Sherri's Family History    

Welcome to SHERRI'S FAMILY HISTORY.  Thanks for taking the time to stop by.   Tracing/discovering/researching my family history could probably be considered a passion of mine.  Am I addicted?  Probably.  I've been researching my family history for over 20 years now. My Family Tree Maker database file now holds over 23,000 people and growing.  Some of you might be surprised that its not just people I "collect".  I also collect information that I find adds interesting facts that tie into the family.  Hopefully I will have that information on my web page soon!

The Internet has made unbelievable changes and advances in my research.  It has enabled me to “meet” so many cousins and others who are interested (possibly addicted) to Genealogy.

The family history is for everyone, and that is my main reason for publishing – sharing my family history with any and everyone who is interested.  And of course, I am always looking to expand my family branches and would appreciate any additional information or possible new leads on people.  

I have a Home Page with Family Tree Maker

which has a complete Ancestor Report of my ancestors, an index of all individual's in my database, and Descendants of four families - Marheim (Morem), Overland (Ingolvsland), Crisman, and Bachman (Baughman).

With over 23,000 people in my file, the possibility of descendant charts is endless - far too numerous to put on my home page (Family Tree Maker won't let me), but they are easily e mailed!                     

Please check back soon - I am always updating and adding....

Section 1   Serving the families of........listing of main surnames

Section 2  The MOREM family in Norway and America

Section 3  Norway - History of Norway/Regions in Norway of significance to family  

Section 4  Emigration from Norway to America

Section 5  America - family in the United States and their communities

Section 6  Family in the Military 

Section 7  My Resource "Library" 


Picket Fence Bar

Section 1 - Serving the families of

A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z    



Askildsen - begins with Lars Askildsen; his daughter Johanne Lavine Askildsen born 9 Feb 1772 in Arendal, Norway died 17 April 1931 in Arendal; married to Arnt Bruun born 21 September 1752 in Larvik, Norway died 1 Mar 1831 in Christiansand, Norway


Barry - this is my brother in law's family - beginning with John Barry

Baughman (Bachman) - from Richtersweill, Zurich, Canton, Switzerland and Ibersheim, Pfaltz, Germany; family beginning in 1629 with Hans Jacob Bachman (Baughman); 10 generations 499 people.  The Baughmans began emigration to America in the early 1700's and settled in Lower Saucon Township, Northampton, Pennsylvania    

Berge - Tinn, Telemark, Norway; begins with Bjorn T Hellem (my 7th great grandpa) born 1647 Norway died 1719 Norway; his daughter Kari Bjornsdtr Berge married                  Overland

Bernas - beginning with Jon Bernas, my 9th great grandpa, born 1595 in Tinn, Telemark, Norway died in Tinn, Telemark, Norway

Bergman - this is my husband's family.  They emigrated from Germany in and settled in Batesville, Indiana and Indianapolis, Indiana; begins with Herman Heinrich Bergman (Bargmann) born 1791 in Vehandorf, Germany.  Died on 14 July 1873 in Osgood, Ripley, Indiana

Bjorgo - from Hallingdal area, Evanger, Hordaland, Norway - family beginning in 1660, beginning with Knut Sjurson Bjorgo, my 8th great grandpa, born 1660 Evanger, Voss, Hordaland, Norway died 1726 Evanger, Voss, Hordaland, Norway, married Elisabeth Olsdtr born 1670 Evanger, Voss, Hordaland, Norway; their daughter Anna Knutsdtr Bjorgo 1696 - 1767 married Ola Knutsson Mestad.  They remained on the Bjorgo farm. 11 generations 283 people.  Knut Bjorgo emigrated to America, with his family, around 1848, and settled in Dan County, Wisconsin.  Four years later they moved to Decorah, Iowa

Bjortuft - Tinn, Telemark, Norway; begins with Tarald Bjortuft born Tinn, Norway in 1600's; 15 generations 2101 people

Boen - Tinn, Telemark, Norway; beginning with Ola Rolvsson Boen born Tinn, Telemark, Norway; see Ingulfsland (Overland); Agot Oysteinsdtr Boen 1808-1887 was married to Herbjorn Ingulfsland 1805 -; Agot's mom emigrated to America with Herbjorn Ingulfsland's family

Bokko - Tinn, Telemark, Norway; beginning with Knut Oysteinsson Bokko, my 7th great grandpa, born 1674 in Tinn, Norway; 601 people 12 generations

Brunborg - beginning with Marita Bergesdtr Brunborg born 1761 died 1787 married Haldor Knutsson Bjorgo born 1753 died 1828

Bruun - Tinn, Telemark, Norway; begins with Christian Eilert Bruun, died 15 September 1710 Larvik, Norway; his son, Christian Christianson Bruun, born 12 Feb 1708, died 25 Dec 1796 Larvik, Norway was a ship captain

Buley - beginning with William Buley, born 1758 New York died 1839; married Marie Borrings, born 1794 New York died 1839; their daughter, Elizabeth Buley, born 8 Nov 1836 Ulster County, New York died 8 Aug 1908 Richville, Ottertail, Minnesota married James Hardenberg Eckert

Burns - beginning with Fanny Burns born Ireland died 1857 United States; married William F Dunn born 1822 died 1905

Byrnes - this is my brother in law's family.  They emigrated from Ireland and settled in New Jersey and Philadelphia; beginning with Bernard J Byrnes; married to Mary Van Wart; 32 people 5 generations


Cossell - this is my husband's family; they settled in Indianapolis, Indiana; family begins with John Cossell born October 1837; in 1900 census John and his wife were living in Wayne Township, Marion, Indiana; his daughter, Mary Jane Cossell, born 1851 in Indiana, married Thomas Wilfred Donovan

Crisman - from Pfungstadt, Germany; family beginning in 1629 with Johan Friedrich Crisman; 11 generations 895 people; the Crisman family began emigrating to America in the early 1700's and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Dale - beginning with Guri Knutsdtr Dale; married Ulv Tveito and remained on Dale farm in TInn, Telemark, Norway

Davison - from New Jersey the family begins in 1786 with Robert Davison (my 4th great grandpa), born 30 July in New Jersey, died 30 May 1858 Porter County, Indiana.  The Davison family information I have begins in America, so there is no emigration information on this family; 8 generations 150 people

DeSeuc - begins with NIcolai De Seuc, born in France, died 19 April 1706 in Norway; married Christiance Margrethe Mechlenburg 1680 in Bragernes; Nicolai was a French nobleman who fled France because of a dual.  Served as officer in various positions from 1674 - until he died at Akershus for Oslo, Norway; colonel in infantry; governor at Akershus castle

Donovan - this is my husband's family - family begins with Thomas Wilfred Donovan born 1847; his daughter, Martha Mary Donovan, born ca 1895, died 21 April 1971, married Fred H. Bergman

Dunn - from Ireland - family beginning in the late 1700's with Michael Dunn (my 4th great grandpa) born and died in Ireland (my 4th great grandpa; 8 generations 154 people.  The Dunn's began emigration to America in the mid 1800's with William Dunn.  He settled in Ludlow, Allamakee, Iowa



Eckert - 8 generations 257 people; beginning with James Hardenberg Eckert born March 1827 in Duchess County, New York died 5 May 1896 Shellrock township, Minnesota

Eggerud - beginning with Gunnulv Torjesson Eggerud, my 8th great grandpa, born ca 1640 in Tinn, Telemark, Norway

Einung (Gronskei, Miland) - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway beginning in the 1582 with Holje Eivindsson Einung born 1582 Tinn, Norway died 1668 Tinn, Norway; my 10th great grandpa; 3999 people 15 generations

Elmiger - beginning with Jacob Elmiger, born March 1833 in Switzerland; family settled in Elizabeth, New Jersey



Flaten - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway beginning in the 1600's 

Florentz - from Denmark to Kviteseid, Telemark, Norway - Family beginning in the late 1600's with Christian Asmus Florentz; 9 generations 307 people; The Florentz's began emigration to America in the late 1800's and settled in Iowa, South Dakota, and Alaska.  Ellis Island records show Theodor J. Florentz (my great grandpa) arriving on 16 May 1896, on the ship The St. Paul.  He had departed from Southampton.  He was 21 years old



Gaustad - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; begins with Truls Torkjellsson Gaustad (my 8th great grandpa) born ca 1616 Tinn, Telemark, Norway

Gjoystdal - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway

Gronskei - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; see Einung

Gullingsrud - the family begins with Barbo Gullingsrud born 17 February 1841 in New, Hallingdahl, Norway, died 1900 Riceford, MN; she was married to Christapher Christapherson Lee in New, Hallingdahl, Norway

Gvammen - also Sjotveit, Jonsjorden; brgins with Anulf Halvorsson Gvammen (my 10th great grandpa) born ca 1580 Tinn, Telemark, Norway


Hanson - from the Hallingdal area Hordaland, Norway - Family beginning in 1831 with Hans Eide Hanson; 8 generations 186 people;  Hans emigrated to America, with his family in the 1800's and settled in Decorah, Iowa; The Hanson family suffered many hardships, beginning with two babies dying at sea

Haddeland - Tinn, Telemark, Norway beginning with Oluf Haddeland (my 10th great grandpa) born 1589 in Tinn, Norway died Tinn, Telemark; 5795 people, 16 generations

Hegard - Tinn, Telemark, Norway - see Marheim - Gunnulv Knutsson Marheim

Hjornevik - begins with Gjertru Magnesdtr Hjornevik born 13 Feb 1818, died 10 Nov 1900 in America; married Knut Knutsson Bjorgo; also Agata Olsdtr Hjornevik born 1721 died 1796 married Knut Olsson Bjorgo born 1719 died 1796

Hoover - beginning with Nancy Ann Hoover d 31 Oct 1843; married to Jesse Isaiah Baughman


Ingolvsland (Ingulfsland) - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway - Family beginning in 1500's with Oluf Gunnulvsson Overland (my 9th great grandpa); 14 generations 3838 people; Herbjorn Ingulfsland and his family emigrated to America in 1842 on board the Bark Ellida.  They settled in Muskego, WI and later in Harmony, Minnesota    


Jonsjorden - beginning with Holje Jonsjorden (my 10th great grandpa) born ca 1600 Tinn, Telemark, Norway


Ketrow - family begins with Mary Ketrow, born 1848 in Indiana; married to John Cossell and living Wayne township, Marion, Indiana in 1900


Lee (Lie) - From Naes, Buskerud, Norway; Family beings in 1724 with Christofer Olsson Lie (Lee) (my 5th great grandpa); 10 generations - 407 people; Christapher Lee and his family emigrated to America in 1867 and settled in Riceford, MN

Lillienpalm - beginning about 1630 with Heinrich Sigismund Lillienpalm (my 8th great grandpa); by 1660 was living in Christiansand, Norway

Lind - from Christiania, Norway  beginning in 1700's with Ole Nielsen Lind (my 5th great grandpa); moved to Bo, Telemark, Norway; died 1766 Christiansand, Norway

Lisland - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway begins in 1600's with Nils Nilsson Lisland (my 9th great grandpa), died 1694 in Tinn, Telemark, Norway; 1316 people 14 generations; see Espeland

Lofthus - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; family begins with Knut Gunnulvsson Lofthus born in Tinn, died 1701 in Tinn, Norway; married to Sigrid Olsdtr Marheim died 1690 in Tinn, Norway

Ludy - begins with Susanne Ludy born 1 December 1810 in Maryland, died 16 Feb 1882 Valparaiso, Indiana; she married Abraham Stoner, born 19 November 1809 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died 23 Feb 1881 in Morgan Prairie, Indiana


Luras - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway beginning with Nils Olsson Luras born 1724 Tinn, Norway died 1788 Tinn, Norway - see Marheim


Morem (Marheim) - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; family beginning in early 1600's with Oluf Marheim; 13 generations 2907 people; the Marheim's began emigration to America in 1842; they first settled in Muskego, WI and many then went to Fillmore County, Minnesota a few years later

Marheimsrud - begins with Hallgrim Olsson Marheimsrud born ca 1600 Tinn, Telemark, Norway

Mechlenburg - begins with Carsten Mechlenburg, died 1618 in Haderslev, Denmark; married in 1602 to Margrethe Schnell.  Carsten Mechlenburg was the mayor in Haderslev, Denmark

Mestad - from Evanger, Voss, Hordaland, Norway; family beginning in 1642 with Knut Knutsson Mestad; see Bjorgo   

Miland - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; see Einung

Moe - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; begins with Herbjorn Knutsson Moe (my 5th great grandpa) born ca 1743 Tinn, Telemark, Norway died Tinn, Norway; married to Signe Olsdtr Veset

Moli - see Bjortuft; begins with Halvor Torgrimsson Moli (my 8th great grandpa), died 1709 in Tinn, Telemark, Norway

Moreland - from Frysedal, Norway beginning with Hans Amundson Moreland, died in Fryesdal, Norway; the  family moved to Kviteseid, Telemark, Norway and then Arendal, Norway by 1740's; Amund Hansson Moreland born ca 1625 died 1700 was a priest in Kviteseid, Telemark, Norway 1650-1700; Samuel Amundsson Moreland was a skipper/tradesman in Arendal, Norway



Overland - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway beginning in the 1500's; see Ingolvsland; brgins with Oluf Gunnulvsson Overland (my 10th great grandpa) born in Tinn, Telemark, Norway


Pettersen - Petter Pettersen (my 4th great grandpa) born 1777 in Egersund, Norway and married Guri Olsdtr Ueland born 12 Nov 1776 Egersund, Norway on 29 July 1798; Petter was a boat custom officer in Egersund, Norway



Roch - from Seljord, Norway beginning with Christian Christopherson Roch in 1631, died 22 January 1706 in Seljord, Norway

Renebo - from Hardanger area Fjotland, Vest-Agder, Norway; Family begins in 1812 with Aanene Larsen Roinebo (Renebo) (my 3rd great grandpa); 8 generations 124 people;  Aanen's daughter Inger (m to Lars Sinland) emigrated to America in 1887 and settled in Buffalo Grove, Minnesota

Rollag - from Tinn, Norway beginning in the 1600's with Kjetilsson Rollag (my 10th great grandpa); 3490 people 15 generations

Rye - from Bo, Telemark, Norway beginning with Henrik Sorensen Rye, died 1700 Domkirken, Bergen, Norway; his son Paul Christian Rye, born 1684 in Denmark, died 17 Jul 1773 in Vik, Sogn, Norway was commander at Berganhus;  Paul's son, Johan Henrik Rye, born 11 March 1721, died 28 May 1790 in Bragneres, was colonel in the military; his grandson is the famous Olaf Rye - 

Olaf Rye 1791-1849 was a Norwegian lieutenant (and skijumper) who in 1814 - when Norway - undefeated was taken over by Sweden after Denmark's policies in the Napoleonic wars had failed - refused to swear allegiance to the Swedish king and joined the Danish Army. Olaf Rye won fame during his brilliant conduct as Brigade Commander at Nybol and Dybbol in South Jutland during the war between Denmark and Prussia in 1848 and was appointed to Major-general in 1849. He fell in the defense of Fredericia (Funen, Denmark) in 1849 and the famous painting of "General Rye on horseback at Fredericia" belong to the most cherished memorabilia of the Danish nation history.

