Friday, March 30, 2012

Mikal Mikalsen Hornnes

Mikal Mikalsen Hornnes, ca 1900
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Mikal Mikalsen was the tenth of eleven children and the youngest son of Mikal Alfsen Hornnes and Anne Gundersdatter Uleberg. He was born 24 August 1881 at Espetveit, Aust Agder, Norway and christened at Evje og Hornnes on the 28th of August 1881. I do not know very much about him except that he and my grandmother, Lil Anna, were born at Espetveit after their father retired there and they would have spent their early childhood together at the small mountain farm. About the time my grandmother was ten or eleven years old Mikal would have been 13 or 14 and probably had left to work for hire on another farm. She does not mention him much in her journals. When Lil Anna was ten she says she was sometimes left at home alone to take care of the farm while her mother went to visit or help some of her other grown children. We know that her older sister, Marie, was living there at Espetveit too but no mention was made of where her brother, Mikal, might have been at that time.

I wondered if he eventually went to work on the railroad as so many of the others did since Mikal married a girl named Karen from some distance away in Kragerø, Telemark probably around 1909. Later in life he took the name Svaba as his surname suggesting that he settled on a farm of that name. Mikal and Karen lived at Øyslebø, Vest Agder. They had two sons, Alf Mikalson Svaba born 1910, died 1983; and, Andre Mikal Svaba who was born 1911 died 1995. Andre married Bergljot Benden who was born 1913 and died 1996. They had five children.

I am hoping that one of his descendants will see this and perhaps add some information.

MIkal died in 1962 and Karen died in 1968.

Mikal Svaba
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Thursday, March 29, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 32

Paris, Saint Étienne-du-Mont, exterior

Paris, Saint Étienne-du-Mont, interior

Since I am getting ready to take a trip to France it was fun to come across several postcards of Paris scenes from about the 1890s to the 1900s. The two cards here are of the church Saint Étienne-du-Mont in Paris. This church has a rich history beginning in the 6th century when an abbey was established on the burial site of Sainte-Genevieve.

The church was first dedicated to the Virgin Mary and then later to St. John. As the population grew the original church became too small to accommodate all the members so in 1222 Pope Honorius III authorized the establishment of a new church devoted this time to Saint Étienne (Saint Stephen) who was at that time the patron saint of the old cathedral in Paris.

About 100 years later the in the early 1300s the increasing population necessitated enlargement of the church and then a complete reconstruction began about 160 years after that in the late 1400s when once again the population overwhelmed the church. The abbey monks donated a portion of their land for the construction of the new church. This massive reconstruction project took from 1492 to 1626 to be completed. Ten years after completion of the new church the organ was installed in 1636, then in 1651 a new pulpit.

During the 17th and 18th centuries Saint Étienne enjoyed prestige and was the scene of great processions. During the French Revolution the church was first closed and then turned into a “Temple of Filial Piety.” Catholic worship was restored in 1801. Two modern Popes, Pius VII and John Paul II celebrated Mass in this church. It was described in 1895 as one of the most beautiful churches in Paris. Additional trivia for those who have seen the movie, Midnight in Paris, the west steps of Saint Étienne are where the character Gil Pender played by actor Owen Wilson sits and is where he was transported from modern day Paris to the 1920s.

For more information about Saint Étienne-du-Mont seeÉtienne -du-Mont

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The gravestone of Alexander & Rosa Lorig

Gravestone of Alexander and Rosa Lorig found in the Jewish cemetery at Gemünden, Rhein-Hunrück, Germany
[photo: sim friedhof.htm]

Here is something else that may be of interest to the Lorig Family Group. This is a Jewish gravestone from the village of Gemünden, Rhein-Hunsrück, Germany showing Alexander Lorig born 29 January 1824 in Butzweiler died 28 October 1916 [buried in Gemünden] and his wife, Rosa [maiden name appears to be Viktor], born 11 June 1832 in Sp---- [not legible] died 7 January 1917 [buried in Gemünden]. They are related to the noted sociologist Louis Wirth who left Germany for America in 1911. He became a leading figure in the Chicago School of Sociology and is especially known for his essay “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” published in 1938. His parents were Rosalie Lorig and Joseph Wirth. There are several other Wirths buried in this same cemetery in Germany. See Wirth for more information.

Even though this couple is living some distance away from Trier and closer to Frankfurt at the time of death we can see from the gravestone that Alexander Lorig was born in Butzweiler which is near to Lorich, Beßlich, Kordel, Biewer, Trier and about 23 miles from Kesten. At this point I am not sure if we can prove that Alexander is connected to our other Lorigs, it will depend on the availability of searchable records, but geographically his birthplace certainly fits in with the rest of them. It will be interesting to see if we can find anything that connects this family with the others.

