I am traveling to Norway in June

Excitement! I am visiting Norway with a cousin from June 18-26 to walk where our ancestors walked. Any Norwegian cousins I have not already contacted please get in touch if you want to meet up! I will put my exact travel plans, as they develop, at the end of this post: roughly Bergen to Etne to Bergen to Oslo to Drammen to Kristiansand …


Pastures on ancestral farms, photo by John Quinn 2010

I visited Norway in the 1980s. I went to Stavanger for a tournament and I had no idea where my ancestors had lived nor did I think much about it, other than announcing proudly to my hostess that I was descended from King Harald the Finehair, according to a cousin’s research. She gave me a funny look.

Now I know that everyone in Norway is probably descended from that king who lived in 850 A.D. Various mathematicians have proven this concept (see my blog post on how many ancestors for more on that). Since Norway lost about 2/3 of its population to plague in the 1300s, I would guess that everyone who survived that, and has descendants, is an ancestor to all of us of Norwegian descent.

However after almost 20 years of doing family history research, I have learned a great deal about the farms my ancestors lived on and the lives they must have lived. Norway has these wonderful local history books, called bygedebuks, and often referred to as “farm books” which tell you much about the farm as well as everyone who lived there and how they are related. So I am making an itinerary which includes many of our ancestral farms.

Also I was lucky to have ancestors who liked to write, so I have many family stories preserved on my family history site at kittymunson.com – one of my favorites is my grandad’s story of their immigration trip from Kristiansand to Brooklyn, NY.

Where he says “my grandfather brought us out in a row boat to the steamer lying out in the harbor all ready to leave for America. …the Atlantic was rough and wild at times during July 1884 and our boat rolled and pitched in the heavy seas. I was tremendously impressed by the huge waves, which seemed like mountains to me.” … ” I remember seeing a whale leap out of the water not very far from our ship. My mother was sick in bed most of the time and I don’t remember much about my brothers and sisters .”

And once he got there “… [my] reaction was one I shared with my mother – that of disappointment at the dirt and filth in Brooklyn in the summer of 1884. Goats were walking the streets eating the paper that littered the street. …[We] pictured the U.S. as wealthy and prosperous, and here was poverty and unrestrained drinking. [But] in our little Norsetown the streets were clean and in almost every house you would see potted geraniums or other flowers in the front windows. “

There are many more stories written by my ancestors under the Munson tab on my family history site.


Further reading:

Short history of Norway

A good article on Norwegian American names:

and the official Visit Norway web site

When I googled my ancestor’s occupation of Baadsmand (boatswain), a term google translate did not know, I found a google book for pilots that has a nice pronunciation list and glossary. So I made a tinyurl for it: http://tinyurl.com/pronounceNor

I will add links here as I need to remember them … did I mention how excited I am about this trip?

Current itinerary:
Arrive Bergen June 18 at 2:50 pm
June 19 to Aastvedt and Titland?
weekend June 20,21 down to Etne: Fatland, Ve, Holand, Skjold, Tveito, Frette farms
Monday June 22 train to Oslo, stay in Olso Mon night
Tue drive East from Olso to Bergh farms, quick visit to Sweden then stay in Svelvik (near Drammen) summer home with cousin Ronnaug (Wold relation) —
Wed, June 24 plan to visit torgervollen and Konnerud mine with other WOLD descendants, skullerud, etc
Thur June 25 drive to Kristiansand, stop in Seljord and Lyndal
Fri June 26 Kristiansand, find Monsen home … evening fly to Tromsø

One thought on “I am traveling to Norway in June

  1. Hello there! I was referred to your blog by a friend as I have recently received my dna results and have, as you said, been giving myself a PhD level crash course! 🙂 I hold a MA in a behavioral science so genetics and DNA were not exactly new to me but wow! This has been a learning process!

    How great that you are able to take this trip to Norway! I recently returned from a trip to Gettysburg PA for the same reason. Just to walk where my ancestor was and see where he died. It was an awesome and moving experience for me, and I hope it will be for you as well. Great blog!

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