Sunday, April 28, 2013

Surname Sunday: Svarteberg

So, I looked for the last half hour on surname information about Svarteberg or as it became in America Sorteberg.  I found nothing.  So, I went back to grandpa's research and found all the information that I needed about our family name.  Not sure why I bother doing my own research some days!  And his was all done before the age of computers and Google!
To condense what he knew:  the Svarteberg farm had been in the family since 1640.  The Svarteberg name was used as the family name when Arne Jakobson Tveito married Aagot Larsdtr Svarteberg in 1853. 

Arne Jakobson Tveito (1827-1905)
Born on the Arne Farm --- (nordre Votndalen i Al Av. Foreldre)
Parents:  Jakob Arneson Arnegard (1795- )
 Birgit Embriksdtr Arnegard

Aagot Larsdtr Svarteberg (1829-1907)
Parents:  Lars Torsteinson Svarteberg (1795-1858)
Jorand Tolleivsdtr Varaberg (1795-)
Lars Svarteberg was killed in the Springhouse in 1858.  The farm where Aagot was born had been in the relationship since 1640.  The farm was known as the Middle Farm (myljogarden).
In 1855 the farm was sold to Thorstein Larsson, brother of Aagot.
Arne Jakobson Tveito and Aagot Larsdtr Svarteberg were married on December 29, 1853, in Aal, Hallingdah, Norway.  The family name of Svarteberg was used because they lived on the Middle Farm owned by the Svarteberg's.
In Norway the name Svarteberg and Sorteberg are interchangeable.  However, the surname Svarteberg is used almost all of the time in Norway.  The Norwegian translation of the name (Svarteberg) (Sorteberg) is "Black Mountain".  The Hallingdal Valley is a short distance north of Olslo, Norway.  The home where Aagot Svarteberg was born still stands on the side of the mountain.
Seven of the eight children of Arne Jakobson and Aagot Svarteberg arrived in the USA before their parents immigrated in 1893.  Only the second oldest, Birgit, stayed in Norway.  It is believed that the port of entry into the USA was New York, however some may have entered from Canada.

Svarteberg was made up of three farms.  One farm now belongs to Torlien Svarteberg.  The Middle Farm, on which the grand parents were born belongs to Sevat Svarteberg; both of these people are grandsons of Birgit Svarteberg.  All of the buildings stand as they did in the 1800's, with the exception of a house added some years later.  The present ownership of the third farm was unknown to the visitors.
The Norwegian dialect was very much like the Norwegian spoken by those in the USA, and they were pleased that they understood the relatives as most of them spoke only Norwegian.  They also noted that there were many similarities in looks and mannerisms between those relatives living in Norway and those living in the USA.

This first edition of the Sorteberg history was prepared in December 1983.  We are truly indebted to many, many people who have provided information about thier relatives to make this book possible.  We are aware that the information, in some cases, is incomplete; either because of errors in facts received from family members, or because of typographical errors.
Leland Sortberg, Muriel Hagen, Olga Hansen, Asbjorn Baklien

Monday, April 22, 2013

Madness Monday-John Peter Swanson, Sweden 1857

John Peter Swanson's parents are the people that frustrate me from my family history.  It drives me crazy that I cannot find anything significant.  I have a lot of information on John Swanson but cannot go any farther.  My hope is that some day someone will find this and be able to shed some light on who they were.
Here is what I do know about John and Carrie Clausen Swanson.  It was compiled by my Grandfather Leland Sorteberg from Princeton, Minnesota in the 1980s.

History of John Peter Swanson
Our paternal ancestor was born on May 20, 1857 in the area of Dalsland, Varmland, Sweden.  He came to America in the early 1880s.  Very little is known about his first years in Minnesota, except that he worked in the woods in Northern Minnesota.

John's father died when he was sixteen, and a brother and sister died when they were young.  John is the only member of his family to have emigrated to America.  It is believed that his mother came to Minnesota for a period of time but did not like it in Minnesota and returned to Sweden.  Up to this time record searches can not provide more details.

John Swanson met Carrie Clausen in a restaurant in Elk river, Minnesota, where she was employed.  They were married on June 18, 1884.  They first lived in Anoka, Minnesota where he was employed by the Pillsbury Flour Mill.

In 1895 the family homesteaded 40 acres of land in Anoka Township in an area just west of the Great Northern railroad tracks and about one mile south of Main Street.  (this is now the city of Coon Rapids and the homestead would be the land south of 121 Ave. and on the west side of Xeon Street)
John Swanson, was in stature a man of 5' 10" tall and weighed about 185 pounds.  He was a strong, determined, hard working, kind man.  For several years he continued working at the Pillsbury Mill in Anoka even though it was 5 miles to Anoka.  His first horse was a bronco named Betsy and it used to take about 30 minutes to make the trip from home to Anoka.  John was reputed to be the strongest man ever to work at the Mill, being able to carry a barrel of flour from the first floor to the top of the Mill.  This along with building a home and breaking the land was a very difficult time for the Swanson family, but because of the character of this family they were able to complete the tasks before them.

In March 1910, a fire started by a Great Northern and Northern Pacific train just below the Coon Creek Junction caused extreme havoc to the farms along the right-of-way.  The fire destroyed all of the barns and outbuildings on the farm, however, the family and neighbors were able to save the home.

John Swanson was a civic minded person and served for many years on the township board.  He was one of the original church founders of the Joyce Chapel Methodist Church, serving on the first administrative board.  John Swanson served on the District #50 School Board until the schools were consolidated in 1920.  The consolidated district was known as Coon Rapids Independent Consolidated District #2.  Also, he was one of the founders of the Coon Creek Rural Telephone Company.

From the Anoka, Herald, Tuesday, June 13, 1922, Obituary---
"It is with deep regret that we are obliged to chronicle, this week, the death of John P. Swanson, which occurred June 8th at two o'clock a.m. at the old farm home, Willow Lane, Anoka Township.  He had not been well for some time suffering from leakage of the heart, but more than this in his unselfishness he was more desirous of leaving this world than being a burden to anyone.  No fear was in his thoughts of passing over for he knew whom he had believed and was persuaded that He was abundantly able to keep that which committed unto Him against that day.  In a few words it is impossible to tell what place he held in the community and in the hearts of his neighbors.  He had lived in the neighborhood for 27 years and on the old home place for 26 years and during all that time had lived a life of thrift, honesty, unselfishness and kindness that might well be exemplified.  During these he had held many prominent positions in the community and was a trustee of Joyce Chapel from the time of its dedication 20 years ago.  John P. Swanson was born in Dalsland, Sweden in 1857 coming to this country in 1882.  At Anoka on June 28, 1884, he was married to Carrie Clausen and to this happy union were born 12 children.  Three of these died in infancy.  Mrs. Swanson, who had been his faithful nurse through the long, weary weeks of his illness, and their two sons Emil and Leslie, and daughter Geneva are left in the old home.  The remaining six children are married and reside in the community Anna, (Mrs. Wm. Tigue) Clara, (Mrs. Ed Greenlun) Ida, (Mrs. Peter Sorteberg) Oscar, Henry and Edwin.  The funeral was held at Joyce Chapel on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, Rev. E. E. Shawl officiating.  Mrs. Roy Hodson sand "The City Foursquare," "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere" and "The Sweet bye and Buy".  Interment was made in the Chapel Cemetery.  The community extends its sympathy to the loved ones, but all those who knew him morn his death."

John Peter Swanson died on June 8, 1922.  Both he and his wife Carrie are buried in the Joyce Chapel Cemetery in Lots 19/1-2.  This cemetery has now been designated as a Minnesota Historical Site.

Oh!, there are so many stories about the early life of this family and the things they had to endure might be almost unbelievable in this day and age but how would you like to do things like this?

For about 15 years they hauled potatoes, butter and eggs to Minneapolis every two weeks and peddled to regular customers on the route.  John always put the money collected in a gunny sack and put it in the back of the wagon.  One time he was stopped by two men who attempted to rob him but he was able to get away from them by putting the whip to the horse Maude and outrun them.

Doctors and the hospital were in Anoka.  About 1900, while raking hay John ran into a nest of bumble bees.  The team of broncs, Betsy and Maude started to run and the rake tongue broke and the rake tipped over and John received a severe gash on his head.  This meant a trip to the Kline Hospital in Anoka by horse and buggy and he almost bled to death!

