In my recent research looking for Hamm or Amundson descendants in Minnesota, I unexpectedly came across this interesting take on the Fred and Carrie desertion case.
I have written about this incident before, and even thought I was done writing about it, but then I found this article reporting on the same court case, but in a different paper. Well, I couldn’t just let it sit there. Ignored.
When I read the first sentence in the article I burst out in shocked laughter. Then it was “WTF dude?” I actually had to look up ’round head’, and found that it is derogatory American slang for an immigrant from northern Europe, particularly a Swede. I was appalled by my great grandfather’s rudeness and prejudice. He must have been a real treat to live with, starting with his balking at taking care of his wife’s first child with another man, and then this choice language.
I am glad that Fred divorced her, he sounds like he would have been a misery to live with ’til death’. And, no doubt, all the while would have been chasing after every available skirt he could find.
As far as I am aware, he never did find that “Irish Molly”.
I have actually written quite a bit over the years about Carrie. I am not sure if there will be anything new to learn when I finish this post, but at least it will be all together in one neat little package.
Julia Caroline, went by the name of Kari or Carrie throughout her life. She was the second known child born to Amund Amundson and Jorgina Johnsdtr. She was born on the 29th of August 1879, in Kenyon, Goodhue County, Minnesota (according to her obituary). At this time I have been unable to find a birth record for her in either government or church records.
Kari’s parents were married in Goodhue County1, and for a short time afterwards can be found living there, along with Jorgina’s parents and family. They bought land just to the south in Dodge County in 1875, (while they were still living in Goodhue County), and by 1880 they were living in Vernon, Dodge County, where they stayed until sometime before March of 1880 when they skedaddled quietly and stealthily in the cover of night out of Dodge. It looks like Amund and Jorgina were having problems paying their mortgage and keeping up with the expenses of their farm, so they decided the best course of action was to leave all their debts behind. Although, they didn’t go very far. In the 1885 state census we find them back in Goodhue County. Strangely enough buying more property.
Sometime after 1886 Amund decided that farming was not his cup of tea and moved the family around the state a bit until they ended up in Carlton County. He had a growing family to feed and was finding work as a laborer wherever he could. They stayed for approximately 7 years. By 1903 he and Jorgina had moved to Duluth where Amund found work on the ore docks, a job he would stay at until he retired shortly after 1913.
We really know nothing of Carrie’s early childhood. She was able to grow up around her mother’s Norwegian family until she was about 7-8 years old, then her parents hauled her off to another county far away from Goodhue and all she knew. She had an older sister Christina, and a younger brother John who sadly died between 1885 and 1895. Her mother had another child that never made it to any census records other than a statistic (the 1900 census asks the wife how many children they had had and how many were living, Jorgina’s answer was 4, 2 living).
In 1898 another tragedy struck the family. Christina, the eldest daughter, developed mental health issues and ended up being committed to the Fergus Falls insane asylum.
Christina’s medical records indicate that instances of her mental health problems started when she was about 17 years old, and were supposedly brought on by puberty. It was also noted in her records that her condition was inherited, but did not state from whom, or from which side of the family the illness is supposed to have originated (possibly her mother’s side). The Fergus Falls asylum, where she was taken, had been built in 1890 on the ‘Kirkbride Plan’, being spacious and well planned with lots of light. She was at the Fergus Falls facility until at least April 6 of 1902. She continued as a patient in an asylum for the rest of her life, dying December 11, 1927 at the Anoka State Asylum, of tuberculosis.
from John Family Book, 2008 edition
So now Carrie was the only child left at home.
The next thing we know is on October 25, 1900, Carrie had a child she named John. I can find no evidence that Carrie had married the father of this son. We know his name was John Gustafson, he was Swedish and he was born about 1876, and that’s about it.
Carrie was in the Duluth directory in 1900, she went to her parents in Moose Lake when she was due, as that is where John’s birth certificate says he was born. So, it doesn’t look like she was kicked out of the house, otherwise he parents wouldn’t have let her come home to have her child. Did she move to Duluth because she would have a better chance of getting a job that would support herself and her child in the city rather than a lumber town like Moose Lake? Was she in Duluth because the father of her child was there? We don’t know.
The fact that her name is listed as ‘Amundson’ in the directory, rather than Gustafson, raises the suspicion that she was an unwed mother. But, she also hails from a Nordic background where women keep their names when married. So we can’t with certainty say that she was an unwed mother, although, the 1900 census has her entered as single, not widowed. The census was recorded as being taken in August of that year, and her son was born two months later.
