Our Holland (Håland or Haaland) cousins are found via DNA!

MetteHaalandSmllBack in the late 1800s our Norwegian ancestors and relatives came here in droves; about 80,000 Norwegians came before the Civil War and even more afterwards. Partially it was economic conditions in Norway but mainly it was due to the population pressures from improved medicine. The practice of dividing the farm among your boys does not work so well when you have ten children most of whom are now surviving to adulthood. So emigration to America was the solution for many.

Most of my relatives, like many Norwegian immigrants, settled out in the northern midwestern states: Illinois (Kendall County), Iowa (Story City), South Dakota and Wisconsin. However, my own ancestors stayed in New York. The ship’s carpenter Monsens and my g-grandfather Henry (Halvor Hans) Skjold settled in the Norwegian section of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, NY. Hans was known as Henry H. Lee in this country. He was the embodiment of the successful immigrant story (see this newspaper article ) making it big with his harbor businesses.

Two of his sisters, both named Anna, kept to more traditional endeavors and headed to Kendall County, Illinois with their husbands and children and farmed. We are in touch with the Stevenson descendants who have a yearly reunion in July in Illinois. We always wondered about the descendants of his aunt Mette Tvetden Haaland, his dead mother’s half sister. She went to Wisconsin with her eight children and her husband Sjur who tragically died soon after arrival along with the baby. My Stevenson genealogist cousin and I had long since given up on finding her descendants. But along came DNA testing and suddenly I had some good matches in Dad’s 23andme account with the surname Holland, could it be? Why yes!

Although I regularly log in and sort my DNA Relatives, 100 per page, by “most recent first,” to see my new matches (Mondays and sometimes Thursdays for us) occasionally matches seem to change. So every once in a while I also sort by “contact status” and check all the “public matches” at the end of the list. To do that I click their name and see if I have already invited them to share in which case it says “Why can’t I invite this user to share genomes?” instead of  “Invite persons’s name to share genomes.” That is how I discovered my Holland relatives. No less than three of them were tested at 23andme.

I heard back from two right away. One was traveling so not sure, but the other, Janice, said, “This is very exciting! I think we are related through Sjur Haaland (Holland) and Mette Tvedten. In fact, I have their oil wedding portraits in my home!” Mette’s portrait is shown above; she is my gg-grandmother Marta’s half-sister so Janice is my 4th cousin.

We quickly switched to email, talked on the phone, and Janice sent me many wonderful photos. I cropped and enhanced many of them and uploaded them all to GENI which already had her full family tree thanks to another more distant cousin (thank you John Terje). I think this one is my favorite. Her grandad (top fellow) took a road trip from Minnesota to California in 1915 – here is the stop at Glenwood Springs Colorado!

Now to plan a trip to meet her!


19 thoughts on “Our Holland (Håland or Haaland) cousins are found via DNA!

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  1. Kitty,

    My family has many old published articles on various members of the Haland (Holland) family written after they emigrated to the U.S. I will try to get them to you for re-publishing for the extended family! My sister, Linda Holland, did some extensive genealogy work back in the 1970’s, pulling info together.

    One article I recall mentioned the Haland family may have left Norway for religious reasons, belonging to a more liberal Lutheran sect….Haugean, or some spelling like that. In the U.S. The family was very close with P.A. Rasmussen, one of America’s first Lutheran ministers. Erik Holland’s sister Ragnhild, married him in 1855. He is quite famous in lutheran history.

    On the other side of our family, J.A. Bergh, my maternal grandmother’s father, wrote a book about Lutheran history in America..I have a copy, published 1914, but in Norwegian!

  2. Hi Kitty and Jan,

    Great Blog Kitty. I have also done extensive research on the Holland family with the help from historical societies in Wisconsin. My file is more than an inch thick. I have been in contact with descendants of Ole and Christen, but have not found descendants of the others until now. I look forward to seeing Linda’s research. The photos are great. All the brothers are buried in Old York, Moscow or West Primrose cemeteries in Wisconsin except Eric and Malachias. Eric and Ranghild are buried at West Lisbon near me.


