Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stigen Family Reunion!

Hey all!  I know it's been a long, long time since I've posted in this blog, but work has kept me too busy to write anything.  However, now that I've made my exit, I'm back and here to let you all know about the Stigen Family Reunion taking place in the summer of 2015.  The reunion will take place over the weekend of June 20-21st.  A block of 10 rooms has been set aside at the Hampton in Grand Forks, North Dakota by cousin, Ken Stigen.  If anyone would like to attend, email me and I'll send you an invite to the Facebook group page for the reunion.

The first day of the reunion we will be attending the Aneta Turkey BBQ.  The second day - Sunday - we will spend attending services and paying respects to our ancestors at the Our Savior Church in rural Kloten, where many of our Fjeld and Stigen ancestors are buried.  Pictures to come!

So if you are descended from Ole Knudsen Stigen (1854-1937) and Ragnhild Renden (1865-1937) and/or Knud Knudsen Stigen (1820-1896) and Berthe Ellefsdatter Aamodteie (1820-1883), please contact me.  The more the merrier!

If you're not sure if you're descended from one of these couples, here are the lists of their children.  Hopefully this helps!

Children of Ole Knudsen Stigen and Ragnhild Renden:
  • Christian Stigen 1886-1949
  • Martin Stigen 1888-1948
  • Carl Stigen 1889-1918
  • Bertha Stigen 1891-1943
  • Oline Stigen 1893-1977
  • Ragna Stigen 1895-1989
  • Emma Stigen 1902-1974
  • Ole Stigen 1905-1992

Children of  Knud Knudsen Stigen and Berthe Ellefsdatter Aamodteie:
  • Caroline Uhlen Stigen 1845-
  • Elling Stigen 1847-
  • Ole Knudsen Stigen 1854-1937
  • Hans Christian Stigen 1857-1936 a.k.a Christian Knudson/Chris Knudsen/Charles Knudsen
  • Olaus Stigen 1860-
See you at the reunion!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Digging Deeper - a Possible Connection

Hova1763 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A page showing dead people from the church reg...
A page showing dead people from the church register at Os parish in Hordaland in Norway. 27 of 28 people on this page died at sea during a storm known as "Crazy Monday". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I decided I needed to dig deeper if I wanted to uncover a possible family connection between Marit Fjeld's family and my Fjeld family.  (I just hope I am not digging myself a metaphorical grave).  So, to that end, I decided it was time to dig deeper into the roots of Marit's biological parents to see where these led.  I knew Marit's biological parents were Marith Olsdatter and Hans Andreassen Fjeld, but I knew little else.  It was time for some more digging in the parish registers and the Norwegian census.

They were easy to find in the 1865 Norwegian Census.  Of course, they are living on Fjeld farm in Søndre Aurdal in 1865 and the census data list members of the family, their ages and places of birth... and this is why I like to find people in the census first, before perusing the parish registers.  The further back in time you go in the parish registers, the more difficult they become to read.   Not only is the style of lettering different, but in many cases the "events" are crammed together with sloppy handwriting and oodles of ink smears everywhere... in short, it looks every bit like something I wrote by hand with a calligraphy pen, or any ink pen for that matter.  Not very legible at all, even if you are well-versed in the old scripts.  (Of course, being left-handed makes me extra gifted at smearing ink all over the page)!  Additional difficulties with parish records can be faded text, torn pages, holes in pages and missing pages.

It is what it is, though, and I highly recommend looking through the parish records.  It's worth developing the patience.  Tenacity helps, too, especially when the information you thought was correct is farther from veracity than India is from Sirius.  It helps to remember that the parish records were not written for genealogists to peruse at leisure centuries later.  They were written to conform to church edicts and Norwegian law and were probably viewed as a make-work chore by those who were forced to write in them.  A nuisance at best.  I confess, I would write sloppy too.  Not necessarily intentionally, but in speeding through the chore just to get it over with.

Enough about parish registers.  If you follow the link I've provided for the Fjeld Farm two paragraphs above this one, you will see the census listing for the Fjeld farm.  You will see Marit, her parents and some of her siblings.  I used this information to find birth, baptism and even marriage and death information for some of these people.  I also uncovered both sets of grandparents in the parish records using this information as a result.

What did I discover?  Marit's maternal grandparents were Helena Andersdatter Hestekind (1812-1898) and Ole Andersen Kompelien (1807-1902) and that this couple themselves immigrated to the U.S. in the 1880's.  They can be found on the Brosveen farm in the 1865 Norwegian Census.  Marit's paternal grandparents are Andreas Hansen Brufladt, born 1805, and Marith Andersdatter Espelien av Brufladt (1808-before 1865).  I also found many of Marit's parent's siblings this way.