Olaf's brother Johan Henrik Rye, 1787-1868, Norwegian government official and politician, member of the Storting 1836-45, President of the Storting 1836-37.


Saheim - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway; family beginning with Jon Jonsson Saheim (my 8th great grandpa) born 1627 in Tinn, Norway died ca 1705 Tinn, Norway; 2121 people 13 generations

Scherven - beginning with Nils Mathiasson Scherven; his son Oluf Nilsson Scherven was born 1600 died 1646 in Larvik, Norway

Sinland - from the Hardanger area Flekkefjord, Vest-Agder, Norway; Family beings in 1809 with Ammund G. Larson Sinland; 7 generations 121 people;  Ammunds' son Lars emigrated to America in 1887 and settled in Buffalo Grove, MN

Sowder - settled in Pulaski, Kentucky and Indianapolis, IN

Stoner - settled in Frederick County, Maryland and Dayton, Ohio; 10 generations 178 people; begins with Philip Stoner (my 6th great grandpa) Stoner family moved to Indiana also



Ulleren - beginning with Ola Ulleren (my 8th great grandpa) born ca 1600 Tinn, Telemark, Norway


Van Wart - this is my brother-in-law's family.  

Veset - from Tinn, Telemark, Norway beginning in the 1600's with Herbjorn Veset (my 8th great grandpa)

Von Ansbach - beginning with Jorgen Meinertsson Von Ansbach born in Bayeren died ca 1598


Warfendorfer - Anna Sophia Warfendorfer, of Dutch decent born 1867 Indiana and married John Christian Joseph Bergman; in 1900 census they were living in Center township, Indianapolis, IN

Watsager - from Risor, Norway; family beginning in 1705 with Peder Christian Watsager (my 5th great grandpa)  born 1705 died 1782 in Risor, Norway; married Ase Samuelsdtr Moreland born 19 May 1709 in Risor, Norway died 1777 in Risor, Norway

Weidemann - beginning with Simon Weidemann born Aalborg, Denmark 1500's; Hans Weidemann born 1666 died 1701; lived in Christinia, Norway; his ship was on route to Denmark and ship perished in 1701

Willand - from Hoel, Hallingdahl, Norway - Family beginning in 1835 with Arne Olson Willand; 6 generations 145 people; The Willand's begin emigration to America around 1870-1872.  The family settled in Lake Mills, Iowa

Wright - beginning with Real Christian Wright born 1600's in England died 1706; the family came to Norway




Yingling - beginning with Merelis Elizabeth Yingling born 24 Dec 1774 in Maryland died 24 October 1859 in Ohio; married Benjamin Crisman






   and all their branches and roots

Picket Fence Bar

 back to the top


Section 2 - The MOREM family - history of the Morem family beginning in the 1600's in Tinn, Telemark, Norway

The Morem family can be traced to Norway beginning in the 1600's.  There are many variations on the spelling of Morem....Marheim, Marum, Morreim...and I'm sure many more

The Marheim farm is located in Upper Telemark in Tinn and is about one hundred miles west of Oslo .  It is very isolated and lies on the north and northwest side of a large lake, Lake Tinnsja .  The farms and tillable land are located along the lake and rivers flowing into the lake.  All of the farm land is very hilly and rocky, and in 1835 was fully utilized, including the mountain grazing areas.  

The Marheim farm in Tinn , Norway - County of Telemark   - Atra Parish - is at least 1000 years old, but the spelling of the name indicates that it could possibly be 1500 years old.  It is one of the oldest and largest farms in Tinn , Norway .  The Marheim farm has always been documented as having two main farms,  Nord Marheim and Sud Marheim.

The Marheim farm is located east of the Atra church near the NW side of  Lake Tinnsja and next to the Mar River before it flows into the lake.  The name originates from:  heim (meaning home) on the Mar

It is 1397 that the oldest documentation of the Marheim farm can be found.   It is not until 1650 that documentation shows a grandpa - Oluf Marheim, mayor of Tinn , Norway , to be living on the Marheim farm.   Oluf Marheim owned a total of 9 farms, including South Marheim .

                        North Marheim    7 1/2 tn         5 parts

                 South Marheim    1 1/2 tn and 2 huder     or 3 1/2 tn      1 par

Originally there was one family on each main farm, but as population increased, farms were divided between many families.  The Marheim farms - nord and sud - were no exception.

Although the structure to the Marheim farm has changed over the years, a direct descendant - a grandparent - has always lived on the Marheim farm until Ole Jonsson Marheim  - a grandpa - emigrated to the United States in 1854. 

The following is statistical information, such as census, ownership changes, land division changes, and other transactions that have been documented on the Marheim Farm over the years .   Many years.

North Marheim          7 1/2 tn 

1611                owner Asle 
1615                Gullbrand      4 1/2 tns middle farm (owned 20 farms) – brother of Hallgrim Marheimsrud
  Halvor - 3 tn
1657    census         2 horses, 7 cows, 24 sheep
1662                Gullbrand 90 years old          4 1/2 tn - not married - very rich
  Halvor  3 tn                          
1703                North Marheim was divided into 5 parcels of land
  Jon Olsson Marheim  2 tn
  Lars Olsson Marheim (son of  Ola Arsteinsson)      1 1/2 tn  br nr 2          
  Hellek Hallgrimsson               1 tn
  Jon Halvorsson (son of Halvor)     1 1/2 tn    d 1766   br nr 4
  Gunnulv Olsson                       1 1/2 tn

Marheim Farm br. nr. 1   (2 tn)


probate of Oluf Marheim  - names on son Knut Olsson Marheim on this farm

1697                Ola Knutsson Marheim's farm went to his wife Birgit Jonsdtr Marheim
1703                Jon Olsson Marheim on farm (son of Ola Knutsson Marheim & Birgit Jonsdtr Gjoystdal
  Gunnulv Knutsson Marheim received Marheim br nr 1 from father Knut Olsson Marheim
1726                302 rd. sold to Ola Jonsson Marheim
1730 census        Ola Jonsson Marheim  1 horse, 5 cows, 2 heifers, 2 calves, 8 sheep, sowed 4 and hausta 16 tn, 1 staul, no timber; 7 children, eldest born in 1706
1735 census                1 horse, 8 cows, 14 sheep,  6 goats, 2 tn bygg, 3 tn potatoes
1737                divided by Ola Jonsson Marheim and his wife, Aslaug   3 tn sold valued at 622; Ola Jonsson Marheim's son, Greggard Olsson Marheim, received N Marheim br nr 1
1745                               split between brothers Greggard Olsson Marheim 1 1/2 tn and Halvor Olsson Marheim 1 1/2 tn br nr 3
1749                Greggard Olsson Marheim living on farm 1 tn 8 sett; eldest daughter inherited farm, Aslaug, but she died before her dad Greggard and Aslaug's husband Nerid Torsteinsson Rue purchased 1 1/2 tn in Marheim and 5 sett in Rue for 726 rdl
1790                               Aslaug Greggardsdtr Marheim received Marheim br nr 1 from her dad Greggard
  Beginning at this time, there is not a direct descendant, a grandparent, who is living on Marheim br nr 1
1798                               Nerid sold farm to his eldest son Torstein, and his wife Taran  stayed at the farm for many years
1825                               Torstein sold to Knut Toresson (eldest dtr's husband) 7 3/4 sett for same price; Knut toresson sold farm and wife and 7 children rta i
1835 census             

Kjetil Hansson Lisland, 1 horse, 7 cows, 14 sheep, 2 1/2 tn bygg, 3 tn potatoes      Hans Kjetilsson Marheim and wife Ingeborg Gunnuvlsdtr, Child Kjetil Hansson, Child Gunnulv Hansson, Child Margit Hansdtr,   (Inderst Ann Johannesdtr age 28)

1858                Kjetil Hansson Lisland sold farm br nr 1 to his son Hans
1865 census                               1 horse, 7 cows, 14 sheep, 2 1/2 tn bygg, 3 tn potatoes
1879                               Hans Kjetilsson Lisland sold farm to son Kjetil Hansson Marheim for 2400 KR

Marheim Farm br. nr. 2       (1 1/2 tn)

1703                Lars Olsson Marheim named on farm
1730 census               1 horse, 4 cows, 1 heifer, 1 calf, 6 sheep, 4 goats and sadde 2 tn hausta 8
1735 census                            1 horse, 4 cows, 8 sheep, 2 goats, 1 tn bygg, 3 tn potatoes
1759                               Ola Knutsson Marheim had farm until 1759, he sold 1 1/2 tn to his son in law, Oystein Knutsson Marheim (husband of Helge Olsdtr Marheim
1775                Tov sold to Svein Torgeirsson Lisland; Svein sold to Ola Oysteinsson for 632 rdl; Ola sold to Oystein Helleksson Asen (Bernas) m to Kari - lived on farm for many years.  Kari Greggardsdtr Marheim moved to N Marheim br n r 2.  This was the year she was married
1797                               Kari Greggardsdtr Marheim's husband, Oystein Helleksson Bernas purchased Marheim br nr 3 and the Kasen farm (part of the Marheim farms) from Hellek Nilsson
1801                census        Kari and Oystein Marheim are listed as living on the Marheim farm.  This was the first official Norwegian census taken in Norway's history;  Oystein Helleksson Marheim (Bernas), age 58       farmer, Kari Greggardsdtr Marheim, age 47, Hellek Oysteinsson Marheim, age 24 unmarried, at home, soldier, Ola Oysteinsson Marheim, age 24, unmarried, soldier (farm br nr 2, Kasen), Svein Oysteinsson Marheim, age 23 unmarried, no occupation listed, Kari Oysteinsdtr Marheim, age 16, unmarried, no occupation listed, Oystein Oysteinsson Marheim, age 14, unmarried, no occupation listed, Barbara Oysteinsdtr Marheim, age 12, unmarried, Gunnhild Oysteinsdtr Marheim, age 10, unmarried, Turid Oysteinsdtr Marheim, age 4, unmarried
1809                               Ola Oysteinsson Marheim received Marheim br nr 2 from his dad.  Sons Hellek and Ola had part of farm
1835                               Census         1 horse, 4 cows, 8 sheep, 2 goats, 1 tn bygg, 3 potatoes
1836                               Ola Oysteinsson Marheim (Bernas) sold farm to Jon Olsson Marheim his son
1865                census  1 horse, 8 cows, 16 sheep,  2 1/2 and hausta 1 tn
1878                3200 kr
1893                Ingeborg sold farm to Nils Greggardsson

Marheim Farm br. nr. 3      (divided from br nr 1)

1736 When Ola and Aslaug divided farm br nr 1 between his sons Greggard Olsson Marheim and Halvor Olsson Marhem, Halvor’s part 1 ½ tn became br nr 3
1745 Greggard Olsson Marheim split North Marheim br nr 1 with his brother Halvor Olsson Marheim – Halvor’s section became N Marheim br nr 3
1776 Sold br nr 3 to son Jon 1 ½ tn
1788 Sold to brother Knut
1793 Exchanged farm with Hellek Nilsson Marheimsrud
1797                               Hellek Nilsson Marheimsrud sold to Oystein Helleksson Bernas of br nr 2

farm to sister Kari

Marheim Farm br. nr. 4         (1 1/2 tn)

1703                Jon Halvorsson named at farm
1730                               Halvor Jonsson Marheim and Agot Helleksdtr named, husmannsfold at Sud Marheim too
1730                census          1 horse, 6  cows, 1 heifer, 1 calf, 7 sheep, 4 goats and hausta 12 tn
1735                               census          1 horse, 7 cows, 13 sheep, 4 goats and 2 1/2 bygg, 4 tn potat
1736                               Halvor Jonsson Marheim and Agot Helleksdtr named, husmannsfold at  Sud Marheim too.
1835                               census          1 horse, 7 cows, 13 sheep, 4 goats, 2 1/2 tn bygg, 4 potat
1865                census          1 horse, 6 cows, 9 sheep, 4 goats and 1 1/2 bygg, 4 tn potatoes

