Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday -- Einar (Olausen) Jordbaerhaugen

Einar Olausen Jordbaerhaugen and wife Karoline Jordbaerhaugen.  Einar was one of my
great-grandfather Kristian Olausen Jordbaerhaugen's brothers.  He and his wife are buried
at Bryn Kirke Cemetery in Baerum, Norway.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Swedish Records are Free December 28-30

I just read the newsletter I receive from ArkivDigital, and they are offering three free days to do research in their wonderful database.  The site has almost 25 million images of Swedish church records and other materials.

1) If you are not already registered, you need to register at http://www.arkivdigital.net/users/register .

2) Install ADOnLine2 here:  http://www.arkivdigital.net/products/adonline/installation .  You will not have to pay to get free access; you just won't be able to log back in once the free period is over. 

3) Log in with your registration information.

4) Have fun!  Swedish records are so easy.  The ones I have researched are very organized, and the images are incredibly good!  ArkivDigital offers their digital records in color, which I find very helpful.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday -- Borge Church and Cemetery in Østfold

This beautiful church --Borge Kirke -- in Østfold, Norway, is an important one in my paternal grandfather's ancestral line.  The church's Web site says that the location was probably used for pagan Norse whorship in pre-Christian times.  The first Christian church built on the site was dedicated to St. Olav.  Unfortunately, the original church and several others after were completely burned.  The current church was built in the traditional stone style in1861.  I was happy to visit this church last summer and look for old graves, but, as expected, my family graves were long-gone.  However, I did notice that this church had far more old graves than other churches I had visited.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Vote for your Favorite Blogs by December 20!


I am so happy that Of Trolls and Lemons was nominated for the Family Tree Magazine’s Top 40 Genealogy blogs!  You can find it in the “Heritage” category and vote for it and four other blogs (5 blogs for each of the 8 categories).  Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. You may vote multiple times.  Click here!

THANK YOU to those who nominated my blog.  I am honored to be among so many great blogs.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Sister I Never Knew

Today is the day my sister, Ingrid Sonia, was born.  Sadly, she had Down's and a bad heart, and in those days they didn't have the sophisticated surgeries they do today.  The doctors said it was a matter of time before her heart would give out.  My mother took her to Sicily, to her family, for a few months.  Ingrid died in Catania, Sicily, and is at the Cemetery of Catania.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Digital Norwegian National Library

I was really excited to find a great number of Norwegian books digitized and available for free from the National Library in Norway (click here).  I tested it out by searching for some bygdeboks I really wanted, and I found several!  These books are essential sources of information for Norwegian genealogy research.  The ones I found were downloadable as a PDF, too.  Some books haven't been digitized yet, but I believe they eventually will be.  The site does say that in some cases books may not be available for download outside of Norway due to copyright issues.  Check it out!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Don't Forget to Nominate your Favorite Blogs!

Nominations for your favorite genealogy blogs are due on Tuesday November 30.  Don't forget to go here and nominate the blogs you read the most.  Family Tree Magazine will announce 40 fantastic genealogy blogs in an article to be published July 2011. (See last year's Family Tree 40 at http://www.familytreemagazine.com/article/Fab-Forty.)  You can also visit this page to learn more.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Seven More Days -- Norway's 1910 Census

This snapshot was taken with 6 days, 15 hours, 29 minutes, and 45 seconds to go for the release of the 1910 census!

In seven days (December 1), Norway's 1910 census will be available for free here.  I am very excited about this because I will have another glimpse into my ancestors' lives.  The census will tell you where they lived, all the occupants of the home, occupation, and I believe this census has birth dates rather than a year or age.  In earlier censuses, the year of birth is often off a year or two.  The 1910 census has one major difference in that it included a special form for returning emigrants which recorded where they had lived and what their occupations had been; however, this data is expected to be incomplete.

Personally, I am excited to have a look at this census because somehow two of my most important ancestral families were not included in the 1900 census.  The two farms, By and Jordbaerhaugen, happened to be adjoining and a bit far off in Baerum, so perhaps they were accidentally forgotten. 

