Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Didrik Andreas Thomsen, Artist

Didrik Andreas Thomsen, ca 1870

Didrik Andreas Thomsen was born on 23 June 1849 the third of the five children born to Thomas Thomassen Kalstø and Anne Didriksdatter. The family was living in Kopervik, Rogaland, Norway at the time of his birth. His brothers and sisters were: Ola Christian born 1844 and died young, Ola Christian born 1846, Jirtrud also spelled Gjertine Lisabeth born 1853, Nils born 1855. This picture was taken when Didrik Andreas was about 21 years old.

Didrik Andreas had an apprenticeship as an artist and then worked in Bergen, Norway. Oral history from his son says that he painted murals in the Bergen area although Dick did not provide locations of said murals. We do have two pencil portrait examples of his work. A self-portrait based on the photograph above and a portrait of his wife, Sigrid Berentine Serene Andersen Dahle also based on a photograph. He and Sigrid had at least four children:
  • Anna born 6 April 1875
  • Didrik born 3 October 1885
  • Alfhild Dorothea born December 1889
  • Harriet Alfhild (known as Alfhild) 3 December 1894.

Sigrid Andersen Dahle with two of her daughters.

The photograph is poor quality and has been enhanced but even so it is over exposed and does not show the faces clearly. It suggests that two of the girls were close in age and were alive at the same time. It could be the younger two girls or perhaps a fifth child born between Anna and Didrik since the living children are almost ten years apart in age.

Pencil sketch by Didrik Andreas Thomsen of his wife, Sigrid Andersen Dahle, based on photograph, dated 1900.

While washing windows in an upper apartment Sigrid fell tragically to her death on 29 June 1901. There was a police inquiry that determined it was an accident even though some questioned that verdict.

Didrik Andreas had a liaison with a Malene Dorothea Johansen, possibly one of his models, and they had an illegitimate child, Andrea Judithe who was born 4 September 1902. Oral history stories also indicate that he may have had two other illegitmate sons but no record of these children has been found to date.

I did find a Didrik Andreas Thomsen on the 1910 census for Norway that I am almost positive is the correct man although he is fudging around with his age or the census taker made an error--the day and month (23 June) are correct but the birth year is given as 1854 instead of 1849 and his place of birth is listed as Bergen instead of Kopervik, Rogaland. He is found married or living with yet another woman, Berte Olsen, born 1868 in Haus, with two daughters, Dora, born 30 April 1907, and Ragnhild, born 7 April 1910. His occupation is listed as Maler ved en møbelfabrik or a painter with a furniture maker. Would this be something like Rosemaling? There are two daughters which makes me wonder if the oral history was off a bit and his other children were these two girls instead of two sons. Oral histories can be tricky. They often have a kernel of truth but the facts can become distorted and changed over time and re-telling. Didrik Andreas was a mysterious man. Unfortunately, Grandpa Dick was not overly fond of his father and didn't mention too many details about him. Dick left Norway for America within four years of his mother's death which occurred in 1901 and did not keep in touch with his father although he did write and visit his older sister, Anna.

Didrik Andreas’s father’s family came from Nedstrand and Viksdal in Rogaland but his mother, Anne Didriksdatter was born in Flekkefjord and her family lived in Nes, Vest Agder. Her family can be traced back for many generations in Bygdebok for Nes Herred by Kaare S. Berg. I found that interesting because although it is an entirely different branch of the family, Anne came from very near where Anna Hornnes and her family lived. It is endlessly fascinating to me to unravel these tangles and wonder if perhaps some of these people knew each other when they were living. They might be surprised at the connections today.

Didrik Andreas Thomsen as an older man, ca 1905

I think I prefer the way he looks as an older man without the muttonchops and beard he was wearing as a young man. He looks pretty dapper in this picture. What do you think?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Remembering my Mom

Mom's 90th Birthday party, 2009 with four of her grandchildren & two great-grandchildren

Mom at her 90th birthday party, 2009.

My mother* passed away yesterday morning after more than a year of declining health and I thought it might be nice to put up some pictures and a little something about her life. My daughter helped pare it down to this short biographical sketch.

Mom, 1919

It is hard to see but she is wearing a tiny baby ring on her right hand and some sort of bracelet on her right wrist. She had a locket and another bracelet that have teeth marks in them so she must have worn them when she was very little and just getting her baby teeth.

Mom, ca 1923

She is wearing a small locket and a bracelet in this photograph. I know that my Grandmother liked to dress up so it shouldn't be surprising that she dressed Mom up with jewelery too.

Our beautiful Mom left us 24 November 2011 to join our Dad and other loved ones who have gone before. Mom was born 15 March 1919 in Seattle. Left motherless within a week of her birth, Mom was adopted by her mother’s aunt and uncle. She attended Madrona grade school and Garfield High School in Seattle, skipping a couple of grades and graduating early. She met our Dad when she was 16, and they married one month after her 20th birthday.

Mom, ca 1935

Mom was a talented artist and did amazing pet portraits in pastels. She loved cats, especially Maine Coon cats of which we had several over the years. When she was a girl she played baseball and in her later years was a Mariners fan. She taught herself to knit and made wonderful warm sweaters. After Dad died in 1970 she worked at Seattle University. She married a second time in 1976 and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. After her second husband died in 1993 she settled in Tumwater, Washington. At the time of her death she was living at Olympics West Retirement Center where the staff and hospice nurses have been unfailingly kind and compassionate.

Mom is survived by her two children, five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Mom is also survived by her sister, a niece, a nephew and her dearest friend for 88 years.

We love you Mom and we will miss your smile, wit, intelligence, humor and strong determination (not to mention your pies and cookies) but we know there are others welcoming you home who have missed you too. Dad must be very happy indeed to have you back with him.

Mom & Dad on their 25th Wedding Anniversary, 1964



A more complete obituary is on-line at http://www.funeralalternatives.org/Obit_Results.asp?ObitKey=2504.

A short obituary appeared in the Olympian newspaper.
Mom requested no funeral or memorial service.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 14

Chinese Village, Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909

The Chinese Village was another of the live displays at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. It consisted of three buildings: A Chinese temple, a restaurant complete with tearoom, and a theater. The Village was located at the north end of Pay Streak near the big Ferris wheel. The Chinese government did not sponsor the exhibit it was funded and run by local Chinese Americans who donated to help build it. All the Chinese living in the region were contacted and contributed something toward the project. The two local Chinese Americans most responsible for the completion and running of the Chinese Village were Ah King a successful Chinese merchant in Seattle and Goon Dip* the honorary consul for the Chinese government.

Ah King traveled to China in 1908 to choose goods and curios for the Village. About twenty Chinese performers were also hired and traveled to Seattle from China. Most of them were part of a theatrical group and the acts changed daily in the theater. The performers were billed as the “Pekin” (Peking) Troupe even though they came from Shanghai. There were jugglers, acrobats and magicians who amazed the crowds with their acts. In addition to a fee to enter the Village there was a fee of ten cents to go into the Temple and Theater.

Although there were several thousand more Japanese people living in the area and the Japanese exhibit had financial help from the Japanese government the Chinese Village brought in nearly as much revenue. It was a huge success.


* I recall my mother mentioning that I.C. Lee knew Goon Dip but I don’t know the exact connection. I did wonder if I.C. had been approached to donate to the Chinese Village since his last name of Lee is also a fairly common Chinese American name and if that was the way he got to know Goon Dip. The fact that I.C. was Norwegian American might have been a surprise!

For more information about the Chinese Village see, http://www.historylink.org

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Pumpkin & Apple pies

My older son and his family started a tradition called “Pie Week” that precedes Thanksgiving Day. Each day for a week they bake different pies and when they eat these delicious concoctions they go around the table telling each other what they are thankful for – “gratitudes“ I think the 3 year old calls them. By the end of the week when it is Thanksgiving Day they have had many different pies and shared many, many gratitudes.

Thanksgiving 2004

This year has been difficult and sad. It may seem hard to find things to be thankful for but I did find things and I am very thankful.

