Monday, October 31, 2011

Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes "Store Anna"

Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes, (d.e.), ca 1898
[photo courtesy of Inger Frøysaa]

Quite often in large families one of the children will end up as the “keystone” who keeps track of all the others, whose home is where the extended family meets for special occasions, who takes care of the others when necessary, a gathering place for the whole group. I do not know for certain but I think Anna who was born on Christmas day (25 December) 1866 in Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway, the third child of Mikal Alfsen and Anne Gundersdatter, was that person in this particular family group. Hers is the home where the extended family met when the youngest daughter, also named Anna, came home to Norway from America in 1907 bearing gifts for everybody in the family. Hers is the home where many of the nieces and nephews went for their first employment away from home. She is the one who was the kindest to her sister, Marie, who had three children out of wedlock, she is the one of the sisters that Anna, Sadie and Gunie most remember in their journals and letters.

Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå, ca 1898
[photo: courtesey of Inger Frøysaa]

Anna married Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå, 25 October 1895. He was a widower with four children and 13 years older than she was. She was 29 when they married in 1895 and became an instant mother to the children Baard, 13, Ragnhild, 11, Gunhild (Gunie) 8, and Marie (Mari), 6. Osmund and Anna had an additional 5 children together, Mikal, born 1896, Ragnvald, 1898, Arne, 1900, Ragna, 1903 and Olga, 1905. One of her grandchildren,
Inger Frøysaa, shared the cute stories about the rascal boys from Gåseflå that appeared in an earlier post.

The house at Gåseflå was large, and they did hire a couple of farm boys to help out including Sadie’s brother, John Steen (Stean), as well as having both Lil Anna and Sadie help in the house from time to time so I think they were better off financially than Sadie’s family. Lil Anna mentions going to help when her sister had a new baby but I don’t think this was employment so much as just helping out the way family members are expected to do in a situation like that. The oldest boy, Mikal, remembered Lil Anna’s visit and all the presents that were passed around. He would have been about 10 or 12 years old at that time (1907/1908).

Anna and Osmund were present when her brother, Torkjel married in 1907 to his second wife, Ingeborg Gundersdatter Tveit, and this photograph was taken.

Lil Anna, Osmund, Ingeborg, Torkjel, Store Anna, and an unknown friend, 1907
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå and Anna are sitting on either side of the small table. One of Marie's granddaughters, Ellinor Johannesen, asked me if I noticed Anna’s eye and I looked carefully to see what she was talking about. She told me that Anna had been poked in the eye by a cow’s horn and that was why it looked strange. I asked her what had been done when that accident occurred and she said “Nothing.” Today I think to do nothing in such a situation would be shocking and horrifying as well.

Anna was remembered with great fondness by her nieces and nephews and her kindness to her sister, Marie, was spoken of by Marie’s grandchildren with love and appreciation. I think she must have been a lovely woman and as I can see a little bit of a smile on the faces of both Osmund and Anna it leads to like both of them very much.

Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes Gåseflå, ca 1907
[photo courtesy of Alf George Kjetså]

Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå, ca 1907
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]



Osmund died in 1921. Anna died in 1942.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"We Remember Them"

Day lilies and pansies

I went to a funeral this morning and on the back of the program was a poem I thought I would share as it fits with the general family history theme of the blog.

Autumn leaves in the rain

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 10

The entrance to the Eskimo Village

The postcard Thursday last week featured the Igorrote village from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in 1909, this week we look at another of the live displays. These living exhibitions seem strange and perhaps even offensive today but they were very popular and common for the time period. The Eskimo Village was billed as representative of Alaskan and Siberian Eskimo tribes. Once again the people are dressed in native costumes and and are supposed to be depicting the life and customs of the people. The group was comprised of adults, children and babies as well as a few sled dogs.

The Eskimo baby, "Raltugia"

This baby was a very popular attraction. It looks almost as if it was sewn into the suit it is wearing. Lest we think that only the Igorrote and Eskimo babies were on display another living exhibition had incubators with local newborn babies.

Thirty-two members of the Eskimo Village at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909.

And here we have Igorrote and Eskimo children or toddlers identified as babies posed together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Bumerke of Michel Hunven, 1742, Lindaas parish register, Hordaland, Norway
[image from:]

Bumerker have held some fascination for me for a long while now. For those unfamiliar with the term it refers to personal signature marks found in Norway (and other countries) on belongings, buildings, in the parish registers, and other places. They are usually simple designs made of lines although some can be very elaborate and others incorporate Latinized alphabet letters or initials. They are similar in appearance to the cattle brands found in the United States and have been used for centuries in other countries to identify the owner or maker such as marks used by brick masons.