Regardless of all the trials of life of the Swanson family that was raised by John and Carrie Swanson it was a very loving close knit group. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Minnesota weather

 April 18 in Minnesota!
Normally, I would be talking about some family photo or some research item I am having trouble with.  Today, I am going to share my love for Minnesota weather!  I lived in Texas for 7 years.  You could pretty much count on the weather being pretty much the same every day.  It was very boring.  Everyone that I know is complaining about this winter lasting about forever.  I do get it, but I love a variety and have never been one to need to see the sun everyday.
I don't know of any weather related issues that my family has faced.  My great grandparents were all farmers so I know they had to deal with a lot of adversities with Mother Nature.  Many years with drought, many years with too much rain, I am sure they had to deal with the snow but I don't have any journal entries so far that talk about the harsh Minnesota winter.
Happy research everyone.  This weather just encourages me to dig deeper and find weather related stories!

Today in Weather History

1896: The temperature soared to 90 degrees F in New York City

Last 7 Days

    1979: The Red River in Minnesota and North Dakota reached 20 feet above flood stage
    1849: A severe freeze from Georgia to Texas killed cotton crops
    1884: Tornado in Alabama
    1877: Severe coastal storm, Virginia and North Carolina
    2010: A tornado struck the states of Bihar and West Bengal in eastern India
    2009: Ice out, Lake Winnipesaukee, NH
    1841: New Jersey received two feet of snow
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Mapping Monday

Ed and Belle Swanson Farm site

Peter and Ida Sorteberg homestead

Allen Sorteberg took over the homestead
Source unknown at this time.  Believed to be written by Leland Sorteberg in the 1980s.
In 1916 Peter Sorteberg married Ida C. Swanson, daughter of John P. Swanson, who had homesteaded a farm about 2 miles away just west of the Great Northern Railroad tracks.  For a short period of time they operated the Sorteberg homestead.  For the next 10 years the Peter Sorteberg family farmed on the 80 acre farm known as the Warren Barney place. This farm was the first place north of the Great Northern, Northern Pacific railroad tracks and on the East side of Hanson Road.
In the late 1920's the Peter Sorteberg family returned to the original homestead.  The house was moved from the original site by Sand Creek to a new location, which is now the site of the Presbyterian Church on Northdale Blvd.  One of the main reasons for this move was to be nearer to the school bus route because Northdale Blvd., (county road A) was the only road suitable for school bus transportation at the time.  New barns were built at the new home site.  Also, another 40 acres was purchased from Andrew Cilley (?) to add to the 320 acre homestead, which gave much needed additional peat land to accommadate the growing holstein dairying operation carried on by the Peter Sorteberg family.
Peter and Ida Sorteberg raised 7 children during this period of time. 
In the early 1950's Peter Sorteberg sold the farm to Orin Thompson & Associates.  Much of the present Thompson Park Development is on the land ownded and farmed by the Sorteberg family.  After the farm was sold a new farm was purchased in Ramsey township.  In 1953 Peter Sorteberg retired and son Allen and his family took over the farming and dairying operation.  Ida Sorteberg expired in 1965.  Peter Sorteberg expired in 1973.
The elementary school located in Thompson Park was originally named the Northdale Elementary school.  In 1970 it was named the Sorteberg Elementary School in recognition of the services rendered by Leland Sorteberg to public education.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Shopping Saturday

Here is where my frustrations blow up!  My goal today was to post some great picture of a historical general store from Rowland, Nevada, Mountain City, Nevada and Johnsville, Minnesota.  Alas, my efforts have been road blocked!
I know that my Great Aunt Geneva Swanson Olson (1895-1981) moved to Rowland, Nevada to be a teacher and later married and was a postmaster and worked as a store keeper.  I was able to find a record for her husband Chauncey Axel Olson (1892-1964) as the postmaster in Nevada appointed in 1930.

So, I switched gears and looked around for another general store that is closer to home in the hopes that I could find something on this store.  As luck would have it, I did find tiny bits of information!  I was disappointed that the pictures that I did find from the Blaine historical society did not have information about who is in the pictures or what the dates are.  Here is what I do know about this store in my family which isn't very much:  William Tigue (1881-1956) and Anna Swanson Tigue (1885-1963) Ran the Johnsville General Store in 1926.  It was bought from John Augustson whom I also cannot find information about.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday

 Today I am thankful for my grandfather Leland Sorteberg (1918-1996).  I have wonderful memories of him growing up.  They lived in a cabin on the lake and my brother and I would spend the night there often.  We would get up early and Grandma would make us eat oatmeal and then we would go fishing.  My grandpa was a traveler.  It seems to be in our blood.  My family loves to travel and see new places.  They had an airstream trailer that they pulled everywhere.  They have a map on the wall that had all of the places they had been in their airstream, they made it to all of the US states and many countries.  They were Texas Snow Birds every winter.  I like to think that my love for travel came from him.