Section of road map with small towns highlighted
[map: Auto Atlas 1989/90 Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1:200.00]

Stephan Lorig pointed me toward a couple of Jewish websites [that fortunately had English version buttons] and I will paraphrase material found on them--Gemünden had a small community of about 100 Jews in the early 19th century that peaked to about 147 persons in the mid to late 1850s. Most of these people were engaged in trade. They had their own Jewish school with the lessons taught in German and following the same curriculum as the Christian schools. In 1874 the Jewish school was closed and the children were transferred to a Protestant school. By 1930 the Jewish population had dwindled to 60 persons most of whom dealt with cattle. The synagogue was set on fire during Kristallnacht in 1938 and five people were deported east. Please see sim synagoge.htm for the complete text. [reference: Article from "The Encyclopedia of Jewish life Before and During the Holocaust". 
First published in 2001 by NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS; Copyright © 2001 by Yad Vashem Jerusalem, Israel.]

The old cemetery at Scholssberg was used up to about 1815 and then a newer cemetery was in use from that time until approximately 1942. The cemetery has been an historical monument since 1992 is maintained and is in good condition. The grounds cover about 26 acres.

The picture of the gravestone at the top of the post is the original photograph as it appears on Thanks to Stephan who sent me the photo and the link via email. I took this photograph to my neighbor, Will, who is a Rabbi and asked him to look at it for me. He was not able to translate all the text because the Hebrew letters were not distinct enough on the photo to read but he was able to read enough to tell me it basically says something like “Here lies Alexander son of Mordecai and the dates including the month of Tevet [the 10th of the 13 Jewish months].” The Hebrew portion of the text on the stone would have the dates in the Jewish calendar and the German writing at the bottom of the stone has the dates in the Gregorian calendar. It would be a typical inscription on a Jewish headstone such as this. He asked if there was a town by the name of Lorig nearby and then said that most of the Jews took the name of towns as their surnames rather than use a patronymic or other descriptive names. He did not think there were Jews living in this area of Germany earlier than about 1700 or 1750 so if we find that there were some here in the 1600s I think he will be very interested in that. He kindly offered to help with Hebrew translations and historical background if we find more.

Here’s what had to be done to the image to help read the inscriptions.

Step one—inverse the image

Inversed image of gravestone
[photo: sim friedhof.htm]

The letters on the right side of the stone are still not clear enough to read.

Step two—change to a black and white image and sharpen

Black & White image of the headstone
[photo: sim friedhof.htm]

Unfortunately it is still not clear enough to read but it is a little better than the original full color image. I personally think that the inverse is a little clearer than either the color or the black and white. We will continue to investigate this and post results at a later date.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marriage records for three of the children of Severii Lorig

I thought these documents were worth sharing as an illustration of what the original written records look like. The first one is a copy from the parish register of Kordel and Biewer dated 26 January 1701 showing the marriages of three of the children of the then deceased Severii [Severius] Lorig. The first entry is for his son, Joannes [Johannes or Johan] who is marrying Eulolia Thespern. The second is for Anna marrying Maximus Weber and the last entry is for Anna Catharina marrying Jo’is [Joh. or Johannes] Rodt.

When I examined these I used Photoshop to inverse the original parish register negative copy to a positive form and then increased the magnification so I could read the text. I thought it was interesting to see that Joannes is labeled ‘Honestus’ [honest or upright] but Maximus is Virtuosis [upright and honorable] and Jo’is is Virtuous and Honestus. We think this may indicate some sort of social standing with Joannes being a little lower down than Maximus and Jo’is. Joannes Lorig who would be turning 21 in 1701 is labeled as “adolescens” but I think that just means young man [unmarried] not particularly underage or teenage. The other two men are also listed as adolescens. Included here is the text for the first entry only.

The text: 1701 die 26 Jani. . . Honestus adolescens Joannes [Johannes] Lorig legitimus defunti Severii Lorig filius uxor honesti Baches Thespern honesta filia [?] Eulolia attestantibus Mathias Müller et Joannes Aachen coramme Mathias Erasmi pastor corimatrimonium contractant.

My interpretation: 1701 the 26th of January, The upright young man Joannes Lorig, legitimate son of the deceased Severii Lorig takes to wife the upright Baches Thespern’s upright daughter . . . Eulolia attested or witnessed by Mathias Müller and Joannes Aachen contracted in the presence of Mathias Erasmi pastor

Marriages, Kordel and Biewer, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, 1701 for Joannes Lorig, Anna Lorig, and Anna Catharina Lorig as found on FHL #0466488

The original records were written in what is referred to as Germanic Latin a more or less standard form for church records in Germany of that time period. The script is often a mixture of Gothic and Latin as is the case here. Usually the names are written in the Latin or Roman script but you will notice that Weber is written in the Gothic style on the copy above. Click on the image to see the entire entry and to enlarge.

The same information, excluding the extra wording, is found in the familienbüch and is shown below. Familienbücher were compiled in the 1930s and 1940s therefore the handwriting is more familiar making it much easier to read.