I am so extremely thankful for the 44 wonderful years I was able to share with my husband. It is true that I miss him and want to talk with him every day. But then I remember all the things we did do and it makes me smile. I am also very grateful that if he had to die that he died so quickly. It would have been unbearably difficult to see him anything less than the way we all love and remember him as being. He may have thought he was losing his marbles but I think he still had a full set.

Watching my mother die by degrees and feeling like I could not comfort or help her in any way has been heartbreaking. But on the positive side this slow death is giving all of us opportunities to sit with her and to be with each other as an extended family. I am so thankful for the hospice nurses and their kind compassion, care and concern for her and for us.

I’m so sorry we had no choice but to move Mom’s things, sell items, and go through things before she passed away. But once again the silver lining was finding the two love letters my Dad had written to her the summer before they were married. So sweet to read them and recognize the love they had for each other.

I am thankful for my children, their spouses, and all those cute, smart and handsome grandchildren. And to think that there will be another new baby in the family next year is something to anticipate with love and delight.

I am thankful for Bee and the Gimlet tackling my plumbing problems. The kitchen sink drains and the water pressure is amazing (and more so when compared with the other sinks in the house). I am thankful they are going to redo the entire house and the parts are sitting in boxes in my living room even now. Ahhh, to take a shower with lots of hot water and not warm mist! I am thankful just to be able to think of it.

I am so thankful to Mrs. Gimlet for going to church with me. Keeping me company, not just once or twice but for months. I am grateful for Q & Lou who check in weekly from across the country and Curly & Bee who bring take-out treats often. The Gimlet has driven us to Olympia to visit my mother so many times while she has been in hospice care. My brother and his wife and daughter have done much more than I can to make Mom’s last days comfortable and easier. I am grateful for all you have done and are doing. I love all of you.

I’m also thankful that my cat nicknamed “The Bride of Satan” is going into the cat carrier to eat, even with the door on the carrier. Hoooray! She is going to be declawed in December and up until now would never willingly go into the carrier since she knows where that takes her (shhhhh, to the vet). I may have to change her nickname to Mrs. Clawsless or something like that. We will all be thankful when her 13 front claws are gone! “Don’t touch my feet,” she says as she clicks and clacks on the wood floors.

I am thankful that there is no water in my basement (yet) even though we have had over 3” of rain in the past couple of days.

These are just a few of the things I am thankful for--it is true my cup runneth over and I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Wooden Christmas ornaments handmade by Wood’N It of Camano Island, Washington

Each year, usually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the Nordic Heritage Museum holds Yulefest as part of their fundraising. I am a member of the museum so this is a much anticipated and awaited event each year. The museum is currently located in the old Webster grade school building at 30th and NW 67th Street in Ballard (Seattle) but there are plans to build a new museum and much of the income derived from the fundraisers goes to that fund. Curly, Mrs. Gimlet and Thing Two went with me again this year. We enjoyed it and the lefsa, almond paste cookies, and brownies in the kaffestue and did buy a few handcrafted items which is one of the reasons for Yulefest in the first place . Curly got presents for one of her sisters and some very cute handmade wooden ornaments for her own Christmas tree. Mrs. Gimlet and Thing Two got a small wooden julenisse ornament. Already in grandma mode I got Curly & Bee's baby-to-be a little hand knit cap with tassels on it (in gender neutral light green) plus a couple of things for myself, a wooden tree with red balls and a tiny little Norwegian Gnomie doll to put on the tree. We had a good time.

A few of the lovely, but expensive, rosemaling items

More lovely rosemaling

There was an entire alcove devoted to beautiful rosemaling, boxes, plates, spoons, little pails and even painted handles on the cones to roll Krumkake.

A lady we met on the stairs wearing the national costume she made herself.

Many of the shoppers and helpers were wearing national costumes and we ran into this very kind lady and her grandson on the stairs as we were all going up to the second floor. She had made her own costume including the Hardanger lace on the cuffs and apron so we had to stop and visit with her for a few minutes. Mrs. Gimlet was very interested in thread counts and materials since she does this type of embroidery too. See her blog http://sinister-craftiness.com/ for examples of her handwork.

