People immigrated to the United States for many reasons. The following are three of my ancestors and the three reasons why they came to America or at least why I think they came to America.
Sjur Markusson Dyrdal - When the owner of a farm died in the 1800's in Norway, the farm would pass to the oldest son. If there were other sons they would have to find work elsewhere. This is what happened to Sjur. He knew that when his father died his older brother would inherit the farm. Unless he would marry into a farm he would probably end up working for someone else for the rest of his life. He decided he had a better chance to better himself if he went to America and homesteaded a farm there.
Lars Gudbrandson Haselhaugen - Lars spent his teenage and adult life as a husmand. A husmand is a Norwegian word. A husmand was a like a tenent farmer. He worked for someone else. He was given some land to farm but it was not his and he was at the beck and call of the rich landlord. Lar's decision to come to America was based on his desire not to be a husmand anymore but to be 'free', to be an equal to all other men, and to own his own land.
Joseph Weinhart - Joseph was approximately 16 years old when he came to the United States in 1847 from Germany. He traveled alone. Many young men were being drafted at this time. Many were leaving the country to avoid the draft and service. Joseph was one of them. He was living in Baden which is in the South Western part of Germany. To avoid the draft he traveled through France until he came to the port of LeHarve where he boarded the ship Splendid and came to America. I have no proof of this. At this time though it seens the most logical scenario. The statement in the picture helps add credence to this scenario.
The most useful and interesting source of Norwegian genealogy comes from using Ancestry.Com's message boards for Norway
. A message board allows a person who is hunting an ancestor to email who they are searching for to the place where the ancestor was born, lived, or died and then hopefully receive some type of reply. For example, all my Norwegian ancestors lived and worked on farms. I asked on the forums if anyone had pictures of these farms. In most cases I have been able to receive the pictures of the farms from people (mostly Norwegian) who has access to sources such as Bygdeboks. The picture is of one these farms. The name of the farm is Jegliem and it is where my gg-grandmother, Guri Lien, was born. It is located in the Hallingdal region in the county of Buskerud.
A second very useful and free source of Norwegian genealogy is the Digitalarkivet
. It contains over 3500 various databases including the censuses for 1801, 1865, 1875, and 1900. Among other databases are church records for weddings, deaths, baptisms, and confirmations. Also are found records of emmigrants, taxes, and migrations from one county to another. The picture shows a record about my gg-grandparents which was found by using the Digitalarkivet. It shows my gg-grandparents Christen and Britha Nissestad traveling to Senja which is located in another county in Norway in the year 1848 and who they traveled with.
Being three fourths Norwegian meant spending a lot of time looking for Norwegian ancestors. Luckily there are several very good free sources of Norwegian genealogy information on the Internet. One of these is a Bygdebok
. This link
will take you to one of the many Bygdeboks that have been put on the Internet. This particular Bygedbok is of the Lien Farm located in the Al parish in Buskerud. If you go to #151 you will find a section about Asle Erikison Lien and Guri Herbrandsdtr Jegleim (my gg-grandparents) and also about their daughter Astrid (my g-grandmother) and her children. It is written in Norwegian but I think a non-Norwegian speaking person can pretty much understand who married who and when they married. The picture shows a section from this Bygdebok about Asle's parents. If my Norwegian is correct the bottom couple of sentences is stating that Asle's father was stabbed and killed in an argument over money in 1830.
The first census of importance that I found in my research was for Beulah Weinhart and her children. This was the 1860 census for Adel Township in Dallas County, Iowa. This was fillout in the month of July. Her husband Joseph had died in February,1860 of pneumonia and in August of that year she would remarry to Sylvanus Knight who was twenty years older than she was. The census had her working as seamstress and caring for her four sons. She had a personal wealth of sixty five dollars.
Dyrdal is the name of the farm in Norway where my g-grandfather Sjur Markusson was born. Like many other farms in Norway there are several named Dyrdal which results in, as you can imagine, some confusion. My Dyrdal farm is actually known as indre (inner) Dyrdal. Next to it is the ytre (outer) Dyrdal farm. There is a third Dyrdal farm in Sogn og Fjordane in the kommune of Auland and is located on the Nærøy fjord. The picture shows the locations of the inner (in) and outer (yt) Dyrdals farms.
