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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Friday, August 28, 2009

Lots of Fjelds and Meloms

It's true, there are a lot of Norwegians on Facebook (I looked), including a lot of Fjelds and Meloms.  However, I recently joined Microsoft's Live Spaces and it appears there are lots of Fjelds and Meloms there as well.  Most Meloms spell the name with two l's, however.  Of course, there are lots of Stigens as well!

To see my space just go to

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Berthe Ellefsdatter Breakthrough

It has been awhile, but I have made a breakthrough in the Berthe Ellefsdatter conundrum.  I have found her birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death in the Norwegian parish records.

Berthe Ellefsdatter was born 5 June 1820 in Løten, Hedmark, Norway and baptized 25 June 1820 in the Løten church (Løten 1812-1832, page 119, line 28).  According to the Løten 1814-1832 Ministerialbok (page 594, line 5), Berthe Ellefsdatter left Løten for Aamodt farm in Modum with her sister, Mari, on 13 February 1830.  There is no mention of the girls' parents and the girls were living on different farms at the time - Berthe on Rokoeier and Mari on Bergseng, the latter being their mother's family farm.  Berthe Ellefsdatter was confirmed in 1835 in Modum, Buskerud, Norway (Modum 1832-1841, page 573, line 17).  She married Knud Knudsen Stigen on 14 June 1844 (Modum 1841-1850 Ministerialbok, page 287, line 30) in Heggen kirke and died 2 October 1883 (Snarum i Modum 1877-1889 Ministerialbok, page 275, number 4 under 1883).

Berthe Ellefsdatter can be found in both the 1865 and 1875 censuses living on Stigen farm in Snarum, Modum, Buskerud, Norway.  Her sister, Mari, married Truls Pedersen Skretteberg on 26 January 1838 in Heggen Kirke, Modum, Buskerud, Norway (Modum 1832-1842 Klokkerbok, page 399, line 8; Modum 1832-1841 Ministerialbok, page 406, line 8) and lived on Krogen farm in Heggen, Modum, Buskerud, Norway for the 1865 census and on Skretteberg farm in Modum, Buskerud, Norway for the 1875 census.

The girls' parents are Ellef Hansen Aamodteie and Siri Olsdatter Bergseng and I have found birthdates, a marriage date, confirmations, etc. for these individuals as well as the names, marriages and birthdates of their parents.  In fact, I now have their lines back to their grandparents.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009 Releases New WWI North Dakota Military Records

North Dakota state quarterImage via Wikipedia
New on is the Roster of the men and women who served in the army or naval service (including the Marine Corps) of the United States or its allies from the state of North Dakota in the World War, 1917-1918, Vols. 1-4.

Whew!  That's quite a mouthful.

Nonetheless, both brothers of my great grandmother, Oline Stigen, are found in the records.  They can be found on pages 3108-3109.  Listed is their birth dates, service dates, civilian occupations, induction dates, etc.  Pretty much a summary of their military records.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Still a Mystery

In my previous post, I discovered the marriage of Berthe Ellefsdatter and Knud Knudsen in the Modum, Buskerud parish records.  Along with her marriage, I discovered the name of Berthe Ellefsdatter's father - Ellef Hansen.  The farm the bride and her family were living on was listed as a bruk belonging to the Aamodt farm.  (Aside:  Aamodt or Åmot is now a village.  I am not sure if the village was built upon the lands of the Aamodt/Åmot farm or elsewhere, but, so far as I know, the Aamodt/Åmot farm does not show up in the 1950 Matrikkel.)

Recall that one of my concerns was Berthe Ellefsdatter's birthplace.  Listed as Stange Presetgjeld in the 1865 Norwegian Census, I had questions regarding the accuracy of this information stemming from the lack of "Berthe Ellefsdatters" born in Stange from a few years before the 1820's and into the 1840's.  Then, I found Berthe Ellefsdatter's father, Ellef Hansen, in the 1801 Norwegian Census living on the Aamodt farm with two siblings, his father, and his stepmother.  No Ellef Hansen can be found in the 1801 Census for Stange.  These results are suggestive... perhaps Berthe Ellefsdatter was born in Buskerud rather than Hedmark!
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

June Bride

A "Bertha Elefsan" is listed as the mother of my second great grandfather, Ole Knudsen Stigen, on his death certificate.  "Bertha Elefsan" is, of course, an Americanization of her name, which was most likely Berthe Ellefsdatter, meaning "daughter of Ellef."  I have her as being born around 1820 - information I retrieved from the 1865 Norwegian Census for Modum, Buskerud, Norway.