Two of the examples shown here, one above and the second below, are from the Landaas family and were found in the parish register of Lindaas parish in 1742. During the 1740s through about 1760 the marriage banns for this locality are recorded in the register with the signature mark of the bondsmen. That was interesting too since it was not the prospective groom and bride or their fathers but only the bondsmen who were required to sign the book. I have collected and cataloged over 600 of these marks from Lindaas and found that often people living on the same farm or divisions of that farm, fathers and sons or even sons-in-law had versions of the same mark.
In the example above notice that there are three pairs of marks in the far left column and one pair of marks in the right column. The second set of marks in the left column are those of Michel [Pedersen]Hunven and Michel Ols[sen] Hunven. They both come from farm divisions of the large farm Hunven or Hundven and their marks show a similarity in the horizontal lines through the letters. Michel Hunven uses an M and a backward abbreviated P here but in later entries his mark morphs into MP with the lines through the letters. Michel Ols. Hunven has an incompleted M with an o placed between the points of the M and the lines through the letters.

In the example below, Michel Hunven’s relative living at Onas or Ones has a very closely related mark as shown in the far right column. Peder [Michelsen] Onas uses the P and M with horizontal lines.

Bumerke of Peder Onas, 1742, Lindaas parish register, Hordaland, Norway
[image from:]

The marks are by no means restricted to the Lindaas parish in Hordaland but can be found throughout the country usually appearing in the parish registers in the 1700s although Notto Salvesøn Hornnes put his mark on the stabbur or storage building at Lunnen, Hornnes, Aust Agder with the date 1642. His mark was an S overlaid with an N and sometimes was found inside a double circle with his name written in full within the rings as Nottvl Salvesøn. Most of the marks I have found so far are symbols rather than letters suggesting that the men may not have been able to write their names but several are comprised of symbols mixed with letters so I am not sure how many of them were literate. The literacy rate in Scandinavia as a whole has always been very high, however.

Bumerke of Notto Salveson Hornnes, 1624, Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway
[image from: p. 335, Hornnes I by O.O. Uleberg]

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Gunnar Mikalsen Hornnes

Gunnar Mikalsen Hornnes, born 1865

Gunnar Mikalsen Hornnes, born 16 January 1865, was the second child born to Mikal Alfsen Hornnes and Anne Gundersdatter Uleberg. He was no doubt named for his maternal grandfather, Gunder or Gunnar Johnson Aas-Uleberg. Like many young men of this time he would have worked some on a farm. We know from the 1900 census that he worked on the railway lines and from the 1910 census that he was living in Aasland and working in the mines. Aasland is near Evje og Hornnes. All sorts of minerals were mined in this area including feldspar, biotite, epidote, magnetite, uraninite, nickel, pig iron and others. I did find a photograph of the granite and feldspar quarry at Aasland and include here for general interest. For more information about the mines please see

Aasland feldspar quarry

Gunnar had a total of 14 children, five with his first wife and nine more with his second wife. Generally farming would not have been sufficient to support a family of this size, making it an easier choice for a man to work in the mines or on the railway. Many men had additional means of income such as fishing, hunting, logging, running a water ferry, working in the mines or for the railway. It would have been desirable to work at anything that would bring in a little extra. The fact that he did work on the railway may explain why after he married Elisabeth Larsdatter from Bjelland, their children were born in various communities along the southern part of Norway. Elisabeth
was born 27 September 1863 the daughter of Lars Olsen Tversland and Tone Kristensdatter.

The photos shown here were on a video and the transfer made for very poor quality but they do help put faces with the names so I am including them. All the pictures in today's post are courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså unless otherwise noted.

Elisabeth and Gunnar were married in 29 October 1893 in Farsund, Vest Agder, Norway.

Their children:


1. Lars Gunnarsen, named for his maternal grandfather, was born 15 May 1894 in Farsund, Vest Agder.

Anne Marit

2. Anne Marit Gunnarsdatter, named for her paternal grandmother, was born 1 February 1896 in Lyngdal, Vest Agder

Ragna Theodora

3. Ragna Theodora Gunnarsdatter, born 25 October 1897, in Flekkefjord, Vest Agder

Thone or Tone

4. Thone or Tone Gunnarsdatter, named after her maternal grandmother, born 23 January 1900 in Flekkefjord, Vest Agder


5. Margit Gunnarsdatter, born 3 September 1901 in Flekkefjord, Vest Agder

Elisabeth Larsdatter Tversland

Elisabeth Larsdatter died some time between 1901 and 1904.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 9

Looking north along Pay Streak

It is unlikely that this type of exhibit would be welcome or even permitted in 2011 but it was just one of several similar displays in 1909. Billed as the dog eating, head hunting, wild people of the Philippines the Igorrote Village was a main attraction on Pay Streak at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. Fifty people were featured in the living display and were part of a reconstructed village similar to where they lived in the Philippines. The group included men, women, several small children and babies. The exhibit was designed to show how the people lived, their culture, industry, manners and customs. The Igorrotes came from the Luzon area in the Philippines.

