Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Norwegian Pulpit Supply Team

Pastor Arlen Fiske (seated) wearing an original Lutheran "ruff" collar and vestments. Pastor Fiske is the author of many novels about Norwegian life and customs.

Standing: Klokker (the layman who presided at the opening and closing of worship)

Pastor Frank (Pastor from Al, Norway)

Pastor Cynthia (Pastor from Texas)
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The Gandrud Cousins and Hans Bekken (Mayor of Flaa, NOR)

Posted by PicasaKrista Gandrud Sanda Johnson, Hans Bekken (Mayor of Flaa, NOR) and Cynthia under the big tent at Walcott, ND. This is the day Mayor Bekken became so sun-burned he had to be hospitalized upon his return to Norway. Krista's great grandfather Engebret and my great grandmother Brynhild were brother and sister, descendants of Stor Gandrud from Flaa, Norway.

Wagon Train into Walcott, ND

Mid-day in Walcott, ND we were treated to a wagon train showing us how our ancestors arrived in the midwest.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Photo, Peter Gandrud, Mayor from Flaa and CF

Peter Gandrud, Hans Bekken, (Mayor of Flaa, NOR) and Cynthia in front of the Hallinglag Banner. Moorhead, MN - 2007 (Krista Gandrud Sanda Johnson, Photographer).

I will post more photos and information about the Stevne as the photos become available. Thanks, Krista!

In the meantime, we will continue with the history of Hallingdal and begin to look at the reasons for the big Norwegian migration to America in the 19th century.

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Photo of Cynthia and Mayor of Flaa, Norway

Hans Bekken, (Mayor of Flaa, Norway) and Cynthia - taken at the Centennial Stevne of the Hallinglag of America, Moorhead, MN - 2007. A Stevne is a meeting; the Hallinglag is an organization of descendants of Norwegians from Hallingdal, Norway. The Hallinglag began with a flourish in 1907 at Walcott, ND. We bussed from Moorhead to Walcott for a day that involved a tour of the historic district (two buildings). Now, I don't necessarily recommend Walcott as the most exciting place to tour - but it was a very memorable occasion.

The mayor was a most congenial fellow - but he did not speak English. The next day I finally located a translator and learned he had been trying to ask me if I had attended the Gandrud family reunion in Norway. And, no, I had not. He knows our cousin Nils Kolbjorn Skinnes (see earlier blog photo of Cynthia and Kolbjorn in front of our gg grandfather's clock).

It was so much fun to see the bunads and listen to the youth choir from Al, Norway. I enjoyed participating in worship on Sunday morning with Pastor Arlen Fiske and the youth pastor from Norway. We had a delightful moment when Pastor Fiske met the Norwegian youth pastor and said,"I understand you can read Norwegian?" The Norwegian pastor laughed so hard and so did I. He was able to read the scriptures in Norse (because I could not do that part). It was fun to learn about the way our immigrant ancestors worshipped using laypeople they called "Klokkers." One of my Vold ancestors in Norway was a Klokker - and now I know what that means.

And if I look tired - it is because I was exhausted from lack of sleep. We stayed in dorm rooms at the Uof MN in Moorhead ... and the beds were likely castoffs from a Nazi Prisoner of War camp. Cousin Krista had a very rude awakening at five AM when her bed broke down. The best part of the trip was meeting Peter and Marilyn Gandrud and to spend so much time conversing with Cousin Krista! She is a delightful person. We are really "identical cousins!"
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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Norwegian Bunad

A bunad is the Norwegian folk costume specific for each community down to the tiniest details; it is pronounced bunahh. This particular bunad is likely from Al and not Flaa. Flaa's bunad can be seen in the photo of Vis-Kari in an earlier post. But this one is similar. Each bunad is very intricate and costs several thousand dollars to create. The woolens must come from that particular vicinity, too. Even the jewelry is unique to each community. The folk costumes are colorful and practical; the women's can be "let out" for pregnancies - and in the case of this bunad, no one will notice the pregnancy for some months. The daytime bunad is belted and not so heavily embroidered. A set of keys hung from the waist belt of the day dress.
Having spent almost four years of my life being pregnant - I am very certain that I would NOT want to wear this bunad - not even for a day! Good grief! The only way I would wear a bunad like this without the waist is by pasting a photo of my head on the picture. - which is exactly what I did! Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 9, 2007

The History of Hallingdal, Norway

Edna Rude tells us, “From an old history book we find this description of life on a valley farm, whether in Hallingdal or elsewhere in Norway. Each “settlement” or community consisted of one “big” farm handed down through generations of one family since the beginning. The location would be by a river, fjord, or tarn (lake). The owner was called “odelsbonde” or storbonde” meaning the big landowner. Because of his wealth he was automatically the leader in the community. Wealth was synonymous with wisdom! He kept armed body guards, many hired workers, plus some slaves. Near the buildings were pastures, fields and a small orchard. There was a garden containing cabbages, onions and plants used for dyes-blue, gold, etc. The whole farm was enclosed in a fence.