 Marheim - Jorde Farm br. nr. 5 

1735                census          3 cows, 4 sheep, and 1 bygg, 3 tn potat  
1835                census          3 cows, 4 sheep, 1 tn bygg, 3 potat

  South Marheim        1 1/2 tn and 2 huder or 3 1/2 tn

1611                owner Gunnulv
1638                to Oluf Marheim - our grandpa - mayor of Tinn , Norway
1650                Oluf Marheim owned full farm
1657                census          1 horse, 10 cows, 18 sheep ,12 goats and 1 pig; Oluf Marheim is listed as living on the South Marheim farm.  This was considered a very large farm and could feed many people
1668                               Oluf Marheim died and his Marheim holdings went to his son Knut Olsson Marheim.  Knut Olsson Marheim owned enough farms and the Marheim farms were large enough that he could give all his sons a farm
1694                               Knut Olsson Marheim died and farm went to his wife Ase Olsdtr
1716                               Ola Jonsson Marheim received Sud Marheim upon the death    of his father Jon Knutsson Marheim.  Jon Knutsson Marheim's other son received Marheimsrud
1730                               census          1 horse, 6  cows, 1 heifer, 1 calf, 6 sheep, 5 goats and 4 and hausta 12 tn
1735                               census          1 horse, 9 cows, 19 sheep, 5 goats and 2 3/4 tn bygg, 5 1/2 potatoes
1835                               census          1 horse, 9 cows, 19 sheep, 5 goats and 2 3/4 tn bygg, 5 1/2 potatoes
1865                census          1 horse, 8 cows, 17 sheep, 3 goats, 1 gris, 3 1/2 tn bygg, 4 tn potatoes


  Morem's in America

The Marheim's - Morem, Morreim, Marum, .......began emigrating to America in 1842 from Tinn, Telemark, Norway. My great great grandpa Ole Jonsson Morem emigrated in 1852.   In 1842 many Marheim's departed Drammen, Norway onboard the Bark Ellida in June 1842 and arrived in New York on August 8, 1842.  


Some of the Morem's that came to America are




The Morem farm in Harmony, Fillmore, Minnesota

The Morem farm in America was purchased by my great great grandpa Ole Jonsson Marheim on 4 July 1863 from Ole's cousins John and Mary Johnson

The following census information for the Morem farm

1870 Federal Census lists Ole, Ase (his wife), John, Henry, Austin (sons all born in Minnesota). Ole is listed as a farmer and Ase as keeping house in Harmony, Fillmore, MN.

1870 Federal Census Production of Agriculture Schedule for Ola Jonsson Marheim - Ola Morem in Harmony, MN. Dwelling Number 115, Family Number 116

20 acres of improved land
66 acres of unimproved land
0 acres of unimproved woodland
value of farm $700
value of farming implements and machinery $100
no wages were paid during the year
2 horses
2 milk cows (milch)
0 oxen
0 other cattle
1 swine
value of live stock $250
270 bushels of spring wheat

50 bushels of Indian corn
102 bushels of oats
15 bushels of Irish potatoes
75 pounds of butter
5 tons of hay
value of home manufactures $12
value of animals slaughtered or sold for slaughter $65
estimated value of all farm production, including betterments and additions to stock $365

1880 Federal Census lists Ole, Ase (his wife), John (son, working on farm), Henry (son, working on farm), Austin (son, attending school), and Augusta (Gustie - daughter attending school) living on farm in Harmony, Fillmore, MN.

All children are listed as attending school at some time during the year. According to the census, Ole and Ase could neither read nor write English.

The Morem Farm was purchased by Ole's son, Henry Morem, on 15 Dec 1897 for $2000.00.  In this deed there is a paragraph that states..."maintain the aforesaid grantors during their natural lives said forsard ...furnish all necessary food, clothing, wood, comfortable dwelling house, medical attention and receiving when necessary and all other necessities required by them...

Henry indulged in heavy work, ditch digging, masonry, farming until he had to take it easy when he suffered a heart condition. Henry played euchre and was an achiever.

1900 census listed as head of household; living with Henry his dad Ole emigrating to USA 1852; Henry's sister Agot and her daughter (Henry's niece) Olivia.

1930 census living Harmony, Fillmore, MN

Henry; farmer; owns farm, no value listed

My grandpa, Oren Lester Morem, was a master carpenter, owned Morem Transfer in Harmony, MN (trucking); foreman of construction at Hormel for over 18 years. Oren's sponsors are Nils Helle, Mrs. Helle, Peder Helgeland, Gustie Morem. At his wedding witness's were Clarence Lee, Miss Portia Hammer (cousins).

1930 census Harmony, Fillmore, MN

occupation of Oren freight truck driver; rented home; value $20

My grandpa and grandma moved to Austin, Minnesota where they lived the remainder of their lives.

The Morem farm in Harmony, Fillmore, Minnesota was taken over by Henry Morem's two sons, Theodore and Irvin Morem.




  Picket Fence Bar

                                                                                      back to the top

Section 3 - Norway - History of Norway/Regions of significance to family 



The following is a brief history of Norway , beginning in 1130.  At this time, Norway was in union with Denmark.  A lot of my history information is focused on the affects history had on farming for Norwegians.  My ancestors were primarily farmers - as were 80-90% of Norwegians in 1801.  While the percentage of farmers decreased over the following decades, in 1865 farmers still constituted 75% of Norway 's population.  



Norwegian Vikings plunder and settle European seacoasts and Iceland .  Norway is organized as a state in the 10th century by Scandinavian Northmen, or Vikings.


The year 1130 is regarded as the start of the so-called "High Middle Ages", a period of population growth, consolidation within the Church, and the rise and development of the towns.  As Crown and Church brought district after district under their rule the degree of public administration and authority increased. 

11th Century

Norway becomes a united Christian Kingdom.

1100s and 1200s

The power of the monarchy increased in the 1100s and 1200s, ending in victory both over the Church and the nobles.  The traditional secular aristocracy was replaced by a serving aristocracy.  The status of the farmers changed in this period, from that of freeholder to that of tenant.  In the middle ages almost all  Norwegian farm land was owned by the king, the church, and a few wealthy land owners.  The church, for example, received considerable real estate as gifts in return for agreeing to provide a requiem mass in the memory of the donor.

However, the farmer, who usually rented his lands on a lifetime basis, enjoyed a free status that was rare indeed in most of contemporary Europe .  The slaves of the Viking age also disappeared in the High Middle Ages.

The state revenues in the High Middle Ages were extremely modest by European standards.  Towards the end of the period they were scarcely adequate to finance any expansion.  The Black Death or Black Plague 1349-1350 had raged with terrible effect, reducing the population to one half or possibly only one third of the Norwegians of its pre-1350 level.  The loss of the labor force causes the abandonment of farms.  This development prompted the King and the nobility to seek revenues from lands and feudal estates, regardless of national boundaries.



Political Union with Denmark begins



The late Middle Ages were a period of marked economic deterioration in Norway .  The population had been drastically reduced by the ravages of the Black Death and other plagues during the fourteenth century.  Many farms in the marginal areas were deserted, and incomes sank.  Those who survived moved onto the best farms in the center of their communities....The result of this was that the land owners had to decrease their lease fee in order to rent out the farms.  It remained at low levels until the 1600's. 

The economic depression brought political consequences in its wake.  Denmark assumed increasing importance as the major Nordic land.  Danish and German nobles were appointed to the highest official offices.  Lands and episcopal residences passed into foreign hands.  The Norwegian nobility dwindled.  Thus was the will and the ability of national self-assertion gradually sapped.

This decrease in income to the landowners, the nobility, and the church, is perhaps the most important explanation as to why Norway as almost a province under Denmark for such a long time period - there was no economic base for a separate Norwegian governmental system.



The political links with Denmark (Norway was still in union with Denmark) drew Norway unavoidably into the wars that Denmark waged with Sweden and the Baltic Sea powers.



Development of the shipping fleet and fishing industries begins



By 1660, the king and church had sold off a great deal of its land holdings.  The farms were sold due to the crises (Black Death) in the late middle ages, which led all landowners to suffer a dramatic decrease in the income they received from leasing out land.  There was a sharp decrease in farm income due to the decreases in the population and in productivity that the Black Death brought about.

From 1661-1721 more and more farmers purchased their own farms.  One reason for this was the increasing use of mortgages which allowed farmers to borrow the purchase money.  The farmers would buy the farm, log the timber on the farm, and sell the timber to obtain money for mortgage payments.  Another reason was the increasing willingness of landowners to sell their land because they could invest the capital in the shipping industry and receive a higher rate of return.    And finally, a law passed in 1684 that limited the amount that a landowner could charge for the fee payable each time a new tenant farmer took over a farm and the fee for renewing the lease every three years.



Denmark and Norway take part in the Napoleonic wars as French allies.  Blockades and famine are common in Norway during this time.



Norway begins a union with Sweden .  Denmark had to surrender Norway as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.  This ended 434 years of union between Norway and Denmark .  Norwegians declared themselves independent, but Norway is forced to accept union with Sweden .  Norway , however, retains its own constitution and parliament.

1814 - 1829

Norway was hit by the worst economic depression it had ever suffered.  The common market with Denmark was dissolved and the British market was closed to Norwegian timber.  Mines and sawmills lost foreign custom.  Many of the wealthier middle class citizens in southeast Norway went bankrupt.  The crisis was hard and long.



During this period, Norwegians were undergoing a change in their agricultural system.  Like the rest of Europe , the country's agriculture was emerging from a self-contained semi feudal system into a mercantile agriculture, based on the principle of cultivation for profit.  In exchange for manufactured goods, Norway began exporting large amounts of agricultural products to the industrialized nations of Europe , and, as a direct result, traditional farming methods as generations had known them were radically transformed.



From the 1830's Norway enjoyed a period of economic boyoyancy, which fed demands for freer trade and customs regulations.  Trading rights were expanded and customs tariffs were given a free trade basis.  Norway started to take part in general developments in Europe .  The first railway line was laid in 1854.  Telegraph lines were erected.  New management methods were introduced in agriculture.


Emigration from Telemark , Norway , specifically Tinn, Telemark , Norway began in 1837



On 9 April 1940 the Nazi's invaded Norway and would occupy Norway for the next 5 years. 

The Nazi's occupied the town of Rjukan , which is where Tinn, Telemark , Norway is located.  The Marheim farm sits on the bank of Tinn Lake , where the bombing of the ferry took place - ending any possibility of Germans producing the atomic bomb in the near future.  Although I have not read any specific relatives name in my research, there is no possible way that they could not have been affected.

A movie, starring Kirk Douglas, "Heroes of Telemark" commemorates the bombing of the Hydro plant at Vemork in Rjukan , Norway .

The following is some of the information that I found on Norway during the occupation.

On June 7, 1940 the King, Crown Prince and government departed for England and established the Norwegian government in exile.  The Norwegian Supreme Court Judges resigned the same month.  It would be 5 years before the king and government would return to Norway .

Resistance towards the Nazi Germans was very strong amongst the Norwegian people.  Underground military groups were established with civilians to assist in the Allied and Norwegian intelligence.

Resistance took many shapes:  police warned the Resistance of German plans, mail, phone and railway workers took many chances in illegal work and many employees in the public sector lost their lives that way.  Authors, actors and artists blacklisted publishers, theatres and movie houses that had been put under Nazi leadership.  Even the public joined in so that at many plays, shows and movies, the seats were empty.  Doctors assisted in many ways, engineers joined in actions of sabotage in industries of military importance.  Sportsmen of all kinds refused to sign up for competitions arranged by the nazified Norwegian Sports Association. 

In September 1941 a curfew from 8PM until 5 AM was announced, banning all meetings during curfew.  Also in the fall of 1941 listening to radio was prohibited and all radios were confiscated.  In 1942, the Germans introduced the death penalty to anyone caught listening to a radio.

Blackouts were general:  All street lamps were turned off, pocket flashlights were forbidden to use outdoors, no light must be emitted from any window, windows had to be covered by heavy blackout paper or black drapes. 

In 1939 coffee and sugar were being rationed.  By 1941, many other items were rationed, including milk.  Only newborn and sick people could have fresh milk.  The longer the occupation continued, the smaller the rations became.  The Germans often conducted house-to- house searches for illegal items.  Even though there was a terrible lack of food and other supplies, the Norwegians were very inventive on substituting.

In March 1942, 1100 teachers all over Norway were arrested (for not signing Nazi documents of teaching), and 500 of the teachers were deported to forced road labor camps.

The following is an article written about the bombing of the Hydro plant at Vemork in Rjukan during WWII.  It explains the importance of this area and why it was occupied:

The heavy water production facility of Hydro at Vemork in Rjukandalen, Telemark was vital to the Germans' attempt to produce an atomic bomb and became the objective of a select group of 6 commandos (second lieutenants Joakim Ronneberg CO, Knut Kaukelid, Kaspar Idland, sergeants Hans Storhaug, Birger Stromsheim and Fredrik Kayser) from Company Linge who were dropped on Hardangervidda - the mountain plateau above the factory in February 1943 with orders to destroy the factory.