Marriages for Kordel and Biewer, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, for Joannes Lorig and his two sisters, Anna and Anna Catharina as found in the familienbüch, FHL #1336837.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Blog update, Didrik Andreas Thomsen

Didrik Andreas Thomsen

I have been calling Didrik Andreas Thomsen an artist and we do know that he was an artist of sorts at least part of the time because we have physical evidence of his work in the form of a couple of portraits, however, he wasn’t one by profession after all. With the help and interest of extended family in Norway we are learning a bit more about him. He was a house painter and also worked for a furniture manufacturing company. Family lore says he painted some murals in Bergen but perhaps he just painted some walls. When I noticed the occupational notation on the census records saying he was a painter and put it together with the family stories that he was an artist it wasn’t too much of a jump to think that he was a painter in the artist sense of the word. It is very interesting to see how things unfold. Sometimes I think it is like that children’s game where a whisper goes around the circle and ends up being something entirely different than it started out to be.

I appreciate the corrections and additions to the posts because the main objective of all this is to get our history as complete and accurate as possible.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 31

“Union Depot” or King Street Station

Today’s card is labeled as the Union Depot in Seattle and was printed in Germany. It does have the same logo as the postcard of Second Avenue from last week--(PCK) that I think must stand for Paul C. Koeber & Company of New York City and Kirchheim (Germany).

There were two railway stations in Seattle in the early 1900s, the Union Depot and the King Street Station. These two stations were only a block or two apart and in many later photographs both buildings are visible. In this picture only one is shown with an open space beside it and even though it is labeled the Union Depot it is in fact the King Street Station. Because it is standing by itself suggests to me that this picture was taken prior the construction of the Union Depot. The Union Depot does not have a clock tower, is taller and has a very different roof line. For photos of both buildings please see Railroad Stations: Their evolution in Seattle at

There were earlier depots made of wood the first one was little more than a shack and was situated on the Elliott Bay tidelands amid the numerous sawmills and warehouses. It was used as an unloading point for Northern Pacific trains not as a passenger train station. Later a replacement station called the Columbia Street Depot was built. It was a two story wooden structure where the stationmaster lived above the street level offices. This was before the great Seattle fire of 1889. The King Street station was built in 1904, the Union Depot was built in 1911.

The King Street Station has had several remodels and renovations that more or less ruined the former grandeur. Like the comfort station under the Pergola mentioned in another
postcard Thursday post the these railway stations were beautifully appointed with vaulted arched ceilings, tiled floors, oak benches, areas to purchase magazines and cigars and other amenities. The King Street Station is currently used by Amtrak. It is undergoing restoration to bring it back to its original appearance. In the 1990s the Union Depot was bought and renovated by Vulcan Inc. and now serves as headquarters for Sound Transit. The grand hall is rented out for weddings and other events.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One month old


Can you believe she is one month old already? Curly tells us that this new sweet little granddaughter of mine will be nicknamed T-Bone for blogging purposes. T-Bone has reference to a children’s book character, a friend of Clifford the Big Red Dog. See Curly & Bee’s blog for the story (link on the side bar). We try to use nicknames on our family blogs for privacy reasons. Everybody within the family knows who is who and it is kind of fun to see what names pop up. I’m feeling pretty special tonight since I got to hold T-Bone and actually see her awake. Usually she is sound asleep when I visit but tonight she woke up before it was time for me to go home so I was quick and took these new pictures to share here. Isn’t she cute? You don’t really have to answer, I think she is and that’s what grandmas always think about their grandchildren. She just turned one month on the 16th, has grown and gained weight--all good stuff. Smile sweetie, we love you.

Bee & T-Bone, 1

Bee & T-Bone, 2

Lorig family lineage

Church in Biewer, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
[photo: courtesy of Google images]

Some of you may have wondered if the Lorig/Lorich family could be traced back further than the father of Henry Lorig (the immigrant) who was Franz Lorig, born about 1767 probably in Kordel or Biewer, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany and his wife, Angela Zimmer who was christened in Biewer on 4 May 1778. Franz and Angela were married 26 May 1803 in Biewer. They had twelve children (see the earlier post on Henry Lorig). Franz died 10 February 1854 and Angela died just two years before on 21 January 1852. Both died in the town of Biewer. You will note that Henry left Germany for America the year before his father died. I do not have photos, portraits or even drawings of them or those who came before but I can trace the family back a few more generations.

Surnames are rather interesting. In the beginning people just used a given name but as more and more people had the same given names it became important to have a way to distinguish this John from that John so a second name was added. It could be descriptive such as John Baker, John Stout or telling us that this John came from a certain place, or was a soldier, or had red hair, or any number of things that would make him different from the John who lived and worked next door. As I mentioned in an previous post there is a small town named Lorich located near Biewer with Biewer being more or less a suburb of the larger city of Trier. I believe at some point in time the family originated from Lorich and took the name of the town as their fixed surname.* To date, however, I have not gone back far enough to find the first Lorig/Lorich living in that town.

This area of Germany is predominantly Roman Catholic and our Lorig/Lorich ancestors were Catholics. We are digging into a time long enough ago that Germany was not a truly unified country but was warring within itself with each small duchy fighting its neighbors. In addition to fighting among themselves they often fought with the French therefore from time to time the control of the area switched hands and the records changed from being written mostly in Latin and German to Latin and French or just German or French. A quarrelsome bunch of folks it seems, although we need to remember it was the ruling class that instigated the wars not the common people who were forced to fight them.

Franz Lorich born about 1767 was the son of Nicolaus Lorich, born 16 April 1737 in Kordel not very far from Biewer and Gertrud Adam, born 19 January 1740 in Biewer. They were married 24 January 1760 in Biewer. The first child I found listed in the records was Franz or Frans born about 1767.** I think it is most probable that there were at least two other children born earlier who may have died in infancy or who appear listed in another church register. So far I have only found two other children Maria Angela who is listed as a child but no birth or christening information is provided and Margaretha born about 1781. With this many years between the children I would be very surprised if we don’t eventually find several other children born into the family. With a 50% mortality rate among children a common factor, however, it is likely that about half of the children born into the family did not survive childhood.

Nicolaus Lorich was the son of Johannes sometimes written as Joes or Josephi Lorich born in Kordel about 1702 and his wife Anna Bartz daughter of Theodore Bartz. They were married 6 February 1726 at Kordel. Johannes and Anna had seven children:

1. Hubertus born 1727
2. Elisabeth born 1729
3. Mathias born 1731
4. Angela born 1733
5. Catharina born 1734
6. Nicolaus born 1737
7. Anna Maria born 1740

Johannes or Josephi Lorich was the son of Johannes Lorig born about 1680 and Eulolia Thespern. Johannes and Eulolia were married 26 January 1701 at Kordel. So far I have only found the one child listed for them.

Joahnnes Lorig was the son of Severius Lorig who was born about 1655. Severius’s wife’s name is not listed but one other child besides Johannes is, a girl named Anna.

This is as far as the Lorig line has been traced to date. I can also trace the maternal lines back to approximately the same time period.

Burg Eltz, Germany
[photo: courtesy of Google images]

This area along the Mosel River where the family lived is rich farmland mostly producing grapes for wine. It is beautiful scenic countryside with a meandering calm looking river winding its way through the lush farmland. There are a few schloss or castles too. The photo is of Burg Eltz. I thought this was near Leiwen (it was labeled as such on Google Images) which is in the same general area where our Lorigs lived but just learned from Stephan Lorig, a "cousin," in Germany that this is not the case. It is a lovely castle, however, so I have left the picture up.

Example of half-timbered buildings, Germany
[postcard sent by Jackie Allen]

The houses are half-timbered. Included above is a postcard sent by Jackie Allen when she was visiting Germany a few years ago. It is not from Biewer but does show the half-timbered buildings that would have been typical of the area where our Lorigs lived. Workdays would have begun at sunrise and ended at sunset. Meals would have been simple, probably a hearty bread, cheese, sausage, cabbages and onions for vegetables, perhaps a soup or stew, beer or wine with milk for children although children were often also given watered wine or mild beer to drink as well.

Many people even in the towns would have had a pig, chickens, perhaps a milk cow or goat and a small garden if possible. Dirty washing water and general refuse was simply tossed out the window to run down the gutters in the streets. The sanitation issues involved with living like this are mind boggling for those of us in the 21st century. Transportation would have been by foot with the rare cart or wagon. The people stayed were they were because each duchy taxed them if they moved and they often had to secure permission before they could move to a different place. Acceptable reasons for moving might be marriage for a woman or employment for a man. The tiny towns where our ancestors lived, worked, and died were within walking distance of each other. Men could be drafted into military service by the local ruling authority. Since the land was in turmoil a good part of the time this was a significant factor in their lives and a cause of migration later.



* Stephan Lorig suggested that the Lorig name may also be originally a reference to the son of a man named Laurenz or Lorenz rather than the name of the town Lorich. He has gathered information on the name and many of the people with the name Lorig. I thank him for sharing his information and hope to have more contact with him to add to what we know at this end.

**Just before and during WWII records about families in Germany were compiled in books called familienbuch. They list complete families much like modern census records but not always the month and day sometimes just the year for vital records such as births, marriages and deaths.

Please see previous posts about the Lorig family for more background and information about Walt, Clara and Harry their father, Edd, and grandfather, Henry.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 30

Roald Amundsen's ship The Gjøa

This postcard sent to I.C. Lee by his friend Edward O. Cheasty in 1907 shows the ship Gjøa. The card was printed by Lowman and Hanford of Seattle and does not look as if it was intended as an advertisement for a men’s clothing store but it is being used to advertise men’s $4.00 shoes!

The note along the bottom of the card states “The Gjøa was the first vessel that made the great Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Commanded by the hardy Norseman, Capt. Roald Amundsen.“ The journey was completed in 1906.

Up until 2009 the Gjøa was on display at the Norwegian Maritime Museum in Bygdøy, Oslo. In 2009 the Fram museum took over the exhibition. Flash pictures were not allowed when we visited the museum in 1982 so these pictures were dark to begin with and age has certainly not improved their quality. I share them mostly because I always like to see what things look like and found it interesting that we had actually seen and been on the ship.

Deck of the Gjøa

The Gjøa

Amundsen sailed this 70 by 20 ft ship built in 1872 with a crew of six. I suppose sailors are used to close quarters but I remember thinking at the time that this ship was quite small and wondering how crowded it must have seemed even with a crew of six since it took three years to complete the journey.

Following a five-month trial period spent sealing on the pack ice of the Barents Sea; Amundsen refitted the ship adding a 13 horsepower single screw marine paraffin motor instead of relying entirely on sails. He also upgraded the ice sheathing since he realized they would spend the winters iced in. His plan was to live off the resources of the land and sea reasoning that a small crew would fare better than a larger one.

They left Oslofjorden on 16 June 1903 making for the Labrador Sea west of Greenland. They spent the winters iced in and in 1905 Amundsen left the ship to ski 500 miles to Eagle, Alaska where he telegraphed the news of their progress. He returned to the ship in March but had to wait until July before they could set sail again due to the ice. They reached Nome, Alaska in August of 1906 and then on to San Francisco where they arrived in October about a month after the big earthquake where they were met with a hero’s welcome. Amundsen sold the ship in San Francisco where it was put on display at Golden Gate Park. In 1972 the ship was returned to Norway. The Gjøa also appeared in a 2005 documentary entitled “The Search for the Northwest Passage.”

For more history and pictures of the ship check outøa.

I had these other two postcards of Second Avenue and thought it would be fun if Cheasty’s Haberdashery could be located on one of them but even with a magnifying glass I was unsuccessful. Nevertheless they are from the same time period and are interesting since they show what the street looked like in the early 1900s. Note what looks like cobblestones or light colored bricks for the street pavement. There are very few remaining residential streets in Seattle where the road looks like this most have been repaved with cement or blacktop.

Second Avenue & James Street
[published by the Portland Postcard Company of Seattle, Washington & Portland, Oregon]

Second Avenue
[published by Paul C. Koeber & Company, New York City and Kirchheim, printed in Germany]

This old photograph is fun too since it shows a street scene that I think must be downtown (Seattle) also with a policeman in a “Keystone Cop” uniform and pedestrian as well as a horse drawn city laundry truck. Both the policeman and pedestrian look about the right size and shape to have been I.C. Lee, but how can we tell with those long overcoats? If I.C. is one of them that might explain why the picture was in the trunk with the old family photos.

Seattle street scene, early 1900s

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Didrik Thompson, the son

Didrik “Dick” Thompson, born 1885

Dick has appeared briefly in a couple posts, once as an immigrant, and once when he was a guard at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909. Since I just recently became acquainted with a new cousin who connects to this family, the granddaughter of Dick’s half-brother, Gjert Didriksen, this seemed like a good opportunity to do a slightly more in depth feature of Dick with pictures. Some of this will have appeared in those earlier posts. The surname Thompson is found also spelled Thomsen and Tomsen on the records.

Didrik or Dick Thompson was the son of Didrik Andreas Thomsen and Sigrid Berentine Serene Andersdatter Dahle and was born 3 October 1885 in Bergen, Norway. He just might be the reason I keep so many family pictures and papers since he was a prodigious scrapbook keeper. I did know him and remember him fondly. Among the many things he kept to put in his books were school papers with the grades so I know he did very well in school. All his grades are high marks.

Dick’s family consisted of his mother, father and two sisters, one older, Anna,

Anna Thomsen, born 1875

and one younger, Alfhild. Another sister, Alfhild Dorothea born in 1889, died as an infant or small child.

(Harriet) Alfhild Thompson, born 1894

He loved his mother and his sisters but didn’t like his father, Didrik Andreas Thomsen, or perhaps more accurately did not respect him much as a man. As we uncover more information about his father I can understand better where that came from. His father was an artist and it looks like it was a feast or famine existence for the most part with famine being the norm. The family lived in an apartment in Bergen near Mariakirken. Dick’s mother took in laundry and washed windows to earn extra money to help support the family while his father dressed well and engaged in several liaisons with various other women. To date I have identified four additional children: Gjert Didriksen, born 1889, Andrea Judithe, born 1902, Dora born 1907, and Ragnhild born 1910 with oral history suggesting that there was at least one more illegitimate son. It does make me wonder how many more children he had that we do not know about yet.