Since I live in Indiana I am naturally interested in those ancestors of mine who lived and died in Indiana. The following list is of those gggg-grandparents that have died in Indiana.
- Evan Young - gggg-grandfather who died sometime between 1854 and 1860 in Jackson Township, Hamilton County. Where he is buried is unknown.
- Elizabeth Young - gggg-grandmother who died in 1868/1869 in Cicero, Jackson Township, Hamilton County. Where she is buried is also unknown. The picture is a newspaper clipping of the estate sale for Elizabeth's personal property.
- Joel Meader - gggg-grandfather who died sometime between 1840 and 1850 in Colcord Township, Elkhart County. Where he is buried is also unknown.
- Phineas Young - gggg-grandfather who died sometime between 1840 and 1850 in Wayne County probably near the town of Dublin. His burial site is also unknown.
- Others ancestors include my ggg-grandmother's brother and sister, and her infant son in Hamilton and Tipton Counties. Also the brother of another ggg-grandfather is buried in Elkhart County.
I do have an ancestor that lived in Canada for a period of time. This is the Joel Meader family. It appears they settled in the Quaker settlement at Farnham, Quebec, Canada. The family consisted of Joel, his wife, and their eight children. They stayed there from the early 1820's to the latter part of the 1830's. They were living in Vermont for the 1810 census and in Elkhart County, Indiana for the 1840 census. I do have a census record for Joel Meader from an 1825 Canadian census. Apparently while in Canada the wife, Rebecca, had some kind of disagreement with the Quaker Church. This could be the reason they left Canada and came to Indiana.
As I have followed ancestors across the country I have been taken through many counties in many states. The following list (though not complete) shows many of these counties and states along with an ancestors that lived there. The picture is of Medina County, Ohio where John Archer made his home and Lester B. Archer was born.
- Rice County, Minnesota - Erick Gunhus
- Goodhue County, Minnesota - Sjur Markusson
- Freeborn County, Minnesota - Nub Fredrickson
- Otter Tail County, Minnesota - John Edward Meader
- Polk County, Iowa - Lorenzo Weinhart
- Dallas County, Iowa - Beulah Fish
- Adair County, Iowa - Lester Archer
- Republic/Washington Counties, Kansas - Orren Meader
- Henry County, Ohio - Samuel Jeptha Meader
- Medina County, Ohio - John Archer
- Lorain County, Ohio- Samuel Edwards
- Hamilton County, Indiana - Evan Young
- Tipton County, Indiana - John S. Young
- Wayne County, Indiana - Phineas Young
- Elkhart County, Indiana - Joel Meader
- Monroe County, Pennsylvania - Abner Fish
- Washington County, Pennsylvania- Hercules Young
- Towner County, North Dakota - Asle Lien
- Cavalier County, North Dakota - Fredrick Ellingson
- Blaine County, Oklahoma - Lucinda Archer
- Barron County, Wisconsin - Lars Haselhaugen
Immigrants that homesteaded land surely had for at least the first couple of years quite afew hardships. But most homesteaders had wifes and children to help them. There were some homesteaders that homesteaded as a single man while in their 20's, 30's, and 40's. And then there were some such as my gg-grandfather Asle Lien. For reasons he arrived in the United States twenty years after his family. To find land he went to Towner County, North Dakota near the Canadian border where by himself while he was in his 60's, 70', and 80's he homesteaded 480 acres. The picture shows possibly what type of house he lived in when he first arrived in North Dakota.
A person never knows what can of story they might find while researching their ancestors. I found Florence Archer in the 1910 census in Oklahoma (picture) by locating her mother Lucinda who happened to be living with her at the time. Florence was now married to a third husband (the first two being Lorenzo Weinhart and Thomas Wayne). She had just been recently married to a Jacob Tinker. I decided to put the information in a forum for the Tinker name. I received a reply from a lady who believed strongly that this Jacob was one of her ancestors. According to her, Jacob had lived in the Chicago area and then one day just disappeared. He abandoned a wife and ten children.