Berthe's husband, Knud Knudsen, was also born around 1820, according to this census, and I have already found the parish register entry for his birth - 24 September 1820.  My third great grandfather was born on Ager farm, Lunder, Norderhov, Buskerud, Norway (Norderhov 1819-1837, page 46, line 36; Lunder, Viker i Norderhov, 1814-1876, page 84, line 35.)  So I thought I would peruse the Stange parish records, where the 1865 Norwegian Census indicates Berthe Ellefsdatter was born, in hopes of finding my third great grandmother's date of birth as well.

As luck would have it, I perused the Stange Klokkerbok, 1814-1825 and the Stange Ministerialbok, 1826-1835 and discovered no Berthe Ellefsdatters had been recorded in the births and baptisms.  Perhaps Berthe Ellefsdatter's age in the 1865 Census had been listed incorrectly or her birth parish listed incorrectly?  I remembered I had discovered her in the parish records before and had discovered she had come from Fuhre farm.  So I looked for Fuhre farm in the 1950 farm lists for Stange and could find no such farm listed.  I began to wonder if the Fuhre farm was a farm in Buskerud rather than Stange or if I had simply imagined the name.

I needed to see where I had come up with the Fuhre farm.  I knew I had seen it in the parish registers, but I had neglected to document where.  Perhaps, it was in a marriage entry that I also had not documented properly?

I then began studying the parish record books for Modum, Buskerud, Norway from 1833-1841.  No marriage record.

I looked at their children's birthdates and then it hit me.  Their firstborn child was Caroline Knudsdatter Stigen, whom I had listed as being born around 1840.  The other children were born in the mid to late 1840's.  Suspicious, I revisited the 1865 census data for this family.  Caroline's age as listed would indicate she had been born in 1845, not 1840.  So I had entered the wrong birth year and had been looking in the wrong parish records all along.

After revisiting the 1865 Norwegian Census for the Stigen farm of Snarum, Modum, Buskerud, Norway and discovering the census revealed Caroline's birth year to be around 1845 rather than 1840, I studied the marriages for 1844 in Modum.  Finally!  I found the marriage of Berthe Ellefsdatter and Knud Knudsen.  Their marriage can be found in the Modum 1841-1850 Ministerialbok on page 287, line 30.

Both bride and groom are listed as being born around 1820 and the fathers of both are listed.  The groom is listed as coming from the Ager farm and the bride's father is listed as Ellev Hanson, no farm listed.  However, in another column, the bride's farm is listed as Aamodteie, meaning "belonging to Aamodt" farm.  Therefore, the bride was from a subfarm or bruk of the Aamodt farm.  I will have to look elswhere for the name of the actual bruk.

I know I saw Fuhre farm somewhere!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who is Emil Melom?

Who is Emil Melom?  The LDS lists an Emil Melom, born about 1869 or 1870, as a son of Ole Olsen Melom and his wife Anne.  Norwegian parish records reveal no Emil born to Anne and Ole Melom in any year from 1866 to 1883.  In fact, the first child born to this couple was baptized Ole on 10 October 1869.

There is an Emmanuel Malum born in Jackson County on 17 May 1883 and an Inges O. Malum born in Jackson on 1 July 1884.  However, if one of these individuals is the mythical "Emil," why is it that neither shows up in the census with the rest of the family?  Death is not always the answer...

There is an Emmell Mullin in the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, a male born about 1883 and whose parents are James and Nellie.  Perhaps he is the mythical Emil and has simply been attached to the wrong family.

There is also an Emil Meilahn, son of Charles and Minnie, born about 1882, appearing in the 1905 Texas State Census.

