Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Miracle Year: Roots

(To the left: Borgund stave church, near Laerdal, largely unchanged until the present day. As long ago as 1721 it was described as ”an old and extraordinarily special stave building.”) So here I am, full of fresh information, getting in touch with my Norwegian-ness. I’ve always joked with people that the Norwegian half is the ‘nice’ half, the other half being German. But, truth be told, I’m actually half German, quarter Norwegian and quarter English (whereas Sandy is three-quarters Norwegian and one quarter English).

I’m a relatively new American. My maternal grandmother, a Butler, was born in Bristol, England; and my paternal grandmother, a Dreckman, in Hanover (Mecklenburg-Strelitz), Germany; each entered the US through Ellis Island, New York.

Both my grandfathers’ fathers came from the Old World. I'd learned from David Husum that the Husoms came from the tiny village of Husum, Norway. My paternal great-grandfather, whose family name waaay back was 'von Harnack,' came from the Mecklenburg area of Germany, Prussian to the core. (All family records were destroyed in the massive Allied firebombing of Dresden during WWll.)

(To the right: the Borgund Vindhella road, near Laerdal, part of the old Konge-vegen (the King`s Road) at the crossroad between East and West, completed around 1748.) Some of this is new knowledge for me. For instance, I learned that my mother’s great-grandfather was still alive when she died in childbirth in 1952. Thomas Einer Husum, born in Borgland, Laerdal, Norway in 1863, died in Long Prairie, Minnesota in 1953, the year after my mother passed away (1952); he is buried in the same plot as she. I find this astounding. I’ve never heard of him before. Uff da!

To be continued...

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