  3. I see, Kitty, that you mention Haaland relatives who stayed in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY as did my maternal grandfather, Ole Haaland. He had been a ship’s carpenter, too, as you mention other relatives of yours were. He married my Norwegian immigrant grandmother, Ottilie/Ottilia/Otillie Olsen 12/14/12. I have their birthdates–2/15/1875 for her and 5/4/1870 for him– but not their places of birth in Norway. Her father was Ole Petterson or Peterson and his was Martin Johnsten or Johnsen.

    My grandfather came to the US in 1893, my grandfather in 1893 or 1896.She was a cook for the wealthy Lyman family of Brooklyn. They had one child, my mother Alise. It is very frustrating trying to find more about their Norwegian roots. I know my grandfather had a sister, Bertha, who came over but returned to Norway. Both grandparents died long before I was born and their home later burned to the ground with any other records.

    I am writing in the hopes that maybe you or anyone else who reads this may shed more light on my family. I will be going to Norway in August and had hopes of maybe finding relatives there. Searching so far has been mostly frustrating!

  4. Linda –
    There are many people who are happy to help out on the Norwegian rootsweb list at: http://lists.rootsweb.ancestry.com/index/intl/NOR/NORWAY.html so I recommend you join and ask there. There is also a facebook group for Norwegian genealogy that is equally helpful.

    Have you tried looking in the Norwegian archives? You might have luck with their names and birthdates

    Click on the category Norwegian in the right column here for many helpful articles. It is amazing how much information is online these days.

    • Thanks for this link. I’m trying to do a bit more research myself. About 15 years ago I called a parish in Vigmostad, Norway—– to get more information about my paternal great grandfather , Lars Eliassen Vigmostad. He died (under strange and or suspicious circumstances) around the time of his sons birth (my grandfather) my grandfather, was not legitimate and was given the name Håland. , aksel håland. Bc he was born on the farm Håland , in the southern tip of Norway. I think Håland farm is part of a larger farm my has in Gangså. Anyway. I have tried to regain the info given to me 15 years ago ‘ but need some help. I’m trying to find t he article written up in the newspaper in vogmostad concerning my great grandfathers apparent suicide…. this would have been in late 1919 or early January 1920. My grandfather was both January 23 1920. Aksel Håland, he came to America in 1949 , a year or 2 after my grandmother, Towne Skjævesland (born January 2) in vigeland, Norway. I’ve always been so proud of my norwegian heritage. I hope to one day live in Norway, with my cousins and uncles and family. For now, I’m in the US, and will remain here. For as long as my parents live….. my father,

      Vidar Haaland, is an artist…. he paints watercolors, pastels , as well as other mediums. Often depicting persons and landscapes of both rural and metropolitan areas of Norway. for as long as I can remember, my father always was working on a painting,,, be it a watercolor painting of a photograph of my grandfather, and his family in Norway during the 1940s …. or paintings, wood block prints, monoliths of other aspects of everyday living in Norway…….. my father, Vidar Haaland, bow runs his art studio out of Westport point, Massachusetts. Amd now that he is retired, focuses all his energy into his art…… growing up, my father was a school psychologist…… he was in the field of psychology for nearly 40 years. HE MEY KY MOTHER, at one of the first schools they both worked at ……. at the time, the school was known as a school for the mentally and emotionally disturbed, i believe it was called Glenn kirk. Anyway, my mother, Maureen Haaland (maiden name _ Richardson) is retired now, but she worked in special education for around 20 years. And then focused the 2nd half of her career as a first grade teacher. She is an amazing teacher and mother. My father an amazing psychologist and artist and father. Looking back, I realize now I should have followed my gut and studied to become a teacher. I think I imagined that I perhaps was destined to do something different snd that it seemed to obvious a choice to become a teacher. I love kids. And hope to one day teach…. and even more so …hope to one day have children of my own. Anyway. I love your blog. I know my father has some extensive original ledgers and books from various parishes and churches as well as other data, i plan to comb thru it and was thinking that perhaps there may be information in these sources that may provide information and answers for many others. Anyway. Thanks. Jon Haaland. ( Eliassen
      Skjavesland. / Skjævesland

  5. Kitty, thank you so much. I will attempt to use the Rootsweb list. I have to say that I haven’t found Ancestry.com all that user friendly–at least for me!