There were many buildings on the main farm, all built of logs so large it took just three stacked on t op of each other for each wall. As there was no foundation the first log was laid directly on the ground, and each log was “slabbed” on two sides so walls were flat down inside and outside. The roofs were laid with planks, covered by birch bark (which never rots) and then sod on top of this. If the grass grew too long on the roof it was the privilege of one of the goats to be placed up there to nibble it down. Chimneys were unknown until the 18th or 19th century. The main house was long and narrow with a packed earth floor that had been excavated so it was lower than ground level. People would step down into the house. A ledge of earth was left around the walls and this was covered with planks so there were benches for seating many people all around. Two or three stone hearths were lined up along the middle of the room. A hole in the roof served to relieve the room of some of the smoke. The hole served as a window for light during the day. There we no other windows. And there was a sort of trap door attached to a pole so the opening could be closed during bad weather and darkness. Heavy crossbeams held the building together. One end of the house was divided into two small rooms, an entry and a storage room for food supplies. This was a forerunner of the kitchen. And in the entrance was a ladder to the sleeping loft above the storage room. There were, of course, many other building separate stables for cows, sheep and goats, a “stabbur” (storage) with sleeping loft above for the hired girls to sleep. Other help usually slept in the horse stable. There was also a blacksmith shop, a boats shed and a type of sauna used every Saturday by the men. This practice continued until about 1800 AD.” (pp. 2-3, People’s History of the Hallinglag of America 1907-2007).

To be continued

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The History of Hallingdal, Norway

There are six communities in Hallingdal: Al, Hol, Gol, Hemsedal, Flaa and Nes. Edna Rude tells us that the earliest settlers around Al and Hol came over the mountains from the Sognefjord and Hardanger areas. They had followed ancient trails made by earlier migrant hunters. Gol and Hemsedal were occupied by those coming through Valdres and from the east (Sweden). It is not known if they had ever settled in Sweden or were just passing through. Nes and Flaa were taken over by people coming through Denmark and Estonia, taking the water route to Drammen and up the Hallingdal River.

All of the above people spoke a similar Germanic (teutonic) language. They either lived peaceably next to each other or they fought to determine boundaries because they stayed. Yet, Edna says, to this day they admit a difference in speech, customs, actions and appearance. There is a distinct line between Nes and Gol.

The people of Hallingdal were farmers with enough livestock to carve out their own existence. During the summers they followed the green grass high up on the mountains to a portion of their farm called the seter. Here the women (get that!) turned the herds loose and stayed with them. They made the finest butter and cheese from the milk up there as the grass was so very sweet and nourishing. Some summers the animals had to be carried out of the dark stable to eat the grass around the stable to gain the strength to walk up to the seter. They tried to keep too many animals on too little food during the winter for many centuries.

Going to the seter was like a vacation. The air was so light and the sun shone more hours in the day than down between the mountain walls of the valley farms. They lived in primitive shelters in the seter and the hard work required strong bodies and strong wills.

To be continued…

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The History of Hallingdal

I just returned from attending the Centennial celebration of the Hallinglag in America. A Lag is a society or organization of Norwegian descendants of Hallingdal, Norway. More will be posted on the celebration later; but first I want to share some of the history of Hallingdal that I learned for the first time, thanks to Edna Rude and the mayors from Norway.

Edna transcribed many documents and gathered them into a fine article, too lengthy to reprint in this blog. But, for those interested, please write to me and I will send you her address. And I will try to sum up Edna Rude’s history over the next few days:

Hallingdal first became a kingdom about 800 and its first king was named “Hadding.” He lived at Hoff in upper Al and his son succeeded him as king, living at Garnos in Nes. The name Haddingdal was used for a long period before it became “Hallingdal.” Hadding was the son of King Raum of Telemark, and a brother of King Ring of Ringerike. In 870, Hallingdal accepted Harald Fairhair as king, along with all of Norway.

So the history of our people begins with the civilization of a settled people, from about 800 to 1000 A.D. known as the Viking Age.

While the Vikings raped and pillaged Europe’s coasts, they also planted colonies. Nobody was safe from the Vikings. The name Vik means bay or inlet and the men who swarmed out of these bays in the far north included Danes and Swedes and they were since known as Vikings. A king in France invited a group of Vikings to settle on their shores in exchange for peace and a guarantee that the Vikings would protect France from other bands of Vikings. That area is called Normandy; and it has been said that Normandy is the only place in the world where French is spoken with a Norwegian accent.
But now we know that there was a settled civilization in Hallingdal by 800 A.D., the question remains: "Where did they come from?" (To be continued)