There are no death records extant for anyone who could be an Emil Melom or for anyone who was born 17 May 1883.  The closest match is an "Emil Mallon" born 15 May 1883 and died October 1971 in Pinellas, Florida.  (I believe he may be the Emmanuel Malum born in Jackson.)  The state of Florida, meanwhile, lists this man's birth as occurring in 1882.

Let us suppose this is our Emil Melom.  An Emil Mallon appears in the Minnesota Naturalization Records Index 1854-1957, for the years 1897-1903, having filed or received his final papers in Wadena County.  There is also an Otto Frederick Emil Mallon appearing in the same index for the county of Carlton.

Other than the Social Security Death Index, the LDS appears to remain silent on "Emil Mallon."

In the 1900 U.S. Census, we find the man who may be Emil Mallon living in Minnesota, enumerated as "Emil Moline."  The man living in Minnesota was born in May of 1883 in the state of Illinois.

It would seem there is no Emil Melom...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Archives Speak

We have many possible dates for the Melom family's immigration, ranging from before 1876 to 1883.  In addition, we have multiple U.S. records displaying the same dates of birth and dates of death for our family members and, notably, for Andrew Olsen Melom.  Then, there are the LDS records for the family, revealing the names and approximate dates of birth for these family members.

However, what do the parish records say about these names and dates?  These are the records closer to the actual dates in time and I would expect them to clinch the matter and have a higher likelihood of being accurate, although it is not unheard of to find mistakes in parish records, even those kept close to the date of the event, with higher accuracy for baptisms than actual births.  What do we find for the Ole Olsen Melom family?

In short, we find conflicting data at every turn.

The LDS data, while providing a good guide, is incorrect regarding both names and dates.  A perusal of the actual parish records reveals that "Emil" Melom was actually named "Ole Olsen Melom" and that he was born 4 September 1869, baptized 10 October 1869, and died 13 November 1869.  The child was buried on 1 January 1870.  This proves Anne Knudsdatter Hestekindeie was pregnant when she wed Ole Olsen Melom on 14 May 1869.  She and Ole would not have another child until 1874, when Anne Knudsdatter gave birth to Ole Olsen Melom on 2 January 1874.  Parish registers indicate another child, baptized Anders Olsen Melom on 5 September 1875, was born 8 August 1875, revealing the American records to be incorrect with regards to the year of birth and, possibly, the day of birth as well, although I have a little less confidence in the birth dates listed in the parish records than I do in the actual baptism dates.  Andrew is the Americanized form of Anders.

The next child born to Ole and Anne Melom, often listed as Olive in the United States, would be Olava Melom.  According to the parish registers, Olava Melom was baptized in Bruflat kirke on 26 December 1876, having been born on 20 November 1876.  No child would follow for another three years.  Then, on 11 May 1879, Martin Olsen is baptized, having been born on 13 April 1879, according to the parish registers.

This implies that if the Meloms left Norway in 1879, they did so after 11 May 1879.  There are no parish records listing their departure.  Perusal of the remaining baptisms through the year 1884 - a year past the latest date given for their immigration - reveal no further baptisms in the family.  We know Julius Ingvald and Anne Olsdatter were born in the United States in 1887 and 1890 respectively.  The question remained, where was Carl Olsen Melom born?  The U.S. or Norway?

A quick glance at the Wisconsin Genealogy Index would reveal the answer.  Carl Olsen Melom was born in Jackson County, Wisconsin (probably in Garfield) on 21 December 1881.  He died in May of 1968 in Barron, Barron, Wisconsin.  What this means is the Melom family immigrated to the United States sometime between 12 May 1879 and 20 December 1881.

One last question remains:  Who is Emil Melom and did he really exist?  Is Emil the first Ole who died in Norway in 1869, or is he a different person, possibly born in the United States?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Andrew Melom

According to his WWI draft registration card, Andrew Olsen Melom was born 5 August 1876.  (This is also the date that shows up on his death records.)  Andrew Melom was living in Mountain, Sheridan, North Dakota for the 1920 U.S. Census and supposedly immigrated in 1880.  Yet another year for the family's immigration!