Regardless of her married status, she does not appear to be living with a man of any name in the early years of the 1900s. And she was working as a domestic, cleaning and working in other’s homes for a living. It would have been exhausting and tiresome work, for very little pay.
Sometime in 1902 Carrie met a man newly arrived in Duluth from Wisconsin. His name was Frederick Hamm and he was quite the looker. (Hey, even I can admit great-gramps was hot, I can see why the ladies would drop their knickers left and right.) The two were certainly smitten with each other, enough so that they were married on the 24th of February 1903. Carrie would have been relieved to no longer have to work as a domestic, she had a husband to bring home the paycheck now. Fred, when he met Carrie, was working as a carpenter about town. The 1903 directory had him listed as a laborer, probably getting any labor type work he could and by 1904 he had found work on the ore docks of Duluth.
About this time Carrie’s parents decided to make the move to Duluth also. They are found in the Duluth directory in 1904 living with (or in the same building with) their son-in-law and daughter, so they probably made the move sometime in 1903 (there are no directory entries for her parents earlier than 1904). Carrie’s father had also gotten work at the ore docks, maybe with his son-in-law’s help.
On June 3, 1904 Fred and Carrie welcomed their daughter Emelia into the world. And in 1905 they are found in the state census, in an error ridden entry, so who knows who gave the information to the census taker:
Mr. Hames [Fred Hamm] age 31, 2nd St. born Germany [Wisconsin], parents born Germany, carpenter Mrs. Carrie Hames [Kari Hamm] age 25, born Wisconsin [Minnesota], parents born Norway, wife Emilea Hames [Hamm], age 1, born Minnesota, parents born [can not read entry]
—1905 Minnesota Territorial and State Census, Duluth, St. Louis County:enumeration dist. 22, ward 7, sub-division B, precinct 2nd; sheet 18, page 101, City of Duluth June 7th-8th lines 37-40
Sadly they lost Emilia to gastroenteritis a few months after this census was taken.
Fred didn’t like dock work and went back to carpentry not long after their marriage. He continued in this line of work until 1907 when he became a police officer.
Annual Report of Police Department, Duluth, Minn., Jan. 1st 1907: Fred W. Hamm, appointed patrolman, Oct. 13, 1906; page 122
And then was fired two years later due to misconduct and dereliction of duty.
In 1906 the couple had another daughter, Myrtle Caroline, my grandmother.
But Carrie and Fred’s marriage was not destined to last for much longer. On April 28, 1907 Carrie’s mother died, after having been committed to an asylum for a short time. She most likely had dementia and Amund was unable to handle her erratic and violent behavior. Then a year later these articles started appearing in the local newspaper:
Non-Support Charge Fred Hamm, charged with non-support, was arraigned in municipal court this morning. His hearing was set for Wednesday morning, upon his pleas of not guilty. He lives as 2615 West Second St. and has a 2-year old child.
—Duluth Evening Herald, Monday November 16, 1908 page 8
POLICEMAN PROMISES TO PROVIDE FOR FAMILY Policeman Fred Hamm was let go on suspended sentence by Judge Cutting yesterday on his promise to contribute $25 a month to the support of his wife and child. The officer was arrested by Court Officer Jensen on a warrant sworn out by his wife charging him with failing to contribute to the support of his family. Mrs. Hamm, who carried her baby into court, testified that two months ago when the separation took place her husband said he was tired living with her. The evidence showed that the couple have had many quarrels which began when Mrs. Hamm’s mother died nearly two years ago and the patrolman was called upon to support a former child of Mrs. Hamm’s which had been living with her parents.
–Duluth News-Tribune (1908-11-19): page unknown
CHARGED WITH NON-SUPPORT Fred Hamm, a Policeman, Arraigned in Municipal Court. Fred Hamm, a local policeman, was arraigned in municipal court before Judge Cutting this morning on the charge of non-support. The case was continued for three months, under Hamm’s promise that he would contribute $25 monthly to his wife’s support. The couple have not been living together since last August. Hamm claims the trouble started because his wife objected to having his sister visiting at the house, claiming that the sister wanted to “boss” her. He said he had been perfectly willing to support his wife, and always had contributed liberally to her support, but that he insisted on the right to have relatives visit him, as long as he was paying the bills. He denied that the sister did any bossing. Mr. and Mrs. Hamm have one child, an infant in arms.