Dick’s mother, Sigrid, fell to her death in 1901 while washing windows in an upper story window of the apartment building where they lived. There was enough suspicion of foul play to require a police inquiry. The final determination was that it was an accident. His father’s sister, Gjertine Elisabeth Strandrud, had married and left Norway for America. She was living in Seattle about that time. Although she had a large family of her own she thought it might be better if Dick came to live with her than stay in Bergen after his mother died. Dick waited until he was 18 years old and then he left Norway in 1903 to come to America and live with his aunt and uncle until he could get established and on his own. It was only a few years later than his aunt suggested that he send for his younger sister, which he did. Both Alfhild and Dick attended Pacific Lutheran University for a period of time. As is evident from the photograph of Dick as a young man he was very handsome. When he would try to get his aunt to compliment him on his looks she would laugh and say, “Anyone can be good looking, it’s the character of the person that is most important.”

Dick was working on the railway between Seattle and Portland when he met Clara Lorig through her uncle, Trygve Landaas. Both Tryg and Dick were members of the Bergen Club and that is how they became good friends. Dick was 11 years older than Clara and that may be why he persisted his courtship of her as Clara’s father, Edd Lorig, had been driving all the other younger men off. Edd did not think anyone was good enough for his daughter. They did not exactly elope but Dick and Clara waited until Edd was in Alaska and then married in 1917.

Wedding photo of Clara Lorig & Didrik “Dick” Thompson, 1917

Dick and Clara had two daughters, my mother and her sister. Mom passed away last November at 92 but her sister is still living and will be celebrating her 94th birthday this month. Unfortunately, Clara was just recovering from the Spanish influenza when she went into labor with her second child, the doctor came to the house to deliver the baby but he had delivered another child that same day and did not use sterile instruments as a result of her already weakened condition and an infection Clara died within a week of giving birth to my mother in 1919. It was not possible for Dick to take care of two children, one an infant the other not quite one year old therefore after Clara’s death her grandmother’s sister, Petra Lee, adopted my mom and my aunt went to live with her grandmother, Maggie Lorig. Dick always kept in contact with his daughters, however, and both mom and her sister were told about their mother who had died.

Dick never truly got over the death of his beloved young wife who was only 22 years old at the time. He went to the cemetery every week for the rest of his life to place flowers on her grave. He did eventually remarry in 1936 and seemed content in his second marriage but he always kept Clara close to his heart. His second wife was Celia Skage who was the widowed sister-in-law of his own sister, Alfhild. She was a pastry chef at the Meany Hotel near the University of Washington. Celia had a son from her first marriage. Maggie Lorig became serious ill when my aunt was about five years of age and could no longer care for her. Celia’s son was already in a foster home in Stanwood so my aunt ended up in the same foster home. Dick and Celia did not have any children together. Celia died in 1951.

Dick was a Seattle policeman working in downtown directing traffic. He was immensely popular. People visiting the city would seek him out. He appeared on the cover of magazines and was endlessly written up in the newspapers. His scrapbooks are overflowing with clippings. At Christmas people would drop off gifts for him in a barrel at his intersection. He sang with the Norwegian Male Chorus and played the piano some. He liked to cook and was famous within the family for his raspeballer—potato balls with salt pork in the center. They were delicious hot or sliced and fried the next day.

Dick Thompson directing traffic in the 1920s

After Celia passed away he took a vacation trip to Norway and that trip was written up in the papers too.

Dick Thompson, 1952 on the way to Norway for a visit

Dick with his two daughters.

I think he strove to be an honorable man of integrity and that his choice of a career also demonstrated that desire. Dick died in 1968. Alfhild married Olaf Pedersen Skage. They had one daughter, Helen. Alfhild died in 1974 in California. Anna remained in Norway and married Harold Andersen. They had one son.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blog updates

Kari Mikalsdatter Hornnes, 1898
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Update for Kari Mikalsdatter Hornnes.

After the post about Kari went up yesterday, I received an e-mail from Bjørn Arnhaug with some additional information about her and her family.

Bjørn did find the family listed on the 1910 Norwegian census all living together at Fagerheim in Oddernæs, Vest Agder. I’m not sure why Kari’s husband, Hans G. Mosby was listed in two places for that census but perhaps he was temporarily living at Valle in Froland due to his employment with the railway.

He was also able to confirm the date of death for Kari as 1 January 1913 at Mosby, Oddernes with burial listed as 9 January 1913. The cause of death is given as TB.

