Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Harald Christian Landaas

Harald Christian Landaas, ca 1905

Harald Christian Landaas was born 2 May 1878 in Bergen, Norway. He was the fifth of the nine children out of eleven who survived childhood born to Peder Johan Landaas and Karen Olsdatter Kalvetræ. He was the fourth of the Landaas children to leave Norway for America. He sailed first from Bergen to England, took a train most likely from Hull to Liverpool, left Liverpool, England on the S.S. Tunisia for Quebec, Canada arriving 11 May 1901. He came directly from Canada to the United States, then took a train across country to Seattle where his sisters, Mikkeline (Maggie) and Petra, where living and where his brother, Adolph, lived from time to time between trips to Alaska.

Wilhelmina & Harald Landaas, ca 1915

Harald married Wilhelmina Olsdatter Valle on 25 February 1911 in Seattle. She was born 18 March 1883 in Os, Hordaland, Norway. I like this photo of the two of them. Aunt Wilhelmina has a slightly dreamy expression and Uncle Harald looks dapper and handsome.

On one occasion when the Landaas sisters were dressing up in funny hats and fans the three older Landaas brothers also cut loose with some silliness. In these three pictures we see from the left, Harald, Cornelius and Adolph.

Harald, Cornelius and Adolph, front view



Harald’s mother, Karen Landaas, had returned to Norway for a visit in 1909. Her trip had a three-fold purpose. Her husband, Peder, had died in 1908 and Karen wanted to visit the family still living in Norway she also thought she might like to move back home but rather than completely pack up and move she took this trip to find a good place to live. Like many immigrants, however, she found that she didn’t like Norway any better than she liked her new adopted country so she decided to return to Seattle where all her children now lived and not move back to Norway after all. According to family lore the third purpose was to find a wife for her son, Harald. Karen was the driving force in the Landaas family and no one contradicted her. If she decided to find a bride for her son he was going to marry the girl she picked, period. She also decided the career paths for her sons. Karen found the perfect bride for Harald from that same small community of Os where she had been born, most likely a cousin of some sort! This never makes any sense to me . . . the gene pool was pretty narrow to begin with why would she do this? But Karen did it and it worked out.

Harald, Peggy, Wilhelmina and Wilbur Landaas, ca 1928

Harald and Wilhelmina had two children:

(1) Wilbur Harold Landaas, born 11 January 1912, died 9 December 1980. Wilbur married Lucille Charlotte May who was bon about 1917 in Oregon. They had four children. Lucille died 31 May 1970

(2) Virginia Lorraine, “Peggy”, born 22 July 1919, died 7 August 1992. Peggy married Harold Olsen Stjern in 1946. They had three children.

By 1925 Wilhelmina had persuaded her two brothers, Henrik and Ragnvald Valle to come to America where they lived with Harald and Wilhelmina for a short time. Henrik Valle had a degree in civil engineering and military science from Norges Tekniske Høgskole in Trondheim, Norway but he did not speak English so he had a difficult time at first getting a job. Some years later he started his own construction company eventually taking on another Norwegian immigrant, Harold Stjern, as a partner. Harold was married to Henrik’s niece, Peggy. When he died in 1979 Henrik left a gift to the University of Washington establishing scholarships in the College of Engineering. The census record shows that Ragnvald went to work for an airplane company but does not name the company which must have been Boeing.

Harald worked as a toolmaker and engraver for a jewelry business and did quite well I think. They had a lovely home in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Seattle. Harald and Wilhelmina took at least one trip to Norway that I know of. It was in 1947. In her later years Aunt Wilhelmina lived at the Norse Home in Ballard. Peggy also lived there for a short time following her husband’s death in 1990.

Harald died 11 April 1949 in Seattle and Wilhelmina died in Seattle on 8 March 1976.


  1. I am Erik Landaas. Wilbur Landaas was my grandfather. My father is Jon Landaas. I am from the Seattle area, but now live in Honolulu, HI. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions or information about the Landaas family. Thanks! Erik

    1. How nice to make another connection. My grandmother was Petra Landaas the sister of Harald and the aunt of Wilbur. I knew Peggy but don't know much about Wilbur or his family. Would like to know about his children and grandchildren.

  2. Great to make contact with family. Wilbur had four children: Jon, Sue, Ann and Barbara and they all have children. Wilbur has since passed away many years ago. I have four children: Ali, Aiden, Nina and Julia. My sister's name is Mysicqa (now Baker) and lives in Edmonds. She has two boys, Dominik and Kalahan Baker. I don't have a lot of contact with my aunts, but I do stay in touch with my cousins on Facebook. What is your name and where are you located? Please feel free to contact me on my email: