Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Little Branch of the Family Tree

My maternal grandfather was born in Norway in 1905. He came from a family of nine children-- 3 girls and 6 boys. He grew up on the Grimstad farm in the Lindaas or Lygra district of Hordaland, Norway. This area is outside of Bergen. At the time Norwegian 'farms' were really small villages, consisting of several houses and several families. The families living in Grimstad were not necessarily related. This adds to some confusion for American genealogists as many Norwegian immigrants (like my grandfather) took their farm name as their surname. Other immigrants kept their paternal name which was derived from their father's first name. Hence my grandfather's 'true' surname was Nilsson, or Nilsen. Daughters would also assume their father's first name, as in the example 'Nilsdatter.' Below is my grandfather's immediate family. He was the only child that immigrated permanently to the US. I met Bertha and Klauss in 1993.

Nils Gullakssen (Grimstad/Lindaas) b. 1865 d. 1938
m. Hennrika Mary Hansdatter (Knarvik/Lindaas) b. 1872 d. 1956

Their children (all born in Grimstad/Lindaas)
1. Gunnhild Kristine Nilsdatter Grimstad b. 1893 d. 1978
2. Hans Nilson Grimstad b. 1896 d. 1951
3. Nikolai Nilson Grimstad b. 1899 d. 1945
4. Johann Nilson Grimstad b. 1901 d. 1992
5. Bertha Nilsdatter Grimstad b. 1904 d. 1994
6. Hjalmar Nilson Grimstad b. 1905 d. 1986
7. Nils Nilson Grimstad b. 1908 d. ?
8. Klauss Nilson Grimstad b. 1911 d. 1995
9. Borghild Nilsdatter Grimstad b. 1914 d. 1964

an aerial view of Grimstad in the 1960's, sent by my
Great Aunt Bertha.

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