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So, this is Dad and Mom. Ray is the son of Conrad Herrmann and Kate Bundock. He is the step-son of Edith Armstrong and Wally Hewitt. ...

Monday, December 30, 2013

Peder Hilmar Bjerkmann

Peder was the 4th son and 8th child of Andreas and Gustava. Even though Grandma's scrapbook had no photographs of him, I had known about him for some years, having come across him in the transcribed records of Norway on familysearch.  I only knew his name and birth date - and my brother had told me he died when he was in his teens.
When I connected with my cousin in Norway, she had told me that Peder died of tuberculosis when he was 16 years old - and she sent a photograph of him. I was in awe of this photograph. It was the most haunting photograph I had ever seen - and brought such a sadness to me. 
The photograph was taken shortly before Uncle Peder died; and looking at the picture right now - Gr. Grandpa Andreas looking stoic with a clenched fist; Gr. Grandma Gustava in her attempt to be brave, but the blank stare in her face speaks volumes of her sadness; and Peder, looking frail and weak, with the hopelessness reflecting in his eyes - the sorrow just emanates from this photograph.

I often wondered why there were no photo's of Peder in Grandma's scrapbook. I can understand - and, maybe, surmise - the reason for none of Karl and Olga. They were so much older than Grandpa that he may not have known them all that well (and Karl supposedly left for the U.S. in the year before Grandpa was born). I can understand why the two baby Bredine's were not in the scrapbook. They died so young and photography was probably almost non-existent for most people. There were pictures of Ivan, Hjalmar and Nora - but no Peder. Was it such a painful memory to Grandpa to even have a photograph of his brother?


Friday, December 27, 2013

Leanore Marie Bjerkmann

Leanore (aka Nora) was the 4th daughter and 7th child of Andreas and Gustava. She married Harald (aka Harold) Laurentius Sundstrom in 1900 in Oslo, Norway. 
Harald was born in Goteborg Karl Johan to Johannes Bengtsson Sundstrom and Anna Maria Thoran. He had two siblings - Johan and Davida.
Harold and Nora had five children - Oscar Fritjof, Esther Davida, Viktor Andreas Laurentius, Svea Gustava Margareta, and Ragnar Harald William. 
Harold emigrated to the U.S. in 1909 with Nora and the children following in 1912. It is said within the family that Viktor died on the voyage over, but I cannot find proof of that. However, I also cannot find any record of him beyond the ship manifest either. So, it could still be a true story.
When they changed their surname from Sundstrom to Sondee is unknown. There is one record from Sweden that uses the Sondee surname. Whenever, and for whatever reason, they had changed it, when they settled in Waukegan, Illinois (near Nora's brother, Hilmar) they were known as the Sondee family.
At some point after 1935, Harold and Nora moved to Florida. Whether the entire family moved there together is unknown, but at some point, they all lived there.
Oscar married Melanie (maiden name unknown at this time) and they had a daughter, Barbara (she recently passed away). After Melanie's death in 1975, Oscar married a second time to Grace Hanson. They had no children together. Oscar died in 1989 and Grace in 1992.
Esther married Johan (John) Olov Wallin sometime between 1930 and 1935, probably in Waukegan. John passed away in 1947 and it appears that Esther never remarried and there is no indication that they had any children.  Also, sometime after John's passing, she moved to Florida. Esther died in 1995.
On a side note, my mother was named after Esther Sondee. Mom said that her cousin Esther was Hilmar's favorite niece and he insisted that his only daughter be named after her. 
Viktor was explained above.
Svea married Lloyd Hedman and had 4 daughters. Lloyd died in 1968 and Svea died in 1982.
Ragnar married Mildred Nystrom and had 4 children. Ragnar died in  1989 and Mildred in 2002. I remember Mom sending a Christmas card to Mildred every year when I was younger. She learned of Mildred's passing when she didn't receive the customary card in return. I think Mom really felt bad about Mildred's passing as she was the last link she had to her Aunt's family.

It is said that every person in this photograph are family members of the Hilmar Bjorkman family and the Harold Sondee family. 

Grandma Ragnhild with some of the Sondee family in Florida.

Nora and Ragnhild in Florida. One of my favorite photographs.

It is believed that this is Harold and Nora Sondee, but we are still uncertain of that.

Nora with her son, Ragnar.

