pictures of their graves and some information, too.  But I also had two others on my family tree who went to America that I needed to find.  They are my grandmother's two uncles, or great uncles to me.  I was stumped for a while, because they had obviously changed their names when they arrived.  One of the brothers went back to visit the family in Norway in the late 50's or early 60's.  I believe my grandmother or her siblings may have kept contact with him at one time, and they probably once had an address.  But that information has surely gone with them to their graves.  Therefore, I have been trying on my own to find the two brothers, Christen Olausen Jordbaerhaugen (b. August 6, 1881) and Nils Olausen Jordbaerhaugen (b. October 31, 1885) (shown in the picture, left). 

The first records I found were from the Digitalarkivet emigration database (found in  After inputting several variations of my great-uncle's names, I found their departure records.  Christen left Norway on April 28, 1905.  He traveled on the Angelo from Kristiania/Oslo to Hull, England and then crossed over to Quebec on the Bavarian.  After more digging, I found a record showing he crossed the border into the U.S. on May 13, 1905 and was heading to Towner, North Dakota.  I believe he later lived in Fertile Valley, Divide, North Dakota, and he shortened Jordbaerhaugen to Haug (and who would blame him).  I found several records of a Christen O. Haug, and in some cases Christ O Haug or Christen Olausen Haug.  The birth dates and year of immigration match this person.  He married Inga from Minnesota and had a few children listed on different census records -- Sylvia, another sister, and Chester.  I was able to trace Chester Haug from North Dakota to Minnesota.  The North Dakota Death Index told me that Christen died December 26, 1938 at the age of 57, in Rolette County, and his son Chester died in Minnesota in 2002 (Social Security Death Index). 

The Angelo brought Christen Olausen Jordbaerhaugen to Hull, England.  It left Kristiania on April 28, 1905.  Below is a pitcture of the Bavarian, which he sailed on from Liverpool, England to Quebec, Canada.  Photos courtesy of .  Check out the site for detailed information on these and all ships Norwegian immigrants sailed toward a new life.
Chester had three children, who are living, so I will not name them here in case they don't wish to be publicized.  I have been trying to find a way to contact them to verify they are descendants.  But I am pretty sure my research is right.  I had posted this search on Ancestry, since I am still a bit wobbly searching records in the U.S.; most of my research has been in Europe.  But over the course of a week, I managed to find all the above information.  Then suddenly, someone posted a response to my query with the same exact research results (except for Christen's death record, which I had not found yet).  He/she seemed like an expert, so I feel like my conclusions are accurate and verified.  Hopefully a descendant will verify further.  Of course, I have this idea that everyone in the world is interested in their genealogy, so I am thinking of how much information I can give Christen's grandchildren about their grandfather's home in Norway.  Their father, Chester, was pretty young when Christen died, so their history in Norway may have been lost to them.  And I know a lot about that history and where their name Haug came from -- the Jordbaerhaugen farm that still exists in Lommedalen, Baerum, Norway (near Oslo).  

Another good reason for me to find a descendant to communicate with is that I have yet to find as much information about the brother, Nils Olausen Jordbaerhaugen.  He is the one who came to visit the family in the 50's or 60's, and I even have pictures of that visit (one is posted above).  I know that he left Norway on March 23, 1907, on the Montebello, and headed to where his brother was living in Towner, ND.  He departed from Liverpool on the Caronia and came through Ellis Island.  He used the surname Jordbaerhaugen, which was spelled Jordbarhauen on the ship manifest.  He also traveled with four friends from Lommedalen.  The manifest mentions him going to ND to his brother.  But after Ellis Island, he disappears.  Yet I know he was alive in the States at least through the early 60's.  So what did he change his name to?  I have tried every variation of his name that I can think of, but no cigar!  So, I hope one of Christen's descendants might know where he lived and his American name.

A picture of the Montebello in Kristiania as passengers board to start their journey to Hull, England.  Nils Olausen Jordbaerhaugen sailed on this ship, leaving March 23, 1907, on his way to meet his brother Christen who now resided in Towner, North Dakota, USA.  He sailed with 4 friends from Lommedalen, Norway.  Below is the picture of the Caronia the 5 friends sailed on from Liverpool, England to Ellis Island, New York.  He arrived on April 5, 1907.  Photos are a courtesy of .
Recap, in case by some miracle someone with information reads my blog: Christen Haug was born Christen (or Kristen) Olausen Jordbaerhaugen on August 6, 1881.  There is a draft registration card from WWI that says 1882, but this is incorrect.  Christen died 12/26/1938 in Rolette County, North Dakota -- correct birth date of August 6, 1881 in this record. He lived in Fertile Valley, Divide, ND through several census records with wife Inga.  Nils was born Nils Olausen Jordbaerhaugen, Oct 31, 1885.  The last record I have of him, as I mentioned earlier, is him going through Ellis Island upon arrival on April 5, 1907.  Their birth, baptism, and confirmation records are recorded in Vestre Baerum parish, Akershus, Norway.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Summer of 1999, Baerums Verk, Norway.  My son met his great-grandmother -- my Bestemor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Martin Kristoffersen (1850-1927), born in Burud farm, Lommedalen, Vestre Baerum, Akershus, Norway; died in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.  He was my great-great grandmother's brother who sailed for America on the Nevada from Liverpool to New York in 1871.  My great-great grandmother stayed in Norway.  Back of the headstone is shown below.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award -- Thank you Thomas and Regina

Thomas MacEntee and Regina both awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award!  I am honored.  Thanks so much!!!!

Now as part of the challenge, it seems I must reveal seven things about myself.

1) I grew up in Italy, Spain, Germany, and New Jersey, and I speak 4 languages (one of them still needs some work).
2) I worked as a science researcher for over 20 years.
3) I published a romance novel back in 2001... and wrote 5 more books after... no luck selling those yet.
4) I earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do a few years ago.
5) I'm a sucker for an old man or woman who needs help, and I cry at commercials, too.
6) I love a good bottle of Riesling wine.
7) If I don't travel every so often, I get antsy and depressed.

I also need to pass along the award to seven other bloggers. Here are some new ones, some older ones, and some from across the ocean.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Above: My favorite picture of my Italian grandmother, Giuseppa Napoli (June 11, 1914 - Feb 25, 1998).  The above picture was taken on her wedding day, April 1933.  I think she looks like Greta Garbo.