 One of the many things that he was able to do was to travel to Norway to continue research on our family history.  I was far too young at that time to be able to appreciate what it was that he was doing.  He was able to travel to the family farm in Aal, Hollingdal, Norway.  At that time he was able to see where his grandparents lived and confirm many of the relatives information.
I am so fortunate to have all of this information.  I am about the only one in the immediate family that has any interest in the family history.  I don't mind but it does make asking the right questions to get further information that much harder!  I have always had an interest in the family history but it hasn't taken root until I became an adult and had my own family.  I so wish that I could sit down with my grandfather today and share all of his memories.  He was very good at writing down the history of others.  He never was able to write his own.  He passed away suddenly from a heart attack never dreaming that his research would come to such an abrupt end.  All of the above information, pages and pages of data were done on his 1980s computer, writing letters, making phone calls and traveling all over to find more and more information about our family.
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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wedding Wednesday

Carl and Mollie
The marriage of Carl Brenna and Mollie Pederson

Today I am sharing a photo grouping that I recieved a few years ago from a complete stranger!  I had been researching my family history on and had a message in my in box from someone asking if I was a direct relation to Carl Brenna.
My great grand Aunt Catherine Sorteberg married Clifford Brenna.  Carl and Mollie (Annie) Brenna were Clifford's parents.
Even though I am not directly related to these two I was very excited to see what this person had.  She is a genealogist and found this picture in an antique shop in another state.  She thought it was a waste for it to be sitting in an shop and not in the hands of the family.  I was so grateful for the opportunity of this gift, especially with all of the information that it contained.
I thought this was such a neat idea for someone to have put together.  I am fortunate to have such a treasure.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Farm homesteading

Montana Homestead

My mom's family was very close growing up.  The siblings all got together for dinner almost every weekend. I have talked about how close the cousins became at this time growing up.  This transferred into adulthood as well.  Every summer around the 4th of July the cousins still make the trip to Montana to sit and talk of old times and current events in their lives.  I remember as a kid going there for the 4th of July parade and playing in the big red barn.  Some of my best memories growing up are from being with this extended family.  The kids would play on the huge round bales and just plain enjoy life on the farm. 

My Grand Uncle has recently started to write his family history growing up on this farm, taking over the farm and eventually passing it on the his son.
"In 1908 Harris Clark made a quick trip to Montana to stake his claim:  the west 1/2 of Section 34, Township 31, Range 57 which was adjoining the Cookson's new location in Montana established in 1908.  the homesteading had to take place first so early in March 1909 he started assembling his minimal needs for the future farm in Montana.
We found his list of belongings that he bought to load into the immigrant car that he rented to make the trip to his claim in Montana.  I will list some of them so the readers in the 21st century can compare prices:  Four oxen at $50.00 each; but he must have hired someone to break them to work for $5.00, Hotel bill $4.00, three meals for $1.00, two rings to be installed in the oxen noses 90 cents, lumber for claim shack $28.40, 20 disc (10 foot) drill $15.00, (compare this to a modern 60 foot air drill); 50 bushels of flax seed $65.00, 5 gallons of gasoline $1.50 (no doubt for laundry stove), and Great Northern box car freight $35.00.  With these and other various items, he headed west to become hopefully a future successful farmer and stockman".  (Donald Clark history)

His family did have to work in town that first year so that they could feed the oxen and have some ready cash in order to survive.  Life was hard on the farm.
"The homesteaders had incredible courage to face the possible hazards in their future; on January 10, 1912, two days before our mother's birthday, she got an early present, a first born son.  Our dad had barely enough time to make the four mile round trip by bobsled to bring a midwife to assist in the delivery.  The temperature was 55 degrees below zero that morning.  The closest doctor was in Culbertson, 28 miles away.  With no telephone to summon him, and only transportation was by team and sled.  For the comparison between the "then and now", I will add that the total expense was probably $5.00".  (Donald Clark history)