Esther Davida Sondee, Mom's namesake.

Barbara Sondee Fisk - daughter of Oscar and Melanie.

Esther and Oscar Sondee. They were born in Norway and the rest of the Sondee children were born in Sweden.

Another photograph of the Bjorkman and Sondee family.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hjalmar August Bjerkmann

Hjalmar was the 3rd son and 5th child of Andreas and Gustava, younger brother to Bredine Olivia but older brother of Bredine Ottila. 
There is no indication that Hjalmar worked at Spigerverk with his father and brothers. His occupation was a Postman according to the various censuses.
Hjalmar married Anna Maria Johansen. Their marriage produced four sons - Birger Henning, Ivar Flood, Trygve Bull, and Sverre Bang.
The children were left without a father when Hjalmar died in 1915. Through the following years, they had lost contact with the Bjerkmann side of their family.
Birger married and had 3 children.  Ivar married,  but it is unknown if they had any children. At the time of this post,  it is unknown if Trygve or Sverre ever married or had any children.

This is the house Andreas built. It is believed that Hjalmar and his family lived here for a time. 
In the picture, from left to right are: Andreas, Gustava, Hjalmar's mother-in-law and sister-in-law, Eugenie, Dagny, Eivind, Astrid standing in front of Kristiane, Kristiane (who was pregnant with Viktor at the time), Ivan, Hjalmar's father-in-law, Birger, Anna holding Ivar, and Hjalmar.

This photograph is courtesy of Hjalmar's grandson. The picture is of Hjalmar and Anna, their 4 sons and a lady visitor.

These last two photo's are from Grandma's Scrapbook and are said to have Hjalmar in them, but I do not know which person is Hjalmar in either photo nor who the others are.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Ivan Oluf Stjerkreutz Bjerkmann

For many years, we thought that Ivan was the oldest child of Andreas and Gustava. We now know that he is the 3rd child, and second son, of our great-grandparents.
Ivan, born in 1867 in Vestre Aker, Oslo, worked at Spigerverk, as did Andreas and Hilmar. It is unknown if any other family member was employed there, too.
Spigerverk was the local Iron Works factory in Vestre Aker. Andreas and Gustava lived in the factory employee housing district for many years. 
Not much was known about Ivan at first, even though Grandma's scrapbook had more pages of pictures of Grandpa's brother and his family than any other member of Grandpa's family.
As it turned out, Rønnaug and her brother are descendants of Ivan, and it was Rønnaug who identified the one 8x10 photograph in Grandma's scrapbook that I could not identify, but had attributed it to possibly being of the Sondee family. 
Now, this post is also where the identity is solved of who Eugenie and Astrid were - and where they fit in the family. It also identified two different pictures of the same  blonde-hair little girl that I had associated with Astrid Bjerkmann. It turned out not to be a Bjerkmann, but a Sjöholm - the adopted daughter of Grandma's brother, Axel.
Ivan married Kristiane Kristoffersen in 1892. They became the parents of five children - Eugenie Inga Marie, Eivind Thorleif, Dagny, Astrid Gustava,  and Viktor Sinding. Sadly, they lost Dagny when she was about 5 years old.
Eugenie married Harald Bjerkelund and they had 4 sons and 1 daughter. 
Eivind emigrated to the United States and was naturalized through his military service. He changed his name to Erwin Bjorkman. He settled in Wisconsin, marrying a woman named Helen. They had one son. Erwin died sometime prior to 1930.
Eivind spent some time in a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Milwaukee. According to those records, he had contracted Tuberculosis. This may have been his cause of death, but it is unknown as a death record has not been found yet. By 1940, his wife had remarried and had at least one daughter from this marriage. 
Astrid married Arne Fosbek and they had a daughter and a son.
Viktor married Anna Moe. I do not have much information on them yet, so it is unknown if they had any children.
Ivan died in 1938 and Kristiane died in 1931. 

This 8x10 photograph took up one whole page in the back of Grandma's scrapbook. I, at first, thought that it could be that of the family of Grandpa's sister, Leanora (Nora), but it was not. It is some of the Ivan Bjerkmann family. From left to right - Harald Bjerkelund (husband of Eugenie), daughter Eugenie, mother Kristiane, father Ivan, daughter Astrid, and son Viktor. It was taken in the home of Ivan and kristane, and believed to have been after the funeral of Gustava, Ivan's mother, who died in 1921.