The children:

1. Gunvald Hansen born 2 October 1898 and confirmed 5 October 1913. There is a Gunvald Hansen who was born on that date and died in Tampa, Hillsborough, Florida, June 1985. Lil Anna says in one of her letters that she had a nephew living in Florida but she did not name him. Could this be Kari’s son?
2. Agnes Hansdatter born 30 September 1900, died 7 May 1922 at Mosby, Vest Agder, burial 13 May 1922, cause of death TB.
3. Gudrun Hansdatter born 12 Novembr 1902 at Mosby, died 2 June 1916 at Bakken on Mosby, Vest Agder, burial 8 June 1916, cause of death brain inflammation
4. Mikal Hansen born 4 February 1905 in Røiknes in Hægeland, died 29 Jul 1974, burial 2 August 1974.
5. Aagot Hansdatter born 27 August 1907 in Røiknes in Hægeland. Nothing further to add.
6. Haakon Kristian Hansen born 29 September 1910 at Mosby in Oddernes, died 18 January 1912, burial 26 January 1912, cause of death brain inflammation
7. Hildur Konstanse Hansdatter born 5 February 1912 at Mosby, died 5 December 1912, burial 11 December 1912, cause of death brain inflammation

Kari’s husband, Hans Gunvaldsen died 17 Jun 1959. He was buried with Berthine Gunvaldsen Bakken born 9 Jun 1906 and died 30 July 1977. Since Kari died in 1913 Berthine may possibly be a second wife. If she is a second wife I doubt they could have been married much before 1926 when she would have been 20 years old. Hans would have been 56. We will keep checking on this and post any new information, as it is uncovered. If anyone knows what the “brain inflammation” might have meant or what caused it, it would nice to have that information.

These additional facts came from the Norwegian and DIS gravsteinsminner. I want to thank Bjørn for sharing all he gleaned. It is much appreciated and helps fill in the gaps and answers some questions.


Playhouse, 1945

Update for
Thursday postcards #26.

I mentioned that my Dad had built a children’s playhouse. I did find a picture of the playhouse and thought some of you might like to see it. It won a prize in a contest for best child play additions to a yard in 1945. The interior had a main room paneled in knotty pine with cupboards above and below the windows. The kitchen area had a counter and cupboards for toy dishes and a sink. It did have electricity but no running water as my parents didn't think making mud pies in the kitchen was a good idea. On the backside of the house was a large garden closet where we stored the tools, shovels, rakes and lawn mower. My mother painted flowers similar to rosemaling all along the eaves and the window boxes. I think she also planted flowers in the window boxes during the summers. It is hard to tell the size from the picture but it wasn't very large. An adult would have to stoop to get in through the door but could stand up once inside. Perfect for children but would be crowded with more than four or five inside. I can remember having hot chocolate in tiny cups in the kitchen area that had a bench and a built in table that could seat four.


Marie Mikalsdatter Hornnes
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Update for Marie Mikalsdatter Hornnes

Since I originally posted this I have found that Martin Espetveit married Anna Olsdatter Dåsvand who was born 1898 and died the same year as Martin (1973). They had two daughters Klara Marie Espetveit and Agnes Espetveit. Thanks to Inger Frøysaa who sent an e-mail with the information about Martin's second daughter.

Lily married a second time to Gunvald Heien Jonsgård following the death of her first husband Rolf Norman Jakobsen.


(Store) Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes, ca 1908

Update for (Store) Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes (Gåseflå)

Inger Frøysaa sent this e-mail note about her grandmother and the connection between Gåseflå and Engestøl.

"The connection between Hornnes and Engestøl.

"Gunhild Olsdtr.Engestøl (1873) married Torkel Mikalson Hornnes (1871).
Gunhild had a brother,Tellef. He was the father of,among others, Knut 1902)Gunhild is therefore aunt of Knut.
Knut is my mothers( Betzy Landsverk) 1.husband and father to my 2 halfbrothers. Knut died 1937.The twins ( Tellef og Olaf) were 6 mnd.old.
Torkel bought Søndre Engestøl and lived there until Gunhild died in 1905.
Torkel is brother of Anna Gåseflå My grandmother and therefore uncle of Mikal (1896) my mothers 2. husband and of course father of me and my sister Anna. Mikal died in 1966 in a accident.


Thanks for sending this, Inger.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kari Mikalsdatter Hornnes

Hans Mosby & Kari Mikalsdatter Hornnes, 1898
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

This is the wedding photograph of Hans Mosby (sometimes called Bakken) and Kari Mikalsdatter Hornnes. Kari was born 1 May 1878 and was the ninth child of Mikal Afsen and Anna Gundersdatter Hornnes. If Lil Anna’s journal recollections are correct Kari would have been the last of their eleven children born on the big farm of Lunnen in Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway, the youngest two children having been born at Espetveit. Kari would have been twelve the year her father died and certainly old enough to help her widowed mother and older sister, Marie, with the chores of the small mountain farm. She married Hans Mosby the son of Gunvald Hansen Mosby and Guri Jensdatter on 21 April 1898. Hans was born 13 September 1870 at Oddernæs, Vest Agder, Norway. Kari would have been twenty years old the year she married and Hans would have been 28.