One of the living displays, the Igorrote Village

Looking south along Pay Streak

The Igorrote Village can be seen on the left side of this postcard. Considering the difference in the climates between the Pacific Northwest and the Philippines I cannot imagine that the people were very comfortable even during the summer months as our summers here must be much cooler than the winters in the Philippines. It was a very popular exhibit as is evidenced by the crowds gathering in front of the village entrance.

Igorrote tribe

For more information please see

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Bonnie lies over the ocean . . .

Axel Schroder, ca 1890s

Here are some sailor uniforms from about the 1890s. I thought it was interesting to compare the similarities and differences in the uniforms. Axel Schroder is wearing a United States merchant marine uniform with the rank of bosun. The original photograph was tinted and then covered with a thin glass that has cracked in the intervening years hence the strange lines across the picture. I’m not sure if it was dropped or just deteriorated over time. The US uniform has a white cord that goes around and under the collar then into the left breast pocket. The undershirt looks like it is a warm dark colored sweater. Axel had several friends who were sailors and I suppose that these were among his friends but no names are written on the reverse making it impossible to tell for sure whom they might be.

United States sailor, ca 1890s

Swedish sailor, ca 1890s

This one is interesting mainly because it shows the entire uniform and not just the top half. Notice that he is posed with an anchor and in front of a painted sea scene. The photo was taken in Karlskrona a southern seaport city in Sweden. The top of this uniform looks much the same for all these outfits but the undershirt on the Swedish version has a dark stripe around the neck the rest of the shirt is plain white. All of them with the exception of the small boy’s sailor suit have some sort of neckerchief or tie.

Swedish sailor, ca 1890s
Might be L.R. Swanson

Also taken in Karlskrona this picture shows the top of the Swedish uniform. I think the white blob on his left breast is a defect or tear in the picture itself and not part of the suit. This may be a picture of L.R. Swanson who later married Gunie Osmund.

The Norwegian uniform once again has a similar top but the undershirt is striped.

Norwegian sailor uniform, 1890s

And here we also have a full version of the Norwegian uniform
, ca 1890s

Norwegian sailor uniform, ca 1890s

It was popular to pose little boys in sailor suits as well and we finish with this charming photograph showing a small boy standing in a boat holding an oar.

Small boy in sailor suit, ca 1890

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New beware of the rug--MPH

A small child’s voice piping from the back seat of car: “Why are there 25 Mr. Potato Heads?”
Grandma: “Mr. Potato Heads?”
Small child: “Yes, 25 M P H”
Mother from front seat of car: “That would be Miles Per Hour, but it was quite logical of you to think Mr. Potato Heads. It means the speed limit is 25 miles per hour not that there are 25 Mr. Potato Heads.”
Small child: “Oh.”

Ragnhild Mikalsdatter Hornnes

Ragnhild Mikalsdatter Hornnes as a young woman, born 20 May 1863. Photo ca 1880s
[photo courtesy of Agnes Allpress]

Ragnhild was the first child born to Mikal Alfsen Roland-Hornnes and his second wife, Anne Gundersdatter Uleberg. It was traditional to name the first child after a deceased spouse and Mikal and Anne kept to that by naming her after Mikal’s first wife, Ragnhild Nottosdatter Hornnes. The picture was probably taken near the time she married Ola Johnson Stean-Birkeland in 1883 making her about 20 years old at the time.

[photo courtesy of Agnes Allpress]

During the first eight years or so of their married life Ragnhild and Ola moved from rented farm to rented farm until Ola bought Otrøybakken (Stean) in 1893. Otrøybakken was part of Birkeland. Birkeland had belonged to Ola’s family since 1610. He was known as Ola Stean-Birkeland. Ola was the son of John Eivenson Birkeland and Gunhild Jesdatter. He was born 23 May 1848 and died 5 February 1923. Ola and Ragnhild had seven children:*

1. Gunhild, 17 August 1885
2. Anne, 29 March 1888

3. Sigrid also known as Sadie, 1 October 1890
4. John, 31 October 1892

5. Marie, 5 December 1894
6. Ingeborg, 29 March 1898

7. Mikal, 26 June 1901

Three of these children, Anne, Sadie, and John left Norway never to return. Marie also left but she returned home to Norway because she was ill. She died shortly thereafter. Ingeborg never married. I do not have pictures of all the children but here are some that I do have.

