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  Norwegian Genealogy

Shelley Jerviss

Shelley JervissBorn and raised in southeastern Minnesota, I have been influenced by my Norwegian roots all of my life. It has at times been quite subtle, but the influence was certainly there. From eating the Norwegian foods and hearing the language spoken by my grandfather, to hearing about the "old country" and seeing pictures of my ancestors--it all made an impression on me.

I was born in 1950 to Gordon and Edith (Overland) Jerviss and raised in Houston, Minnesota. I am the oldest of four children, with three brothers to follow: Larry, Brian, and Lee. I also have an older half sister, Ramona Jerviss Trentz, who lives in Upland, California with her husband George.

Following my graduation from Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota in 1973, I began teaching at my alma mater, Houston Public Schools. At this point I am the Librarian in the elementary school and high school in Houston, as well as working with junior and senior high level students who are experiencing difficulty in reading and recently added the task of being an instructor in the Summit Learning Center, an alternative education opportunity at Houston High School for grades 9 - 12. In June 2001 I was elected to the Board of Directors for the i.t.a. Foundation located in Roslyn Heights (Long Island), New York. So as you can see I've been blessed with a wealth of teaching responsibilities, which has made my teaching career varied, interesting and enjoyable.

Many of my interests and hobbies are related to the Norwegian heritage and its culture, however, as with most people, there is never enough time to devote to them. I have always enjoyed doing all forms of needlework, but when I discovered hardangersom I felt like I had struck gold! I have been been fortunate enough to have instructors from Norway while taking classes at Vesterheim in Decorah--they add a special touch. Knitting in the Norwegian tradition and weaving are also interests of mine.

I hold memberships with Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah and the Houston County Historical Society and try to find time to volunteer to further their efforts. Other memberships that reflect my interests include Telelaget i America, NAHA, the Norwegian Genealogy Group in Minneapolis, Vesterheim Genealogical Center, Norskedalen, Oneota Weavers Guild, as well as several educational organizations.

My Norwegian heritage comes from my mother's side of the family. The Seljord, Kviteseid and Sauland areas in Telemark, and the Rogaland area in western Norway were home to my ancestors before they came to America in the 1850's. All of them eventually settled in Rushford and Highland Prairie in Fillmore County, which borders Houston County to the west.

I was co-editor of Telesoga from May of 1991 until December of 1997 and I am currently the Secretary. I was elected to the Board of Directors of Telelaget at its annual meeting in Seljord during the Tur til Telemark in 1992. That was my first trip to Norway and it was indeed a dream come true. Not only was seeing that magnificent country an experience never to be forgotten, but through the trip I made friends and family connections that will last a lifetime. These connections were renewed on the Telemark Heritage Tour in 1997, and as always I look forward to my next adventure in Norway.


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