Happy hunting in the 1910 census! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Burudhaug

Burudhaug Farm (sometimes known as Haugen) in Baerum, Norway. My
great-great grandfather Olaus Kristensen Jordbaerhaugen (1846 - 1915)
grew up on this farm.  I believe a descendant of his brother lives
there today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Progen Study Group -- Month 2

October was the second month for the ProGen Study Group. You can read about September here.

We continued to read in the Professional Genealogy text book.  We were assigned Chapter 2 – Educational Preparation by Claire Mire Bettag, CGRS and Chapter 8 – Alternative Careers by Elizabeth Kelly Kerstens, CGRS.

Chapter 2 was about degree or credit programs in the field of genealogy, such as those offered at BYU.  It also discussed the Home Study Course provided by the National Genealogical Society, which is on my list to complete.  Numerous conferences and other learning options are also discussed.  Chapter 8 discussed alternative careers and opportunities in genealogy other than the usual careers.

The assignment for October was to write an education plan and share it with my group. I listed all my strengths and then delved into my weaknesses.  I will share what I perceive to be areas I need to improve:

Self-Identified Weaknesses

• Most of my experience has been online, and I need more familiarity with onsite research – libraries, courthouses etc...

• Have yet to attend a genealogy conference

• I need to study more genealogy journals

• I like to do everything at once rather than patiently complete one thing at a time

• I need to take the time to really organize my research and tasks better

• Participate more in blog carnivals, especially when the topic is educational

• I need to find time to volunteer more

Specific Future Goals

2011 - 2012

• Genealogy Research Associates – online lessons (free)

• BYU online courses (free)

• Study the Daughters of the American Revolution Database (free)

• Read the genealogy educational content on the National Archives Site (free)

• NGS Home Study Course

• Attend an NGS conference

• Create personal family history books

• Learn photo restoration

• Join more genealogical societies like the APG

• Develop a business Web site

2012 - 2013

• Take a trip to Salt Lake City and research at the Family History Library for a week

• Take a trip to Sicily for onsite research

2013 – 2014

• BU Certificate in Genealogical Research

• BCG Certification may be an alternate to the BU certificate program, or I may do both... but not at the same time

During our monthly discussion on November 7, we discussed the chapters we had read for October and shared educational experiences and desires.

Thanks for tuning in...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday -- The Cemetery of Haslum Church in Baerum

Haslum Church in Baerum, Norway, was built around 1190.  Many
of my ancestors were baptized, confirmed, married, and buried here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Great-Grandfather Kristian Olausen Jordbaerhaugen

When I was in Norway this past summer, I was able to scan pictures from relatives.  Here is a pretty good one of my great-grandfather.

31/Jan/1878 - 11/Feb/1962
Picture taken in Baerum, Norway, probably at his home,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Anders Pettersen

My great-great-great grandfather, Anders Pettersen (1823 - 1911), from
Vesten in Oestfold, Norway. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Amanuensis Monday -- 1910 Postcard from Canada

I don't know if a postcard qualifies for this series, but here goes anyway.  I have written before about a great-uncle, Nels Olausen Jordbaerhaugen, who left Norway in 1907 and came through Ellis Island with four friends.  They were headed to his brother Kristen in North Dakota.  In 1910 he traveled with three of his friends to Saskatchewan, Canada to look for land and did indeed file for a homestead there.  In 1910 he sent his sister, Margit, a postcard which was a picture of himself with two of his friends.  He wrote the following (and this could probably be translated better):

Dear Sister,

I must congratulate you and Jenny (another sister) for your birthdays on 7-1-1910 (d/m/yr).  I think you know these faces.  Give my regards to all who know me. 
Many regards from Nels Olausen.

Nels is the one in the center

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hit and Miss -- Adventures with Sicilian Records from Palagonia

The Chiesa Madre of Palagonia, Sicily.
 I haven't exactly stopped researching the wonderfully easy, mostly online, Norwegian and Swedish family history records, but rather, I decided that it was time to up the ante a bit and delve into Italian records.  I am not very good at patience, and this endeavor will require a bit of it.  I should preface this post with the fact that I was wrong -- Italian records are not that difficult to study.  It just requires patience, especially when you have been spoiled, as I have, by the easy Scandinavian research. 