Aided by an advance party headed by second lieutenant Jens Anton Poulsen, sergeant Arne Kjelstrup, radio operator Knut Haugland and sergeant Claus Helberg and a 9 man demolition group, the commandos managed to get four men inside the heavily guarded "eagles nest" like mountainside target, placed their high explosives with a 30 second fuse, and got out to watch the factory go up in smoke.  5 months later an American air bombing attack again stopped production and one year later Knut Haukelid assisted by two locals Rjukan boys, Lier Hansen and Sorlie, blew up the ferry transporting the only heavy water ever made before it could be sent to Germany.

The following information comes from a brochure put out by the museum in Rjukan , Norway .



Had the Germans been allowed to continue research on heavy water, they might well have been in a position to produce an atomic bomb, and this could have meant defeat for the Allies.  This was the conclusion reached by Allied scientists who were themselves working intensely to produce an atomic bombs, proceeding along different lines, at a time when WW II was at its height.  Not only were they still far from a solution, but all available stocks of heavy water were produced at Rjukan, in German occupied Norway .  This was the background for one of the most daring sabotage acts of WW II.

It all started in March 1942, when a lone parachutist was dropped.  On October 19th four Norwegians were dropped in the Songadal area, just west of Rjukan.  The task of this group, which had been give the code name GROUSE, was to prepare the ground for the sabotage operation, and to maintain radio contact with the UK to collect intelligence on the production of heavy water.



The GROUSE Group had a hard task reaching their planned headquarter.  For many long days, too, until few accumulators could be obtained, they were without contact with the outside world.  But a month later, on November 19th a British sabotage group was dispatched from England .  This consisted of 34 mean, all specially trained, who were transported in two gliders all the way from England .  Their task was to attack the heavy water plant at Vemork and destroy it.  Grouse was to act as "reception committee" and prepared for a landing at Skoland new Lake Mosvann .

This venture ended in disaster:  the plane towing one of the gliders crashed into a mountain, and the glider followed suit, while the other glider, after being released, failed to land.  Some of its occupants were killed, and all survivors were shot by the Germans.

Despite this set back the Grouse Group was still intact, though from now on its code name was changed to SWALLOW.  They had to withdraw into the heart at the Hardangerplateau where they spent the winter, seeking out what was left of their food with wild reindeer, which they were lucky enough to track down and shoot. 



On February 16, 1943 , a new group known as GUNNERSIDE was dropped on the Hardanger plateau.  They landed over thirty miles from their intended dropping zone, in a blizzard, and it was several days before they could join forces with the four men of the original GROUSE party, now renamed SWALLOW.

In the evening of February 27th the saboteurs were lying up, ready to strike, at Fjosbudalen, just north of the Vemork works; soon they had tackled the perilous and difficult descent, negotiating the gorge running down to the heavy water plant, and forcing their way with wire clippers through the perimeter gates, approached the plant.  The cover party took up their position, and the sabotage group made their way swiftly to the target, placing their explosive charges on the vital container of heavy water, the bulk of which was destroyed.  Strangely enough the German guards had no idea that anything unusual was afoot in the area.  After a strenuous trek on skies they reached the safety of the plateau, where they went into hiding.

After resting they split up into two groups:  one fully armed and in uniform, skied clear across Norway to the safety of neutral Sweden .  The other party remained on the Hardanger plateau, skillfully avoiding capture by the many German patrols who combed the countryside in an attempt to run them to earth.  Meanwhile radio contact was maintained with the Allied Command in London right up to the end of the war.



Meanwhile the plant was rebuilt, and to counter this new threat the Americans decided to bomb the factory.  On November 16, 1943 , 140 Flying Fortresses bombed Vemork power station and the factory, and the Germans were forced to abandon all plans for production.  The raid, however, cost twenty Norwegian lives.



The saboteurs soon received information that the Germans had decided to move all stocks of semi processed heavy water from Rjukan to Germany .  Orders was issued from London to sabotage this plant at all costs.

The weakest link in the chain was the ferry that carries the railway across lake Tinnsjo .  The night before the ferry was due to sail, the Norwegian saboteur group managed to place a time charge on board.  On Sunday February 29, 1944 , the ferry blew up and sank in the middle of the lake, taking its containers of heavy water to the bottom.  Apart from the loss of four German guards, fourteen Norwegian civilians also perished.  But the battle for heavy water in Norway was over.

When the costs of the war were estimated in Norway , the tally showed that 10,262 Norwegians had been killed, including 883 women and 3,670 seamen.  The Germans had executed 366 and tortured 39 to death.  Among political prisoners and members of the underground, 658 died at home and 1,433 abroad.  The resistance had suffered 2091 dead, of those 226 women.

About 6,000 Norwegians had served the German war caused, and 709 of them had fallen in battle.

In addition, several died shortly after liberation - too worn out to live any longer.

During the years of occupation, the Germans had absorbed nearly 40% of the gross domestic product.  In addition, there was the considerable material destruction.    Finmark county had been almost totally razed, and a number of towns and communities were damaged by bombings or had been burned by the retreating Germans.  An estimated 16% of the national wealth had been lost, and the outflow to the occupying power had been twice as high per capita as it was, for instance, in France .    On the whole, however, Norway was one of the occupied countries, which suffered the least during the war. 

When the war broke out, the merchant navy totally 1,024 ships and had a combined tonnage of about four million.  It's service had been vital to the Allied war effort.  During one period, Norwegian vessels were transporting more than 30% of all the oil under shipment from the USA to Great Britain .  But the costs were high; in the course of the war the fleet was reduced to 2.3 million tonnes.

On May 8, 1945 Norway accepted the surrender of Akerhus Fortress in Oslo , Norway from the Germans.  This was the day after Germany signed the unconditional surrender ending WWII in Europe .

An addition to the history of Norway during WWII

I recently saw a special on ABC News 20/20 on the Hitler’s “Master Race”.  Norway was very much a part of this plan but I had never read anything about this concerning the Norwegians during WWII.  The more I learned about it the more I know why – it is not a proud part of Norway ’s history.

One episode of the Nazi plan for a “master race” was the program implemented by Reich SS leader Heinrich Himmler.  In short, for decades, Germany ’s birthrate was decreasing and the goal was to reverse the decline and increase the Germanic/Nordic population of Germany to 120 million.  Thus the Lebensborn children program began.  From 1935 – 1945 at least 7,500 children were born in Germany and 10,000 in Norway .  Heinrich Himmler believed that Lebensborn children would grow up to lead a Nazi Aryan nation.  Heinrich Himmler issued a direct order to all SS and police to father as many children as possible to compensate for war casualties  (blond hair and blue eyes were preferred, and family lineage had to be traced back at least three generations.  Prior to conception, the mother must pass a purity test.   The expectant mothers, wed or unwed, were set up in Lebensborn homes that provided a home and the means to have their children in safety and comfort.  Norway had 9 such homes.  Many of the children were eventually stolen from their mothers or were war orphans.  Many of the children in Norway were abandoned by their mothers after the war, due to being shunned by society.

In Norway , the government has only just recently given its official apology to the Lebensborn children who were born in that country.  However, after half a century of abuse at the hands of the Norwegian government many of the children are not satisfied and are currently planning a class-action lawsuit in an effort to obtain considerable financial compensation for their suffering



Norway was divided into three classes in 1801.  Almost 2% were considered upper class.  This included the wealthy landowners, officials, large merchants, mine and mill operators.  40% fell into the middle class made up of farmers and craftsmen.  The lower class included the servants, cotters, day laborers and unemployed paupers.

The farming community of Norway was made-up of many different levels of farm owner or farm worker.  When reading Norwegian census or church records, certain words might be found that indicate the level that the ancestor occupied in this social order.  Following are some of the terms which might be called occupations or titles but actually told quite a bit more about a person and his social status.

Bonde – freeholder, proprietor, farm owner.  Also called gardmann, odelsbonde, small and large landholder

Bruker – tenant farmer; actual user of the land

Bygselbrev – tenant farmer; does not own the land but has a lease

Dagarbeider – day laborer

Fattiglemmer – unemployed, paupers; lived by traveling and begging

Forpakter – ran a farm for its owner

Innerst – farm laborer, residing servant

Losjerende – renters; rented a room or two on a farm

Tjenestefolk – servant on a farm

Odegardsmann – farmer living on a small farm



For centuries farmers had become use to a system of land privately and rigidly controlled and to a shared common land.  With the emerging pressures of population and the need to produce for a cash income, this system became obsolete, and landowners were no longer able to accommodate the cotters and landless day laborers whose numbers more than doubled in the first half of the nineteenth century.  With over ¾ of the population engaged in agriculture in 1801, and still 2/3 in 1865, emigration became inevitable.

Unlike earlier days, membership in the bonder class during the 19th century no longer gave one a guarantee of economic security.  The system of primogeniture, whereby the eldest son inherited the family farm, had been the accepted rule among this class.  Primogeniture, coupled with an increasing population, and the lack of available new farmland, together with fluctuating grain prices on the world market, brought many bondes (farms) to financial ruin.

The terms used most often in farm histories, census and emigration records do not necessarily referring to a person’s occupation because a great deal of people combined farming with fisheries or forestry.  They worked as blacksmiths, shoemakers and in many other trades.  Their means of livelihood almost never consisted of only one “occupation”.

Farming terms refer to the rights to the farming land they used and also depended on where and when in geography time.

Two of the fixed classes that comprised this agricultural population:

Bonder or freeholders (Gardbrukar, bonde, freehold, proprietor, farmowner, gardmann, odelsbonde, small and large landholder)

- who can be divided into small and large landholders

Husmand or cotters (cottager, crofter, sharecropper, smallholder)

 - considered themselves free men.  It became virtually impossible, for these people to rise above their station of birth, and it was only the exceptional individual who achieved economic independence.

Husmand owned little, renting their dwelling houses and a few acres of land from the Bonde.  In return, Husband rendered their services a certain number of days a week for the Bonde.  Husmand, as well as the day laborers and servants, suffered most from the economic and social disruption of the 19th century.


Selveier – a person who owns the farmland he or she is using, and who has a registered deed to prove the ownership.  This deed is both a security and potential danger.  It’s a property and in a bankruptcy it can get lost to the creditors.  They are equal in social class to leilending.

Leilending – “tenant farmer”   (tenant farm couple) The leilending didn’t own the farm.  The right to use the land was granted through a registered lease contract.  They could also be referred to as bygselmann

The lease was valid for his or her lifetime.  A leilending was usually a married couple.  In contrast, there are many single persons in the selveire group.

Together selveire and leilendinger constituted the class of farmers the used registered farmland units.  They were of a socially equal group.

In most cases, a leilending couple could let married offspring “inherit” the lease, but then a new lease contract had to be registered.  If a bankruptcy occurred (and it often did) the lease contract was not treated as a property, so in most cases the leilending could continue to live there and use the land as before.  The biggest threat was the death of either the husband or the wife.  Since there had to be a couple on the farm, remarriages were very common in the leilending system

Husmann (cotter)

-          -         farm land they used was never registered as separate units

-          -         their houses stood on land that belonged to a selveier or was leased by a leilending

-          -         their lease contracts were limited in time

-          -         in most cases a husmann was a couple

A Husmann could be someone with farmland or without farm land.  However, the couple might own a cow and a few sheep.

There was a social gap between the husmann on side and the selveir or leilending on the other, especially inland.

The husmann class can be seen as the solution to a difficult problem:  A growing population had to make a living in a country where the land resources didn’t expand at the same rate.  Many couples could get a farm, but not all.  The last group became husmenn.  By and large the husmenn had to their disposal the poorest land resources, and they lacked any kind of permanent rights to use them.

During the 1800’s, the husmann group grew in numbers.  Their means of living didn’t get any better; most of them experienced harder times.  Then came a new possibility – farmland in another country.  The emigration of America was heavily recruited from the husmann group.

The innerst is a couple or single persons who rented a room (or maybe rooms), often on farms.  They could be:

- Newlyweds waiting to get their own house or farm

- people who moved from place to place, living of some craft (shoemakers, tailors, etc)

- seasonal workers on the farm

- very poor, sick or old persons

This group had the most temporarily character.  The persons in this group were usually in transition, either to something better – or to something much worse.



Meaning of farm names

These can be used at the beginning or ending of farm names.

    bank                 bank

    berg                  cliff, mountain

    bo                     adobe

    borg                  castle

    bro                   bridge

by                     village

dal                    valley

fjell                   mountain, hill

gard/gaard        farm

haug                 island

heim                 home

hof                     court

land                  land

li/lie/lee             mountain slope

lund                   grove (of trees)

nes                   headland

rud                   clearing

stad                  place

strand               shore

    vaag                 bay, inlet

vik                    cove, creek




Telemark is among the most versatile counties in Norway , encompassing everything from Hardangervidda in the North, to the beautiful coastal region of Jomfruland and Kragero.



TINN, TELEMARK , NORWAY - the town where the Marheim farm is located

There were no cities or villages in Tinn, and therefore, the farms in the area were grouped around four churches.  The churches were Austbydi, Atra, Mael, and Dal.  In 1911 a dam and hydroelectric plant were built on the Mana River , which resulted in the establishment of the city of Rjukan .  The Atra church, located near the Marheim farm was originally an old Stave church, which was dismantled in later years.  The new Atra church, which is still used today, was erected in 1834.

There were 3 stave churches located in Tinn, Telemark , Norway at sometime in history.  The parishes they were located in were Atra (parish where Marheim farm is located), Mael, and Dal.  They are listed as “stave churches that just disappeared”.

