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 http://digitalarkivet.uib.no .

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.

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