How did this help?  Well, I plugged all this information into my Nussberger Fjeld family tree on and came up with links to photos of many of these family members (joy!) and stories about these family members.  One of the stories I came across was about Marit Fjeld herself.  It was written by Lillian Skarperud in 1980 and tells how Marit came to America to live with an Aunt Kari Nysveen... and there's my connection!  Maybe.  I am a direct descendent of Anne Nysveen and perhaps this Aunt Kari or, if she was married at the time, which I am sure she must have been, her husband is related to my Anne Nysveen.  This would mean there is a biological relationship between my Fjelds and Marit's Fjelds.

Voila!  Another possibility to research and a blog post for another day!  Aunt Kari Nysveen.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Marit Olsdatter Fjeld - a Mystery Solved...

Well, sort of. I am writing this post not only because it is a mystery I have been trying to solve for years, but as a more detailed response to an email a gentleman was kind enough to send me inviting me to connect regarding this branch of my family tree as well as inviting me to have a look at his Photobucket albums containing old family photos from this branch of my tree.

Now for some background. Marit Olsdatter Fjeld was born 10 February 1863, married an Andrew Skarperud around 1885 and came to the U.S. with my Fjelds in 1882. The mystery was this: Marit was born the same year as Ingri and Ole Knudsen Fjeld's daughter, Anne, yet Marit was not listed in the 1865 Norwegian Census with the rest of the family. Anne, however, is listed with her family on this census.  Note that I did not know either of these ladies birthdays initially and it would be their birthdays that would prove the key to unlocking the mystery.

I thought I knew Anne's birthday because other researchers had listed her birthday as 4 July 1863. So I assumed that Marit was a twin born the same day or that something was awry with Marit's age as listed in the immigration records.

Beware the work of other researchers, especially where sources are not elucidated. Both assumptions regarding Marit Fjeld were wrong as was the July 4th birthdate listed for Anne! This I discovered perusing the confirmation records for Bruflat parish. I was hoping to find the birth dates of the Fjeld children born during the years for which the parish records no longer exist, as those records burned during WWII. What I discovered was that miss Anne was born 7 April 1863 and not 4 July 1863 as other researchers had listed! (Thus far I have yet to find any hard evidence for the 4 July date). As for miss Marit, I found her birth date in the confirmation records as well... 10 February 1863. It is biologically impossible, then, for these two women to be sisters and, thus, one of them is not the biological daughter of Ingri and Ole Knudsen Fjeld. The final nail in the coffin lay in the confirmation record for Marit, where her parents are listed as Hans Andersen and Marith Olsdatter Fjeld, who themselves came to America in 1889.

So, perhaps, my Fjelds adopted Marit, if only temporarily, in order for her to immigrate to the United States? I am keeping an open mind in this instance, because, for all I know, miss Marit may have been living with my Fjeld family long before they decided to travel to the U.S. Now, the question remains, What is the connection between these two Fjeld families? Is there a biological connection I have yet to uncover? Or were these simply two close families living on the same farm back in Norway? The Fjeld farm was rather large... and I do love a good mystery.

In fact, it seems the more mysteries I solve, the more I discover. No wonder my parents used to send me from adult to adult with my endless questions! I am sure I was an exhausting child!

Now, the connection to the email. The gentleman who sent me the email regarding this branch of our tree is a direct descendant of Kari Hansdatter Fjeld, sister of Marit, our mystery lady. So the answer to the question as to how we are related is we are not related...maybe.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Found in the 1920 U.S. Census! The Martin and Kari Fjeld Family

A map of the official language forms (målform)...Image via Wikipedia


This morning, for the first time in ages, I noticed a little leaf attached to my great grandfather, Ole Martinsen Fjeld (1892-1954), on the Ancestry website. It turns out, the little leaf hinted at an entry for the 1920 U.S. Census. My Fjelds were listed as "Feld" in the 1920 census, which, actually, is a close approximation of how "Fjeld" is correctly pronounced in Norwegian.

Interestingly, they are not enumerated as "Feld," but are indexed by Ancestry as "Feld." In the actual document, the surname is spelled correctly - F-j-e-l-d. At this point I'm just happy they weren't listed as Felt or, worse, Fert (or Fart), as some regional pronunciations of Fjeld can sound, to the untrained ear, as ending with a sound approximating an English r or rt.

Indexes don't always make family research easier.