Small doll in Norwegian costume, 6” tall.

This small wooden headed doll has bendable arms and legs with curly toed shoes. She can be fastened onto a branch of a tree as an ornament.

Handmade wooden tree with little red ball ornaments.

A charming little tree that is about 16” tall including the stand and about 8” wide. Made by Wood’N It of Camano Island, Washington.

Musician in Swedish costume with a Nyckelharpa.

While we were eating our cookies we heard music from a little way down the hall. It was very crowded in the kaffestue (everybody loves Scandinavian cookies!) and we had to muscle our way through the people to get to the musicians. Mrs. Gimlet had heard that an eleven year old girl would be playing a Hardanger fiddle and so I wanted to see if that was what was what we were hearing. Instead I found two men playing instruments I had never seen before. When they finished their tune I asked one of them what it was and if I could take a picture. Someone behind me asked if it was a Hardanger fiddle. He laughed, “Oh, you must be Norwegian,” he said, “this is a Nyckelharpa and it is Swedish.” I think he was inferring that even though all five Nordic countries are represented at the museum, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden the Norwegians just think it is all about Norway! It was said in good fun and we all laughed. The Nyckelharpa is a most unusual looking keyed fiddle or cordaphone and is a traditional Swedish instrument. The sound it produces is rather like a fiddle but not quite. For more information see, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyckelharpa

Thursday, November 17, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 13

Birds-eye View of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909

The Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 covered a large section of what is today the University of Washington upper and parts of the lower campus. This postcard is a pictorial map of the fairgrounds with a ledger. It is titled “Bird’s-eye View of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition.” Some aerial photographs were taken from hot air balloons and this may be one such although there is no notation on the card itself explaining how the picture was taken.

The Cascades

Something I would have liked to see was this cascading waterfall that started in front of the United States Government building shown in the center of the picture and flowed down toward what was called the Geyser Basin and is now known as Frosh Pond. The cascading waterfall and the pond were the central focus points for the fair and feature in many of the postcards. The paths to the other exhibitions radiated out from the pond like spokes on a wheel. If you look at the map postcard you can get an idea of the overall plan for the pathways and buildings.

The Arctic Circle Cascade Court with Geyser Basin (now Frosh Pond)

As an interesting side note, the pond is actually two pools the one that we can see in the picture and an outer pool hidden under the walkway. The inner pool once provided water for the Harris Hydraulics Laboratory while the outer ring was the water supply for the University’s power plant. The Hydraulics Lab is located next to the current Health Sciences and University Hospital & Medical Center complex today and the pond water could be drained into the lake. In fact the pond is drained periodically for cleaning. Large numbers of ducks and geese have been known to frequent the pond and surrounding areas so, as you can imagine, it needs cleaning from time to time. Strange and not so strange items have been found during the cleaning--everything from goose and duck poop to beer cans, coins, shoes and other odds and ends.

There are huge valves in the Hydraulics Lab than open the pipes from under the pond through which the water drains from the pond under the campus to the lake. Much like a bathtub drain! In the center of the pond is a newer fountain, known as the Drumheller Fountain, built in 1961, which is turned on now and then but not left on all the time. It uses re-circulated water from the pond. In the map postcard at the top the older fountain or geyser can be seen as a tall triangular shape in the center of the picture. Geyser Basin got the name of Frosh Pond in the 1920s when several freshmen students were tossed into the pool. The name stuck and the pond is still called Frosh Pond today.

For more information please see these sites:





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaYb5EpdEIA [Video of the annual cleaning of Drumheller fountain – Frosh Pond.]

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Three girls in national costumes

Three girls in national costumes, ca 1880s

I love the national costumes and every time I find an old photo with someone wearing one it just begs to be shared. The three women shown in this old picture are wearing costumes from about the 1880s . At first I thought these were all Norwegian costumes and I busily set about trying to identify the regions but when I compared the one on the right with the Jølster bunad from Sogn og Fjordane (see below) I realized that the stripes on the apron were going the wrong direction. The Jølster stripes are vertical and these are horizontal. One of the Swedish costumes has horizontal stripes! Then I could not find anything that resembled the one on the left, with the white work on the apron and the floral pattern on the underskirt, amongst the Norwegian costumes leading me to believe that these three girls are more than likely supposed to be representing Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
You can see the subtle differences in the colors and stripes in other pictures of the Jølster bunad.