Tinn can boast many beautiful churches.  The oldest is Atra, dating from 1836 and decorated with the traditional rose painting by the local artist, Oystein Orekas.  Mael church was built in 1839 and Hovin in 1850.  These churches were built on the sites of earlier stave churches.  Austbygd church was finished in 1888, Dal in 1775 and Rjukan church, which is the most recent in 1915.  This church has a dramatic history.  In 1927 there was a huge flood in Rjukan causing landslides down the mountainside.  One of these swept away the vicarage and a corner of the church.  In 1953 the ceiling collapsed, fortunately on to an empty church.  Then in 1965 the church burned to the ground.  The church was being used to film “The Heroes of Telemark” and in the evening a fire started in which everything combustible went up in flames.  The church was subsequently rebuilt in a modern style.

Tinn is comprised of the former districts of Hovin and Tinn.  The rural population of Tinn makes its living in agriculture and forestry.  Atra and Tinn Austbygd are villages in the area but most of the population lives in the administrative center of Rjukan.  Vacation cottages are numerous in the valleys of Tessungdalen, Skjervedal, and Nystoldalen.  Tinnsjoen is Europe ’s second deepest lake with a depth of 461 meters.  The township also includes Vestfjord, Mount Gausta and parts of the Hardanger moors.

In 1625 Tinn , Norway had 23 Odelsboendar  (land owners) and 39 Leiglendingar (tenant farmers)

In  1635 Tinn, Norway had 12 Odelsbonder (land owners) and 39 Leiglendingar (tenant farmers)  

1645 Gullbrand Marheim owned 11 farms (12 tn); Gisle Boen owned 6 farms (5tn) and Brynulv Rue owned 7 farms (5 tn) in Tinn, Norway

Tinn today:  Tinn , Norway is comprised of the former districts of Hovin and Tinn.  The rural population of Tinn makes its living in agriculture and forestry.  Atra and Tinn Austbygd are villages in the area but most of the population lives in the administrative center of Rjukan.  Vacation cottages are numerous in the valleys of Tessungdalen, Skjervedal, and Nystoldalen.  Tinnsjoen is Europe 's second deepest lake with a depth of 461 meters.  The township also includes Vestfjord, Mount Gausta and parts of the Hardanger moors.

RJUKAN , NORWAY     The History of Rjukan, Telemark , Norway

The power was to be found in the lovely, fierce Rjukan waterfall.  Sam Eyde, an engineer, and Kristian Birkeland, a natural scientist, had the knowledge.

Fertilizer was in great demand all over the world because of a booming population growth.  These factors laud the foundation for a large scale hydropower development and one of the most technically sophisticated electrochemical process plants in the era.  

It was nothing less than revolution for the remote Vestfjord Valley where 50 families lived in 1907.  Hardly, 10 years later it was a throbbing industrial community with 10,000 inhabitants and contact lines stretching out to all the corners of the world.   

Rjukan is the historic site of the nation’s first heavy industry.  Here is the Norwegian industrial society concentrated form in the midst of old rural civilization and surrounded by mountain wilderness.  

Hydro provided everything – housing, shops, hospital, fire station, even dairy to supply the townspeople with milk.  Thanks to it’s founder, the great industrialist Sam Eyde, the town was built to high architectural standards, characterized by a classical style.

The managing director and engineers were allocated the houses high up in the mountainside, where the sun first shone in the spring and lasted longest in the autumn.  Office workers had their houses lower down in the valley.  Since Norsk Hydro sold its housing the class distinction has been wiped out.

Rjukan is a growing town, which has been pleasantly modernized.

Rjukan was created by Norsk Hydro around the turn of the century.  Its name comes from the Rjukan Falls , meaning “smoky”.  The falls, in Maristujuvet Gorge, were a famous tourist attraction until they were tamed to produce power for the new industry and town.  Until Norsk Hydro established the factory here, Vestfjord Valley had no roads and was an isolated place.  Within a few years the area had been transformed into a bustling industrial town with a total of 9000 inhabitants.  This venture was unparalleled in Norwegian industrial history.  It is therefore only natural that the National Industrial Workers’ Museum has been established in the old power station at Vemork.  Vemork power station was the site of the German attempt to make “heavy water” for an atomic bomb.  The sabotage which stopped their efforts was depicted in the movie “Heroes of Telemark” starring Kirk Douglas.

Mar Power Station - the rights to Mar water course was purchased by the government in 1920.  However, the building of the Power Station did not start until 1941 when the Germans begun.  But due to the war actions the work stopped.  The first machines started in 1948.  Today the Power Station has five generators.  Mar Power Station also has the world’s longest wooden staircase with almost 4000 steps.  It is located inside the mountain.  

Krosso Cable Railway the Krosso Cable Railway was built by Norsk Hydro so that the people of Rjukan could get up into the sun of the mountain plateaus during the winter months when the town is immersed in shadow.  It was the first such railway in Norway to be enclosed.  Gvefsebor, the station at the top, lies 890 meters above sea level.  From here there is an impressive view over the Vestfjord Valley towards Mt. Gausta .  

Telemark Canal

Before the modern network of roads was developed, Setesdal and inner Telemark had very little contact with the authorities and the people who lived along the coast – apart from the logs they sent down the river.  These once remote parts of Norway have retained a special charm from their days of isolation.

The Telemark canal stretches over 110 km from Skien inland to Dalen.  The five locks at Vrangfoss raise boats some 23 meters, an the sluice gates are manually operated, just as they were 100 years ago when the canal was opened.

The roads wind their lazy way around Telemark, taking you from one breathtaking view to another.  So make sure you take your time, especially on the mountain road over Tuddal to Rjukan.  On a clear day, you can see one seventh of the entire country from Gaustatoppen.  The views stretch from Oslo in the east to Rogaland in the west, and you can see most of the southern coastline in a never ending panorama.

The Canal Queen M/S “Victoria” built in 1882, has traveled between coastline and mountain for 116 years.  Five years ago she finally acquired a mate, M/S “Henrik Ibsen”, built in Sweden in 1907 and now restored and adapted to suit the traditional canal environment.  Victoria can accommodate 180 passengers, Henrik Ibsen 220.  The canal boats sail between Skien and Dalen.

M/S “Telemarken”, which takes its name from one of the earliest boats on the Telemark Canal , continues time worthy traditions in passenger routes on the Norsjo and Heddalsvatn (lakes).  The canal boat is intimate and cozy with ample room on deck, and makes scheduled trips between Akkerhaugen and Lunde – accommodating 140 passengers.


The Telemark Canal, maybe one of Norway ’s most fascinating tourist attractions, stretches 105 km from the beautiful Telemark coastline to the foothills of the Hardanger highlands.  By means of 18 flights of locks, distributed between 18 lock chambers, the boats are lifted 72 m above sea level up to Flavatn ( Lake Fla ).  The journey goes across beautiful lakes, through the locks with their old stone walls, past small houses with their typical canal architecture, through narrow canal passageways, and gliding slowly below the breathtakingly steep mountains.

The Telemark Canal was hewn out of the living Norwegian rock by hand.  Five hundred men laboured for five years to create a waterway linking the heart of Telemark to Europe .  The Canal was finally completed in 1892 as a piece of engineering artistry, swathed in Norway ’s beautiful landscape.  A journey on the Telemark Canal is a journey through millions of years of historic landscape, thousands of years of historic culture and 150 years of transportation history.  The historic perspective is an important part of the Canal’s identity.  The ancient canal boat, “ Victoria ”, which has sailed on the watercourse for well over a century, must be said to be the very symbol of the Canal.  Much of the Canal’s identity can be seen in the meeting of the waters with the various towns and villages along its course.  Here lie locks, quays, power stations and industrial sites.  Each place is different and represents a part of the Canal’s history.  Locks are still turned by hand, as for over a century ago.  The enormous lock gates were fashioned at the sawmills beside the Canal, and the characteristic wrought iron devices were crafted by hand in the Smithies along the Canal banks.  Even today, timber floating is still a part of everyday life in the lower part of the waterway.

The Telemark Canal is the only watercourse in Europe to receive the EUROPA NOSTRA’s highest award.  The Canal was awarded the medal in 1994 for restoration and preservation.  The Europeans have given the Canal their seal of approval and deemed it worth a visit.


Kviteseid, Telemark , Norway

Kviteseid is a tourist area with a landscape of mountains, forest ridges and lakes.  The village of Kviteseid is the administrative center.  The farm Austena has two storehouses which have been dated at 1775 and 1795.  North of Austena is Knutsas, where the houses seemed to be wedged between boulders.  Anne Knutsdtotter, the heroine of a Norwegian folksong, is supposed to have lived here.

Kviteseid village lies along highway 39 south of Brunkeberg.  It is the township’s administrative, business and service center.  It has a beautiful, peaceful location on the Sundkilen, a bay opening off Lake Kviteseid .  The Kviteseid Seminary, opened in 1819, was the first teachers’ college in Norway .  Kvitsund High School , the first Lutheran boarding school in Norway , was built in 1917.  The canal boat “ Victoria ” makes scheduled stops here during the summer.


Voss , Norway

The first travelers came to Voss more than 3000 years ago.  They were hunters and gatherers looking for a place to settle.  In Voss they found fertile green valleys, numerous fishing lakes and mountains with an abundance of wildlife.

This natural wealth formed the basis for the development of a prosperous farming community where rich traditions took root.

At one of the local farms, Finne, a guildhall was built around the year 1250.  Finnesloftet is today part of the collection that is administered by the National Historical Society King Olav the Holy visited the settlement of Voss in 1023 to convert the pagan villagers to Christianity.  The King erected a stone cross, St. Olav’s Cross, as a symbol of the new belief in the region.  The cross is to be seen in the center of Voss.

Uniquely situated between Sognefjord in the north and Hardangerfjorden in the south, Voss lies at the heart of fjord Norway .  A short journey from Voss brings you to awe-inspiring fjords and mountains, with Flamsbanen and Hardangervidda in the east.  Traveling westwards you will arrive at Bergen with its Bryggen and Troldhaugen

Voss retains its cultural heritage with a living tradition in handcrafts.  Modern industries; working in wood, silver and textiles build on techniques and designs dating back to ancient times.

Folk music thrives through the Ole Bull Academy , founded in 1977.  In 1995 the Voss jazz music festival celebrates its 22nd anniversary.

Winter sports have a natural home in Voss.  Alpine, cross-country, biathlon and freestyle; Voss has them all.  Voss prides itself in being represented in the 1994 winter Olympics by having 6 athletes on the Norwegian National Team.  For the adventurous visitor, Voss can offer hang gliding, paragliding, mountaineering and rafting. For those seeking peace and tranquility in a natural setting Voss offers fly-fishing in approximately 500 lakes or a memorable stroll in the mountains.

Voss is primarily an agricultural area, but secondary industries such as commerce, communications, education and tourism; provide our guests with the product-variation, which makes a holiday interesting.

Voss Centre is approx. 56 meters above the sea level and is situated at the end of the lake “Vangsvtnet” and is the administrative center of Voss.  Center of communications, commerce and education for large surrounding district.

King Magnus the Law Mender ordered the building of a church in Voss in the year 1200, Voss Church (Vangskyrkja), Lutheran.  It’s situated right in the center of Voss.  Built in 1271-77, this stately, grey, stone-church with its octagonal wooden spire is without doubt one of the most remarkable in Western Norway .  The stone walls of the church are 2 meters thick in places and the richly decorated interior boasts medieval and renaissance art.  Voss church is almost in daily use.  Voss is also well known in Scandinavia for its fine skiing facilities.


Picket Fence Bar

                                                                                   back to the top


Section 4 - Emigration from Norway to America

Many ethnic groups left their European homelands because of religious or political oppression.  However, that was not the main reason for the Norwegians who had little religious or political persecution in their native land.  Some of the early Norwegian emigrants were Quakers or Hauge followers who suffered persecution, but their numbers were small.

A note about emigration from Tinn , Norway

For a time in Tinn the introduction of the potato, which generally gave reliable annual yields, made it possible to feed more people and thus delayed the inevitable crisis.  Natural resources were put to more intensive use, as far as agricultural methods of time permitted.  Farms were divided among brothers; new land was put under the plow in marginal agricultural areas, as high up as possible; and pastures in outlying fields and in mountain grazing areas were fully exploited.  The largest increase in population occurred among the lower, landless classes, and it was the cotters who took the lead in this cultivation.  The increase in population created a reservoir of mobile people, on the lookout for opportunity wherever it might be found, who once the initial contact had been made in 1837, would consider America a realistic alternative.

Emigration by individuals from the lower social classes in peasant society, however, became noticeable only in the 1850’s.  There was then economic support from earlier emigrants from the community to finance the journey, and Norwegian settlements stood ready to receive the newcomers.  An increase in general mobility in Norwegian peasant society must be acknowledged; the greater mobility manifested itself in the sale and purchase of farms and in people moving within the country.  A Norwegian society was set in motion.  People were not driven out by poverty and hunger but by a hope for a better future and an improved social status.  The pioneer emigrants were people who had sufficient resources to finance their own move.  In many instances they even had means to invest in the purchase of farms, usually government land, after their arrival in America .  The country governor for Lower Telemark, for instance, reported that for the years 1841-45 each family emigrating from the district took along on the average from 200 to 400 speciedaler, a considerable resource.  Their emigration was thus far from being a flight, but instead was in hope of achieving “a gentler existence,” as the county governor in Stavanger wrote in 1845.  Recent Norwegian research views the initial emigration as a stage in upward social mobility; it was, in other words, a surplus phenomenon.