Members of the Martin Olsen and Kari Knudsdatter (Ruse) Fjeld Family listed in the 1920 Census are:
  • Martin Olsen Fjeld
  • Kari Knudsdatter Fjeld
  • Ole Martinsen Fjeld
  • Alma Martinsdatter Fjeld
  • Albert Martinsen Fjeld
  • Melvin Martinsen Fjeld
  • Agnes Martinsdatter Fjeld

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Simply Looking Sometimes Assists

Stange within HedmarkImage via Wikipedia
On occasion I spend so much time on one small branch of the family tree that I forget where I am at or what I have done with other branches of the family tree.  In other words, I manage to create my own genealogical disorientation, in the worst cases imagining brick walls that don't exist or nonexistent vacuums of information.

In recent months I have spent so much time on the Mellom and Fjeld branches of my tree that the Stigen and Renden branches have languished.  I returned to my Stigen and Renden branches this weekend and found them lacking in vital information and, at first, assumed I had been unable to find any information or had found all the information humanly possible due to Bruflat parish records having been destroyed during World War II.

Then a little light bulb turned on in my head.  Karoline Knudsdatter Renden (a.k.a. Caroline Amb) had been born in Bruflat, Sør Aurdal in 1864 and was - so far as I was aware - the firstborn child of Knud Knudsen Renden and Maria Olsdatter Laglund (a.k.a. Maria Olson or Maria Solibråten)... but what if I was wrong?  Maria Olsdatter was born in Stange, Hedmark, Norway and it was still a mystery to me how she met Knud Knudsen Renden of Valdres.  I had assumed that Maria Olsdatter moved with her family to Valdres before meeting Knud Knudsen.  However, what if Knud Knudsen had moved to Stange and later returned to Valdres?  It was certainly a possibility.  If I was lucky, this was exactly what happened because the time period from the 1850's to 1866 would have been when this couple was married and these are precisely the Bruflat records that were destroyed during World War II.

Simply looking sometimes assists.  I looked at the records for Stange from the 1850's and 1860's, reasoning that marriages often took place in the bride's parish and, guess what?

I got lucky.

I found the marriage of Knud Knudsen Renden and Maria Olsdatter in the Ottestad Church records, the same church in which Maria Olsdatter was baptized 30 years previous.  The marriage occurred on 30 December 1862 in the Ottestad church in Stange, Hedmark, Norway.  I came away with a bonus - the name of the bruk on which the bridegroom was born.  Kulhuusbraaten, for those who are interested.  The parish records of Sør Aurdal list only the main farm, Landsend, as his birthplace in the baptismal records.  In addition, at the time of their marriage, the couple was living on the Hosmestad, or Hemstad, farm in Stange, Hemstad being the bride's mother's farm.

After this success, I thought there seemed to be a rather large time gap between the birth of my ancestress, Ragnhild Knudsdatter, and her brother, Knud Knudsen, so I endeavored to research the existing Bruflat records further and found a second brother, Ole Knudsen, born 4 April 1869 and died 2 February 1877 on the Renden farm.

Further research in the Stange parish records revealed no children born to Knud Knudsen and Maria Olsdatter from 30 December 1862 to 2 January 1864, when Karoline Knudsdatter was born.  (Karoline's birthdate is known from her 16 June 1878 confirmation record.)  Of course, this appears logical, as Maria Olsdatter would have to have become pregnant around the beginning of April 1863 to give birth in January of 1864.  I found no other children born to Knud Knudsen and Maria Olsdatter between the birth of Karoline and the birth of Ragnhild in 1865; I also found no children born to this couple between the birth of Ragnhild and the birth of Ole and between the birth of Ole and the birth of Knud.  Nor were there any births recorded from the time following Knud's birth to the family's immigration in March of 1882.  They appeared to have left around the same time as my Fjelds - March of 1882.  The immigration of the Rendens is listed on page 631 of the Sør Aurdal 1877-1885 Ministerialbok.  The Fjelds are found on the same page of the same book.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ancestors of Ole Andersen Melom and Anne Knudsdatter Espelien Part II

Bruflat kirke, Etnedal. See :no:Bruflat kirke.
I apologize for not posting an entry for more than a month.  Certain economic necessities have made writing impossible of late, but I believe things are winding down now.

Last time, I promised a continuation on the paternal ancestry of the descendants of Ole Andersen Melom (born 1807 on Granum farm in Bruflat, Sør Aurdal, Norway) and Anne Knudsdatter Espelien (born 2 April 1808 on Espelien farm in Bruflat, Sør Aurdal, Norway).  Although I have had many items I could have chosen to write about in the interim, I have chosen not to write about these new discoveries until I have posted the second part of this particular entry.  I apologize in advance if this entry is too long, but here we go...