The family history library in Utah has a substantial amount of Italian records.  Unfortunately for me, the two Sicilian towns I am interested in, Palagonia and Mineo, go from the early 1800s to about 1861.  It sure would have been nice if they had them up to the early 1900s.  But, nonetheless, I have been lucky to find quite a bit of information already.  Lucky because my mother remembered a few details her father had told her and found the first important record for me while she visited the family history library in Utah (yes, I was jealous).  She found the marriage record for my great-great grandparents, Vincenzo di Bennardo (born ABT 1816) and Maria Blandini (born in 1835).  They were married 3 February 1855.  My mother had a hard time reading the record, but I ordered the microfilm and have made out quite a bit, also thanks to the "allegati."  Italian marriage records will have these additional documentations added, which will give you also the names of other ancestors.  In this case, thanks to the church documentation, which was in latin, I was able to figure out that my ggg-grandmother was Giovanna Tinnirello (Joanna in latin) and could corroborate this with the poor handwriting on the actual marriage record stating the groom's parents' names.  My ggg-grandfather was (fu) Carmelo di Bennardo -- "fu" means he was dead.  Giovanna instead is 68 years old, if I read it right, meaning she was born around 1787.  The bride, or my gg-grandmother Maria Blandini, is twenty when she marries, and her father is Vincenzo Blandini and mother Colomba Gulizia.  They seem to be about the same age, probably born circa 1813.  Vincenzo di Bennardo may have had a state position as his profession is stated as "civile."  However, I believe he probably had orchards as well. 

Armed with this information, I figured that if my gg-grandparents were married in 1855, then they probably had children soon after.  The records go out to 1861.  I realized it was possible that my great-grandfather may be somewhere on the "birth records" microfilm reel.  My grandfather used to say his father was an older man when he became a father, and my grandfather was born in 1900.  Sure enough, I looked, and there was my great-grandfather born 8 May 1856 -- Carmelo di Bennardo.  I also found a sister named Anna and another sister Giovanna.   They were all baptized in the "Chiesa Madre" of Palagonia.  The sister named Giovanna was interesting because in a letter my great-grandfather wrote my grandfather in 1914, he mentions my grandfather's "aunt Giovanna." 

I am pretty positive that I have found the right people based on my mother's recollections and several items of circumstantial evidence, but it is true that I do still have to make a definite connection between my grandfather and the great-grandfather I think I have found.  Unfortunately, my grandfather's records start in 1900 with his birth, and he also has two marriages that would give me information.  So, this is my next quest -- finding my grandfather's records on location in Sicily!  I also need to trace his mother's line.  And, of course, there is also my grandmother's line.  All in good time... and with patience!

Oh, one mistake or "miss."  I ordered military records thinking that the year to look for my other great-grandfather from Catania would be the year when he would have presented his information for the "draft."  Instead, the military records, or Liste di Leva, go by year of birth.  So I had to re-order by birth date this time and not draft age.  I know... I should have read the fine print.  But I'll never make that mistake again!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday -- GG-Grandfather's Cane

When I was in Norway this summer, I met with several relatives, and many had pictures or objects that had belonged to our ancestors.  Here is my gg-grandfather Emil Samuelsen Haugen's cane.  This treasure isn't mine, but I took a few nice pictures of it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Basics of Italian Genealogy Research

The LDS familysearch Web site is an essential "add" to the genealogist's "favorites" list of links.  Here, I want to highlight one very nice feature, which is the "online classes" available for viewing from the comfort of your computer. 

Below is a link to a nice video that teaches about Italian records research.  It is very informative and easy to follow -- you will learn about records that are available for order from the family history library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and how to search for your ancestors.  Several topics are discussed in detail, including Italian birth, marriage, and death records, as well as military records. To view the video go to:


Tombstone Tuesday -- Giuseppa Napoli

My grandmother, Giuseppa Napoli, born in Catania, Sicily.  Her father
was Pasquale Ursino and her mother was Francesca Scuderi.  She
liked to be called Pina and hated Giuseppa.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hellebæk Sawmill in Kongsberg, Norway

Click on picture for better viewing.
     I received an email from a relative I met in Norway this past summer.  Enclosed was this picture he had dug up with a friend who has access to old pictures of Kongsberg, Norway.  It is a bit hard to see unless the photo is enlarged, but on the left is a sawmill where my great-great grandfather, Emil Georg Samuelsen Haugen, worked.  The house he shared with my gg-grandmother, Hanna Marie Andreasdatter, is behind it (not visible).  There is another sawmill that is close-up, on the right.  Both sawmills are on the other side of river Lågen.  The one on the right (closer sawmill) is Kongsberg Dampsag, and on the left is Hellebæk, where Emil worked. 

     The picture is from the early twenties, and one can see the Kjerrat, a bridge where the timber was transported from the river into the sawmill. There is also a narrow road going north, behind the Sawmill.  As I indicated earlier, the house of Emil and Hanna was on the right side of that road, and therefore hidden behind the sawmill building. 

Thank you, Odd, for sharing!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Giuseppa Napoli and Sister

My grandmother, Giuseppa Napoli (1914 - 1998) and her sister
Angelina.  My grandmother is the younger of the two. 
She was born in Catania, Sicily.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

My son plants flowers at my grandparents' grave in Baerum, Norway (Bryn Church)
Gyda Kristiansen 1913 -2002
Thorolf Haugen 1914 - 1981

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Progen Study Group -- Month 1

Today, I met with 11 other professional and aspiring professional genealogists in my Progen course.  This class is 18 months long with about 6-10 hours of homework a month and one online meeting a month. To learn more about the program, you can check out the site: http://progenstudy.org/.  The great thing about the course is that it's free, with the exception of the text book (see picture) and a $30 fee for access to the Progen database, which holds messages, files, assignments, and the chat room. 

The book we are studying and discussing is Professional Genealogy: a Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  The chapters we read for this month were:

•Chapter 1 – Defining Professionalism by Donn Devine, J.D., CG, CGI
•Chapter 5 – Ethical Standards by Neil D. Thompson, LL.B., Ph.D., CG, FASG

We also had two assignments to complete, which will undergo peer review.  In other words, I have to review the assignments of the others, and they review mine. This month I have to write a mission statement and a genealogy resume.  I have completed these assignments, although they aren't due until the end of the month. I found writing both of these very useful for defining my focus area and experience, and I can see more clearly what I need to work on, too.

I will continue to post on this course monthly.  Thanks for tuning in!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Genealogy Goals for the Fall

Tina Lyons (her blog) posted her genealogy goals for the fall.  Good idea, Tina.  Here are mine:

1) Scan, scan, scan. I still have so much to scan.
2) Organize, organize, organize.
3) Work on my Italian line.  I have ordered a bunch of microfilms from the Family History Library, which should arrive any day now.
4) Order more Italian records when I am finished with this batch.
5) Write/order documents from Italian municipal buildings in Catania, Palagonia, and Mineo.
6) Continue sourcing my Norwegian line.
7) Develop another genealogy Web site I have had in mind.
8) Work hard on my 18 month Progen (Professional Genealogy) course. I am so excited about this course!
9) Try and make it to a genealogy conference or expo of some kind. I think there is one in Atlanta soon.
10) If I find the money, take a trip to the Salt Lake City Family History Library (this is not likely to happen, but I can dream:).
11) Work on my Norwegian family history book.
12) Continue to pursue descendants of common ancestors/relatives and share information and pictures.
13) Convert tapes of my Italian grandmother telling stories (from the 70s and early 80s) to CD, and see if a major noise reduction is achievable.
14) Finish transcribing my Italian grandfather's diary (written in 1915 when he was 15 years old) into computer text, and also translate it into English (this may take a while).
15) Update my files with the information I learned during my trip to Norway this summer.
16) Develop my genealogy library, and read more books.
17) Oh, there is more to do, but I will stop here.

What is your list?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday -- Vincenzo Dibennardo (Di Bennardo)

My uncle in Sicily sent me a picture of my grandfather's grave.  It is a little
cut off, but the grave is very high up on the wall (as I recall), and one has to climb
a ladder to see it.  His grave is in the cemetery of Catania, Sicily.  He was born
in Palagonia, a town in the province of Catania, and died in the city of Catania.
Here's to you, Nonno!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Norway, Days 13, 14, and 15

On Day 13, we set out on a two-day non-genealogical tour.  However, for all I know my ancestors visited or lived in the areas we were to visit.  My father really wanted me to see Western Norway, which has some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.  All my life I have visited the Oslo area and not ventured far from there, so this was going to be a real treat.  So, early that morning, we headed to Luster on the Sognefjord, where we had reserved a cabin.  HINT: cabins are the economical way to see Norway.  They are located in campgrounds, but can be very nice with all the amenities included.

