A peek at great great grandfather Gunder Andreas

A second cousin of mine in Norway recently sent me this photo that he had recently acquired from another cousin in Norway. It features his grandmother, Nilia Gundersen, her husband, children and grandchildren with her father, Gunder Andreas Nilsen Øvald . Gunder Andreas is my great great grandfather, my maternal grandmothers paternal grandfather.

 Looking at the documentation of his life, I believe his life was a difficult one as were many of those living and trying to raise a family in the late 19th century Norway. As the oldest son he inherited the right to farm the family farm Øvald, which at this point was actually the property of the Norwegian church, which was the case with most farms in Southern Norway. A younger brother, without much future in sight, headed off to America, to find his "fortune" there. Gunder Andreas lost two of his children in their childhood, a tragedy that we fortunately seldom encounter now thanks to the advent of childhood immunizations. His wife, Marthe Marie, died from childbirth infection. Three of his children followed their uncle and headed off to America where they soon found mates and new lives as Americans. Another three grandchildren did the same. There are a few other siblings, children and grandchildren that I have not yet been able to account for. My suspicion is that I will one day also find them living American lives. Gunder Andreas had to leave the family farm when the church sold the now lucrative property and Gunder Andreas died a poor man.

It all sounds so sad to me but I hope Gunder Andreas did not feel or view his life in a negative way. He lived long (87 years) and still had much of his family around him. Perhaps, and I do hope, he felt his life to be blessed.

Not the clearest of pictures but a welcome find non-the-less. The white-bearded man in the rear of the cart, surrounded by family is my X2 great grandfather;

my great great grandfather
Gunder Andreas Nilsen Øvald
b. 11 Apr 1843 Eidanger, Telemark, Norway
d. 24 Aug 1930 Eidanger, Telemark, Norway


The University of Oslo's Museum of Cultural History

Part of the University of Oslo's Museum of Cultural History:
The VIKING SHIP MUSEUM in Oslo, Norway. 

click  HERE  to view (in English)

I have been there and it is quite impressive. 

the proud 25th or so great granddaughter of a Viking
(well, surely my ancestors couldn't ALL have been farmers or sailors),


Happy Birthday Grandpa Sevald!

Today I remember my maternal grandfather, Paul Skoglund Sevald. He was born 125 years ago today. He died when I was 19 but I remember him well and fondly.  When I remember him, I remember him as he was when I was a small child. He was always cheerful, happy and laughing. A fun person to be around, joking with my grandmother, dancing up our stairs and singing. Hugging and loving us. His last years were difficult as he suffered, truly suffered from Parkinson's disease. Unfortunately, due to his illness I don't think my younger siblings would remember how grandpa was in his healthy happy days. But I do, and let me tell you. Those days were great.

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Grandpa and his first grandchild........Me!


Welcome to the FEICK/KALLMAN HERITAGE family tree

My family tree on is now a "public" tree. What that means is that anyone with an account may get one of those "shaky leaves" that points them to my tree. I have been working on my ancestry ever since the mid 90's.  I have put lots of work into it and previously kept my tree private for a few "reasons" that I no longer feel are valid. I am ashamed to say I was selfishly motivated. I was family hoarding.

Notice the word "my" comes up again and again. Early on, a remote (very remote) relative on one of MY grandparents lines contacted me with a request to see MY tree. Next thing I see is that he attached MY entire tree on to his, including the lines of MY other 3 grandparents who were in no way even remotely related to him. Okay, then I decided I only want "close" relatives whose names I actually recognize to look at MY tree. Here comes the wife of a second cousin with a request to share information. I was particularly excited as I knew little of this particular line. That person promptly downloaded every photo I had and gave in return nada, bupkis, nothing, zilch. As I invited other family members to MY tree I began to notice MY photos on other trees that had been downloaded to someones computer and then uploaded to Ancestry without MY name as the contributor. Worse still a photo of MY grandmother in the gallery of  another persons grandmother! Didn't they understand the work I had put into MY tree? Relatives who download a few photos and never again showed one ounce of interest? I didn't understand those people.

Two truths have finally made their way into MY brain.

1. This is not just MY family.
Although for security reasons I will not post photos of the living, particularly children, nor their personal information, that beautiful photo of Grandma as a young girl? It belongs to me but equally to her many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren, nieces nephews etc. etc. and the many more yet to be born who will see her photo and feel a sense of belonging to that beautiful, young, possibly frightened, immigrant girl who sent her photo home to the family she missed in Sweden.

2. I love family history!
I mean it is more than just a hobby, it is a passion with me. Digging through old books, histories, internet sights, archives, figuring out old documents in old fashioned script, illegible hand-writing and foreign languages. Love it, love it, love it. Not everyone does. I have a good friend with a minor in art history. We traveled together to Europe and I truly appreciated the information she told me as we visited the The Hague museums in Amsterdam. But that's enough for me.  Some family want a couple of photos and a brief look at the tree findings and that's enough for them. Same thing right? and that's okay.

 Sooo...Welcome to the Feick/Kallman Heritage family tree. Wouldn't it be cool if we're related?

***Wish to see the tree? Check out the invitation at the bottom of this blog***