Friday, January 29, 2010

Inter-Library Loan Failure

Well, I tried ILL, but I guess the books I wanted were the "ungettable get."  I ordered several Norwegian Bygdeboks -- books with a wealth of genealogical and historical information -- that I know exist at St. Olaf's University in Minnesota and the University of North Dakota.  I guess they are not sharing!  I will have to try another set of books next.  I will keep you posted....

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obituary Hunt

Since most of my ancestors are in Norway and Italy, I haven't really played around with searching obituaries.  I have one ggg-grandmother and her two sons who became members of the LDS church and emigrated from Norway to Utah, whereas her daughter, my gg-grandmother, remained Lutheran and stayed in Norway.  It has been really interesting to study my Utah branch, and I have learned a lot about my gg-uncle Martin Christophersen, who was quite prominent in the LDS church and in Salt Lake City.  But I have not found much information about my ggg-grandmother Ellen Hansdatter (buried in Salt Lake City under the name Ellen Christophersen) other than a cemetery and burial record. 

The other day I was reading one of my favorite blogs,, and a post about finding an exciting obituary, and I immediately thought about my ggg-grandmother Ellen who died in 1899.  This is a few years before there are available death records in Utah, so finding an obituary was my only real hope for learning more information.  So I thought, "What the heck," and I googled the search term "Utah Newspaper Archives" and found the site  I then browsed by county, Salt Lake City, and put in the keyword name Ellen Christophersen.  The obituary literally took me a minute to find.

Unfortunately, the obituary doesn't say how she died, but it is still a very exciting find!  Once I had my first hit, I figured I should try to find the obituaries for Martin and Hans Christophersen.  In a matter of minutes I found one for Martin and a funeral announcement for Hans (not shown).  The obituary for Martin has a lot of interesting information, so read on...

Stay tuned for more finds.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Found Descendants of my Great Uncle Christen

A few posts ago I wrote regarding my search for two great uncles who had come to America (  UPDATE: I was able to find the descendants of one of them and have made contact.

This has been extremely exciting.  By tracing the deceased son of my great-uncle, I was able to find records with the name of his children, and long-story-short, Google is a powerful thing!  I found the children and emailed my way to finally receiving a response from two of Christen's grandchildren.  This led me to finding out that one of Christen's children was still alive!  She was born in 1917, and I have talked and emailed with her daughter as well.  This was wonderful because I was able to find out quite a bit about Christen and his life in North Dakota.  He was a homesteader in Fertile Divide who met a widow, Inga, and they had three children.  Christen was quite the musician, and he had played for the King's band in Norway.  He continued to play his trumpet in Grenora, ND.  I also found out how harsh life could be in ND in the winter as I was told he would have to ride his horses in bitterly cold winter weather, 20 miles both ways, to buy coal to keep the home warm.

Here is a synopsis of things I learned from Christen's daughter:

1. Her father said he skied a lot down the hill close to his home in Norway,  and he had to walk up the hill (makes sense since the Jordbaerhaugen farm is on a hill)
2. He played the trumpet in the King's Band in Norway (I mentioned this already)
3. He was a physical fitness advocate, and every night he would lead his children in exercises
4. He started a band in Grenora-played for barn dances, at the church, anywhere they would let him!
5. He had a beautiful singing voice and started the Haug quartet with his wife and two older children
6. They belonged to Bethany Lutheran Church
7. He liked to be called Chris

I was able to inform Christen's descendants regarding the location of Jordbaerhaugen, the farm that gave them the surname Haug.  Christen's daughter had never seen a picture of her grandparents (my great-great grandparents), so that was pretty awesome to share.  I also sent some pictures of my grandmother, her first cousin.  I am in the process of collecting some more information and things to send, and they are looking for more pictures to send me.  I am posting one picture I have received so far (see below).  Christen is on the far left with his three children.  I am also posting a picture of Christen's brother, Kristian Olausen Jordbaerhaugen -- my great-grandfather.

Far left, Christen Olausen Jordbaerhaugen (1881 - 1938) or Christen Olausen Haug, in North Dakota with his children.  Photo taken July 9, 1936.

My great-grandfather Kristian Olausen Jordbaerhaugen ( 1878 - 1962)

One of Christen's grandchildren sent me a link to help me locate Christen's grave.  He is incorrectly listed as "Christian" Haug, but his grave is still there, along with his wife, Inga, and a number of other relatives.  If you would like to find a grave, the site is pretty good!

Next on my to-do list is to track down the other brother, Nils.  I had traced him from Norway to Ellis Island to North Dakota where his brother Christen lived.  It looks like the family rumor that he went to Canada is true, and I am attempting to contact descendants in British Columbia.  I will let you know more once I know for sure this is the right family.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photo Restoration

I have many old pictures in need of restoration, so I sent a few to my software engineer husband to see what he could do.  He has been doing image processing for 24 years and decided to get into the picture/photo restoration business.  Here is a picture he fixed for me recently.  More to come!

Agrippina Strano is my maternal great-grandmother.  She was from the Catania area of Sicily, probably Mineo or Palagonia.  I estimate she was born around 1880 and died around 1910.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

On Christmas eve, my uncle in Norway sent a picture of my grandparent's grave.  Shown is the traditional candle lit in their memory.  This was really nice.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010 Resolutions

It has been a busy couple of weeks.  My parents came to visit, and we did some shopping, traveling, and eating!  I have a lot to undo regarding the last item on that list.  However, some genealogy excitement did occur over the holidays.  My father gave me a bowl for Christmas that belonged to my great-great grandmother Hanna Andreasdatter (Haugen).  It is blown glass that looks wavy, beautifully pink, and sits on a silver pedestal. I looked it up and found out it is a Victorian Bride's Bowl.  It was often used for berries or other fruit and was given as a wedding gift, hence the name.  My gg-grandmother married in 1889, so I am guessing the bowl dates back that far.  My mother brought me a few items to scan and maybe hold on to for a while until she misses them -- my Italian grandfather's diary written in 1915; a letter from my great-grandfather to my grandfather, written in 1914; a diary with a play written by my grandfather's aunt while he was in boarding school and that also contains a first draft of a play written by him; and she also brought a few other other things for me to see and photograph.  Another exciting thing that happened during the holidays was that I was asked to write an article for a Norwegian genealogy society magazine.  I worked really hard on this and had my father help me translate it into Norwegian... I think it might come out January 5th or 10th.

So what are my resolutions for 2010?

1) Organize, organize, organize!
2) Get everything into a software program on my computer and keep a copy on  Right now, I only have the latter.
3) Scan, scan, scan.  Share, share, share.
4) Finish my genealogy Web site and make it live.
5) Contact as many people related to family history as possible.
6) Clean up the holes on my tree.
7) Order several items from the LDS library for my research.
8) Write more articles.
9) Have my husband restore a few old photos for me.
10) Protect and restore old family history books and items I own. 

I wish everyone a Happy New Genea-Year!