Gunhild Stean, ca 1905
[photo courtesy of Odd Svanstrøm]

Gunhild married Hans Svanstrøm and had four sons

Family of Hans and Gunhild Svanstrøm, ca 1939
[photo courtesy of Odd Svanstrøm]
1. Knut
2. Odd

3. Tor

4. Alf

Anne Stean, ca 1910

Anne married Al Bensen. They had two daughters, Carmen and Hellen, and she was expecting twins when she died 20 August 1920.

Carmen (1915-2010) & Hellen Bensen (1918-2006), ca 1922
[photo courtesy of Agnes Allpress]

Sigrid or Sadie Stean, ca 1910

Sadie Stean married Herbert Solwold and had one son, Richard.

Richard Solwold, (1920-2001)

John Steen or Stean, ca 1910
[photo courtesy of Agnes Allpress]

John lived at least part of the time in Canada after leaving Norway. It is not known if he married and had a family.

Marie Stean, ca 1910
[photo courtesy of Odd Svanstrøm]

Ragnhild Mikalsdatter Hornnes as an older woman, ca 1930s (?)
[photo courtesy of Odd Svanstrøm]


* You can see that Ragnhild and Ola held to the traditional naming patterns. Their first daughter, Gunhild was named after Ola's mother, their second daughter, Anne, was named after Ragnhild's mother. The first son, John, was named after Ola's father while the second son, Mikal, was named after Ragnhild's father. Sigrid, Marie, and Ingeborg were most likely named after other relatives such as great-grandmothers, aunts, or sisters.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 8

Pay Streak

In addition to the rides shown on two of the three postcards below there were many other attractions including an upside down house. (I am still looking for a postcard of that one.)

These two rides look pretty tame compared to those found at the Western Washington State Fair also known as the Puyallup Fair today. I guess there was no bungee jumping in 1909.

Fairy Gorge and Tickler on "Pay Streak," 1909

Scenic Railway on "Pay Streak," 1909

“Pay Streak is a gold prospector's term, referring to veins or layers of gravel from which a worthwhile ("paying") concentration of gold ore can be extracted.” For more information, please see:

Part of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 was an area labeled “Pay Streak.” It was in this section of the grounds that fair visitors found the rides and info-entertainment items. Small fees were charged for the rides and entrance to these exhibits or amusement park items. There were large outdoor living displays and rides much like fairs have today. Some of these exhibits were eligible for prizes in the same way that those on the main fair grounds were. Part of the proceeds from the commercial sites on Pay Streak helped defray the costs of the fair itself so Pay Streak was an important part of the exposition.

The main avenue was divided into two parts near what is now the Burke-Gilman trail. Upper Pay Streak was found along 15th Avenue NE from 40th to Pacific Street and Lower Pay Streak was located where the western half of the University of Washington Medical/Health Sciences complex and Marine Sciences facilities are found today. For those of us familiar with the Hydraulics Lab, I would guess that location would have been on Lower Pay Streak as well. It also means that two familiar buildings now existing along 15th Avenue NE, the new Physics building and the LDS Institute of Religion, are currently on what was Upper Pay Streak.

Tokio Cafe on "Pay Streak," 1909

At one end of Pay Streak was the very popular Tokio Café shown here. It was one of the major attractions. Look at all the crowds of people milling around the entrance to Pay Streak! This would have been an ideal spot for any restaurant. No wonder it was so popular.

Look for a few more pictures from Pay Streak on a future postcard Thursday.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


October is such a colorful month, the grocery stores have apples, squash and pumpkins displayed --

The trees are turning--

The toadstools or mushrooms are popping up out of the ground after a good rain--

Fairy Ring

Aminita Muscaria -- poisonous but beautiful

Boletus or King Boletus, supposedly edible and choice but it did grow in the driveway. Is it safe?

Bopa aka Far Far, 1995, with a very large toadstool or mushroom (you choose, I think anything that grows spontaneously in the yard is a toadstool, what you buy in the grocery store to eat is a mushroom, but that's just me).

Let's just see how big that toadstool is, shall we?

10" in diameter

Pumpkin soup?

Grond pumpkin soup, 2001

Grond wins, 2001

Or, Halloween candy, anyone?


Happy October!