Modern day postcard showing young girl in national costume on a Fjord horse with view of Jølster, Norway in the background.

Jølster girls with a man in a small boat, ca 1900

This is an Axel Eliassen postcard showing two girls from Jølster with a man in a small boat. The caption says “Sandfjord” and "Piger fra Jølster" (girls from Jølster). The hats remind me a little of the pointed caps a princess always wears in fairy tales.

Three Swedish girls, ca 1900

This is another Axel Eliassen postcard from circa 1900. The costumes look amazingly similar to the Jølster bunad but the card says it is Swedish. Notice the horizontal stripes and the colors are slightly different as well on the Swedish costume. The caps are very close to the same in appearance but I think the Swedish cap is a bit more pointed and the Jølster cap a little more rounded on the top. Also the Swedish girls are wearing scarves around their necks while the Norwegian girls are not.

In a future post I’ll share some pictures of antique Hardanger lace and another picture of girls wearing the Hardanger costume as well as photos of a child’s bunad from Telemark.


If any of our Norwegian cousins can more positively identify the costumes, I would happy to learn more.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day tribute

When he was in 4th grade my grandson, Iain, wrote this Veteran's Day report about his grandpa. Since today is Veteran's Day I thought it was a good opportunity to share it on the blog. Bopa was very patriotic and liked to fly the flag on holidays like today. He used all sorts of fancy knots to secure the flag, however, and I don't know how to make them let alone get up on the ladder and hang the flag. Our flag is one that we requested from our Senator and it flew over the White House. Very special to all of us. Thank you to all the Veterans!

Bopa aka Farfar in his World War II uniform

This is my Grandpa Tony. He was in the United States Army in World War Two. He served from 1943 to 1946. He went to Holland and Germany. He was the Communications Chief for his group*. He made the radios and telephones work. Sometimes he ran the movie projector so the soldiers could watch movies. Most of the time he had to sleep in barns or barracks in a sleeping bag, on top of straw. He slept on an army stretcher to keep out of the mud. He was always cold and wet. Once while he was sleeping, an airplane shot the roof off of the barn he was in. He didn’t get hurt because he was covered with hay. That was a scary experience for him. He didn’t get wounded while he was a soldier.

The antiaircraft artillery battalion’s job was to protect the soldiers from being shot at by airplanes. They moved from place to place protecting different groups of soldiers. In Holland they guarded a radar station. In Germany they guarded American soldiers who were destroying steel factories that the Germans were using to make weapons. They also guarded a bridge near Berlin on the border between the British and Russian territories. The Allied planes had special secret codes they had to give to my grandpa’s group if they wanted to fly by safely. One day a plane didn’t give the code, so they shot it down. It was an American lieutenant. He got out of his plane safely but he was very angry. He thought he was too important to have to learn the codes. Another day they saw one of the first jet airplanes. It flew by so fast they didn’t get a chance to shoot at it.

Lucerne, Switzerland

After the war ended, it took a long time to send all the soldiers home. My grandpa visited many places while he was waiting to go home. While he was in Paris, he heard the news that Hiroshima, Japan had been bombed with an atomic bomb. The soldiers could take college classes while they waited to go home, too. My grandpa went to Switzerland and took classes at the University of Fribourg. He went hiking in the Alps. My grandpa said the Army food was “pretty good” but the people in the towns didn’t have a lot of food to eat. In Switzerland he had to eat a lot of mushrooms. Now he doesn’t like mushrooms. I liked listening to my grandpa’s stories and seeing his pictures.

Three McKay veterans: my grandpa is on the right. His brother John is a World War Two veteran, too. His father, my great-grandpa Morgan McKay, was a World War One veteran.

John Q. Cannon

As an added bonus we also have a fairly rare picture of Bopa's grandfather, Col. John Q. Cannon, in his Rough Rider uniform. He fought in the Spanish American War and knew Teddy Roosevelt.