The Paternal Heritage
So that no one has to go back and read the previous entry on the subject, I will start by listing the children of Ole Andersen Melom and Anne Knudsdatter Espelien:

Knud (1829-????)
Ingri (1832-1916)*
Anders (1839-1893)
Ole (1844-1912)*
Maria (1847-????)
Anders/Andreas (1849-????)
Tollef (1853-1936)*
* Immigrated to the United States

Other researchers have listed a daughter, Anne, as well, but I have no information regarding Anne as of yet.

Following the paternal heritage of this family, Ole Andersen Melom was the son of Anders Halvorsen Melom (nee Kringli) and Ingri Olsdatter Granum (1777-????).  I am not aware of any other children born to this particular couple as I have not done enough in depth research on this particular family.  My only excuse is lack of time and the fact that 18th century research is more difficult than 19th century research.

In any case, I do know the identities of Anders Halvorsen's parents.  Anders Halvorsen was born on Kringli farm to Halvor Andersen Kringli and Berit Eriksdatter Espelien.  So here we see another connection to the Espelien farm!  Anders Halvorsen was baptized in the Bruflat church on 24 November 1771 (Aurdal Ministerialbok 1763-1781, page 141).  Anders was confirmed in Bruflat in 1785 (Aurdal Ministerialbok nr. 6, 1781-1804, page 161).  The family is still living on Kringli farm, but this would not last into the 19th century...

By the time of the 1801 Norwegian Census, we find Anders Halvorsen, his parents, and his siblings living on the larger Lie farm in Bruflat, Sør Aurdal, Norway.  Children of Halvor Andersen Kringli Melom and Berit Eriksdatter Espelien listed in the 1801 Census are:

Anders (1771-????)
Thor (1783-????)
Knudt (1785-????)
Erik (1787-????)
Gulbrand (1789-????)
Thidemand (1793-????)

Further research yields the marriage of Halvor Andersen and Berit Eriksdatter, which occurs 6 October 1771 in Bruflat Church with banns 8 September 1771 (Aurdal Ministerialbok nr. 5, 1763-1781, Trolovede, page 233).  It is here we discover Berit Eriksdatter hails from the Espelien farm.

Digging further into the past, we discover Halvor Andersen's baptismal record.  Halvor Andersen was born on Kringli farm to Anders Halvorsen Kringli and Marthe Nielsdatter and baptized in Bruflat Church on 4 September 1742, information which can be found in the Aurdal Ministerialbok nr. 4, 1730-1762, Fødte og Døpte, page 245.  This brings us to the end of my research so far.

Where in the United States did the Meloms immigrate?

Ingri Melom, having married Ole Knudsen Fjeld circa 1856, immigrated with her children to Nelson County in North Dakota, where she (and her children) can be found in the 1885 Dakota Territory Census.  Her two eldest sons, Knud Olsen and Ole Olsen immigrated to the United States before the rest of the family and resided in Arctander, Kandiyohi, Minnesota, where they are enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Census.  The latter married Randi Jensdatter Iverbakken in Kerkhoven, Swift, Minnesota on 12 June 1881.  After Ingri Melom and the rest of her children immigrated to the United States in the Spring of 1882, the family resided in Nelson County, North Dakota, with some eventually taking up residence in Ward, Grand Forks, or Traill Counties.  Inger Fjeld married the author, Hans Andersen Foss of Normanden fame, and lived in Minnesota as well.  The couple may have been married in the Knud Knudsen Renden household, which served as a church until Our Savior's Lutheran Church was built near Kloten in Field Township, Nelson, North Dakota.  Some of the Fjelds are themselves descendants of Knud Knudsen Renden, through his granddaughter, Oline Stigen, a daughter of Ragnhild Renden.

As for Ingri's brother, Ole, he immigrated to Jackson County, Wisconsin in about 1879 and would eventually die in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in April of 1912.  His children lived also in Trempeauleau, Barron,  and Eau Claire, Wisonsin as well as Sheridan and Benson Counties in North Dakota.  Ole married Anne Knudsdatter of Hestekind farm on 14 May 1869 in Bruflat Church (Sør Aurdal Ministerialbok, 1866-1872, page 62).

Their younger brother, Tollef, married Clara Amundson in Maple Grove, Barron, Wisconsin in 1894 and lived in Maple Grove until his death on 16 October 1936.  So far as I know, Tollef's children remained in Maple Grove at least through the early part of the 20th century.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Ancestors of Ole Andersen Melom and Anne Knudsdatter Espelien Part I

Since my last entry, I have made a bit more progress in the research on the Melom/Espelien branch of the family tree.  I now have the branch back to the mid to early 1700's.  I have a bit more on the Melom side than the Espelien side, but this is more the result of more work having been done on the Melom side than the Espelien side on my part.