–Duluth Evening Herald. Publication Date November 19, 1908: page 2, column 1
Obviously the two were not getting along and Fred was feeling boxed in by his marriage. On July 19, 1910 Fred filed for divorce in Koochiching County, Minnesota after having run away to Montana. Here he is in the 1910 census:
HAMM, Frank, boarder, male, white, age 36, single, born in Wisconsin, parents born in Germany, speak english, laborer in a logging camp, works for wages, hadn’t been out of work on April 15, 1910, or all of 1909, can read and write.
–1910 census Hellsgate Twp, Missoula County, Montana details:Missoula National Forest-North Division, Enumeration Dist. 61, Sheet 5A, 23 April, line 21
Carrie was having a rough go of it. She has two children, a husband who now refused to support them, and then disappeared, (he objected to supporting Carrie’s son from another man), a mother now dead, and a father who would be useless to help. She was now all on her own, and not really capable to doing so.
The details of why are unknown, but their daughter Myrtle was living with her grandparents George and Amelia Hamm by the 1910 census. In fact she ended up growing up on the Hamm farm. And Carrie’s son John isn’t found again until a 1920 newspaper article when he was injured on the job and his mother sued the railroad for compensation.
Other than the newspaper articles related to her marriage to Fred, we know nothing about Carrie’s life after his desertion, other than what is found in directories and census records. She wasn’t at the divorce hearings in Koochiching County. I doubt she even was aware that they were going on, she didn’t live anywhere near there. And even if she did, she most likely couldn’t afford a lawyer or the trip.
So Carrie was now back living on her own and working as a laundress/domestic, a job she had until her death in 1949. As far as we know she had no further contact with her daughter, my grandmother after she was farmed out to her grandparents. If she wrote, we have no correspondence to confirm any such contact.
And she really had no other family to speak of from 1917, when her father died, until her own death in 1949.
From the Wednesday, June 1 1949 Duluth News-Tribune (Funeral Notice): AMUNDSON, Mrs. Carrie C., 212 West Second Street. Funeral Services 2 p.m. at the Johnson Mortuary Chapel, the Rev. Benjamin Urshan officiating. Interment Park Hill.
Same Paper: Mrs. Carrie C. Amunson, 67, of 212 West Second Street, died yesterday in a Duluth hospital. Born in Kenyon, Minn., she resided here 60 years. Surviving are a son, John C. Gustafson, Minneapolis; a daughter, Mrs. Myrtle John, Rothchild, Wis., and three children.
The clues that Carrie left behind regarding her life, lead me to speculate that the mental issues, (like depression), that plagued the family probably also affected her. She didn’t really raise her own children. Her son was farmed out to her parents in his early years, and her only other living child, Myrtle, was farmed out to her ex’s parents in Wisconsin by the time she was 4. Carrie only shows up again in her son’s life when there was a chance to make some money from the railroad.
Not everyone is meant to be a parent, and it is quite possible that Carrie was one of those people. So maybe both of her children were better off not being raised by their mother.
Her life seems a bit sad and lonely to me, I hope she had a good one in spite of herself.
SOURCES: 1. Ammon Amunnson and Kari Jorgina Johnson entry, page 60; “Minnesota, County Marriages, 1860-1949,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X2BR-JQK : accessed 26 Sep 2013), Ammon Amunnson and Kari Jorgina Johnson, 1874. Image saved as marriage_amundson_to_johnson [FHL Film number: 1379159 online Digital Folder Number: 004540657 online Image Number: 01315
2. Fred W. Hamm vs Carrie Hamm divorce case file #492 Koochiching County, Minnesota 1910; Civil and Criminal Case files, 2907-1950, 1961, Minnesota District Court, Minnesota Historical Society. Accession number(s): 999-71; 2006-58; 2007-20; 2008-22; Catalog ID No.: 1735999. Forwarded by Koochiching County Clerk of Courts office.
There is nothing new to learn regarding Amund Amundson’s immigration to the United States from Norway. I know everything regarding the bold facts. The only thing missing was the actual passengers’ list. The only reason I bring this up, is that I finally decided to find out more about Amund’s trip to America and thought I would share.
Amund Amundson turned 19 three days before he boarded the ‘Frigate Bird’ in Bergen on April 23, 1871, with no other family, although it is possible he traveled with others from the same area. He was heading to Minnesota via Quebec, Canada.
The trip took a little over a month, as the ship arrived in Quebec on the 31st of May, but, because 11 passengers had measles, they were not allowed to disembark until the 4th of June. Although, on arrival at Grosse Isle, all emigrant ships were quarantined until they could assure the authorities that they were free of disease.1
I estimate the cost for the trip to have been about $15 US (or about $300 in current money), this doesn’t include the outlying cost of bringing all your own food. The ship’s picture I have inserted above was found at http://www.norwayheritage.com, it is known as a bark. Which describes the type of rigging on the ship that when rigged this way needed fewer crew to get ‘er where she was going. According to historical reference, Amund’s ship was sometimes rigged this way. Which also means that Amund’s trip was definitely not aboard a steamship.
The emigrants in those days had to supply themselves with the necessities of life during the passage and be their own cooks and waiters, families as well as single persons. Several people usually combined their kitchen and food chores and it all occurred, as far as I can recall, without much grumbling or commotion. The only items that were provided without cost by the shipping company were the stove, firewood, and water, as well as fresh air when one stood on deck, though the company did not actually provide the latter. To be sure fresh air was also free below deck, but when so many people had to stay in such a limited space at night and occasionally by day, one may more easily imagine its quality than I can describe it.
Recollections from My Journey to America and My First Years in America, by Halle Steensland2
An interesting tidbit I found when researching more on Amund’s trip was how in 1869 Norway passed a law to better protect passengers from all the scummy company’s trying to exploit them.3
Originally all I had been able to find regarding Amund’s trip was his entry in a database regarding his leaving Norway in 1871. And from this search entry, I have been able to suss out the origins and ancestry of Amund. But I never had an actual passengers list for him.
Okay, so Amund is in Quebec. Now what?
Amund, might have purchased a packaged trip to his final destination, or arranged with the captain, as was one of the customs, to continue on to the United States. So that meant he was now going to board a train, as that was the usual mode of transport when heading to Wisconsin, Minnesota or Iowa. And for those folks going to Minnesota, the usual route was to Milwaukee, and from there the train to Minnesota.
If the emigrant is to continue the trip westward by rail, he will be ferried across the St. Clair River at Sarnia to Port Huron in the state of Michigan… For those emigrants who plan to go by way of Milwaukee, it will be most convenient to change trains in Detroit, Michigan, and go to Grand Haven in the same state. From there they can go by steamer across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Those who wish to settle in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or northern Iowa usually choose the Milwaukee route as the most convenient.
John A. Johnson, translated by C. A. Clausen4
Amund possibly went right to Goodhue County in Minnesota, as he is found there in the 1875 state census, already married to Jorgina Johnson, and they had a daughter. But not my great grandmother, yet.
So there you have it. And, if I hadn’t known the ship’s name, it might have been a lot trickier to find this little gem. Now I have to work on finding Jorgina’s arrival.
I am afraid that I haven’t really been paying attention to my DNA accounts recently. Too much on the ‘lots of other things I have to do’ genealogy list. But this last weekend, between celebrating my old man’s birthday, reading up on the Whiskey Rebellion, going to Avengers, and catching up on my latest game, I had to answer an email from the wife of a cousin, who was looking for his ancestors. I was very happy to help anyway I could, because in his case it was adoption of his mother that was the brick wall.
In the process of answering the question, I started looking around at all the new matches on a few of these accounts, and saw some surnames that were of much interest to me. But one in particular stood out –Amund and Måkestad. “How intriguing”, says my brain to me, “must click.”
I have always had this tiny nugget of doubt that my research had actually found the right Amund Amundson in Norway, and that sometime in the future his whole line would have to be wiped off the board. But, thanks to this one DNA entry in the FamilyFinder matches, all that doubt, as small as it was, has been put to rest.
The reason the entry seemed so intriging was I could see both ‘Amunds(datter)’ and ‘Måkestad’ , (along with other places of common intestest in Norway), entered in this person’s list of ancestors that they were researching. According to my research Måkestad is where Amund had been born.
Thankfully, they also have added a familytree to their account, so I could better make the connection.
So our common ancestor is this couple — Amund Grepson and Guro Sjursdatter, both born in the late 1700s. We descend from their son Amund, and the other person descends from his brother, Greip.
This is very exciting for me and I am so glad to share this great news. I have also been confirming in my mind other connections because of DNA matches, like: Buchanan, Mobley, Lemasters, Shepard, George, Shaw, Goble, McQueen, etc.. While we have pretty much known that these surnames are ours, the DNA further confirms that the research is right.
For years I had been looking for evidence that my great grandparents Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson had actually married, and my grandmother was in fact not illegitimate, which was thought that that might be why her Hamm grand-parents had raised her.
And then, miraculously, I found their divorce case mentioned in a newspaper, while searching for something else entirely, of course. Yay!! And then, I found their marriage record at the register of deeds office. Yay!! And just this month I found the actual church record for their marriage. Again, a total accident. Yay!
Apparently, some Swedish Lutheran Church records were recently added to the Ancestry.com databases, and while doing Amundson searches in Minnesota, I ran across the church record for Fred and Carrie in this most unlikely record series. I guess that’s why it doesn’t hurt to keep sticking the same names in the search box every few months, because something unexpected can turn up. This find certainly put me in a good mood.
I guess this means that it is official, my grandmother Myrtle was totally legit!
I have finally found proof that Fred Hamm and Carrie Amundson were married! All I can say is keep on trucking with newspaper research and the story will out. And, as usual, I wasn’t even looking for this, I was actually trying to find out what happened to Fred’s daughter Margaret, whom he had with Emma Steinbach.
I finally cracked the nut on Margaret, but this beats all. There in the July 28, 1910 issue of the International Falls Press newspaper was a notice for a summons to court for the case of Fred W. Hamm vs. Carrie Hamm. Further investigation gave me a divorce date in July of 1910 in Koochiching County, Minnesota.
Now I know why I couldn’t find their divorce record earlier, I only knew of two possible counties to research: St. Louis in Minnesota and Taylor County in Wisconsin. Neither had any record of a divorce for them. It didn’t occur to me to check the county where he lived with Emma in Minnesota.
Fred had left the state by 1909ish and went to Montana for a very short while, probably to just disappear (he is in the 1910 census there which was taken in April). By July of 1910 he was back in Minnesota, in Koochiching County, where he was divorced from Carrie. Notices had been appearing in the paper since March.
The case file is very short. There is a complaint and a judgment, just 6 pages.
But these 6 pages give me the vital information I have been looking for these many years. Julia Caroline Amundson (I finally have her proper name) and Frederick Wilhelm Karl Emil Hamm were married on the 24th of February in 1903 at Moose Lake, Carlton County, Minnesota.
Because the notices for the court case were appearing in the International Falls paper, I had serious doubts that Carrie would be in court, she lived in Duluth, and she wasn’t. I don’t currently know if any of these notices were appearing in the Duluth papers. However, from the complaint submitted by Fred, maybe she wasn’t going to appear regardless.
That on several occasions, since the marriage of plaintiff [Fred] and defendant [Carrie] the defendant in this action left the home of plaintiff, without any cause, and plaintiff sought her and brought her back. That on October 20, 1908, or about that date, the defendant disappeared from the home of plaintiff, leaving him and the little child above named, and has ever since that time, and still, is living apart from plaintiff and their child. That defendant has ever since the date last mentioned wholly deserted and abandoned plaintiff and kept her whereabouts unknown to plaintiff or their child, and has never returned to the home of plaintiff or to the home of plaintiff’s parents where the child of plaintiff and defend is being cared for and provided for. [So, Myrtle is now with her Hamm grandparents in Medford.]
That defendant seems to possess no love for her child, the issue of the marriage of plaintiff and defendant, and has wholly disregarded, without any cause or provocation, her duties to her husband and child, and has wholly abandoned each of them since October 20, 1908, and has and still does concealed herself from them and kept her whereabouts unknown to them.
This was definitely a marriage with problems, and I believe that some of what Fred is accusing Carrie of is true.
When Fred appeared in court in November of 1908, after having been arrested for non-payment of child support, the newspaper article mentioned that Fred was complaining about also paying for support of her son John Gustafson, who had been living with her parents before they died. I find no evidence in later records that Carrie took care of her son John. And, Carrie does not appear to have made much effort to keep in contact with her daughter Myrtle after she was given to her Hamm grandparents to raise in Medford, Wisconsin. Admittedly, this supposition could be false. I just don’t have enough evidence to know how exaggerated the accusations are, and probably never will.
Here is another interesting newspaper article I found recently regarding the non-support case in 1908:
According to this newspaper version of events, it appears that my great great Aunt Lydia, was named as a source of contention in the marriage as early as 1908.
The judgment for divorce was entered in the record on July 19, 1910 (Court date was the 12th). Fred went on to marry two more times. Carrie never married again, and spent the rest of her life in Duluth working as a laundress or house cleaner in local businesses and private homes. They had been married for 7 years.
I am quite happy that I can finally mark this question off my list of things I want to know.
Carrie8 (Kari7, Kari6, Ingeborg5, Kari4, Agnete3, Auslauf2, Kari1 Persdotter Finneid) Amundson Hamm who married Frederick Hamm sometime around 1903, had had a child with a gentleman by the name of John Gustafson in 1900. It is currently unknown as to whether or not they were actually married. This child was named John C. Gustafson, (the initial ‘C’ is said to stand for Cornelius). We know very little about John’s childhood, other than the fact that in 1908, when Carrie took Fred to court for non-support of his family (which consisted of her and my grandmother Myrtle at the time), it was mentioned by Fred that her 8 year old son John was living with his grandparents Amund and Jorgina Amundson. Nothing is known about John’s father.
It appears that like my grandmother Myrtle, her half-brother John spent very little time living with their mother Carrie, certainly not when the census takers came around.1 The reason for Carrie’s abdication of her motherly duties is never made clear to us, so any reasons we would give would be mere speculation. I believe that she was simply incapable of doing so due to mental health.
Because Carrie’s mother Jorgina had died in 1907 and her father Amund in 1917, John was now no longer living with his grandparents, and likely on his own at the age of about 17 working to feed himself and possibly helping his mother out. We do not know how close their relationship was, or even if they had one. But in 1920 when he was injured on the job Carrie stepped up to the plate to help him get monetary compensation from his employers:
John’s grandfather Amund, and step-father Fred, had both worked at the ore-docks of the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Railroad company in Duluth’s harbor in the early 1900s, information which is found in the city directories. John most likely got the job because his grandfather had been there for many years, so he had an ‘in’. The image below is what the docks looked like at the time of his accident.
According to the personal injury case(#43788) dated September 4th of 1920, Carrie was filing as John’s guardian against the DM&NRR railroad because of permanent injuries he had suffered while working at the ore-dock. Carrie brought the suit as John’s guardian because he was only 19 years old and therefore still considered a minor, as such he was unable to bring a lawsuit on his own. If indeed that was what he wanted.
The complaint stated that John had been working for DM&NRR for some time on the ore-docks, performing duties related to unloading the vessels. A description of how the unloading of the ore was also provided in the record as follows.
The ships containing the ore in which John worked were unloaded with complicated machinery. This type of vessel had a number of large compartments each separated by large beams running across from side to side. Each compartment was equipped with a large hatchway that ran across the deck of the ship and allowed access to the hold. Hoisting rigs were arranged along the dock so that they could be moved to a point above any of the hatchways. These rigs consisted of a horizontal track suspended at a great height above the ship and ran from a point above the hatchway back over and upon the dock. Attached to the rig is a carriage which moves back and forth carrying a heavy steel cable from which a clam shell bucket was hung, this bucket was dropped down into the hold to grabbed the coal and pull it up to the dock where is was then deposited into a big pile.
The people who operated the rigs were called hoisters. The rate of speed with which these rigs ran was ‘terrific’, and the speed also caused the clam shells to swing and sway from one side to another striking against walls of the hold, which made it pretty dangerous for the employees who were working in the hold where the ore was being removed.
On this particular day John’s job was as one of the ‘cleaners up.’ They shoveled the coal left in the hold, that the rigs couldn’t reach, in a pile to the center where it could then be lifted out. This work was tiring and required undivided attention of the ‘cleaners up’ to avoid getting ‘eaten’ by the clam shells. It was while one of these clam shells was being carelessly manipulated by a hoister, according to the complaint, that John was struck by the device and injured. In fact he was injured so badly that his right foot had to eventually be amputated above the ankle.
Of course, the railroad answered that they were not responsible for his loss and a court date was set. Unfortunately, I don’t know what happened with the case from there, as there is nothing further in the records regarding its progress. I will assume that the parties settled, but the case could have been dismissed too. John was now a 20 year old young man out of a job and disabled. I can only imagine how long it must’ve taken him to recover from having his foot amputated and then trying to find work after that.
By 1923/4 John was married a woman slightly older than himself, by the name of Lillian Jarvella (or Lania/Lavis/Lavia, records are quite varied regarding her last name). They eventually had 9 children together*, some I am sure who are still around as they were born in the 30s and 40s. According to census records John was working as a farmer in the 1930s and a paper hanger in the 1940s. He died in 1985 in Minneapolis.
* John and Lillian named one of their sons Clarence and one of their daughters Myrtle. After his half-sister and her soon to be husband? Hmmm.
1 Myrtle did live with her mother from birth, 1906, to at least 1908. But by the 1910 census and thereafter, until her marriage, she was permanently residing with her Hamm grandparents in Wisconsin.
