So my trip to the land of my ancestors has ended and I am home, busy catching up on correspondence and work. It may be a few more days before I start blogging about genealogy and genetics again. The exciting news is that we got three DNA samples from 2nd, 3rd, and 5th cousins while over there. One came from knocking on the door of a farm house with cousin Corinne and saying, “Our ancestors lived here, are we related?”
Tromsø From Boat
The last week of my trip was spent at a Bridge Tournament above the Arctic Circle in Tromsø. I was amazed at how difficult it was to get my sleep rhythms in synch when the sun never set. I think I did not play my best. I was also surprised by how much colder it was there than down South.
Tromso was the start point for many artic explorations and had several museums with displays celebrating this plus a lovely Sami exhibit at the University Museum.
My plane home had a 5 hour stopover in Oslo so I took the train in and visited their art museum, the National Gallery and the Dance of Life exhibit.
Oslo National Gallery
No photos were allowed of Munch’s Scream but I took many pictures of Norwegian landscapes that really appealed to me as well as some of the impressionist paintings.
On Thursday my 2nd cousin Karen, who moved back to Norway some time ago, had us to her house for a lovely late lunch.
She lives in a fairly unique house with seven gables that her grandfather Oscar Bie bought and enlarged, staying with the original style, creating a lovely sun porch among other enhancements. The ceiling is low in the old part as you can see; Karen is touching it.
She looked through her photo albums and I found two that included my grandmother and many other wonderful ones. I took photos of a number of her photos so we will see how well they turn out
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!
Ronnaug by her retirement home in Svelvik
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.
Rønnaug with sons Hans Christopher and Anders
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.
My worry is nothing on this trip will match the incredible day we had yesterday in Etne, Hordaland, Norway. The ancestral farms around the lake were so very green with snow-capped mountains behind them and sheep everywhere. The weather was perfect. We had a traditional lamb and cabbage stew lunch with the Skjold third cousins on their deck overlooking the valley and lake. Followed by fruit-filled waffles.
Jarle at the Lake
Our cousin Jarle was a wonderful guide. He showed me the house, still there, where my great grandfather H. H. Lee was born on farm Skjold. He mentioned that they had shown cousin John the wrong farm, the newer Skjold farm built by Jarle’s grandfather.
The house my great-grandad H H Lee was born in
Jarle also told us that the children called the white plastic wrapped hay bales “tractor eggs” because they came wrapped that way out of the backs of the tractors. Also we learned that most of Norway’s electricity is hydo-electric and that there are green chemicals available for fracking but regulations in the USA are such that companies do not have to use them. He works in the chemicals for oil companies business by the way.
I wanted to remind everyone that the streaming videos from the Southern California Jamboree are available online for free until July 5 (see my previous post). For the next 2 weeks I will mainly be blogging about my travels in Norway.
Corinne and Sigmund at the Bergen airport with Rhododendruns
I had forgotten how much I love rhododendrons since they do not grow anywhere I have lived in the past 15 years. This picture is of my travel companion, 4th cousin Corinne, who I met via DNA testing, with Sigmund, my DNA friend and distant cousin, at the Bergen airport with the rhododendruns. Sigmund is the fellow who found the Y line cousin for me to test to solve our Monsen brick wall.
There were no less than three streamed presentations at the jamboree which included google tips. My favorite tips were to use dates separated by two periods when searching for an ancestor and to use a * to wildcard whether or not there is a middle name even when in quotes. So for example,
“lawrence * munson” 1900..1950
which finds my own family history site of course!
More pictures from Norway ….