The Maternal Heritage

Anne Knudsdatter Espelien was born 2 April 1808 on Espelien farm in Bruflat, Sør Aurdal, Valdres Norway and was baptized at the Bruflat church on 10 April 1808.  Her parents are listed as Guri Andersdatter and Knud Andersen Espelien.  All of this information can be found in the eighth entry on page 14 of the Sør Aurdal Ministerialbok 1807-1815.  Further perusal of the Aurdal parish records reveal her parents were married 10 October 1800 and that Guri Andersdatter hailed from Øyen farm, a bruk of Nordre Hestekind.  Parish records reveal that Guri Andersdatter was born on Øyen farm in April of 1781 and Knud Andersen was born on Espelien farm in 1769.  Guri's parents are listed as Anders Knudsen Øyen and Barbro Engebretsdatter.  Barbro Engebretsdatter can be found in the 1801 Norwegian Census living on Præstøen farm in Bruflat, Sør Aurdal in Valdres, Norway.  She is remarried to Arne Halstensen Præstøen and her children by her previous marriage are also living on Præstøen farm, with the exception of daughter Guri, who is by then married to Knud Andersen Espelien and living on Espelien farm.

Children of Barbro Engebretsdatter and Anders Knudsen Øyen
  • Guri Andersdatter Øyen Espelien (1781-xxxx)
  • Sigri Andersdatter Øyen Præstøen (1786-xxxx)
  • Anne Andersdatter Øyen Præstøen (1790-xxxx)
  • Ingri Andersdatter Øyen Præstøen (1793-xxxx)
  • Knud Andersen Øyen Præstøen (1797-xxxx)
That is as far back as I have the Øyen line as of this writing.  The Espelien line is a different story altogether.

Anders Knudsen Espelien, father of Anne Knudsdatter Espelien, was born in late February or early March of 1769.  He was baptized 5 March 1769 at the Bruflat church.  Parish records for the baptism reveal his parents to be Anne Knudsdatter and Anders Hendriksen Espelien.  Anne Knudsdatter married Anders Hendriksen Espelien at Bruflat church on 19 October 1768, showing that pregnancy before wedlock was a problem that existed long before many people would prefer to acknowledge.  According to the marriage entry (Aurdal Ministerialbok 1763-1781, page 226, fifth entry), Anna Knudsdatter lived on Breien farm at the time of her marriage.  In fact, the Aurdal Ministerialbok from 1730-1762 reveals she was actually born on Breien farm sometime before 13 July 1748, the date she was baptized at the Bruflat church.  Her parents are listed as Sigri Andersdatter and Knud Arnesen Breien. 

It was not so easy to find the baptism entry for her husband, Anders Hendriksen Espelien, since he was not born on Espelien farm.  Rather, Anders Hendriksen was born on Ødegaard farm in April 1751 and was baptized 18 April 1751 in the Bruflat church.  The story would be similar for Anne Knudsdatter Breien's father.  People did move after all.

Anne Knudsdatter Breien's parents married 11 October 1743 at Bruflat church.  The marriage entry lists the bride as Sigri Andersdatter Lunde so that we know she was living on the Lunde farm at the time of her marriage.  We cannot assume she was born on the same farm, however, any more than we can safely assume Knud Arnesen Breien was born on the Breien farm.  It's a good start, but not rock solid evidence.  As it turns out, I have yet to find Sigri Andersdatter Lunde's baptismal entry.  As for Knud Arnesen Breien, he was not born Knud Arnesen Breien.  Instead, he was born on Brufladt farm and that is as far as I have gone on these lines.

Children of Sigri Andersdatter Lunde and Knud Arnesen Brufladt/Breien
  • Marthe Knudsdatter Brufladt/Breien (1744-xxxx)
  • Birthe Knudsdatter Breien (1746-xxxx)
  • Anne Knudsdatter Breien (1748-xxxx)
Marthe is the only one of their children born on the Brufladt farm.  Sigri Andersdatter and Knud Arnesen may have had more children after 1748, but I do not know because I have not looked into the possibility yet.

Next time I will write about the Melom side of the family, since this entry has become excessively long.  For those who are tired of reading the words "Bruflat church" and would like to see some pictures, here is a link to Mango Slice's photos of the church on Flickr:

Mango Slices Norway June 2007 Set On Flickr

She has some lovely photos of Norway in this set and not just of Bruflat Kirke.

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