August 2, 2015

Dedicated to Dagmar

Not long ago I read that each of us will have on average ten great grandchildren. Only two of those great grandchildren will even know what our name was.



She was born on a small farm in Eidanger, Norway on which her family had been crofters since the mid 1600's. She had only a fifth grade education after which she worked as a cook on her fathers boat. She lost her first true love and married a man on the rebound "because he could dance and he had a car". His dream was "Amerika".  He left for America, worked hard and sent home money and two pre-paid tickets for his family to join him. She buried their first child in a paupers grave and two weeks later took a three hour train ride alone to Kristiania where she boarded a boat for America. She expected never to see her mother, father, brothers or sisters again. She arrived almost two weeks later at Ellis Island New York. She spoke no English. She prayed that her husband would be there when she arrived. . She had twenty five dollars pinned to her underskirts, one small suitcase, a train ticket and a tag tied to her coat that read "Chicago".



I want her descendants to know her name and more importantly, who she was.
She was Dagmar Gundersen Sevald from Skien, Telemark Norway.

Dagmar, was my mother's mother. She had black curly hair and brown laughing eyes. She was not very tall but amply built. A joyous positive woman of strong faith and spirit who never passed up a chance to tell you exactly what she thought or believed. She made me feel safe, special and loved. Before she died I visited her, living again in her beloved Norway, three times. She shared with me the stories and pictures of her life and that of our family. My interest in family history and genealogy had begun. I have dedicated all my family research to her. "Don't forget who you are" she would say. Don't worry Grandma, I won't.

-Ranae