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.

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