Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Genealogy Trip - Day 3 and 4

Ruins of the Phoenician-Roman fish market
We spent two more relaxing days in Spain before heading to Norway.  On the third day in Spain, we took a walk in the old town of Almuñecar.  We visited the ruins of a Phoenician-Roman fish market that was discovered not too long ago.  In fact, Almuñecar began as a Phoenician colony named Sexi; it was later occupied by Romans and several other cultures.  Next, we meandered through the botanical park and, coming out of the park, it is a short walk to the new aquarium, which was quite nice.  The facility also had a tunnel where you can see the fish, including sharks, swimming over your head.  It is similar to one I saw at Ripley's Believe It or Not Aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, during my wedding/honeymoon weekend. Later, that evening, my son took a swim in the pool, and we also played some competitive Ping Pong.  He won.

My son being silly in the pool
The next morning, we walked down the hill to the small beach.  It is a quiet pebble beach, and the weather was perfect -- not too hot or cold.  My son enjoyed a swim in the water.  After a nice cafe con leche, we returned to the house to pack, work on some preparations for Norway, and take a nap.  In the evening, we went out for one more tour of the town before calling it a night.

At the beach

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Genealogy Trip -- Day 1 and 2

My trip got off to a bit of a chaotic start. My son and I were dropped off by a friend at the Raleigh-Durham airport on July 22nd where we waited a couple of hours, through three gate changes, before being told the flight was cancelled. There were no other flights to JFK, and all flights through different airports were booked; so we were forced to return home. I should mention we were flying on award tickets, so I have no idea how much this played a part in the lack of seat availability, but nonetheless, we were unable to leave that day and were rebooked -- luckily for the next day. This time, my husband drove us to the airport, which was a bit bittersweet. Had the economy not wreaked havoc on us the last couple of years, I wouldn’t be taking this trip without him. But things are as they are, and wanting something that can’t be doesn’t help the situation – this is my attempt at Buddhist philosophy, by the way. Of course, Murphy’s Law still applied on this day, starting with a boarding delay followed by circling JFK for an hour before landing. We had to hustle to the Iberia ticket counter in another terminal where we managed to find two seats together on the flight to Madrid. Then, although we boarded the plane fairly on schedule, we didn’t take off for about one and a half hours because there were 12 planes in front of us. This resulted in a late arrival in Madrid and the mad dash to catch the flight to Malaga, which of course was in another terminal and the very last gate in the building. I barely had enough time to capture the essence of my first breath of Spanish air, although cigarette smoke was definitely factored somewhere in my brain as I heaved from the unanticipated jog. Needless to say, we made it to the plane, but by a minute or two.

When we arrived in Malaga, we found the glass enclosed baggage carousel meant for non-EU visitors, which was a sauna. I was dragging by now from exhaustion, but Murphy’s Law had its fun once more when I realized my suitcase was missing. The only good thing was that my Spanish was miraculously pretty intact – at least enough to handle asking for instructions and speaking to the people at the lost luggage department.

An hour later, we finally left the secured area of the terminal and met my parents on the outside. On our way to their home in Almuñecar, we stopped by a huge supermarket to buy a couple of hams to bring to Norway as gifts. The store is a bit of a Super-Walmart but with Spanish goodies filling the shelves. The deli was laden with hanging, cured legs of ham and aromatic cheeses unique to the area and other parts of Europe. Even what would be normal in the U.S. looked different – Coke and Pepsi in hourglass shaped bottles measured in the metric system and other sodas and juices we never see. Of course, I was a bit too sleepy from the trip and time difference to truly enjoy any of this, but we got what we needed and moved on toward my parents’ home.

Once there, my son and I were shown to our beds, and we took a six hour nap. We awoke around nine in the evening, local time, and headed out to town for dinner. In Spain, dinner or supper is very late. In fact, when we arrived at the restaurant, the foreigners on vacation were having their meals, and around 10:00 pm Spanish families started trickling in with their young children in tow. Next door, at the park, there was a David Sanborn concert we could hear for free as we ate. Around midnight, we finally left the restaurant and decided to go for a walk in the town.

