My Norwegian friends and relatives have been amazingly helpful and welcoming. Last night and tonight we stayed in the guest apartment of my 4th cousin (Wold side) Rønnaug and her husband Bjørn Erik in Svelvik. I can tell she is a relative not just because she has our family pointed canine teeth but also because she has such lovely flowers. I do so love purple petunias!
Our first night was the night they celebrate the longest day with wonderful bonfires. I finally met cousin Anders, the son of Rønnaug whose DNA test brought us together.
Then today, accompanied by my 3rd cousin twice removed Torgeir (also met via DNA testing) and his lovely six-year-old daughter Anea, we went touring ancestral places.
Bjorn Erik took us to the former Konnerud mines which my 5th grandfather Christopher Rausch, an engineer from Germany, had helped to set up in the 1700s. He was Jorgen Wold’s great-grandfather. He married a local girl and never went back to Germany. See some mine history here: http://konnerudgruvene.no/page2.html
Bjorn Erik’s father was the custodian for the land around the closed mine so he knew it well and had played there as a child.
Next we drove to Skogar where my online friend and curator from GENI.com Martin (also my 10th cousin) had arranged for two gentlemen from the local history society to guide us. The plan was to drive 15 minutes then walk 20 minutes through the woods to the ruins of the house where my great-grandmother Maren Wold grew up with her eight siblings. This required a special permit to drive into the area as it is private land.
Fortunately I was wearing very good hiking sneakers to coddle my bad foot because it was a difficult 40 minute hike to get there on an overgrown path with mud and rocks that was very much uphill. Amazingly, with not the best shoes for this, my cousin Corinne made the ‘walk’ too. Naturally Anea had no problems at all and enjoyed herself greatly.
The house is long gone but you can still see the foundation, the cellar, the animal watering hole and a rock where my great-aunt Sofie Wold carved her name. There is a sign to mark the spot as well. Our guides gave us articles about Tørjevollen and copies of documents from Sofie which I will scan soon.
Before we left, it started to pour and we all got fairly wet on the walk back. However later that night at 10:30 p.m. there was a beautiful rainbow over the Drammenfjord outside our window. Yes it is still light here until almost midnight.