September 24, 2018

A Frog in the Fjord - Weird things Norwegians do

I have often thought (and heard) that those of Norwegian heritage here in the U.S. follow old Norwegian traditions that were brought over by their ancestors. Traditions common to 19th and early 20th century Norway. Are modern day Norwegians very much like those of old at all? Which of those traditions or "Norwegian ways" did I see in my family that perhaps even persist in me all the way to 2018? Do some of those characteristics remain today in Norway? How like a modern Norwegian am I because of my Norwegian heritage?

I follow a wonderful blog. A Frog in the Fjord is written by a woman born in France who now lives in Norway. I just love her straightforward view of the Norwegian of today. A view that perhaps only an outsider could see. She speaks of what she considers good, bad and sometimes just odd characteristics of modern Norwegians but with an obvious love of the country and its people.


click here - check it out - a good read - and fun!
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I remember distinctly and with love my grandmother verbally agreeing with me. 
Ja Ja Ja, spoken while sucking in her breath! 

Enjoy A Frog in the Fjord , I did.


September 13, 2018

Great Grandmother Gunhild


1956 Skien, Norway -
A lovely photo of my great grandmother Gunhild with one of her many great grandchildren.


Another lovely photo of my great grandmother Gunhild, in the possession of a second cousin in Norway who remembers it was taken as great grandma was bringing her mother a stick of butter to bake a cake.


my great grandmother
Gunhild Marie Gundersen Øvald
b: 14 December 1875 Eidanger, Telemark, Norway
d: 09 February 1959 Skien, Telemark, Norway



September 2, 2018

Photo of my 3X great grandfather Nils Jensen of Eidanger, Norway?


A lovely old photo found in the possession of an aged cousin. Circa mid 1800's judging by the gentleman's clothing. Why had the family saved this photo? Saved through more than a couple of generations. Most likely an ancestor, but who? Another cousin has guessed it to be our third great grandfather Nils Jensen (1812-1897), but he admits honestly that was just a "shot in the dark".  This ancestor? proudly posed and paid for a studio portrait. In remembrance of a special occasion or just for the family to have a remembrance of him? We likely will never now know. It saddens me but I too will keep this photo of someone who likely? perhaps? maybe never? was part of our family. Whoever he is, I feel I owe him at least that much.

Another reminder to mark every photo with name, date and place.
Someone, somewhere. someday, just may want to know.


August 30, 2018

Which grandparent do I most resemble?

FamilySearch.org implemented something new. A facial recognition tool. You compare  a selfie with a picture of an ancestor and  BOOM! the softwear will tell you how much your looks compare. We don't get to choose the DNA that is passed on to us and to be honest with you, if I could have chosen I surely would have picked my Swedish paternal grandmother. She was born tall, blond and cute. But that wasn't to be. I matched very little with her and even less with my Swedish paternal grandfather.  I always knew that my looks decidedly came mainly from my Norwegian side.

The facial recognition tool agreed. My dear Norwegian grandpa Sevald. Well...of my four grandparents he would be the least likely to win a beauty contest. He was short, a bit on the stubby side, curly hair, ruddy complexion, but yep, he was the one. But I couldn't be more pleased. What a great guy. I only wish I was as good a person as he had been. I think I can be a bit crabby, stubborn and single minded. That must have come from my paternal Swedish grandpa!

Just 20% similarity to my other three grandparents but with Grandpa Paul Sevald?

Don't know how accurate the softwear is but it was a lot of fun. Give it a try?




August 25, 2018

Paul Sevald - Happy Birthday Grandpa!


My grandfather was born on this date: August 25th

The first child of seven, Paul Skoglund Sevaldsen was born in Kragerø, Telemark, Norway to Anders and Anne Marie Sevaldsen on August 25, 1894. His father was a missionary for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. His mother died giving birth to his youngest sibling. Paul was fifteen. He worked on his uncle's farm in his teens and as a chauffeur in his early twenties. At twenty-eight he married my grandmother Dagmar. One year later he emigrated to Chicago where his wife soon joined him. He worked for many years as a machinest. He had three children, one of them was my mother Grace, and seven grandchildren. He died in Chicago September 5, 1971. He would have eleven great grandchildren and twenty one great great grandchildren (so far to this date). These are "facts" any one of his ancestors can discover.

I knew him well so let me tell you additional "facts" about Paul.
He was kind and generous. He was witty and funny. He loved to fish. He could tap dance. He was truthful and reliable.  He loved his wife, children and grandchildren, He was a Godly man. He loved Chicago AND Norway. He was a snappy dresser, He was friendly. He gave good hugs. He was forgiving. He was loyal. I could go on and on. Let's just say he was the best grandpa a little girl could have and I knew it.

Happy Birthday Grandpa Sevald!


August 20, 2018

Jacobine "Bina" Nelson and Mathilda Wennberg1923 - Serendipity!

Why did I poo-poo this DNA stuff so much? It seemed so cut and dry and since I already had a well documented family tree going back many generations, why would I need it?

Through DNA I have now been in contact with a third cousin, a great grandson of Mathilde Amalie Gundersen. Mathilde was the older sister of my great grandfather Nils Gundersen. We shared information. I gave him the link to our common family in Telemark, Norway and he gave me this lovely photo.


Such serendipity! I had been recently researching both of these great grand aunts and had only just discovered that they had been earlier family emigrants to of all places...Chicago! In fact they were most likely the reason my grandparents chose Chicago. On his Ellis Island ship manifest my grandfather Paul listed Mathilde as his U.S. contact. Listed under her married name of Wennberg I only made the connection a short while ago.

1923 Manifest of the ship "Bergensfjord" Oslo to New York - steerage line #7 Paul Sevaldsen


If  I am to be honest I have to say that much of the particulars of this DNA stuff .....whew.....really just flies way way over my head and I don't think I am particularly stupid. My brain just doesn't work that way. I will however pay attention to those emails from 23 and me and My Heritage in the future. I will certainly also answer  those folks that contact me, claiming to share a few bits of the DNA that is me.

My Great Grand Aunts

Jacobine "Bina" (Gundersdatter) Nelson
b: 11 February 1869 Eidanger, Telemark, Norway
d: 18 Jun 1935 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA

Mathilda Amalie (Gundersdatter) Wennberg
b: 22 February 1873 Eidanger, Telemark, Norway
d: 22 January 1931 Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA


Thank You cousin James!
***click on photo and document to enlarge for easier viewing***