The view from my room.
Almuñecar has grown a lot since I used to come here as a child. I remember a time when the hills were bare of houses, but now they have built up many areas. Almuñecar is hugged by the Mediterranean, and has become quite a tourist spot. In fact, since it is nearly August, the streets, bars, and restaurants were filled to capacity with all kinds of people – foreigner and local; young and old. Occasionally, I caught glimpses of budding romances – the young Spanish man and woman talking with that gleam in their eyes that says they just met and sparked. One of the women held a rose in her hands as the man cocked his head to speak to her in soft tones with a smile on his handsome face. Oh, to be young again and newly in love – there is rarely as great a feeling. In another scene, the man was on his knees and the woman was telling him to please get up, her arms flailing about wildly. They were too far for me to tell if she was embarrassed or angry. On the sidewalks were several blankets of black-market goods like pirated movies and replica fashion handbags sold by the African immigrants making their living off the tourists and locals. In the darkness of the sea, one could imagine seeing where they came from, etched on the horizon by the light of the moon.

Overall, the first day in Spain was a bit of a whirlwind. Today it has been quieter. My suitcase came, and we went over plans for the trip to Norway. Then my parents’ neighbors came over for coffee -- really nice people from England who live in Almuñecar year-round. And now, I am finally sitting on the terrace with the view of the Mediterranean, where it can sink in that I am truly here. I grew up in Spain, for those of you who don’t know me. This is my genealogical history to pass on, perhaps to my grandchildren one day. I spent six years living in Bilbao, but we always came down to Almuñecar during the summers, or for Christmas. Some of the happiest years of my life were spent here in Spain. I remember my good friends, Mili and Elisa in particular. We were always out playing cops and robbers or some other fantasy game. On the girly side, we had “la goma” which was basically an elastic band tied so that it would hug the hips of two girls while the girl in the middle got to wrap her legs around it in a dance-like fashion – the point was to get unraveled. It is kind of hard to explain, but it took the place of jumping rope and was quite fun. In fact, I brought it with me when I first moved to the United States after ten years abroad.

I should backtrack and say I was born in New Jersey but moved to Italy at a young age, and from there I lived in Spain, then Germany, then Spain again. I remember how hard it was when I came back “home.” I didn’t exactly feel like I fit in too well, and it was also my sixth grade year, which was a hard age to begin with. But I soon adapted to the culture I was born into, although my heart stayed in Spain for several years after I left. Eventually, the memories of the friends I had left behind faded as did the use of the “goma” I had tried to maintain, thanks to two parallel trees in the backyard.

Now when I come back to Spain, it feels somewhat foreign yet familiar… somewhat like home and somewhat like a vacation spot. I belong and I don’t, which is, in essence, the way I have always felt anywhere I have lived.

The game "La Goma."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Genealogy Trip!

It's time!  Tomorrow I leave for Europe.  I have been going a little crazy the last few days as I get organized for my trip -- hence why I have not posted in a week.  But I plan to post my adventures whenever I can find an Internet connection, so watch for them.

First stop -- Spain.  No genealogy here.  Just visiting my parents who live the retired life there.  But I will be preparing my records, reports, pedigrees, maps etc...

My grandparents' home in 1978

Second stop -- Norway.  I will be staying with my uncle in Baerum.  He lives in my grandmother's house now that she is gone -- the house my grandfather built with his hands in the late 1930s.  Of course, he has renovated the house, so it no longer looks the same.  All I can say is that everyone better be prepared for tears when I see it.  In my heart, it is still the same house, and my grandmother is still there making waffles and coffee.  As for the genealogy tour, I plan to visit a lot of ancestral farms, churches, cemeteries, and a stop in the National Archives building, too.  I will also meet with relatives and descendants of common ancestors to share stories, pictures, and information.  The same will be true when I travel to the Fredrikstad area in Oestfold... and Kongsberg, too. 

Third stop -- Sweden.  I will be following the trail of my ancestors who emigrated from Sweden to Fredrikstad, Norway.  I have two lines in Norway (on my grandfather's side) that go back to Tanum, Sweden, starting with a set of ggg-grandparents.  There is a phenomenal historian I have met over cyberspace who will help me find the farms, crofts, and cottages of my ancestors.  I am so excited; she has already sent me some promising information regarding the locations of ancestral homes.