* This was the 379th Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion

Thursday, November 10, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 12

The Old Stanwood Schoolhouse, ca 1901

Slightly deviating from other postcard Thursdays, this postcard isn’t an Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition 1909 card nor is it one featuring a place in Norway, Denmark or Sweden. The building shown is the "old" Stanwood schoolhouse located in Stanwood, Washington about 60 miles northwest of Seattle on Camano Island.

The first school in the Stillaquamish Valley was built in the town of Norman in 1882 and was a one or two room schoolhouse where many of the children had to walk miles through the woods on a trail to get to it. Rather progressive for its time the Norman school was open to both Indian and white children. The Norman school burned to the ground in the big fire of 1892 that had started in the Armstrong Hotel and Restaurant. The town did not have a fire department and the available hose was not long enough to reach the fire but it did help with the filling of water buckets for a brigade and allowed the line to fight the fire all night until the blaze was contained. Thirteen buildings in the town including the school were destroyed in the fire. In a humorous, to me, aside the members of the Good Templars Lodge clad in their full regalia rushed to help by rescuing the stock of liquor from the Armstrong saloon. Of course, I guess if the liquor had caught fire it would have added to the conflagration by feeding the fire with alcohol making it that much more difficult to control.

The old Standwood school was built in 1891 and this photo is from 1900 or 1901 when the school would have been about 10 years old. It was originally a grade school, 1st through 8th grades, but did house high school students, grades 9 through 12, until 1913 when a new brick high school was opened. I wondered if the older students used the separate building seen on the right and raised up off the ground accessed by stairs. I liked the architectural design of the main building including the contrast between the dark and white and especially the bell tower. They don’t make buildings like this any more. The building must have been heated by wood or coal burning stoves or fireplaces since there are several chimneys visible in the picture. This school was used until 1939 when it was demolished and a newer school was then in use.

Many Scandinavian immigrants settled in Stanwood beginning in 1864 and it was first known as Centerville. The name was officially changed to Stanwood in 1878. In an area rich with timber and Scandinavians it should come as no surprise that the major industry was logging and the accompanying saw mills. Other industries included the dairy—milk and butter—and fishing. The Stanwood Cooperative Creamery was established in 1895 and the butter produced in 1896 took first prize that year at the Pierce County Fair held in Tacoma. In 1897 the Stanwood Lumber Company was producing 20,000 feet of lumber daily. The Friday Fish Company was established in 1898 had 50 employees producing 4,000 to 5,000 cans of salmon daily. The Stanwood Weekly Press began publishing in 1897.

Two of our extended family members attended the old Stanwood school from about 1923 to the mid 1930s.

I talked with the people at the Stanwood Historical Society office and they suggested that persons interested in more information about the history of Stanwood should see “The Stanwood Story,” written for the Stanwood News by Alice Essex and published in 1971. The Stanwood Historical Society web page can be found at http://www.sahs-fncc.org/

Monday, November 7, 2011

New baby coming . . .

Baby quilt

Curly and Bee are expecting their first child in February and it has become sort of a tradition for me to make baby quilts for all the grandchildren. I thought I would share the one just completed that will go to their new baby. This one had to be gender neutral since they want to be surprised and we won’t find out if it is a boy or a girl until it arrives.

The pieces are from three different patterns of material.

This Maisy pattern fabric is based on the drawings from the children’s book about Maisy the mouse.

Mice and footprints. This is the light contrast fabric.

Colorful toadstool, butterfly and flower pattern used for dark contrast.

