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.