Emigration to America

Norwegians loved the land of their birth and they did not want to leave.  The reasons people left Norway are numerous and varied.  The major reason for Norwegian migration appears to be one of economics.  The Norwegian farms were often small and unable to support a family.  Added to that was the lack of other employment to augment the family income.  Between 1850 and 1910 approximately 681,011 Norwegians made their way to America .

The Norwegians’ reasons for leaving their country were more commonly to be because of the poor conditions and little availability of the farm land necessary for them to earn their livelihood.  The geography and climate of the land played a big part in how much land was available for families to grow on.  75% of the total land area cannot be cultivated, and the remaining 25% is mostly forested and grazing kinds, with only 3% that could be cultivated.  From 1815 forward, the population annually exceeded its agricultural productivity.

This was particularly true for the people of Tinn , Norway in upper Telemark , Norway .  The district of Tinn had used and utilized and exhausted all the resources that a primitive and tradition bound agricultural system could muster in.  In Tinn , Norway the population increased by 37% between 1801 and 1835 from 1810 to 2481.  Although one can find communities with a greater population growth, a mountain community such as Tinn was especially vulnerable.  The natural basis for agricultural production was limited.

When the size of the population exceeded the productivity of the farmland, people had to find other means of living.

From 1801 to 1860 the number of farms increased from 79,256 to over 135,000.  That included some new land that was able to be cultivated with new farming practices and stronger equipment, but the majority came from the old farms being divided and subdivided to make room for the growing population.  In 1907 the majority of farms had less than 15 acres.

Those with acreage too small to support the family had to find extra work to supplement the income.  When years of bad crops occurred, even the extra work was not enough to save the family from bankruptcy or starvation.  Borrowing money was out of the question for the majority.  One never recovered being in debt, so it was better to sell for what they could and leave.

Norway began exporting large amounts of agricultural products to the industrialized nations of Europe , and as a direct result, traditional farming methods as generations had known them were radically transformed.

The system of primogeniture, whereby the eldest son inherited the family farm, had been the accepted rule among the landowners.  Primogeniture, coupled with an increasing population, and the lack of available new farmland, together with fluctuating grain prices on the world market, brought many landowners to financial ruin.  Their sons and daughters, and even some of the landowners themselves were forced to search for other opportunities.  Also, taxes were high.  Few people could afford to pay them.  The winters were long and cold in Norway .  If crops failed, there was little food for the winter.  There were few jobs in cities.  Wages were low.

Jon Jonsson Luras from Tinn, Telemark gave this reason for leaving Tinn, Telemark , Norway :

            "I was my father's oldest son and consequently heir to the Luras farm.  It was regarded as one of the best in that neighborhood, but there was a $1,400.00 mortgage on it.  I had worked for my father until I was 25 years old, and had no opportunity of getting money.  It was plain to me, that I would have a hard time of it, if I should take the farm with the debt resting on it, pay a reasonable amount to my brothers and sisters and assume the care of my aged father.  I saw no way to pay the money owed on the farm.  I saw to my horror how one farm after the other fell into the hands of the moneylenders, and this increased my dread of attempting farming.  But I married and had to do something.  Then it occurred to me that the best thing might be to emigrate to America ."

The difference between America and Norway socially and politically also pulled immigrants to the United States .  Socially, people in Norway lived under a strict social system.  Under this system, people were expected to show public signs of respect to members of the upper classes.  For example, if a man of a high social class were to talk to a man of a lower class, the man from the lower class was expected to removed his hat as a sign of respect to the other man’s high status.  This was a very humbling experience for the man of lower status.  Because the United States did not have an official caste system or such strict protocol for interactions among people, many Norwegians looked at the US as an appealing place to live.

Politically, America also seemed like the land of opportunity and freedom to Norwegian immigrants.  The fact that the U.S. was a republic where the people held regular elections to place political officials in power was appealing to man people in Norway .  During the 19th century, Norway only gave the right to vote to an elite minority of the population.  Suffrage in the United States was not given to everyone in the nation, but white men were given universal suffrage in the 1920’s, and by the end of the 1860’s many states were looking into the possibility of allowing some women the right to vote as well.  The possibility of voting rights was quite appealing to many Norwegian men and women.

For those individuals who were not farmers, the potential wages available in the United States were far more attractive than those in Norway .  For example, by the late 1800’s a sailor on an American ship could earn three to four times the wage of a sailor on a Norwegian ship.  Also jobs in the growing American cities offered work and high wages for Norwegian immigrants.  A laborer in Norway , for example, could earn $40 - $50 a year, while a person involved in such activities as crafts in an American city could earn as much as $4 - $5 a day when times were good

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Norwegian merchants became aware of the possibilities in trade with North American ports.  America 's rapidly expanding industries produced such a growing need for iron that by the mid 1840's the United States emerged as the chief importer of Norwegian ore.  Norway in return imported American cotton, flour, rice, tobacco, rye, logwood, resin, and other natural resources.  The opening of this Norwegian American trade not only provided a means for emigrants to travel directly to America , but it also channeled Norwegians to the northern industrial ports of the United States :  New York , New Haven , Boston , and Baltimore .

One of the earliest Norwegian parties to America in the nineteenth century sailed from Stavanger , Norway on 4 July 1925 .  This party was lead by Kleng Pedersen (Cleng Peerson).  The ship, Restauration, of 45 tons, master being Helland, was a rebuilt sloop carrying 52 passengers.  To that number was added baby Larson, who was born on the voyage.  Many of this party were Quakers, leaving Norway for religious reasons.  The voyage took 97 days and they arrived in New York on 9 Oct 1825 .

The following is a description of a typical ship's voyage in the 1850s (written by a ship captain). 

The arrangements on board were very primitive and inadequate.  On the beams between decks was laid a deck of planks with hatchways down into the hold, where all the baggage was stowed away on top of the cargo.  Two rows of bunks or rough boards were built up, one above the other, the whole length of the ship from fore to aft.  Between these open bunks there were often put up special berths reserved for emigrants whose demands were greater.  Everything else was used in common - no separate rooms for men and women.  Light was admitted through open hatchways and partly through the skylights in the deck.  There was canvas in the hatchways, but during storms and rough seas these often had to be covered, and if this continued for any length of time the air in the room below occupied by the emigrants often became frightfully bad.  There was no first or second cabin.  Each passenger paid twenty-five dollars for his passage, but had to supply himself with bedding and food for the voyage.  The board consisted chiefly of smoked and salted meat, flatbread, and casks of sour milk.  The ships, however, had to equip themselves with ample provisions in case the food of the emigrants should give out during the voyage.

There was only one caboose for all the emigrants in common, but occasionally the ship's caboose was used in addition.  Every one cooked and fixed his food for himself.  It is clear that under these conditions the meals must necessarily be both irregular and inadequate - the porridge pot was boiling all day long.  Generally the captain and the emigrants arranged that one or two from among the latter were chosen every day to supervise the cleaning.  This was of course not much to brag of, especially in the beginning when all had to struggle with seasickness (yet it was really remarkable how soon seasickness generally disappeared) or during a prolonged storm when the hatches had to be kept covered.

A definite portion of water was doled out to the passengers every day.  Just as there was no supervision and no medical inspection before starting, so there was, to begin with, no ship's doctor on board.  The first emigrant ship from this neighborhood, which is known to have had its own doctor, was the Norden of Laurvig.

The passengers were generally landed in New York and Quebec , Canada .  Upon landing, they had to go to the quarantine station where they were subjected to a medical inspection.  The sick were held back, the well were allowed to continue at once their journey inland to country or town and generally they went to Albany , New York and thence to Wisconsin .  As soon as they had disembarked, the ship had nothing to do with them, neither responsibility nor risk.

In spite of the absence of comforts, life on board such as emigrant vessel might be quite gay.  When the weather was fine and the Atlantic lay clear and smooth, the deck at times rang with merriment in the evenings.  The accordion was brought out and to its tones the couples whirled about.  Games were played - in wooden shoes and woolen skirt many a time - and here life long connections were often formed.

Influencing emigration from Norway to the United States was the promotion of the US by emigration agents, newspapers and writers, and earlier settlers. 

As occurred with other European groups, earlier Norwegian settlers to America often sent letters back to friends and family in the homeland.  These letters told of the benefits of living in the United States , and they sometimes urged the receivers of the letters to immigrate to the US . 

The decision to emigrate was strongly influenced by friends or family members already in America , who reported back either in person or by letter.

One famous document that influenced many people to emigrate was the American Manifesto by Norwegian Immigrants written on 25 Sep 1844 .  Many ancestors signed this document.

The most dramatic defense of the immigrants’ new home and their move to America is perhaps a document that has become known as the Muskego Manifesto.  It is in the form of an open letter signed by 80 men, dated 6 January 1845 , and inserted in Morgenbladet on April 1, 1845 .  The manifesto is a able and eloquent expression of the faith Norwegian pioneers had in their future in America ; it indicated a self-assertion and an independence  that have deep roots in the Norwegian peasant class.

Johannes Johansen wrote the document.  The signers acknowledge difficulties, “caused by many kinds of illnesses and by lack of the most essential necessities of life.”


An American Manifesto by Norwegian Immigrants

With an Introduction by Sigurd Bernhard Hustvedt

The document presented in translation below, sent as an open letter to the people of Norway by the Norwegian colonists of Muskego, Wisconsin, and printed in the Christiania Morgenbladet under date of April 1, 1845, has to my knowledge never been reprinted in any language in the United States; it deserves publication in the Centennial year as a sort of Norse American Declaration of Independence, as a striking evidence of the spirit with which the Norwegian immigrants faced the future in the land of their adoption.  The somewhat controversial tone of the communication will be more clearly understood after a glance at the historical background.

Muskego , the first Norwegian colony in the state of Wisconsin , was founded in 1839.  Here rose the first church built by Norwegian hands in America .  Here the first Norse American school began its work and the first Norse American newspaper came from the press.  Here lived some of the most venerable of the Norse pioneers.  It was not one of the most fortunate colonies, but it has become one of the most famous.  To this struggling settlement came, on August 5, 1844, the Reverend JWC Dietrichson, the first clergyman of the State Church of Norway to visit his countrymen in the new world.  Provided with funds by a private citizen of Norway , he had arrived in New York on July 9, 1844 , for the purpose of making a missionary survey of the Norwegian colonies to learn what might be done toward establishing the Norwegian Lutheran church in the wildernesses of America .  Besides Muskego , he visited a number of other settlements, principally in the Middle West , preaching the gospel and conducting other offices of the church en route.  On June 7, 1945 , he returned to Norway from the port of New York .  In the following year he published in Stavanger a little book of 128 pages, giving an account of his travels and making certain recommendations looking to the establishment of a permanent church among the emigrants.  The book confines itself mainly to religious conditions and makes only guarded references to the material situation of the colonists.  Meanwhile, during his travels in America , he had written more intimate letters to friends in Norway expressing more unguarded opinions as to the whole questions of emigration.  One of these letters, written at Muskego on September 25, 1844 , and printed in Morgenbladet on December 8, 1844 , contains the unequivocal statements.  “So far as I have observed conditions hitherto, I am unable to see what advantage the emigrants have gained through exchanging Norway for America .”  In the same letter he was careless enough to say that in America everything 0 in this case a clerical ordination – could be bought for a price.  In short, Dietrichson leaned toward that school of thought in Norway which regarded emigrants as deserters of country and of church.  Others in Norway were disposed to justify emigration on various grounds, principally the more material.  On the publication of Dietrichson’s letter a newspaper controversy sprang up involving the motives of the emigrants, a difference of opinion as to the justifiability of emigration which can be traced in the public press of Norway throughout the nineteenth century.  If the document presented below be not directly occasioned by Dietrichson’s letter, it certainly was occasioned by the dubious attitude of many in Norway toward those of their countrymen who had found it advisable to seek their bread on other shores.  The controversial tone of the round robin from Muskego may be sufficiently explained by reference to the natural reluctance of Norway at seeing so many of her people leaving the land of their birth, a reluctance which some in Norway expressed more wisely than others.  The document follows below.


Something like a year has now gone by since the hearts of nearly all among us were filled with foreboding and discouragement, brought about by illness of various kinds and in part of want of the very necessaries of life; a condition which at that time prevailed among us because of the crowing into our midst of large numbers of our poor immigrant countrymen who, lacking funds to continue their journey, found themselves compelled for a while to sojourn here.  It was a season of sorrow, such as to try the patience of several of us to the utmost.  A certain few, overwrought in mind, even spread the most thoughtless rumors, accompanied in some cases by curses and expressions of contempt or America, as much as to say that God had no part in creating this land, a land so highly endowed by nature that even its uncultivated condition must be regarded as in effect half cultivated when compared with the native state of the soil in Norway and many other European countries; a land which for centuries has been a safe refuge for exiles from nearly every state in Europe, exiles who have, almost without exception, found here a carefree livelihood after conquering the first difficulties that beset every pioneer community, provided only that they bent their minds on gaining through industry and thrift the necessary means of subsistence.  There are some who complain of the trials that immigrants at first must meet; but all such persons should feel a sense of shame when they recall what history ahs to tell of the sufferings of those earliest immigrants who opened the way for coming generations by founding the first colony in the United States, the Virginia colony.  Not only were they visited by contagious diseases and by famine; they had also to fight against wild beasts and Indians.  Through such misfortunes the colony was on several occasions nearly exterminated and had to be reinforced.  At length, of some six hundred colonists about sixty were left; these survivors, facing certain death from famine, found themselves compelled to leave the shores of the country in boats which they had built in the hope of reaching the banks of Newfoundland and of meeting there with fishing vessels on which they might return to England .  But, as it appeared, such as not the will of God.  Just as they had embarked they came, at the mouth of the Potomac River , the gateway to the colony, across some ships that had been sent out from England fro their relief.  Thus encouraged they returned to continue the work of settlement that they had begun.  So they fought and won their victory; and so they became the immediate occasion whereby it has been made possible for twenty millions of people to find abundant resources in the United States, a number which is supposed to be capable of being doubled more than once before the opportunities here shall have been exhausted.  Should not we likewise, with brighter prospects than theirs, entertain the hope of winning by perseverance victories like theirs and of gaining what wee need to sustain life!  Or should God, who in his word has laid upon us the precept, “Be fruitful, and multiple, and replenish the earth,” not crown, such an undertaking with success, inasmuch as He has so richly endowed this land and made it more fitted to produce all manner of food for mankind than perhaps any other country in the whole world; more especially under the present conditions, when overpopulation in Europe, greater than at almost any earlier time, ahs made emigration a necessity.