Here is the first page of the bydebøk that starts the journey into my Amundsen family line.
One day last fall I spent a few hours online trying to find a way to purchase the bygdebøker for Ullensvang in Norway. This is where Amund Amundson came from. I had looked at these books while in Salt Lake City, but I wanted my own set to mark up to my hearts content, and because I am unable to interlibrary loan them. (So started a crazy, and expensive, process that finally ended two weeks ago–but that’s not important now.)
Anyway, I found a museum in Norway that I could purchase the books from, and the two volumes arrived after Christmas. Added incentive for my purchasing the books from the museum was that they would also send me a .pdf file of the english translation of the books. No surprise to anyone that knows me, but I don’t speak, write, or understand Norwegian. In no time at all I was carefully going through the two volumes and entering data into my family tree.
It took a good week, but I have finally filled out the family tree on Amund’s side. Now, I didn’t willy-nilly accept the data from the books, because that would be foolish. Once I had all the information entered into my database I proceeded to find the original vital records to confirm and compare. I have to say that these particular volumes of bygdebøker, are very accurate when compared to the original source material. I found very few errors, and those found were minor date issues.
Not only do the bygdebøker give information on: who is living on the farm, who married who, when were folks were born or died etc.; they also share bits of history that are known about the families and the farms. So that is what I will am sharing today. In no particular order.
Around 1650 while celebrating at a christening feast in Jåstad, Samson Aslakson of Åse was stabbed to death by an easterling[?]. (I have no idea if the term is correct or just translated improperly). Possibly a little too much partying. He left a widow, Guro Oldsdatter, and three children of whom Ola Samsonson is our ancestor.
Sjur Ivarson is believed to have said, when his future wife, Marita Olsdatter, was carried to her baptism, about 1763, “There they come with she who shall be my wife.” She was 20 years younger than him. But true to his word when she came of age, he came a-courting. But apparently he was taking a bit too long to come to the point so Marita gave him a little push. “And I have never regretted it.” she said later, “I have been as lucky as a person can be.” Sjur in his youth served at Captain Knagenhjelm’s at Helleland, where he became interested in the fruit cultivation industry and proceeded to become a pioneer in business.
Helga Simonsdatter, born around 1658, was known as “beautiful Helga.” She was the last “light girl” where on St. Lucy’s Day, (in Scandinavia Lucy is called Lucia), she is represented as a woman in a white dress and red sash with a crown or wreath of candles on her head.
Erling Jonson, born in the mid to latter part of the 1500s, is believed to have made violins or fiddles. There was one in the Valdres Museum with the initials E.J.S., but it was destroyed in a fire.
Fiddles from Norway made in the 1600s, possibly like the one Erling is thought to have made.
Tore Olson, born 1695, was conscripted as a soldier in 1715. “Died in 1742. Killed by a rock.” (Sorry but this one makes me crack up every time I read it and I don’t know why. ‘Cause that ain’t really funny.) While reading through the little bits of history about Ullensvang it is apparent that rock slides and avalanches were, and maybe still, are a great hazard to the folks that lived in the area.
Perhaps, in the spirit of romance, Tore or Sjur were part of a Norwegian ski-infantry during their military service. (The Norwegian military has held skiing competitions since the 1670s. The sport of biathlon was developed from military skiing patrols.)
Anna Andersdatter is believed to have died giving birth to her 17th child. Only 3 lived to adulthood.
Continuing Anna Andersdatter’s family, her son, Anders Pederson, was so big and strong he was known as “The Norwegian bear.” He is believed to have become a minister and died in the eastern counties of Norway at a young age.
Brita Oddmundsdatter was born in the latter part of 1500s. According to family tradition, she was very strong and “manly,” she transported the lumber to Føynes herself when they started building there.
Torkjell Person, born in 1638, was a real piece of work. He was summoned to court in 1664 for having mistreated his servant girl. First he whipped her, then he had her bound to a sled attached to a horse. He proceeded to jump on the horse and dragged the sled to the sea. In 1666 he was again in court for whipping Per Albrektson and kicking Per’s wife. Thankfully Torkjell died at the age of 30. One can only imagine how he treated his own family.
And saving the best for last — Vigleik Oddson was “very foolish and simple-minded,” almost an idiot, as was his sister Begga Oddsdatter, both were born in the mid 1700s. They had a child together in 1773 and were brought to court for the crime of incest. The verdict was that they should be beheaded by sword. Thankfully, because the judge was aware that they were hardly fully compos mentis, the verdict was “referred to the King’s mercy.” The child was sent away and never heard from again. We do not know how things ended for Vigleik and Begga as they are never again mentioned in the local records.
