Find Links to Norway in New Books at the Library

Three new reference books may yield information about your Norwegian relatives. The Bertha Bartlett Public Library received the bilingual books as a gift from the Kong Sverre Sons of Norway Lodge in Story City.

The set is titled Norwegians in American, their History and Record: A translated version of the 1907 and 1913 Nordmaendene I Amerika, dere Historie og Record written by Martin Ulvestad. Volumes 1, 2 and 3 were given.

Local residents Bob and Carolyn Ahlstrom have found family references in each of the three volumes. Carolyn said, "We hope others will open the books and learn more about Norwegian history in our area."

The books were transcribed from Gothic script, translated into English and edited. Deb Nelson Gourley of Waukon indexed the three books and copyrighted them in 2010. Astri My Astri Printing publishes them. The translation has been published with the financial support of Norwegian Literature Abroad, Fiction and Non-fiction.

The reference books can help connect Norwegian descendents with ancestors and their birthplaces in Norway. The usable structure is sorted by names, places and occupations; indexes cross-reference the three books.

Ulvestad compiled the Norwegian-American pioneer stories after sending out 163,000 small books and pamphlets plus 450,000 circulars and forms to early immigrants. In addition the author visited people in 882 places.

Information came from people in 41 states and 500 counties in the U.S. and six Canadian provinces. Ulvestad hoped the books would help reconnect those who had left Norway between 1825 and 1907 with those who remained in Norway. The people who responded told of their part in American wars, the American Civil War, Andersonville Prison and encounters with Indians. They reported their occupations and involvement in politics, church societies and their communities. The books provide information on more than 25,000 pioneers, sorted by 1,700 areas from which they emigrated and include maps.

Ulvestad stated, "I hope this compilation will help many a dear son or brother, relative or friend that one has lost track of to be found again, that it will build a bridge."

He said reporting the personal information and records would strengthen the Norwegian-American immigrant history. He hoped his work would benefit historians and genealogists.

Members of Kong Sverre Lodge say, "Come, use the three new reference books while you are at the Bertha Bartlett Public Library to learn more about Norwegian pioneers in America."

The books are housed with the Sons of Norway collection, near the genealogy reference section and the Circulation Desk inside the Bertha Bartlett Public Library. In addition to the three reference books, a second copy of "The Norwegian Paperclip and Other Stories as told by Olav Richard Crone-Aamot, a member of the Norwegian Underground During the German Occupation April 9, 1940—June 7, 1945" was also donated and will be housed in the Sons of Norway collection.

Submitted by Carolyn Ahlstrohm

Written by Melva L. Berkland