One of many pretty views on the way to Borgund Stave Church
Borgund Stave Church
On the way, we stopped to see the Borgund Stave Church located in Borgund, Lærdal, Norway. It is one of only 28 stave churches remaining today and one of the best preserved.  A stave church is a medieval wooden church; these churches were Catholic before Lutheranism came to Norway. All of the surviving stave churches are in Norway, with the exception of one in Sweden and one Norwegian stave that was relocated in 1842 to the outskirts of Krummhübel, Germany, now Karpacz in the Krkonoše mountains of Poland (Wikipedia).

After a lovely drive, through some of the prettiest country I have ever seen, we arrived in Luster.  The cabin we rented was right on the fjord, which was one giant mirror to the surrounding mountain landscape.  The weather was perfect -- not too cold or hot -- and the sun shone through the occasional cloud.  I went down by the water where there was a bench, and I thought this would be the perfect place to learn to meditate or find peace in your life. 

Views from our cabin in Luster

One very nice surprise was the Dale stone church that was built in Gothic style in the year 1250.  It was open to the public during evening hours, and what a treat.  It was absolutely gorgeous, and, recently, wall drawings dating back to before the Reformation were found during renovation.  Some may even go back to the 12th century. 

Dale Church in Luster

Artwork dating to before the Reformation

The altar in Dale Church
In the high country, on the way to Geiranger.  Notice the
glacier in the background.

After a nice night in Luster, we started the 3 hour drive to Geiranger, Norway.  The route would take us through the beautiful Jotunheimen mountain region. Luckily, the weather was great, which allowed for spectacular views of the Norwegian fjord country. We also drove down the Boeverdal and pass just below Galdhoepiggen, the tallest mountain in Norway.  And when we arrived at the overlook that showed us the beauty of Geiranger below, it was like being in a fairytale because it was almost too beautiful to be real. In fact, it is so exceptionally beautiful that it is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Geirangerfjord is located in the southwestern part of the county of Møre og Romsdal, north in Fjord Norway, approximately 100 kilometres from the town of Ålesund.
My Dad poses with Geiranger below him

After taking several pictures from above Geirangerfjord, we drove down through the town and looked for the campground where we had rented a cabin.  The cabin had two bedrooms, a living area, a kitchenette, and a lovely view of the fjord.  We could sit on the porch and watch the boats and ships go by.  Later, we went to town and walked around.  It was really cute and filled with tourists, especially since there was a cruise ship parked on the water in front of the town.  After shopping for some dinner, we headed back to the cabin to cook it.  The plan was to rent a boat after dinner, but, unfortunately, the sun gave in to rain clouds, and by the time it passed, it was too late.  But my son and I went and played ping pong for a while before observing a beautiful sunset and turning in for the night.
Sunset view from our Cabin... circa 11:00 pm

The cabin...
The next day, we had to say goodbye to Geiranger and take the route toward Oslo and our return to the United States.  Again, the scenery was lovely -- waterfalls, rivers, lakes, mountains.  I was particularly enthralled by the glacier blue color of the rivers.  The water everywhere looked like a child had picked out a turquoise crayon out of the box and colored it into the landscape, which had somehow magically turned into reality.  

The blue color of the water looked like it came from a crayon box

From the moment we arrived in Norway, striking scenery played before our eyes.  But I have to say, the two days I spent in Western Norway, taking in the aqua-blue color of the fjords and rivers, rocky cliffs with spouting waterfalls, and the dark green vegetation surrounding primary-colored houses dotting the landscape were simply stunning.  And when you have a family history belonging here, it is even more special.
Thanks for taking the journey with me through my blog!  Unfortunately, I could not post all my adventures in Norway, but I plan to sprinkle my blog every so often with a lovely picture from this trip -- perhaps Treasure Chest Thursday would work.  This trip was truly a treasure to me.