March 7, 2019

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 "shakey 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***

January 26, 2019

STUSKIN - The ancestral home of Grandpa Paul's family

The ancestral home of Paul Sevaldsen's family is Stuskin in Verdal, Nord -Trøndelag, Norway.

Most small farms in Norway, before the twentieth century, were actually owned by the state run church and cotters rented out the property for a yearly fee and a portion of the yearly proceeds and/or a few days of labor for the church. The contract was generally for the life of the cotter and the first-born son had the right to rent that farm when their father died or retired due to poor health (retirement as we know it now was unknown to the working peoples of Europe at that time).

The farm Stuskin was known to exist by similar names since 1520. Through the years it was divided and the portion named Stuskin østre was owned outright by Paul's family. Anders Olsen 1722-1799 (Paul's third great grandfather) had bought the farm September 1756. All things point to the farm being fairly successful. Anders passed the farm to his eldest son Jacob Andersen 1753-1813. Jacob passed the farm to his eldest son Anders Jakobsen 1787-1875. Anders passed the farm to his eldest son Sevald Andersen 1818-1900. Paul's father Anders Sevaldsen 1863-1939, being the oldest son of Sevald, would have owned the property upon his father's death. It was not to be. Anders denied his baptism in the state church of Norway and became a Seventh Day Adventist. He trained to be a missionary along with his wife Anne Marie. He left the family farm and his birthright, never to return to Stuskin.
Sevald used an exception in the law to bypass Anders and "sell" the property to his second son Ole Sevaldsen for "kr. 6000 and a portion of the annual value of kr. 300." Perhaps Sevald, in advanced age and possibly ill health, wanted to assure the continuance of the family farm. Norwegian law gave Anders a 5 year window "right of refusal" from April 29, 1892, to buy the farm from Ole for kr. 7000 but Anders did not claim that right. Ole retained the farm. I often wonder if there were bad feelings between father Sevald and son Anders. Did he voluntarily walk away from his inheritance or did Sevald find fault in his choice of wife or new religion or both? Either option must have been difficult for the family as a whole. Anders and his wife traveled all about Norway as missionaries. His children were born in all different cities. Paul was born in Kragerø, Telemark on the opposite side of Norway.

Stuskin østre

Sad to note: Searching for my grandfather Paul in the 1910 Norwegian census I finally found him on this same farm, Stuskin. He was now 16 years old and the 1910 census says nothing of him being a relative. It states he is a worker on the farm, no more than any other farm helper. He is not even listed with his surname Sevaldsen, but merely as Paul Skoglund (his first and middle name).

After his mother had died (at the birth of her seventh child) his father Anders married quickly. That was not very unusual in Norway at the time but what saddens me is that he seems to have dumped the responsibility of his three oldest children. My grandmother told me that the baby Live was treated poorly by her stepmother. My grandfather? He was just 14 at the time of his mother's death and although at this time and place he most likely would be finished with his school and working, how degrading to be a farmhand now on the farm that by rights and Norwegian law should have some day belonged to him as the oldest son of the oldest son? His grandfather had died in 1900 and I wonder if he had lived to see this would he have made some provision for his grandson? The grandson who lost his inheritance because of the religious fervor of his father?

The story of the family farm Stuskin can be found in the bygdebok: Verdalsboka: en bygdebok om Verdal 3-54: Gårds og slektshistorie Chapter: Stuskin pgs. 576-597 by Einar Musum

I never knew great grandfather Anders. My great aunt Stina, a child of his second marriage, spoke proudly of him as a religious reformer. My grandmother Dagmar however spoke of his cruelty to his children. She told me that he had physically beat the children and she felt the beatings Paul got about the head contributed to his Parkinsons in later life. The bits I have heard do not endear me to this religious zealot. How blessed was I to have had such a kind, generous and loving man as Paul for my grandfather? Grandma Dagmar had a saying for the Anders type of religious person. "So heavenly minded they're no earthly good". Yet he did right by me. After all, if Paul had inherited the farm he most assuredly would not have met my grandmother Dagmar, nor left for America, nor become my Grandpa.

**clicking on photos will enlarge them for easier viewing**
**to view each generation before Grandpa Paul see the page "Paul's Ancestry"**

January 14, 2019

ØVALD - Grandmother Dagmar's ancestral home

Dagmar Gundersen was born on ØVALD in Eidanger, Telemark, Norway, which was the ancestral family home since the 1600's.

Eidanger kirke, built in 12th century
 The farm Øvald in Eidanger, Telemark, Norway had been in existence since the middle ages but lay vacant after the Black Death. In the 1600's it was cleared again as a small landholding. The bygdebok  Gårds og slektshistorie for Eidanger Fra 1814-1980 by Per Chr. Nagell Svendsen  tells the story. A German noblewoman named Maria Lukretia von Boeselager, b. 1609 in Honeburg, Germany, moved with her daughter to the south of Norway after the death of her first husband. She married a Norwegian customs inspector named Peder Jacobsen and her daughter married the vicar of Eidanger, Jon Lauritssøn Teiste.  Maria and Peder were wealthy and bought three properties in Eidanger and one of those properties, Ødewald/Øvald, she gave as a christening gift to her granddaughter Sophie Jansdatter. Upon her death Maria was buried just outside the front entrance to the Eidanger church. At some point, early on, the small farm became part of the Eidanger rectory, which was farm #43, Øvald being section #5. The section was leased by the year and a farmers male heir (female heir and her husband if a male heir did not survive to adulthood) had the first right to lease in his/her turn.  The bygdebok, (above noted) and Norwegian National census' trace each generation on Øvald.

My grandmother Dagmar was the last of our family line to be born on the farm Øvald. The noblewoman Maria Lukretia von Boeselager had been her seventh great grandmother.

 This home ↑ was built in 1860 on Øvald. At that time Dagmar's great grandparents Nils Jensen and Johanne Olsdatter worked the farm. Johanne was well known for her cooking and entertaining skills as the couple hosted gatherings of family and friends on the beautiful Eidanger Fjord.

 Times were changing in Norway at the end of the 19th century and the small farm, in it's lovely location. was separated from the vicarage and sold by the church. This must have been very difficult for the family that had lived and worked the farm since the 1600's but they were unable to buy the farm outright. Dagmars grandfather, Gunder Nilsen, spent his last years as a poor man on a neighboring farm. The property became a summer retreat during the last years of the 19th century and first years of the 20th. ↓
Telemark Museum - "fair use"

Today the property has the address Nystrandveien 184, Porsgrunn and "Norpost" is one of several companies at that location.
In 1925 Norwegian law required each family to adopt a permanent surname. Dagmar and most of her siblings became Gundersen, the patronymic of their father Nils.  Dagmar's father Nils as well as Nils’ son and grandson, along with others of the family, adopted Øvald as their surname. A sign of respect for the historically family home. They certainly felt they had that “right” as their family had worked the farm for 7-9 generations until it was sold by the church. 

**clicking on photos or documents will enlarge them for easier viewing**
      ** to view each generation from Maria down to Dagmar see "Family Trees" (above)**