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  Norwegian Genealogy

Darrel Johnson

Darrell JohnsonMy surname would have been Jansen, except for it being Americanized. The family patriarch, Jan Eivindsson became John Evenson in MN; Fillmore County (1861-1868) and later Ottertail County (1868-1878), even though he had a younger brother, Jon (John) Evenson Homme, of Houston County, MN. Two of Jan's sons served in the Civil War

I grew up on my grandfather's homestead in Poplar Township, Cass County, in North Central MN. He was a grandson of Jan and was born in Fillmore County MN two years after the Civil War. Ingebret was the third child in his family, but the first one born in MN; in addition he was the third generation of his family to homestead land in MN. His uncle, Osmond Johnson, of the 15th WI Regiment was a long term prisoner and survivor of Andersonville Prison.

After retirement from 3M in 2001, I returned to North Central MN to live near where I grew up. My family consists of four adult children and seven grandchildren. Hobbies besides genealogy consist of kayaking, yoga, and travel, plus time with grandchildren, gardening, harvesting wild rice and deer hunting in the fall. Our kayak club in Brainerd goes kayaking on the area lakes and group trips, plus snow shoeing, cross country skiing in the winter months.

I belong to several Norwegian organizations. In addition to my genealogical pursuits, I am interested in Norwegian culture and history, including the two Telemark revolts (Gråtopp's Revolt of 1438 and the 1540 Bonde Revolt) and the silversmith profession. Two silversmiths of 1600s Telemark are among my ancestors. I am especially interested in researching the 1500 - 1600s periods.

My interest in genealogy developed in the mid 1980s, when I took my late father to visit his old cousins. This led me to learn more about the family. The research spread to tracing all branches of Jan Evenson's family. After several years of research in the USA and Norway with the assistance of a Norwegian expert, the origins of my paternal g, g grandfather was found in Skafså, Telemark, but his roots were in Kviteseid. Norwegian research in difficult cases requires knowledge of the internal migration pathways. His gravesite was located in Otter Tail County, MN. On Memorial Day of 1994 my youngest daughter and I excavated his gravestone located at a burial site on a farm that was used as a cemetery before the church was built. During the Tur til Telemark in 1997, I was inspired to further explore my paternal grandmother's maternal Seljord roots. Kittil Tovson Aase and Gunhild Andersdotter Sanden's family, plus both sets of parents emigrated to the Koshkonong settlement in Dane County, WI in the early 1840's. Later Kittil and Gunhild moved to Freeborn County, MN and Mitchell County, IA. Some of the Seljord and Kviteseid families have common roots in the 1600s.

The trip was especially interesting in that I met a relative from the Grå family that showed me around the Tveitgrendi neighborhood in Kviteseid. In addition, I was able to visit the mountain residence that my Seljord ancestors left from in the early 1840s.

My Telemark roots are from Skafså in Mo, Kviteseid, Seljord, Bø, Hitterdal, Gransherad, Sauherad, Hjartdal and Skien

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