This photograph, from Grandma's scrapbook, had also been a mystery. It has now been identified as Eugenie with her three sons - Ivar, Havald and Per.

Photograph curtesy of Rønnaug. Left to Right: Dagny, Eugenie, and Eivind.

This photograph was on a page in Grandma's scrapbook that included photographs of Hjalmar, so we naturally thought, at first, that this was Hjalmar with his wife, Anna, and oldest son, Birger. Such is not the case. This is Eivind with his wife, Helen, and their son, Russell. It is assumed, because of the photograph being in the scrapbook and the fact that Hilmar and his family lived not far from Eivind and his family, that the two families had contact with one another sometime before Eivind's death.

Mistaken Identity. Because of the placement in Grandma's scrapbook, the little girl was thought to be Astrid, daughter of Ivan and Kristiane (the photo's are labeled "Astrid"). It is now known that this little girl is not a Bjerkmann at all! This is Astrid Sjoholm, adopted daughter of Axel and Hildur. I guess it can safely be said now that Grandma did not put photogrraphs in her scrapbook in any type of order.

The  photograph on the left is of Astrid and Arne Fosbek on their wedding day. The photograph on the right of Astrid is from Grandma's scrapbook. As you can see, the little girl Astrid looks nothing like Astrid Bjerkmann. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Olga Milderine Olsdotter Bjerkmann

Olga was the second child and oldest daughter, born after Andreas and Gustava married in 1864. 
Olga was easy to find in the birth records; that is, after I discovered the family in the 1865 Norwegian Census. Cousin Rønnaug tutored me on the finer points and history of the Confirmation records in Norway and led me to where I could find Olga's confirmation record. 
Rønnaug was also the one who found Olga's records when we lost track of her after her confirmation. She's a regular "Nancy Drew" in genealogical research! Of course, what she found in the records on Olga nearly knocked my socks off. It turned out to be another family tree shocker.
Remember under the blog on the Norgrens, I said I would review Gustava's younger brother, August (the 2nd August), in a later post? Well, this is that post - because I can't review Olga at this point without reviewing August, too. Maybe you've guessed it by now or maybe you have not; but the records show that Olga and August were married in 1890. So, to wrap it up in understanding what this means - Olga married her Uncle and August married his niece!
Rønnaug found the individual Census record of 1891 for Olga. On this record it showed her listed under her maiden name, living in the home of her parents in Aker - but a couple of margin notes indicated that she had a husband who was currently in England. 
So, Rønnaug's search began looking for that mysterious husband. To make a long story short, her research led her to both Olga and August leaving the State Church, having a secular marriage, and being admitted back into the State Church at a later time. As August was a sailor, at the time of the 1891 Census, he was in England.
August and Olga had three children together - Olga Victoria, Margrete Augusta and Sverre August Bang. Sadly, the only child of the three, Sverre, lived to be an adult; and even he died at the age of 23 years old. Their eldest child, Olga, died when she was 6 1/2 months old; and Margrete was 2 1/2 months old when she passed away.
The family line discontinued with the passing of Sverre, who never married. His mother, Olga, died in 1904, and his father, August, died in 1913. 

A portion of the secular marriage record for Olga and August.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Karl Eilert Olsen Bjerkmann

The oldest child and the oldest son of Andreas and Gustava. Karl was born in 1863 in Halden, Ostfold about a year before the marriage of his parents in 1864. 
Not much is known about him (as he was actually a total surprise in our research) and there are no known pictures of him at the time of the writing of this blog post.
What we do know about him, so far, is that he married Marie Emilie Olsen in Vestre Aker in 1882. They had a son, Hilmar Olof Olsen, but he died about 3 months after his birth. The same year his son was born (and died), Karl left for the United States and Marie never heard from him again.
No records have been found of Karl leaving Norway nor have any records been found of him arriving or being in the U.S.
Marie lived most of her life with sisters and died in 1915 in Akerhus. She never discovered what happened to Karl. We are still actively searching for him in the records. We have tossed around ideas that he was a mariner of some kind or immigrated with the intention of sending for Marie at a later time; Or did he just abandon her? We honestly do not know - yet.