This is a list of the ships that some of my ancestors traveled to the United States on. These are all Norwegian ancestors except Abigail Tuttle and Joseph Weinhart. The picture is of the Hero. The Hero was one of several ships that transported immigrants from Norway to Hull, England where they would transfer to a larger ship for the trip across the Atlantic.
- Sjur Markusson - Jorgen Brunckhorst - 1854
- Erick Gunhus - Embla - 1849
- Abigail Tuttle - Planter - 1635
- Lars Haselhaugen - Celtic - 1877
- Fredrick Ellingson - Alsatia - 1876
- Nub Fredrickson - Celtic - 1879
- Asle Lien - Nevada - 1884
- Guri Lien - Germanic - 1876 (was returning from a visit to Norway where she had to conduct business relating to her marriage to Asle)
- Jospeh Weinhart - 1847 - Splendid (this may not be correct since there is a large discrepency in age)
I found out that a lot can be learned about an ancestor by finding information about their children or even grandchildren. Abner Fish is one of my gggg-grandparents. One day while googling I typed in a combination of terms. I forget what all. I found Abner's grandson's biography
from a county in South Dakota. In it were several sentences about his grandfather Abner. Among other things it stated that Abner had not died in Iowa as always thought but in Chicago where he was living with a son. Abner's daughter Buelah, my ggg-grandmother, had a son from a second marriage. His name was Watson Knight. In a short booklet about growing up he wrote several items about Abner Fish. The picture shows one of Watson's recollections about Abner.
My gggg-grandfather Evan Young
died sometime between the 1850 census and the 1860 census but I have been unable to determine the actual date. I was able to narrow this down to between 1854 and 1860 by locating some unusual information on a marriage license. One of his daughters Anna married Reuben Bennett. I was able to locate the marriage license along with about four or five others from the same family. Marriage licenses are pretty straight forward giving basically just names and dates. But on Anna and Reuben's license (which was issued at the end of the 1853) there was more than just names. There was a statement on the license where Evan was giving his permission for the marriage. He had to still be alive at that time.
The map shows the location of the Nistad (Nissestad) farm on the Arnafjord in Sogn og Fjordane
in Norway. Besides locating ancestors I am very interested in finding what type of area they lived in. The Arnafjord is where my gg-grandparents (Christen and Brita Bendixson/Benson) and their daughter Ingeborg (my g-grandmother) are from. Christen and Ingeborg were born on the Nistad farm and Brita was born in Nese which was across the fjord
. This photograph shows you a photograph taken from Nistad
and this second photograph shows you Nese
This has been mentioned before in blogs about individual ancestors but I thought I would mention again the regions and countries where my ancestors have come from.Buskerud, Norway
- Lars and Ragnhild Haselhaugen; Fredrick and Birit Ellingson; Erick Gunhus; Astrid Lien; Nub and Berthe FredricksonSogn og Fjordane, Norway
- Sjur Markuson Dyrdal; Ingeborg Bendixson NistadDorset, England
- John Meader - The picture is of the Dorset coastlineHertfordshire, England
- Abigal TuttleCraigforthie, Aberdeen, Scotland
- Hercules YoungBaden, Germany (Black Forest area)
- Joseph WeinhartEngland (?)
- John ArcherWales (Cardiff ?)
- William Edwards
Most people don't know that before there was an Ellis Island there was Castle Garden
. This is the place where immigrants entered the United States from 1855 intil 1890. Norwegian ancestors that most likely came through Castle Garden are the Lars Haselhaugen family, Fredrick Ellingson and his wife, Nub Fredrickson and his family, and Asle Lien who was the last in 1881. My gg-grandfathers Erick Gunhus and Sjur Markuson arrived in the United States before Castle Garden opened. My gg-grandmother Ingeborg Bendixson and her family appears to have landed at Quebec, Canada as does another gg-grandmother Astrid Lien and her family.
The last entry was about my Norwegian ancestors (great and great-great) that came to America and when. This entry is about my Non-Norwegian ancestors and whey they came to America. The major families in this group are the Meaders, Archers, Youngs, Edwards, Fishs, and Weinharts.
The Meader family - John Meader came over from England sometime between 1640 and 1650 depending on the source you use. His wife Abigail Tuttle though was her before that . She came over in 1635 with her family.
Archer family - I have traced the Archer family to a John Archer who was born in 1670 and who died in Bristol County, Rhode Island. I don't know whether he is the first Archer ancestor to come to America or his father or grandfather.
Young family - Hercules Young came to America from Scotland probably sometime between 1720 and 1740. He married in 1745 in Pennsylvania.
Edwards family - William Edwards was born in Wales in 1746. His son Samuel was born in New York in 1779. I am guessing that he arrived in the United States somewhere between 1760 and 1775. I do have some doubts about this being the correct William Edwards.
Weinhart family - The first Weinhart was Joseph who came from the Black Forest region in Baden, Germany. I have found a record of a Joseph Weinhart arriving in the United States from Germany in 1847 but his age was listed as 36. I am assuming that it was misread and it actually was 16. Regardless he arrived most likely sometime in the later half of the 1840's.
Fish family - The oldest definite Fish ancestor is Asa (Ashbel) Fish who was born 1769. Researchers are pretty sure his father was John Fish
who was born in 1730 in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. If this is correct the first Fish was here in America at least by 1730.
The following are my Norwegian ancestors and the year they arrived in the United States. The picture is of a church record showing the year Sjur Markusson came to America.
- Erick Gunderson Gunhus (great-grandfather) - 1849
- Sjur Markuson Dyrdal (great-grandfather) - 1854
- Ingeborg Kristensdatter Bendixson (great-grandmother) and family - 1856
- Astrid Aslesdatter Lien (great-grandmother) and family - 1861
- Fredrick Ellingson Ringerud (great-great-grandfather) - 1876
- Brita Nubsdatters Ringerud (great-great-grandmother) - 1877
- Lars Gudbrandson Hauselhaugen (great-great-grandfather) and family - 1877
- Nub Fredrickson Ringerud (great-grandfather) and family - 1879
- Asle Erickson Lien (great-great-grandfather) - 1881
According to a 1856 census there were 2858 lepers
in Norway. I also read that there were approximately 180 immigrants from Norway that suffered with leprosy. I have come to find out that I have several Norwegian ancestors that had leprosy. In 1856 my gg-grandfather, Kristen Bendiksen Nistad, and his family came over from Norway. If my Norwegian is correct he had had the disease for approximately ten years. Along with him came his brother who had the disease. My g-grandfather came over to the United States in 1854 along with his brother, Lars Dyrdal Markusen. The brother had leprosy. In 1874 Norway sent a specialist in Leprosy to track down and interview lepers who had traveled to the United States
Obituaries are interesting. I have accumulated quite a few of them. The first two I ever received were sent to me by a person after I had requested information on a family on one of the genealogy forums found on the Internet. They were for a husband and wife. Combined they were a very detailed history of their lives. Another, more simple obit, told me that my that my g-grandmother lived for the first four years after arriving from Norway in Wisconsin prior to coming to Goodhue County, Minnesota and marrying my g-grandfather. The obit in the picture is of the second wife of my ggg-grandfather Abner Fish. Of all the obits I have I think this is the most unusual and interesting.
My second surprise involved John and Mary Young
themselves. While searching through deeds in the court house I found a deed where they had sold their farm. As I read it I found a clause where they sold one acre to the County to construct a school on it. After checking the location on the deed and locating it on a plat map I went in search of where the farm had been. I found the location of their farm but to my amazement there on one well kept acre of land was a marker dedicated to my ancestors John and Mary Young for contributing the land for the school (it had been long torn down). The marker had been donated by ex-students that had gone to that school.