“The dissatisfaction that showed itself at the beginning among many of the immigrants at this place had its origin for the most part in an unseasonable homesickness more to be looked for in children than in grown people; it arose from such circumstances, for instance, as that they had to get along without certain kinds of food to which they had been accustomed, that this or that article in their diet did not have the same flavor as it had in the old home, that they suffered from the lack of some convenience or other, or that they missed certain of their friends with whom they had before had pleasant association.  By taking such things to heart they permit their minds to be filled with unquiet longings that must remain fruitless.  Meanwhile they lose sight of all those former difficulties, of the whole gloomy prospect of material success under which they labored heavily in the land of their birth; and so they now imagine that place where they were born to be that land of Canaan which at one time they supposed to lie in America.  One who tires to forget bygone things and to look forward instead, and who pursues his lawful labors in patience and in the fear of God, will surely not find his hopes disappointed if he will only aim, so far as his material needs are concerned, to be content with his daily bread.  We have no expectation of gaining riches; but we live under a liberal government in a fruitful land, where freedom and equality are the rule in religious as in civil matters, and where each one of us is at liberty to earn his living practically as he chooses.  Such opportunities are more to be desired than riches; through these opportunities we have a prospect of preparing for ourselves, by diligence and industry, a carefree old age.  We have therefore no reason to regret the decision that brought us to this country.

An attempt has been made to prevent people from coming to this country by representing America as a suitable refuge for released convicts or such men as seek to escape the wrath of the law.  It is true that many persons of this type have come hither and that here as elsewhere there are altogether too many wicked men.  Yet this state of affairs is unavoidable, inasmuch as good men and evil are permitted to come in, the one with the other; nevertheless, assault, robbery, and theft are much less common here than in the lands from which such men may have come.  At all events, misdeeds of this kind are unheard of among us, and so no one need shrink back from America on this account.  Attempts have also been made to frighten people away from this settlement because of the presence of illness among us last year; yet although the summer just past was unusually wet and cold for this latitude, we have not suffered from any epidemic, in spite of certain fears during the spring; and we have reason to hope that we shall continue to be spared.

“Only a few words more.  By reason of the circumstances just mentioned, namely the privations and the sickness that revisited our colony and robbed most of us of the gains of our labor, some among us found it expedient to turn to our friends in Norway with a request for assistance in building the church of which we stood in such great need.  The response to our request has been so unexpectedly generous that we have been enabled to complete after a fashion the church building that for some time has been under construction in this settlement.  Wherefore we take occasion to express here our thanks to the honored donors, the following named men:

            Hr. Proprieter TO Bache, Walle pr….Drammen….200 Daler

            Hr. Stadshauptmand N. Bache …….Drammmen…..100 Daler

            Hr. Kjobmand T. Bache…… Drammen ……50 Daler

            Hr. Kjobmand E. Olsen…… Drammen ….50 Daler

            Hr. Kjobmand JK Lykke…..Throndhjem….10 Daler

            Hr. Simen Svendren…….Lier…….15 Daler

            Hr. Tollef Moreh………………5 Daler               Total   430 Daler


“The newspaper editors of Norway are hereby respectfully requested by the undersigned, their countrymen, to publish this account in its entirety and without change in their daily press, and to append our several names.

“The settlement of Muskego, in Racine and Milwaukee Counties, Wisconsin Territory in the United States, Jan 6, 1845 .


Signer (as name appeared)

Name in my history


Joh. Johansen



A. Kleve



Thormod Flaettre



J Helgesen



T Helgesen



Halvor Nilssen Lohenev



Ole Nilssen Lohenev



Jorgen Larsen



Osten Maeland

Oystein Gunnleiksson Maeland


Osten Ingulvsland

Oystein Herbjornsson Ingolvsland


Halvor Olssen Silgundalen



Ole Olsen Gronhovd



Halvor Longflaat

(Halvor Tovsson Lyngflat)


Gunnuf Sorem



Anders Larsen Folsland



Even Hansen Heg

Even Hansen Heg


Osten larsen



Torgeir Ostensen Luraas

Torgeir Oysteinsson Luras


Halvor Ostensen Luraas

Halvor Oysteinsson Luras


Asle Hellesen Fosgaard



Hermo Tuft



Herbjorn Nilssen Ingulvsland

Herbjorn Nilsson Ingolvsland


Knudt Johnsen Bekhuus

(Knut Jonsson Bakhus)


Torsten Torbjosensen



John Nilsen Ruii

Jon Nilsson Rue


Bjorn Hatlestad



Lars Olsen Dommerud



Tarjer Olsen Landsverk



Ole Knusen Thraeim



Thore Thoresen Spaanheim

Tore Toresson Spanheim


Hans Torgrimsen Tveitve

Hans Torgrimsson Tveito


Halvor Halvorsen Grasdalen



Tosten Rearsen Bo



Knud Johnsen Luraas

Knut Jonsson Luras


Niels Halvorsen Graesdalen



Torbjorn Halvorsen Jr.



Ole Leiufsen Vemork

Ole Leiulvsson Vemork


Ole Jacobsen Emurg

(Ole Jakobson Einung)


Christen Olsen Grove of Laurdal



Torkel Kittilsen Lislerud



Halvor Torbjornsen Omnes



Jan Pedersen Husevold

Jon Persson Husevoll


Hotjer mattisen Fossoe

(Holje Mattis Fosso)


Herbjorn Gunmundsen Hagen



Osten Olsen Skaalaas



Ole Gjermundsen Haakaanes

There is one b 1811


Ole Evensen Kjonaas



A. Hansen



Bryjul. Tollevsen Groue



Ole Larsen Groue



Colben Davidsen Westreim



Stork Jeversen Wiche



Gulaug Iversen Wiche



Ole Pedersen Engen.



Andres Bol.



Gregar Halvorsen Nogarden

                     of Fladel



Tosten Ostensen Bon

Torstein Oysteinsson Boen


Gonnar Midboen

Gunder Gautesson Midtboen


Ole Aslesen Myren



Andreas Aslaugsen Schese



Herbrand Anstensen Hovland



Johannes Anundsen



Haelge Toresen Faane



Niels Hansen Kallerud



Johannes Christiians



Johannes Evensen

Johanne Evensen


Ejel Olsen Kleven

Egil Kleve


Engebret Gulbransen Solland



Haagen Anderssen



Ole Anderssen



Ole Knudson



Reiaa Nubrud



Ole Haagensen



Gullbrand Gunderson Skale



Svenung Johnson Tyttegraf



Ole Johnsen Sanden



John Knudsen Traem

Jon Knutsson Traen


John Alfsen



lars johannesen Graue



Syvert Engebretsen Narverud




 The names appear here as copied from Morgenbladet; some of them have no doubt suffered mutilation in going through the press.  The most interesting of the names is probably that of Even Hansen Heg, the father of Col. HC Heg.  Any Norwegian father of any American son might well be proud to have attached his name to a document expressing such homespun virtues and loyalties.  In the year of the Centennial it may be fitting to emphasize that the above letter is an American manifesto drawn up by Norwegian immigrants.

This “article” was sent to me by Gene Estensen.  I have copied it exact from the copy he sent to me.

The Homestead Act of 1862 opened up land to settlers who promised to farm and live on the land for 5 years.

Government actions, such as treaties with Minnesota Indians, including the Treaties of Traverse des Sioux and Mendota, and various other treaties with the Winnebagoes (HoChunk), Wahpekeute and Madewkenton, opened up even more land for white settlement.  Land in the United States was also quite inexpensive.  In Minnesota , land costs were as low as $1.25/acre by the mid to late 1800’s when purchased from the government, or $5.00 to $10.00 when purchased from private corporations.

The British Government repealed the navigation laws in 1849 and from 1850 on, Canada became the port of choice as Norwegian ships carried passengers to Canada and took lumber back to Norway .  The Canadian route offered many advantages to the emigrants.  “They moved on from Quebec both by rail and by steamer for another thousand or more miles for a steerage fare of slightly les then $9.00.  Steamers from Quebec brought them to Toronoto, then the immigrants often traveled by rail for 93 miles to Collingwood on Lake Huron , from where steamers transported them across Lake Michigan to Chicago , Milwaukee and Green Bay .



   Routes of Travel

Leaving Norway      In earlier years neither Bergen Norway nor any other Norwegian port provided transportation to America .  There were not enough emigrants to fill a ship or leave on a regular schedule.  Emigrants either purchased a vessel themselves, as some organized groups did, or journeyed to another port, such as Liverpool , England , Gothenburg in Sweden , Hamburg in Germany , Le Havre in France , or to some other European port from which they could set sail.  Passengers from Tinn, Telemark, Norway usually boarded in Stavanger , Norway .

The trip from Bergen , Norway to Hull , England took 3 days.  From Hull the emigrants went across England by railroad to Liverpool , which was England's largest port for passengers.

In the 1840's the Telemark emigrants often traveled via Le Havre , France , because of the regular trade of timber from the Skien, Norway area to the French market.  And also because it got cheaper to obtain a ticket.  From Le Havre , France the journey continued on the American packet-vessel.

In the 1850's, with the opening of Norwegian trade with Canada. Quebec became a major port of debarkation.  The stream of Norwegian migration shifted from New York to Quebec, Canada .

Most Norwegians entered the United States in this time period thru New York , Baltimore , New Haven and Boston , because those were the ports used by the merchant ship.

The California Gold Rush in the 1850’s caused the Norwegian shipping interests to notice the possibilities for passenger traffic to America.  It was easy to find Norwegian sailors to sail around South America and up the coast to California.  As soon as the ship docked the sailors went overboard to join in the gold rush.


Crossing the Atlantic    The Atlantic crossing, often stormy, took anywhere from six to twelve weeks.  For most, the voyage was not a pleasant one, since conditions aboard ship were primitive and uncomfortable.  Normally two rows of bunks of rough boards were constructed, one above the other, the whole length of the ship.  Light came through open hatchways and partly through skylights in the deck, but when storms came, no light at all was admitted, and the passengers were quite frequently shut up in the poorly lit rooms for days waiting for a storm to subside.

Supplies for the journey consisted of smoked and salted meat, flat bread, dried peas and beans, and many large casks of fresh water.  In fair weather cookhouses were set up on deck.  When the weather turned stormy, however, it became difficult for anybody to use the cooking facilities and the voyagers had to content themselves with cold uncooked meals.

On the open Atlantic , seasickness affected nearly all immigrants.  This, however, was a minor discomfort compared to the outbreaks of disease which sometimes occurred in mid-ocean.  Many ship captains made great efforts to combat disease during the voyage, but given the crowded conditions, it was impossible to contain the spread of a highly contagious disease.  Cholera, smallpox, typhoid fever, and measles were some of the maladies, which broke out on immigrant vessels.  Of the ships arriving at Quebec , Canada in 1861, one reported forty seven passengers dead and sixty seriously ill; another ship had 33 dead, mostly children under six who had succumbed to measles.

In spite of the discomforts and dangers experienced throughout the length of the voyage, there were also times of joy and relaxation.  "When the weather was fine and the Atlantic lay clear and smooth, the deck at times rang with merriment in the evenings,", wrote the Norwegian American historian, Theodore C. Blegen.  Sunday was always a special day.  In fair weather prayers and devotion would be held above deck and the singing of hymns might be accompanied by a flute, violin, or other musical instrument.

Arrival in America after the long voyage was an exciting moment.  For most, however, their welcome was not what they expected, as con men and swindlers of every kind descended upon them.  As a result, some unwarned immigrants found themselves penniless and were forced to find employment in their port of entry.  In later years Wisconsin 's establishment of a state board of commissioners of immigration in New York and a central depot for immigration at Castle Gardens represented attempts to protect the arriving foreigners.  The majority of Norwegians, however, had their destinations fixed before their arrival in America .  Most set out immediately to join friends or relatives in the Midwest .

The travels from landing in New York to the settlements in Wisconsin , Illinois , or Minnesota can best be described from an emigrants first hand account (letter written by Ander Brynhildsen).  He emigrated from Norway to America in 1843.


Conditions in New York

We left New York on 24 July 1843, after having looked around for a couple of days in this crowded town, but which also seemed to be a real home for crooks and swindlers, at least those were the people we most often had the honor to meet during our stay; though we had hardly set foot on American soil, before they were all around us, not American, but Norwegian crooks who had found in New York a field of activity for their dirty tricks, and as those kind of people have the habit of conveying an impression of honesty and uprightness by slandering their colleagues, this was also the case here, as the Norwegians who had undertaken the task of supplying passengers for the various American transport companies to transport into the country, tried to give the impression of not being in any company's service, but just for their love of mankind, to try and help their countrymen not being cheated by others.  Nearly half a dozen of these "fine gentlemen" gathered around us, and soon we heard from each and one of them, that the others were crooks and cheaters.  We had a lot of fun with these men for a couple of days, but at last we settled for one of them, who looked decent and gave the best prices.