    I neglected to mention in my earlier post that my grandparents, Tillie and Ole Haaland, moved from Bay Ridge, Brookyn to Shandaken (Big Indian/Oliveria?) in the Catskill Mts. of NY towards the end of the 1910’s to open a sort-of resort very popular with Scandinavian immigrants called, ta da, Haaland Farm. My grandmother was an excellent cook and my grandfather an excellent host who oversaw their dairy herd, chickens, etc. which supplied their milk, cream, butter, and eggs. He apparently had a lovely singing voice and loved to entertain his guests.

    The “Farm” had a tennis court and pool and in the winter people came to XC ski, too.

    One more detail: after serving as a ships carpenter he became a steam engineer like the Norwegian immigrant featured in the newspaper article you provided.

    Now to Rootsweb site–again, thanks so much for your help.

  6. Linda these are wonderful family stories. Please share them them by making profiles for your grandparents on one of the one world trees: either wikitree.com (free) or geni.com (free but extra features cost). There are many many Norwegians on GENI and I have found many cousins there who have been most helpful.

  7. Kitty, I am a great great great granddaughter of SJur and Mette via Amund, Sever, Edmund, Viola Holland. I enjoy collecting photos of my ancestors and putting them in photo books for myself and family. Where did you get the oil paintings of Sjur and Mette? They are so beautiful. They must have been done while they still lived in Norway since they look so young. (They emigrated to US when several of the children were older.)

  8. I’m wondering if there were more than 1 “håland” farms …..

    My grandfather came to America in 1949…… he was born in MANDAL / Gangså , Norge…

    His name ; Aksel Håland
    My grandmother: Todne Skjævesland (Håland) …….born in Vigeland, Norge.

    When they came over…..my grandfather…. converted Håland to “Haaland”.

    Anyway, I have done a lot of research and not sure if we are related. But I would love to share some of the history I found. ……

    Thanks so much.

    Jon Haaland

  9. Hi Jon –
    Haaland (english variation of Håland since we do not have accents on our letters) seems a fairly common farm name, Ryygg lists 31 of them not even including the ones in Etne, Hordaland that are my close relatives. See http://www.dokpro.uio.no/rygh_ng/rygh_form.html

    There are many Norwegians on the collaborative world tree at GENI so I looked and I think I found your Todne:
    The idea of a collaborative tree is to have only one copy of each person there and work with your families to build a rich tree with photos and documents. It is the perfect place to share your research for posterity and find cousins over there!

  10. I wrote to the National archives in Norway and found out that my great great grandfather owned a farm in Norway called Haaland farm, later changed it to Holland and then kept that same name as his last name when immigrated to the states. Louis Holland was his name and he settled in South Dakota.

    • That is a common farm name and a common name change. Do you know where in Norway? The National archives are online these daya with many reocrds, see my recent article on that – http://blog.kittycooper.com/2017/10/finding-your-immigrant-ancestor-in-norway/

  11. Looking for information on my Grandfather who came to the US in 1906.
    He settled in Story City, Iowa, when married he moved to McCallsburg, Iowa.

    First Name : Samuel
    Last Name : Haaland
    Nationality : Norway, Scandinavian
    Last Place of Residence : Sores Thonland
    Date of Arrival : May 13, 1906
    Age at Arrival : 19y
    Gender : Male
    Marital Status : Single
    Ship of Travel : Saint Paul
    Port of Departure : Southampton
    Manifest Line Number : 0024

    • There was a Samual Sjursson Haaland b 1887 emigrated 1906 from the same farm as our Haaland family in Etne, Hordaland but not closely related to us.

      There are many Samuels born that year in Norway. Do you know what “Sores Thonland” really was in the original? I could not find such a place.

      I did a search for men with that frrst name born 1886-1887 in the Norwegian online archives and there were quite a few, but mainly listed with the patronymic. What did he name his first son? That would usually be his father’s name. Also Haaland was a common farm name in Norway.

      Try the techniques in this post to narrow down your search:

      Or post in the Norwegian Genealogy group on facebook. They are very helpful.
      Also a DNA test could help, I have found many Norwegian 3rd and 4th cousins with DNA.

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