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The excitement surrounding the meeting of the Swedish cousins is based, in no small part, on my mysterious grandmothers, one Norwegian, one more Swedish than we knew. The grandfathers have been more easily knowable. In the case of Grandpa Neset—I lived next door to him as a child and I was able to find my Norwegian Neset cousins fairly easily. Getting to know them over the years has been enormously interesting and… Read More

THE ‘BEGATS’ According to cousin, Arne Neset, of Stavanger, Norway, Neset history begins in the late 17th century when one of our ancestors, Knut J. Haugen, appears to have bought the farm Haugen from the bailiff Christian Mouritzen Torup in Grendi around 1695. Thanks to Arne’s fairly extensive research here’s what we know. First a ‘begat’ paragraph to bring the family up to the 1860s. For five generations, the family name was… Read More

  “Ancestry” has been referenced in many of my posts. Here’s the quick and simple version of exactly what it is and how I’m using it to add both breadth and depth to my summer trip to Norway. Ancestry.com is a website that connects us with our extended—multiple generations extended —families. This is how it works for me. I first joined in order to access their family tree maker and start the… Read More

I wish I could/would have begun these big fat six-week trips earlier in life. Sometimes focusing on a world ‘neighborhood’ of multiple countries, sometimes one country in greater depth…like I’m doing these last years. Not that I regret the many dance festival jaunts or art/dance focused meetings, conferences, gatherings, viewings in so many intriguing locations all around the world. Grants often covered much of the cost, I was usually surrounded by lively… Read More

I’m traveling on a different kind of quest this summer. To Norway to find…me? India and Greenland were physical challenges. Russia and South Africa literary, historical, and artistic adventures. Vietnam last year and Norway this year feel more like major life searches. In the case of Vietnam to see with my own eyes (and to offer mostly unspoken apologies) a place we Americans nearly destroyed in the name of false pride. In… Read More

Today was going to be about Grand Rapids, a nice little town on the edge of the Iron Range. Birthplace of Judy Garland! Instead, Marsha and I have been working on Ancestry.com most of the day. I see how people get hooked.  Genealogical research turns out to be an absorbing and time consuming pastime. Also most interesting in Marsha’s case because, while her mom and both Robert and my parents are rather recent arrivals from… Read More

“I’m Norwegian,” I say whenever I have the chance. “Oh really, how long have you lived in the U.S.?” Then I have to admit I was born here. “But I’m full-blooded Norwegian,” I insist—ignoring that wee bit of Irish, English, Russian, Lichtensteinian blood that Ancestry claims flows in my practically pure Norwegian veins. Up North, my history/geography/travel memoir will have a very long introduction or a first section steeped in Norway and… Read More