Up the rivers and canals

Then we were stowed together on one of the tow vessels which are hauled by the steamers on the Hudson River up to Albany, New York, on which boat we, together with Scots or Irishmen, had to lie scattered around day and night on the deck just like pigs.  The agreement we had with the New York company said that we from there to Buffalo, New York should pay 1.75 dollars for each adult; one dollar to be paid by departure in New York and the rest when we came to Buffalo.  For children age from 2-12 we paid the half and children under 2 were free.  Bed clothing together with provision should be completely free, and we should also have 100 pounds free to Albany and 50 pounds through the Canal.  For every 100 pounds excess weight we should pay 60 cents.  We should have one tow boat alone to Albany , and if this was not enough, we should get another one, also for us alone.

These were the main items of our contract, which we also had in writing, thinking this would be most safe and we also thought the contract to be quite sensible, but as mentioned above, it was broken at once with regard to the tow boats, which we were supposed to have for ourselves.  We were packed together with strange and suspicious people.


When we came to Albany , New York where we should board the canal boat, we experienced what kind of people we were dealing with, and what kind of importance one in America attached to written contracts and agreements.  We came to Albany 15 July 1843, and there we met Bache and our agent, a man from Drammen, Norway (I will not mention his name for the sake of his family, but only call him agent)., who had traveled from New York by another boat, and we received the very same evening a joyous message from the agent that he would the next day cheat us for another 2 or 3 dollars each, which he tried to his best ability to fulfill.  This promise was given to us under the influence of strong beer, but it suited us very well, and made us watch our steps.

The next morning all our clothing was weighed, and completely against the contract, all bed clothing and provisions.  We protested, but were told that it was not because we should pay for it, but just in order to know the weight when the boat should be weighed by the locks.  This calmed us down all our clothing was packed onto two boats.  The first boat was for the Norwegians and then mostly those from the mountains.  The other one, on which we were, were again against the contract, filled up with a lot of wealthy passengers, but as they looked quite respectable, we said nothing about it , as it was space enough onboard, but you should know were irritated as these hangers on were given the cabin, while we, who had paid for it, had to be satisfied with the hold.  But I guess that in order to fill the pockets of our agent, we should have to suffer a bit.

When we were onboard the canal boat, we received a message from the agent that we should deliver those tickets we got in New York and would get others which should be valid until we reached Buffalo, New York.  This change of tickets had already taken place on the other boat, and now were supposed to hurry up, as we were about to depart, but as they say "once bitten, twice shy", so we decided to keep our tickets until we knew what we would get in return.  The matter was that the tickets we already had was in fact valid to Buffalo, and all the talk about changing tickets was just dirty tricks in order to cheat us for more money.  Several of us came into the office and soon experienced how the matter was.  All the passengers freight for both the provisions and bed clothing along with the excess weight for the rest, and instead of 50 pounds free according to contract, it now ready 40 pounds on the tickets.  We would of course not accept this, nor would we part with our tickets in exchange for these new ones, but kept to the written contract and said that if the contract was not fulfilled, then we would refuse to have anything more to do with this agent and his people.  Nor would we pay another cent more than what we already had in New York , but from now on take care of the further transport ourselves.

When the passengers on the other boat heard this statement and also learned about this fraud, they also came up with their tickets and agreed with us that either the contract had to be fulfilled or they would not have anything more to do with this agent.  The agent was now grave difficulties as it was now apparent that he had tried to cheat his fellow countrymen, and it was fun to see how he wriggled like a snake to get out of his troubles, but the poor fellow had to accept that we had the law on our side and he had to fulfill the contract.  The new tickets were once more exchanged with the old ones, and the matter was settled once and for all when we arrived in Buffalo , New York from where we the very evening happily could continue our voyage to Albany , New York .

I don't find it worthwhile to tell you about the voyage through the canal, as it would be just as boring for you to read, as it would be fore me to write.  All what seemed to me somewhat interesting on this voyage, was the constant danger we were surrounded by all the time, partly all the ugly bridges and locks in which we tumbled about all day, and by which many, especially the Norwegians, who have traveled this way this year, have had their limbs crushed, so they now have become cripples for the rest of their lives; yes, even some have lost their lives there, caused by those wicked and rough people, by whom we all the time are surrounded, and whose dishonesty we experienced, when one of them stole a silken scarf  from my wife, and whose inclination for murder and robbery is just as suspicious, and as people say, not seldom has been proved by real action 

The extremely beautiful countryside along the Hudson river and the canal, which the bragging letter writers had so much bragged about to Norway, must either have changed this year, or it must have only existed in the braggers' imagination, with the exception of some beautiful parts along the Hudson river, but even these were not to be reckoned as real beauties.  What was to be seen, was mostly rather ordinary or some times ugly land, especially along the canal, where we often traveled many miles through thick forest, which grows in the most horrendous swamps and bogs.  On this part of the voyage I found the art much better to admire then the nature, because there are so many enormous constructions like bridges, locks, etc.



However, our crew and we arrived safely in Buffalo , New York in the morning of 2 Aug 1843 .  The agent had been with us all the time, although we had no need for him; it was rather his own wish to come with us.

Onboard we learned, that his intention was, when we arrive in Rochester, New York to travel before us on the Canal Packet boat to Buffalo, New York as this boat travels much faster than the freighter, in order to secure us the best and cheapest, transportation from there to Milwaukee, but we had all of us already in Albany been so fed up with his affectionate consideration for us, that we did not want any more of it, and in order to prevent further problems like we had in Albany, we all decided to choose three men and send them in advance from Rochester, New York to inquire at all the Transport offices about the best and cheapest contract, so that we, when the rest of us arrived, would not be confused by the agent, and each and one of us could decide for himself how he would continue his travel.

So, Clausen, Krogh, and Helgesen were chosen and traveled, without the agents knowledge, by the steamer which was about to leave Rochester when we arrived, and they arrived already the same evening in Buffalo, about 1 1/2 days earlier than us.  When we arrived in Buffalo , New York the agent had nothing to do.  Now only did we now have the cheapest fares for the transport to Milwaukee, Wisconsin but the three chosen ones had also got in touch with a highly recommended and noble man, by the name of Robinson, and he saw to it that our contract from New York was fulfilled and not one of the agents dared protest, but had to be satisfied with a settlement according to the contract.

Our boat was in front and the other a couple of hours behind, and we were now separated, as a steamer lay ready for departure, which some of us boarded for the cheap fare of 5.50 dollars per person and all our belongings free of charge, but some stayed behind, among them Krogh and Helgesen, and also the passengers of the other boat, in order to make the voyage by sailing ship, which of course was much slower, but they paid a fare of only 2 dollars per person above 12 years, the half for children under 12, nothing for children under 2 years, and all their belongings free of charge, together with free disembarkation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin which normally was quite costly.  We arrived in Milwaukee , Wisconsin early in the morning of 6 Aug 1843 .


New York to Wisconsin/Illinois

Travel time for this journey was 7 to 10 days

After leaving New York for a journey to Wisconsin , the immigrants went by steamboat up the Hudson River to Albany , where they transferred to canal boats bound for Buffalo , and finally booked passage on a Great Lakes sailing vessel for Chicago or Milwaukee .


Quebec to Milwaukee :

After arriving in Quebec, most traveled by riverboat to Montreal, then by canal boat to Lake Ontario, and across the Lake to Buffalo.  At this point they linked up with their countrymen arriving from New York , continuing on by means of ship or rail to Wisconsin .


Muskego, Wisconsin to Freeborn County to Houston County

The following is an account of Ole and Torstein Morreim's travels from Muskego , Wisconsin to Freeborn County in Minnesota .  This was written/compiled by the Freeborn Historical Society.


Ole and Torstein Morreim - summer of 1855

They left Muskego, WI with one large covered wagon pulled by three yokes of oxen and the smaller wagon pulled by 2 yokes of oxen.  A milk cow was tied behind one wagon.  The route traveled was by way of Blue Mounds, WI, where they had relatives, then Northwest across the Wisconsin River to La Crosse , WI , where they crossed the Mississippi river on a ferry.  Progress was slow because of the oxen and they had to stop for the animals to graze.  Also at this time the Minnesota territory had no roads or any transportation systems or means of communication.  There were no roads or bridges, only Indian and trappers trails to follow.  After crossing the Mississippi river .

They followed the Root River (all early trails were laid along water courses, or by natural springs, so humans and animals could get water) to where it branched.  They took the North fork towards the village of Rochester , MN.

From here they followed the Zumbro River to a point where the city of Zumbrotoa is.  Here they picked out claims to settle on.  They made improvements on their claims, but next spring sold everything but their small wagon, traded for a horse and headed southwest.  They arrived in Freeborn county - Manchester Township July 1856.  The brothers Torstein and Ole Morreim picked out home sites for themselves and a home site for their mother (who was still back in Muskego , WI )


 Freeborn to Muskego,Wisconsin

Torstein went back to Muskego , WI to move his mother, sisters and young brothers to Manchester , MN .  He traveled on foot, by steamboat, by stagecoach and a short distance on railroad from Madison , WI to Waukesha .  From Waukesha he legged it to Muskego .


They traveled back to Freeborn County in a covered wagon, along with the livestock.





Norwegians settled in New Jersey


Norwegians arrived in New Netherland ( New York ) with the Dutch)


The Norwegian ship, Restaurationen, arrived in New York with 53 passengers.  The emigrants settled near present day Rochester , New York


The first Norwegian group in Illinois formed the Fox River Settlement in LaSalle, Co, IL.  They came from the New York Norwegian settlement


Several ships carrying Norwegian arrived in America .  This was the beginning of the era of Norwegian mass migration


Muskego , Lake, Wisconsin became the best known Norwegian settlement even though the land choice was poor and the area never succeeded



Norwegians moved into Iowa in Lee County .  The most prosperous Norwegian settlement in Wisconsin , Koshkonong Prairie, was also begun this year in Dane and Jefferson Counties



 Wisconsin became the main region of Norwegian settlement and remained the center of Norwegian-American activity until the Civil War (Jefferson County )



The first Norwegian Lutheran Church in America was built in Muskego , Wisconsin Norwegians began a settlement in Northeastern Texas .  The attraction to the south was never a strong draw for the Norwegians




After the Indian Treaties of 1851, Norwegians started moving into Minnesota .  The advancement of the railroads made the trip easier and more immigrants were encouraged to move north and west




Wisconsin was the leading state for Norwegian immigration.  The numbers of Norwegians in Wisconsin were almost as large as all the Norwegians in all other states combined.




 Minnesota now had more Norwegians than any other state in the US .  The 1870 census showed that 90% of all Norwegians lived in Wisconsin , Minnesota , Iowa and Northern Illinois




59.3% of Norwegians in America were farmers or farm hands.  88% of the immigrants came from rural areas.  There were about one million Norwegians living in the United States .  That number included foreign born and children of Norwegian born parents.  There were only about two million Norwegian left in Norway



Picket Fence Bar

                                                                                   back to the top


 Section 5  America - family in the United States and their communities


These were all pioneer settlements in previously unsettled areas.  There were no roads, railroads, or steamboats for transportation.  This was before general stores, mills, churches, or schools.  

Year County State
1825 Orleans New York
1834 LaSalle Illinois
1835 White Indiana
1836 Cook Illinois
1837 Iroquois






1838 Kendall, Grundy

Waukesha, Racine, Milwaukee



1840 Dane




1841 Iowa, Lafayette Wisconsin
1842 Walworth Wisconsin
1843 Dodge Wisconsin
1844 Green Wisconsin
1845 Columbia, Fond du Lac






1846 Jo Daviess

Ozaukee, Manitowoc, Winnebago



1847 Salt Lake




1848 Brown, Crawford, Jackson, Jefferson, Vernon




1849 no prominent settlements


LaCross, Monroe, Pierce, Portage, Richland




1850 Hennepin, Ramsey, Goodhue

Adams, Juneau, Waushara, Waupaca

Allamakee, Winneshiek




1851 Manistee






1852 Burnett


Carver, Winona






1853 Worth, Clinton

Dakota, Houston, Nicollet



1854 Coos

Kewaunee, St. Croix, Trempealeau


Benton, Chickasaw, Iowa, Story

Dodge, Olmstead, Steele, Mower

New Hampshire





1855 Grant



Faribault, Freeborn, Rice, Sibley, Waseca





1856 Buffalo



McLeod, Meeker, Watonwan





1857 Blue Earth, Chippewa, Redwood






1858 Lee

Kandivohi, Wright





1859 Polk



South Dakota

1860 Yankton, Union


Brown, Donihan


South Dakota






Norwegian settlements in America – individual states listed in chronological order as to time of settlement

Norwegian settled in New Netherlands with the Dutch in 1630.  This area never became a purely Norwegian settlement but was the location for some of the first Norwegian settlers to the new land.



The first wholly Norwegian settlement in America was started in 1825 in Kendall Township , Orleans County , New York .  This was the same year the Erie Canal opened.  These religious dissenters, including some Quakers, left Stavanger, Norway and landed in New York on October 9.  The land they bought was rather expensive at $5.00 per acre and hard to clear.  The open land further west caused the settlement to dissolve with many moving to the Illinois settlements in 1834.