Andrew married a woman named "Tille," according to this census - I assume Tille is a nickname for Mathilda - and their children as listed in the 1920 census are Millard A, Lillian V, and Adaline J.  Andrew became a U.S. citizen in 1888... that is, according to the census.  His wife, Tille, was born in Wisconsin in about 1881.  Millard A. was supposedly born around 1907, Lillian V. around 1909, and Adaline J. around 1913 - all in North Dakota.

Tille and Andrew Melom had been married five years according to the 1910 U.S. Census, placing their marriage in about 1905.  The North Dakota Public Death Index lists Andrew's death at the age of 88 years on 7 September 1964 in Burleigh County, North Dakota.  It also lists his birth date as 5 August 1876.  LDS records indicate Andrew Olsen Melom was born 5 August 1876 in Osseo, Trempeleau, Wisconsin and that he married Matilda O. Laska on 25 March 1905, also in Osseo.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Meloms Part Deux

Found:  The rest of Ole Olsen Melom's and Anne Knudsdatter Hestekindeie's children.  Drum roll please... and the children are:  Martin Olsen Melom, Emil Olsen Melom, Ole Olsen Melom, Carl Olsen Melom, Andrew/Anders Olsen Melom, Olive/Olava Olsdatter Melom, Julius Ingvald/Ingvald Julius Melom and Anna Melom.

I do not yet know much about them - more research needs to be done.  What I found, I found on the LDS web site, Family Search... or, at least, what I initially found.

I found the birth and baptism information for Ole Olsen Melom in Bruflat i Sør Aurdal 1866-1893 on page 29, line 6.  He was born 2 January 1874 in Sør Aurdal and baptized at Bruflat Kirke on 1 March 1874.  His older cousin, Knud Olsen Fjeld (first-born son of my immigrant ancestor, Ingri Melom) was one of the witnesses at his baptism.

In addition, I found Ole Olsen Melom in the 1910 U.S. Census living in Herr, Sheridan, North Dakota.  According to that census, he immigrated to the United States in 1883.  Ole would have been about nine years old in 1883.

By contrast, the 1910 and 1900 census data for his father, the elder Ole, indicate the family immigrated in 1879.  Thinking to resolve these discrepancies once and for all, I went to the digitalarkivet and checked up on the entries for those leaving the Norway in the parish records.  Then, I went to the "Digital Inn" and perused the emigrantprotokoller, etc.  I looked under every year available in all the records and could not find this family anywhere.  However, it must be noted that over 800,000 Norwegians immigrated to the United States between 1825 and 1939.  The Digital Archives of Norway has 700,000 of these people digitized.  So, perhaps, the Meloms are among the 100,000 plus individuals who left Norway and do not appear in the digital records?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Meloms Arrive in the U.S.

I have long wondered what inspired my ancestor, Ingeri Mælum av Lie, a.k.a. Ingri Melom, to immigrate to the United States.  I had assumed she simply traveled to the Dakotas because her two oldest sons had already immigrated to the United States and her husband had died.  However, her husband had died in 1873, so a husband's death could not be the main impetus behind the move.

Then, I discovered Ingeri's sons were not the only members of the family who immigrated from Norway to the United States.  Thanks to new databases on the Ancestry web site, I discovered Ingeri's brother, Ole Melom, also immigrated to the United States.

According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Ole Melom immigrated in 1879 and settled in the town of Garfield in Jackson County, Wisconsin.  The 1900 Census also revealed that Ole Melom was born in June of 1844 and that he had been married in Norway in 1869 to his wife, Anna.  This provided enough information to pay a visit to the parish records of Sør Aurdal and Bruflat, where I found Ole Melom's birth, baptism, and marriage information.  Ole Melom was born on 26 June 1844 and baptized 16 July 1844 in Bruflat Kirke, Sør Aurdal, Valdres, Norway and was married 14 May 1869 in Bruflat Kirke to Anne Knudsdatter Hestekindeie.

