Monday, September 14, 2015

Maternal Norwegian Grandparents

My husband, Keith’s maternal grandparents were from the northern province of Norway called Finmarken, located about 200 miles of the Arctic Circle. The Jorgenson family with three other families from Norway immigrated to America in 1864.  

Keith vividly remembers his mother, Gladys (nee Jorgenson) parents. When he was a child, he often visited their farm in Artichoke, Minnesota. His mother, Gladys came from a large family with 6 brothers and 3 sisters. They all worked on the farm and enjoyed community and church outings.

Keith was fortunate to have had his Uncle Hans create a very thorough genealogy of his maternal ancestors, long before there was the Internet and He would have embraced both of these as he researched his family history. Our bookshelf museum is dedicated to this side of his family displaying some wonderful old photographs and unique heirlooms and antiques. The photos tell the Jorgenson story. Enjoy!

This 1898 photograph shows his mother Gladys (sitting on her father’s lap) with the entire family (except one yet to be born) dressed in their Sunday best, at the dining room table in their farm house in Minnesota. Keith's Bestafar (bestfather/grandfather) reigns proudly at the head of the table. Keith’s Bestamar (bestmother/grandmother) sits next to her husband.

The wooden cradle belonged to his mother’s Aunt Getta in Norway and was made by her father in 1835. When Gladys was a child, she inherited the cradle. The wooden suitcase was made by Gladys’ father. When you open it, a card-table folds out. When its use is done, it folds back up into the suitcase. Very ingenious. The washboard was Gladys’s mothers’ dating back to 1864. Before the old farmhouse was torn down (we tried to save it) Keith removed the Victorian-style
brackets his grandfather made off of the front porch. He also took one of the few brass doorknobs that were still in the house. He also took the balustrade off the front hall steps and we incorporated it into our home. We wanted the claw-foot porcelain bathtub, but it wouldn’t fit on top of the car, so we had to leave it behind. 
Keith’s Aunt Alice was a Baptist Missionary who for twenty years lived with and taught English and converted many of the people in the Congo. Over the years she collected fine pieces of African art. After her death Keith inherited some of her things. Keith’s Aunt Nina, who passed away at age 104, gave him several family heirlooms, such as rag carpets, an exquisite hand-made wooden sugar bowl made by his grandfather, and two balls of yarn gleaned from the family sheep. The oldest of his mother’s sisters, Aunt Esther, who passed away at age 101, gave her heirlooms to other family members. When his mother, Gladys passed away, at age 102, Keith inherited many precious family heirlooms that are placed around our house as well as in the family museum. We both live with and display all of these heartfelt heirlooms and considered ourselves fortunate to have them in our lives.
Tomorrow's post will be about Keith's paternal grandparents.

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