Friday, January 27, 2012

Aase Mikalsdatter Hornnes

August Knudsen & Aase Mikalsdatter Hornnes with six of their eight children, ca 1915/1916
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Aase was the twin sister of Torkjel Mikalsen and the sixth child of Mikal Alfsen and Anne Gundersdatter. She was born 21 May 1871 in Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway. August and Aase married 22 April 1896. Their first child, Knut, was born that same year. Her name is sometimes found as Aase, Aasa, Åsa or Åse. I think the two older sons, Knut and Mikal had already left home and are not in this photograph of the family. Mikal was confirmed at Heskestad in 1912. Knut would have been about 19 or 20 and Mikal about 17 or 18 at the time this photo was taken. The children pictured: Karl Alfred about 14, Anna about 11, Klara about 9, Ågot about 5, Ragnvald about 3 or 4 and Karstein about 1 or 2. They were probably posed this way but I found it quite touching that the father is holding the hands of two of the children and that Ragnvald is resting his hand on his mother. Four of the children are dressed in a sailor motif leading me to originally think that August was wearing a naval cap of some sort, however, I subsequently found out that he worked for the railway making it more likely that the hat is associated with the railway instead.

The children were born in the general vicinity but in different towns making it most likely that this family moved around some at least in the early years.

The children in order of birth:

1. Knut, born 1896 at Hægeland
2. Mikal, born 1898 at Hægeland
3. Karl Alfred, born 1900 at Næs
4. Anna, born 1903 at Lunde
5. Klara, born 1905 at Lunde
6. Ågot, born 1909 at Heskestad
7. Ragnvald, born 1911 at Heskestad
8. Karstein, born 1913*

In 1900 Aase is shown living
with her three older sons but without her husband and at the same farm, Gaaseflaa, with her older sister (Store) Anna and Anna’s husband Osmund Baardsen Gaaseflaa. Osmund’s parents are living there at that time as well as my grandmother the youngest sister, (Lil) Anna. Lil Anna was working there as household help and there were also three young men near Lil Anna’s age who lived there and worked as lumberjacks or timber men. Aase’s older sons, Knut and Mikal were the same ages as their cousins, Mikal and Ragnald. We know that another cousin, Martin, the son of Marie spent some time at Gaaseflaa as well. So when we speak of the rascally boys of Gaaseflaa it may have been quite a group of rowdy young boys. What fun they must have had together.

I have looked for August in the 1900 Norwegian census but could not find him. Perhaps Bjørn & Marit Arnhaug can provide the missing pieces? I think, though, that since August was working for the rail line he may have been living away from home temporarily due to his job. In 1910 the family is listed together on the census as living in Heskestad parish at what looks like the rail station at Moen. Later the family moved to Aamli (Åmli) and stayed there. Bjørn sent these pictures that show Aase a little older, and both August and Aase together with some of their children. Olga Dalane, one of Store Anna’s daughters, was the same age as her cousin Aase's daughter Klara. Olga sent a picture of herself with her cousins Anna and Klara.

[photo courtesy of Bjørn Arnhaug]

There is a strong family resemblance between all the children in this large family. Fortunately for us they are all a rather handsome, good-looking group.

August & Aasa with Ågot, Klara and Anna. The sons here I believe to be Mikal, Karstein and Ragnvald.
[photo courtesy of Bjørn Arnhaug]

Olga Dalane with her cousins, Anna & Klara, ca 1978
[photo courtesy of Olga Dalane]

Karstein, Ragnvald, Ågot, Klara, Anna, Mikal
[photo courtesy of Bjørn Arnhaug]

August and Aase with an unidentified couple.
[photo courtesy of Bjørn Arnhaug]

Perhaps one of you recognizes the couple with August and Aase? I wondered if it might be their nephew, Mikal, the son of Aase’s brother Torkjel.

Of her eight children, two went to America, Knut in 1913 and Mikal in 1916. Mikal later returned home to Norway but Knut remained in America and married Annie Christianson in 1932 in Red Lake, Minnesota. What I have found as I dig into this family history is that the extended family members did stay in contact with one another or at least tried to do so. Mikal Alfsen, Aase’s father, had a brother, Torkild, who lived at Kile, in Hægeland not far from Gaaseflaa and fairly close to where Aase and August lived. Torkild came to America and settled in the Red River Valley of Minnesota. Is it possible that Knut ended up in that general area because he had an uncle there? Maybe. There certainly was a tendency toward doing that among new immigrants. I don’t have much additional information about Aase and her family perhaps because they did move around a bit and eventually settled somewhat apart from the others but what I have found so far indicates that Aase died 26 Jan 1953 and August died 16 Jan 1961.

Corrections or additions from family members would be welcome. I will post any updates people send me.



Mikal was confirmed at Heskestad in 1912 so we know the family was still there when Ragnvald was born in 1911; however, I do not know for sure that they were there in 1913 when Karstein was born. It must have been soon after 1912 they moved to Åmli.

Bjørn sent an email just after this post went up letting me know that Karstein was born at Heskestad and that he thinks the family moved to Åmli around 1913. Thanks, Bjørn, for the additional information.

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