For those who know little or nothing of Norwegian pronunciation of words, let me explain the Anne/Anna difference.  In truth, there is no difference between the two names because the Norwegian pronouncing Anne will sound, to a native English speaker, as though he or she is pronouncing the name, Anna.  Hence, Anna will be recorded in U.S. documents and Anne will be recorded in Norwegian documents.  I knew going into this to look for "Anne" in the Norwegian parish records rather than "Anna."  I also knew, when I first saw the name of Ole's wife in the U.S. census that her name was most likely Anne.

The Digital Archives of Norway
For those who would like to check the accuracy of my findings, Ole Melom's birth and baptism information can be found in the Sør Aurdal Ministerialbok, 1841-1849, on page 111, line 82.  His marriage can be found in the Sør Aurdal Ministerialbok, 1866-1872, on page 62, line 11.  These books can be found at .

Select English if you do not read Norwegian and then "Digitised Parish Records" in the menu bar at the top of the page.  From there, select "Read the digitised parish records."  For "fylke," select "Oppland."  From there you can scroll down to the Sør Aurdal books.  Ministerialboks are the originals, klokkerboks are the copies kept by the clerks.  If both are available, it is wise to look at both, since one may be more legible or contain more information than the other.

Please note that the Melom farm is a subfarm of the Lie farm.  This means it may be denoted in parish records as Melom, Melom av Lie, or simply Lieseie, the latter meaning something akin to "belonging to Lie."  In the latter case, the farm referred to need not be the Melom farm, as there were several subfarms on the Lie main farm.  Thirty eight to be exact, of which Melom/Melum is but one.  (Southern Lie has thirteen more subfarms.)  There are also numerous spellings of the Melom farm, including Molum and Molum af Lie.  I assure you, it is the same farm.  You may peruse the parish records hosted by the digitalarkivet to prove this fact to yourself.

In addition, in the U.S., Melom was sometimes enumerated as Mellem and transcribed as Melom, Mellem, Melone, Melon, and Malone.  It will sometimes appear as Malum and even Mahlum.  I have found the name listed as Maolum in some genealogies, although I have yet to come across this spelling in the parish records.

Note, too, that there is more than one Melom farm in Norway.  The Melom farm I am concerned with is in the Bruflat subparish in the Valdres region of Norway.  For most of its history, the Bruflat kirke was a subparish of the Sør Aurdal parish.  Bruflat belongs now to the Etnedal parish in the Valdres region of what is now Oppland.  Records for families immigrating from this area may be found in the Aurdal, Sør Aurdal, and Bruflat records.  The Etnedal books only cover Thon.  The reason for this is that many of the Bruflat records were destroyed when Bruflat was attacked in World War II.

Children of Anne Hestekindeie and Ole Melom
The children of Anne Hestekindeie and Ole Melom, according to the 1900 U.S. Census are Julius I. and Anna.  Julius I is listed elsewhere as Julius Ingvald and Ingvald Julius.  He was born 19 June 1887 according to his WWI draft registration and his wife was Inga, whom he married in 1913.  By 1920 Ingvald Julius Melom had moved to Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Sister, Anna, was born in June of 1890 and that is all I know of her.  Like her brother, she may have been enumerated in the 1900 census under her middle name rather than the name she wound up using in later life.  I do not yet know who she married.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fjeld Family Death Records

Awhile back, so many moons ago that I cannot remember so much as what season had just passed, I ordered the death certificates for most of my Fjeld ancestors (and a few others) from the State of North Dakota.  I attempted to order the birth certificate of my grandmother, Rosella Fjeld, too because the death records that I have found for her list an incorrect birth date of 4 November 1922, but the State of North Dakota wouldn't provide that record.  They probably thought I was trying to run some identity theft scam against someone who was still alive.  Grandmother died in 1967, but North Dakota may not be aware of this fact.  Or, if they are, perhaps her death is too recent to allow release of records.

In any case, I have the death records of all my direct Fjeld ancestors who came to the States.  I also have great grandmother Fjeld's father, Ole Knudsen Stigen's death certificate.  There is a wealth of information on these North Dakota death certificates:  occupation, cause of death, parents, date of burial, place of burial, name of undertaker, birth date and place of birth, spouse... you name it, it's on there.   The information I have found on them is relatively accurate and jibes with my other research and other sources, although there are some errors -- for example, my great grandfather's wife being listed as "Otina Fjeld."  A minor error, as this is probably a typo - should be Oline Fjeld.

Ole M. Fjeld's occupation is listed as farming and stock and grain in particular.  I knew he was a farmer, but I didn't know what sorts of things he farmed... although I knew he owned cows and goats because I have a picture of his farm with those sorts of animals in the picture.  Birth date is listed as 9 April 1892, which is true, and death date is listed as February 18, 1954.  Parents are listed as Martin O. Fjeld and Kari Ruse and the informant is Mrs. Ole M. Fjeld, which accounts for the accuracy.  So why is her own name incorrectly spelled on the death certificate?  More than likely, a typo.  There is a also a question on the certificate asking if the deceased was ever in the U.S. armed forces.  In this case, the answer on the certificate is no.  Ole M. Fjeld did register for the draft in WWI, but he was never called.  Great grandfather died of cardiac failure due to a coronary occlusion at 3:20 p.m. at McVille Community Hospital after a four day stay -- and yes, I got all this from his death certificate.  He was buried 23 February 1954 at Our Saviors Lutheran Cemetery in Field Township, Nelson, North Dakota.  Great grandfather's social security number is on the death certificate, but I won't list that here.

By contrast, the death certificate of Ingri (Mælum av Lie) Fjeld seems to list very little information.  The informant is Ole M. Fjeld's father (my second great grandfather), Martin Olsen Fjeld, the son who travelled with her from Norway to the United States.  Ingri's date of birth is listed as 7 December 1832 and her date of death is listed as 20 January 1916.  The birth date differs from what we find in the Norwegian parish records, which list Ingri's birth as 5 December 1832.  Perhaps the parish records are wrong, or, perhaps, Martin Olsen gave an incorrect birthday for his mother.  He was grieving after all.  From her death certificate, we learn that Ingri was widowed when she died, was 24 years of age at first marriage, and had 8 children of whom 6 were actually living.  The names of her parents are listed as Ole Melum and Anne Aspelien and this is pretty much what we find in the old parish records, although spellings may differ.  "Aspelien" is a misspelling of Espelien, a farm in Bruflat parish, Valdres, Norway.  "Melum" is yet another spelling of Mælum and is a shortened form of Melum af Lie.  Other spellings include Molum and Mellum (there are others).  Date of burial is listed as 25 January 1916.  A place of burial is not listed.  So, the question remains, where was Ingri Fjeld buried?  On one of the Fjeld farms perhaps?  Or at Our Saviors Lutheran Cemetery?  Time to pay a visit to the cemetery...

Then there is the death certificate of Ole Knudsen Stigen, who died 24 April 1937 at 5:30 a.m. of senility somewhere in Rugh Township, Nelson County, North Dakota.  Date of birth is listed as 9 March 1854 and occupation is listed as retired farmer, although it doesn't say what he farmed.  His spouse is listed as Ragnhild Stigen of Aneta, who is also the informant.  Ole K. Stigen was buried 28 April 1937 at Sogn Cemetery.  His parents are listed as "Knudt Knudson Uhlen" and "Bertha Elefson," the latter of which is an Americanization, for in Norway his mother would have been known as "Bertha Elefsdatter," meaning daughter of Elef.  Uhlen is a farm in Norway and is indeed the farm listed in the parish records.  We are not, unfortunately, provided with Berthe Elefsdatter's farm name.  Perhaps, Ragnhild (Renden) Stigen did not know which farm her husband's mother hailed from.  Or perhaps, she did not care to provide the name.  Or it was provided, but not listed.  Parish records to the rescue!   Norwegian parish records list Berthe Ellefsdatter's farm as Fuhre in Stange, Hedmark, Norway.

Enough.  The idea is that a lot of information can be found on a death certificate.  There are a lot of clues there, even if the information provided doesn't seem like much at the time.