I have been accumulating frequent flyer miles for years, so this trip will be well worth the wait.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I love this picture! In the middle is my bestefar, Thorolf Haugen, and behind him is my tante Astrid (Kristiansen) on the left and her sister, my bestemor, Gyda Kristiansen Haugen. 
Bestemor and bestefar mean grandmother and grandfather in Norwegian.  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- The Christophersons, Part V

Jonette Kristoffersdatter

Jonette Kristoffersdatter (Jordbaerhaugen) was born 22 August 1853.  She is my great-great grandmother, the third of six children born to Ellen Hansen (Christophersen) and Kristoffer Pedersen; she was also sister to Martin, Hans, and Haagine Christopherson, all of whom became Mormons and left Norway for Salt Lake City, Utah.  Martin, in particular, was an important figure in the LDS church, and there is a lot of information regarding him and his family.  I wish Jonette had as much recorded history about her as her brother does.  Unfortunately for me, although I can fill in her biography with several facts, I will probably never know the personal details about her as I have learned about Martin or even Hans and Haagine.  Jonette's sibilings' Utah descendants have written memories about them for people like me to find.  I am afraid that anything personal about Jonette died with my grandmother and her siblings, and it makes me a little angry to think of the times Jonette's picture was pointed out to me but I didn't think to ask what she was like or what was remembered about her.  Perhaps my grandmother would not have had so much to say as she was not a big talker, but her sister, my tante Astrid, had the gift of gab, and she would probably have had many answers for me.  Moral of the story: Ask your older relatives questions, and ask them deeper questions than "what was her name and where did she live!"

Jonette was born on Burud Farm, but she was raised in Skollerud, in Baerum, with Ellen's sister, Anne Marie.  The 1865 census places her there with Anne Marie and her husband and children.  I am not sure, but I believe that when Ellen and Kristoffer were told to leave Burud Farm that they may have been desperate for a way to care for all their children while trying to find a new living.  In Jonette's case, she was placed with family while Ellen and Kristoffer left for Kristiania.  Jonette's confirmation record on 18 October 1868 states she is still living in Skollerud as does her marriage record.

On 31 October, 1875, Jonette married Olaus Kristensen (1846 - 1915) and left Skollerud for Grini mølle where Olaus was living.  My understanding is that this was the easternmost farm in Baerum, bordering Aker, and is now part of Oslo.  Mølle in Norwegian means mill, and, in fact, until about 1888 Grini had a mill alongside the river.  There was also a sawmill, brickworks, and a lime burner according to Wikipedia (here).  I assume my great-great grandfather Olaus must have worked in one of these industries or, at some point, perhaps all of them.

The timeline I have developed for Jonette suggests that she and Olaus lived at Grini from 1875 to about 1881, which is when they moved to Skollerud, in Baerum, for two or three years.  Although they lived in Grini, in 1875, after their marriage, it seems that during 1876 they may have lived in Østern, which is close to Grini, and then returned to Grini by the time my great-grandfather Kristian was born.  Then, circa 1883, they moved to Jordbaerhaugen Farm where they lived the rest of their lives.

During their time in Østern and Grini, Jonette and Olaus had three children.  Anne Mathilde (1876 - 1877) was their first child (born in Østern), but she sadly died shortly before her first birthday from the flu.  Their second child was Kristian (1878 - 1962), my great-grandfather, born at Grini, and the third was Martin Einar (1879 - ?) also born at Grini.  While living at Skollerud, Kristen (1881 - 1938) was born. The rest of their children were born at Jordbaerhaugen: Anton (1883), Nils (1885 - 1982), Paula (1889), Gunda (1892), Peder (1894), Margit (1895), and Jenny (1899).

Jonette and Olaus did not become Mormons as Jonette's mother, Ellen, and three of her siblings did.  I thought that perhaps she did not have much contact with them because she was raised separately from them; however, there is evidence that Jonette did in fact have contact with her mother and siblings.  One of her brother's children living in Salt Lake City wrote that there was a family living in Norway, in Baerum, and specifically at Jordbaerhaugen Farm.  This can only refer to Jonette.  Furthermore, I have found and had contact (through my father) with Jonette's grandson and his wife in Baerum, Norway.  They have a photo album that belonged to Jonette's daughter Margit, but may actually have originated with Jonette, and in the album is a photo of three children that was taken in Salt Lake City.  I am guessing these are children of Jonette's brother Martin or perhaps Hans.  Jonette's grandson and his wife had no idea where the photo came from, but now they know about the relatives who went to Salt Lake City.  It is more likely that the children in the photograph are Martin's because he traveled several times to Norway from Salt Lake City and back.  This is one album I can't wait to see when I travel to Norway this summer!