Here is a lovely Norwegian embroidered bed carpet from the 1600s. Just ‘cuz.
When I arrived in Salt Lake City on the 31st of last month, I still had about two hours of research time I could indulge in at the library before it closed at 5:00pm.
I decided to just look at the bygdebøk for Amund’s side of the family, as I can’t seem to get the book inter-library loaned at home. I spent the first half hour just trying to make heads or tails of the information and where I needed to start to find Amund himself.
Then, finally found him.
Now I could start working my way backwards, of course I also only had about an hour left to research. Here is his entry, [this digital image has been annotated by me for my own reference]:
Notice that his name in this publication is spelled Oddmund. I believe the church record of his birth has a similar spelling.
Unfortunately over the week that I was in SLC I only had short spurts of time I could spend looking through the book, so I never actually finished my research on Amund, but I was able to go back to the 1600s in several line’s as I could for Jorgina’s family.
Looks like I will have to go to the Madison Norwegian research center. I hear they are great.
Google maps has a ‘live’ view of the area of Norway that Amund lived so I am including two shots of each side of the road where Amunds’ family came from. After looking at these images I can imagine the appeal of living in Duluth for Amund, and working on the docks, he had water in his veins.
I have indicated ‘Here’ on the map to show the side of the fjord/inlet where Amund’s family came from, they lived up and down this waterway.
Ah yes, the second half of my Norwegian ancestral origins. Because official records can be wrong, or memory can be elusive, Amund has proven to be a worthy opponent in this genealogical quest. You see some ancestors just don’t want to be found.
In the case of Amund, he was very closed mouthed and had an incredibly bad memory. He is first found in 1875 in the Minnesota State census with Jorgina, his wife and their eldest daughter Christine, who was just a few months old. In it his age is noted as 23, which means he was born in 1852 or 1853. In each successive censes after that he is born later and later until finally, the 1900 census. In this census one must provide month and year born, his entry has April 1852. Excellent. In 1905 he also continues to say born 1852. So now I am pretty sure of the year and I have a month.
Next I tried to find a naturalization record for him. The only Amund found close to the year born in the records for the State of Minnesota was an Amund born 1853 declaring his intent in Polk County. He had arrived at the port of Heuron in 1871.
I had issues with this record, birth year ‘wrong’. Year of immigration in the 1900 census indicated 1872, not 1871. And Polk County? Huh, what would my Amund be doing way up in Polk County. They lived in Goodhue County, Dodge County and then Carlton County, all way south and East in the State. Polk County is up north.
But, between 1880 and 1885 the Amundsons appear to have moved around a bit so maybe they headed up to Polk for work in that time period. In 1882 he applied for his intent. So…possibly his, but so many dates off.
Thankfully, in 1902 Amund did apply for his final papers in Carlton County. They confirmed that the declaration I had previously obtained was the correct one for my Amund. The 1900 census also confirms the naturalization papers as his because he indicated his papers were applied for and two years later he is a citizen. Census says he arrived in 1872, but final papers say June of 1871.
See my confusion.
Okay so now I have Amund Amundson arrived in US 1871, through Canada. Born in April of 1852 in Norway.
Parish register entry from Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway
Here is a birth and baptismal record for an Ommund Ommundson, born April 20, 1852 baptized June 7. Parents Ommund Ommundson Maakestad and Kristi Larsdatter Aakre.
Well, sure you say, but there were probably lots of Amunds born in the country in the same year and month. Ah yes, but this one’s father is Amund Amundson, which matches our Amund’s records. The mother is wrong according to our records, but I am not at all concerned about that, Jorgina’s mother was wrong in her US records too. So I would say this is a good match.
So the second thing I looked for was a ‘hey I am leaving Norway’ record. Yes they have those in Norway.
Here is the same Amund leaving Norway in April of 1871 for Quebec at the age of 19. Hmmm, quite a coincidence huh?
I have to say that I am fairly convinced by these records that our Amund hails from Hordaland, Norway, which is located right on top of Telemark.
With this information I have been able to go back only another generation or two for his line, the records in the parishes in Hordaland are not as thorough as those in Telemark.
It is not a done deal, but I am quite convinced that I have found the right Amund, and I will continue to pursue this line of questioning. An official church record of his marriage might clear the matter up. So anyway its back to the trenches.