Just a slight update (or addition, actually), Karl was a sailor. Here is a page from the records of 1880 recording him as a sailor.


The Bjerkmann Children

Andreas and Gustava had nine children - Karl, Olga, Ivan, Bredine Olivia, Hjalmar, Bredine Ottila, Leanore, Peder and Hilmar.
Not all of the children were easy to find and/or research. We knew from Grandma's scrapbook that Grandpa had a sister, Nora (Leanora) and two brothers, Ivan and Hjalmar. Some family members knew about Peder, but the other children were unknown to us.
Also included in the scrapbook of Grandma's concerning Grandpa's family were two women - Eugenie and Astrid. We had no idea where they fit in. More on that later, along with a few pics that surprised me when they were finally identified and placed into the family tree.
I guess I would have to say that the National Archives of Norway Digital Archives was the main source for researching the Bjerkmann children. If it wasn't for their website and database, we would not have known about all of the children until this past year when I came in contact with our cousins in Norway.
I remember starting my research on familysearch for the children. I found Grandpa easily.....and Nora. The revelation came when I discovered that Andreas and Gustava were married under the surnames of Olsen and Olofsdotter. This fact led to the surprise of two children no one knew about - Karl and Olga, the eldest of the Bjerkmann children. 
Karl was the oldest child of Andreas and Gustava, born about a year before they married and Olga was born about a year later. The other surprise was Bredine Olivia. I had already added Bredine Ottila as Eugenie when I ran across her in the birth records, as at that time I thought Eugenie was a sister of Hilmar's. I knew that when you get two children in the same family with the same first name, it usually means that the first same-named child had died, so searching the death records I had discovered not only had Bredine Olivia died almost 10 months after she was born. of bronchitis, but I also found that Bredine Ottila died a little over a year after she was born, too. So, now it was back to finding out who Eugenie was and where she fit into the family. As I mentioned previously, more on Eugenie later.
I eventually traced nine children to Andreas and Gustava and found all of their birth records. The challenge that now laid ahead was finding out what happened to all except the two Bredines, Grandpa and Aunt Nora. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Norgrens

Gustava was born in Dals-Ed, Alvsborg, Sweden to Olof Andersson Norgren and Maria Eriksdotter. It was the first marriage for Olof and the second for Maria. Maria had her first son, Andreas, from a relationship with Johannes Olofsson. Her daughter, Maria, was born from her first marriage - to Nils Olsson. Maria and Nils were married in 1836, but Maria was widowed the following year. She married Olof Norgren in 1839.
It is unknown when Olof assumed the surname Norgren, but it is thought to be when he served in the Military.
Olof and Maria had five children together - Gustava, Johanna, their first son August (who died just before reaching 5 months old), Britta Stina and their second son named August.
The family moved to Halden, Ostfold, Norway in 1854. There is no indication that Maria's children, Andreas and Maria, moved with the family.
Olof died in Halden in 1858. Daughter Johanna migrated to Utah in the United States and married Andrew Truelson. Britta Stina married Iver Andersen and had seven children. The last location we have for them was Fredrikstad. August, the second son - I will review later on.
It is unknown when or where Gustava's mother, Maria, died. It was after 1883 as that was the last known correspondance through a letter to her daughter, Johanna.
Olof was born in 1818, Dals-Ed, to Anders Andersson and Marta Andersdotter. He had 3 known brothers and one known sister. His father and mother were born in Dals-Ed in 1774 and 1775, respectively.
Gustava's mother, Maria was born in Odskolt, Alvsborg in 1810 to Erik Olofsson and Ingeborg Halfvardsdotter. Maria had one other sibling - a brother - before her father died in 1812. Maria and her brother, Jonas, were placed in the custody of their paternal Grandfather, Olof Jonsson, after their father's death. Their paternal Grandmother was Maria Olsdotter. Olof and Maria also had three other children besides Erik.
Ingeborg, born in Dalskog to Halfvard Theman and Marta Eriksdotter, remarried in 1816 to Lars Olsson. They had five children together. Lars also had 3 daughters from a previous marriage.

A page from a book describing the Military record for Olof Andersson Norgren. At this time, it is unknown if he has any relation to the other Norgrens on this page. Page provided by Cousin R
ønnaug in Norway.

Next blog post, I will talk about the children of Andreas and Gustava Bjerkmann.