Jordbaerhaugen House

Jonette Kristoffersdatter Jordbaerhaugen died 21 April 1921 from heart failure.  As one can see, I have quite a bit of knowledge based on facts, but I would have liked to know more about her personally.  Was she musical as some of her siblings were?  Was she artistic?  What was her personality like?  What did she like to do? So many questions I may never have any answers to because I waited too long before realizing the need to ask the questions.  But I hope that I will meet one of her descendants who might know something.  Perhaps her grandson who is still living, although it did not seem like he had much insight; but one phone call is not enough to determine this, and I hope a face-to-face meeting may spur some information.  The problem is that he is the son of the next to youngest child and Jonette was dead by the time he was born.

If anyone reads this, and you believe you descend from Jonette and Olaus Jordbaerhaugen, please enlighten me with any information you may have.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday -- Hanna and Emil Haugen

My great-great grandparents, Emil Georg Samuelsen Haugen (1871 - 1854) and Hanna Marie Andreasdatter (1871 - 1943); the baby is my father.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- The Christophersons, Part IV

Ellen Hansdatter Christopherson

Ellen Hansdatter (27 Aug 1822 - 24 Mar 1899) was born on Løken Farm, Lommedalen, Baerum in Norway and baptized in the old Tanum Kirke on 8 September 1822.  She was the sixth child of eight born to Hans Andersen and Marthe Nilsdatter.  Unfortunately, her mother died at the age of 32 from pneumonia when Ellen was only 5 years old.  However, Ellen seems to have been raised with her father and probably other family, as she and her siblings continued to live on Løken Farm.  On the 9th of October in 1836, Ellen was confirmed in the Lutheran Tanum Kirke, and in 1850 she married her deceased sister's (Maren Hansdatter) husband, Kristoffer Pedersen.  She was still living in Løken when she married him.  Once married she moved to Burud Farm where her husband and several generations before him had lived.

In my last post, I explained a bit about how Ellen came to move to Kristiania (now known as Oslo).  Apparently, Kristoffer had not perfomed his duties appropriately and was asked to leave Burud Farm.  Kristoffer died in Kristiania a few years later, leaving Ellen widowed with several children.  (In all, she and Kristoffer had 7 children.) Alone, Ellen may have been forced to have some or all of her children raised by family and friends, at least temporarily.  Her daughter, my gg-grandmother, Jonette Kristoffersdatter, was in fact raised by Ellen's sister, Anne Marie, in Skollerud, Lommedalen, in Baerum.  Furthermore, in the 1865 census, I have found only one Ellen Hansdatter living in Oslo (9 Jernbanetorvet Street) who was born in Baerum in the right year.  Although it is possible the woman is not my Ellen, I feel it is likely that it is. The woman is listed as widowed, which fits; she is also living with other people -- none of them her children --and her occupation is as a worker in a steam factory.  I have yet to figure out what type of factory this is, so if anyone knows, please enlighten me. 

Ellen was obviously down on her luck once she was widowed.  But her children, at least some of them, seem to have been close by, as Martin and Hans worked as gardners at the King's castle in Oslo.  We also know from a tale that was passed down to her descendants that when her son Martin converted to Mormonism she followed him to a meeting to see what this new religion was about.  She hid in a corner and listened and was so impressed she felt compelled to become a Mormon herself.  A few years after her son Martin left for Salt Lake City, Utah, she followed, arriving circa 1876.

I don't know too much about Ellen's life in Salt Lake City.  A year ago, I didn't even know who she was, nor did I know I had Mormons in the family, and I certainly didn't expect to have a ggg-grandmother buried in the United States when as far as I knew, I was a first-generation American.  Wow!  What a journey this has been!  Since then, I have accumulated documentation on the lives of her children in Salt Lake City and also a little bit about her life.  I learned she became a Mormon along with three of her children and possibly a brother.  Her daughter, my gg-grandmother Jonette, remained Lutheran and never left Norway.  I assume the other children who remained in Norway also did not convert.  I also know that when her son, Martin, left Utah for Norway on one of his early missions as president -- a mission that would take him away for about two years -- that Ellen moved in with his wife and children to help out.  The next point in her timeline is her death in 1899.  I found her obituary, which stated that she died in the home of her son, Martin Christopherson.  No cause of death is mentioned.  She is buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.  I would very much like to know if there are any other stories about her between her dates of 1822 and 1899.  In the mean time, I am happy to have learned so much about an ancestor I had never heard of just one year ago.

Note: By Norwegian tradition, Ellen would not have been a "Christopherson."  Her children were Christophersons by patriarchal tradition, but Ellen must have wanted to avoid confusion in the United States and chose to use the same surname as that of her children.