Observing whatever tickles my fancy

Archive for October, 2013

The Elusive Norwegian

Obsessed!  That’s the only word I can use in what seems to be my eternal search for a certain Norwegian ancestor.  She can’t be found!  Beyond the scribbled note on a scrap of paper with the marriage date of her and my great-grandfather, which also includes the names of their parents, there is no other information that shows she existed prior to 1884. None! (Ingen!)

I’ve turned over rocks.  I’ve flipped over leaves.  I’ve dug into the dirt and only found the withered roots of the tree.  It’s as if the Norske trolls have taken and hidden her in the hills of Western Wisconsin.

Trolls. Drawn by Laura Seielstad. 2013

Trolls. Drawn by Laura Seielstad. 2013

If she only had a rare last name: a name taken from the farm where the family had lived, like her husband did.  But did her family do that?  No.  They had to use the “son” after her father’s, father’s name.  What?  Her maiden name was Anderson.  Which means somewhere back in time someone’s first name was Anders (aka: her grandfather).

Anderson, it’s a simple enough name; so simple that there are tens of thousands of the buggers running around Western Wisconsin as I write.  Back in the 1800s there were only “thousands” of them.  Here’s the rub, her dad’s name was Hans: Hans Anderson.  (No, he’s not the writer of fairy tales. That was Hans Christian Andersen. He’s Danish, not Norwegian.)

Try typing Hans Anderson into ancestry.com or familysearch.org and see where it gets you.  Even after narrowing it down with Hans’ wife’s name, and the area they supposedly lived in between 1865 to 1880, I still come up with nearly 640 names to dig through.  And I dug!  But did I find a connection?  Did I find the daughter?  No.   Those rotten Norske Trolls!

I’ve not given up.  The trolls will not defeat me.  They will give up my great-grandmother in the end.  I must simply sniff them out.  I must find that single document that links me to a Norwegian Parish.  Once that precious item is found names will spread like wildfire as the Norse in Norway are excellent record keepers, unlike the emigrant offspring who changed their names as the wind changes direction.