I was prompted by a recent conversation to consider why my Dad’s ancestors came here from Norway. We have a relatively extensive genealogy on that side, but the narrative doesn’t provide a reason. And I didn’t see anything definitive from Norwegian history, aside from the fact that our family came over with a wave of Norwegians during the mid-late 19th century.
Some details here, for kicks:
-My dad David was born in 1939, one of two kids (including my Aunt Mary).
-My grandpa Alden was born in 1907, moving the family from WI to IN and getting into newspapers. (He was 1 of 6 kids and we got to see most of them at the occasional family reunion.)
-Great-grandpa Haakon was 1 of 10 kids. He was born in 1876 and was part-owner in the family meat business. (Haakon is a common name in Norwegian royalty, including Haakon VII [1872-1957] and the current “Crown Prince”.)
-Great-great-grandpa Johannes Skjonsberg (shortened to John in America) was born 10/9/1842 in Oyer, Norway (10 miles N of Lillehammer). He moved with his parents Halvor and Sigrid to WI (arriving in the US on 4/5/1861) and married Bergitte Steenberg on 10/25/1868.
-Great-great-grandma Bergitte was born on 10/4/1848 in Biri, Norway (10 miles S of Lillehammer); her family moved to the WI (arriving in the US on 8/23/1849). So, John and Bergitte were born 20 miles apart in Norway, but met/married in WI.
-Their 50th anniversary was in 1918, but they only had a small gathering because of the Spanish Influenza! But they lived a few years past their 60th anniversary, so they did have a big celebration a decade later.
-John’s sons all changed their names to Schansberg. Apparently, his son Christ worked with a lawyer to “Americanize” the name. (English doesn’t know what to do with the umlaut over the O!) Hmm, Christ worked with an Advocate to change our name– a cool analogy to what Christ and the Holy Spirit do with us as believers!
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