The design is a simple 6” nine patch with a “Texas Star” in the center. I was a little worried at first that the dark background on the toadstool pattern would make it too dark for a baby but it turned out bright and cheerful. It is crib size (45” X 60”) and it is filled with extra loft batting. In the picture the quilt is draped over a chair so it is a little wobbly looking compared to the neater straighter edges it has in real life. The reverse side of the quilt is very soft, warm flannel in light blue with yellow moons, stars and suns. All the pieces are machine stitched together and the only handwork is the hemming along the flannel edge. Everything is washable, no fancy quilting stitching required, just tied with yarn. This is the kind of quilt that can be dragged around the house by a toddler and tossed into the washing machine. Typical life of such a quilt (from past experience) is about 7 years. After about 7 years it starts falling apart and has to go to quilt heaven although I have had reports of repeated mending that has extended the life of a quilt for many additional years. Of course, by then the owner is no longer a toddler and is not likely to be dragging it around either so that also would extend the life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hans Christian Schrøder

Hans Christian Schrøder, ca 1876

This is the only photograph that we have of Hans Christian Schrøder, the father of Axel Schrøder, who was born 8 October 1852 in the city of Odense, Odense county, Denmark. His father, Julius Schrøder, had been married first to Elisabeth Agertoft in 1846 and had one son, Villads (sometimes written as Willars) Peter, born in 1847. Elisabeth died shortly thereafter. Julius next married Karen Marie Jespersen in 1850 and they had a son, Carl Frederick Andreas, born in 1851. Hans Christian was the second child of this union. Three more children were born to Julius and Karen, Elise Cathinka in 1854, Julius in 1856, and Frantz Steenberg, in 1857. Karen died before 1860. Julius married the third time to Johanne Marie Jensen and they had a daughter, Karen Kristine in 1863. Johanne died shortly after the birth of her daughter. Julius then married a fourth time to Lovise Augusta Henrietta West in 1877 and they had one son, Karl Godfred born in 1877. Coincidentally Axel was born in 1877 making his half-uncle the same age. Julius, who was born in 1818, would have been 59 years old at the time of his fourth marriage.

Our Norwegian families have for the most part been farmers but our Danish family is different. They were tradesmen mostly. Hans Christian was a baker and candy-maker, his father Julius was a wool dyer and his grandfather, Carl Frederick (sometimes written as Frederick Carl) born in 1780, was a bookbinder. Before that Carl’s father, Niels, was a courtier, the "groom" or keeper of the great chamber for Carl von Linstow at Ørbæklunde.

Ørbæklunde, Svendborg, Denmark
[photo: Google images]

I have a feeling that this may have been a secretarial position of some sort. Appointments of this nature were often awarded to relatives or close friends. When von Linstow died his widow moved from the estate into the city of Odense taking her late husband’s attendants with her. However, when she remarried all of her former husband’s retainers were dismissed so Niels was without employment. He had found apprenticeships for his sons but he, his youngest children and wife found themselves living a much reduced life style. Niels, who was born in 1739, would have been close to 50 years old when he was listed as a pauper, different than a beggar or living abject poverty in that it usually referred to a person who was older and would be considered retired or a pensioner today not someone who was completely destitute. Nevertheless it was a far cry from the life he had had when he was in the employ of von Linstow. Niels died in 1800 and his son, Carl Frederick died in 1851.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 11

Wedding party, Hardanger, Norway, ca 1900

This Axel Eliasson postcard has just about everything going for it. The bride in full regalia including the bridal crown, the men complete with hats, married women wearing aprons and skauts and presumably unmarried women with bare heads or in one case beribboned.

Traditional Hardanger bridal crown from the Bergen area of Norway

This card is dated 14 November 1912 shows the blouse, vest, sølje pins and with an impressive bridal crown. The pins were used as decoration as well as fasteners in lieu of buttons. Many postcards in the early 1900s and even before allowed writing of messages only on the picture side of the card with the reverse side for the address and stamps exclusively. Along the left margin is written "No 69 Eneberettiget 1900" and along the bottom left margin is "Søstrene Persen, Bergen" [Sisters Persen, Bergen]. Above the picture is "Hardangerbrud" [Hardanger Bride].

And finally we have a married woman wearing the skaut headdress and carrying a decorated bucket or pail for milk perhaps?

Woman from Hardanger wearing bunad with skaut and carrying a pail.

This is a John Fredriksons postcard published in Christiania now Oslo, Norway. The A. Eliasson card at the top was published in Stockholm, Sweden. All three cards were tinted photographs that were then mass-produced and printed in color.