Hans is listed as a foreman on the railroad line on the 1900 census and they were living at Bjørndalen in Hægeland at that time. By 1910 Hans is listed as a railway worker married but living by himself at Valle in Froland.
Hans was one of the few people Lil Anna did not like very much. She thought he did not treat her sister well and she thought he drank too much. She also worried about Kari because she knew she was unwell, worked too hard and had several children to tend. Although we see that Hans had a good job with the railway line and Lil Anna did not drink (or I suspect approve of it at all) so Hans may not have been as disagreeable as she thought. Anyone who was as ill as Kari and had seven children to tend would cause worry in a loving sister no matter how well her husband treated her or not.

I have been unable to locate Kari in 1910. There are conflicting reports concerning her death. Some say she died in 1910 and others say it was as late as 1916. In any event, we know she was ill with tuberculosis as early as 1907/1908 when Lil Anna visited Norway and that several of her children also had the disease.

The children of Kari and Hans:

1. Gunvald Hansen Mosby or Bakken, born 2 October 1898

2. Agnes Hansdatter Mosby or Bakken, born 30 September 1900, died 1919

3. Gudrun Hansdatter Mosby or Bakken, born 12 November 1901, died 1913
4. Mikal Hansen Mosby or Bakken, born 4 February 1905, died 1967. Never married.
5. Ågot Hansdatter Mosby or Bakken, born 27 August 1907. Ågot married but I do not have the name of her husband or the names of any children they may have had.
6. Håkon Hansen Mosby or Bakken, born about 1909, died as a little child.

7. Hildur Hansen Mosby or Bakken, born about 1910/1911, died as an infant or small child.

The children are not found with Hans on the 1910 census making me wonder what happened to them. Was Kari in some sort of sanatorium or infirmary before she died and if so were some of the ill children there as well? Gunvald, the oldest son, would have been between twelve and eighteen depending on when she died so it is more or less reasonable to think he could have left home and been working on another farm given the circumstances. The next two girls look to have been ill since they died as teenagers. The next two, Mikal and Ågot lived to adulthood. The last two Håkon and Hildur died as infants or tiny children.

Tuberculosis (TB) was a infectious, common, debilitating, dreadful wasting disease of the time period. It was frequently referred to as consumption and can be found as early as Biblical times. The most prevalent form was in the lungs but it could be found in the throat, stomach, or other places in the body such as the kidneys and liver. Many, many people contracted the disease that was spread mainly by air contagion through coughing by those who were infected. If not treated it was fatal although it usually took years for a person to die from it. When Kari had TB there was little in the way of treatment other than rest, sunshine, and certain foods.

My grandfather, Axel, Lil Anna’s husband had active TB at the time of his death. When he would come to visit us my mother was in a panic and boiled all the dishes and flatware he used. One day she came home from shopping and found me sitting on my grandfather’s lap while he fed me from his plate. My mother was extremely distressed but no matter what they said my grandfather just could not believe that he was so ill or that a simple thing like feeding a child from a plate could be so dangerous. I did not get TB but that incident was a terror my mother did not get over for a very long time.

For more than 50 years TB has been successfully treated with a combination of drugs. Not as many people get TB today as they did when Kari had it but unfortunately those who get it today get a more resistant variety that is becoming harder to treat since the former medications do not work or at least do not work as well as they did making people with weak immune systems more susceptible and less easy to treat.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 29

The Frederick & Nelson department store, ca 1925

This postcard was published by the Lowman & Hanford Company of Seattle. Some might think it is a rather silly postcard to keep but a second look for those familiar with the building might think twice. Those of us a bit older would say, “Hey, wait a minute that building has only about half as many floors as the Frederick’s I remember.“ For the younger group it might be “Frederick & Nelson? What’s that? That building is now the downtown Nordstrom’s.”

What with the tricks, quirks of time and happenstance our extended family has had some connections with Fredrick & Nelson. This fact occurred to me as I was putting together yesterdays post about Harald Landaas. Of the articles I read about Henrik Valle (Harald’s brother-in-law) one suggested that he had worked on the basement of the first Frederick’s building. I do not think that possible unless it was a remodel of the second building because the very first building opened in 1890 as a second hand furniture store located on First Avenue this second building is on Fifth Avenue. The Fifth Avenue building was opened in September 1918 or about 7 years before Henrik left Norway for America. However, Valle Construction Company was hired in 1950 to add five more floors to the existing building. They did such a good job it didn’t look like an addition. The only hint was the roof line of the original building that became the exterior molding between the fifth and sixth floors. Apparently there was a place in the interior stairway between those two floors that evidenced the addition too. Customers did not generally use the stairway opting to go up by elevator or escalator instead but employees did.

A second connection comes through the bricklayer, Sam Hillevang who was married to Harald’s sister, Klara Landaas. Two of Sam’s granddaughters were puzzled about which department store their grandfather had worked on. They knew he got the job through Valle Construction and that it was in the 1950s, but there was some discussion as to whether it was The Bon or Fredrick’s. One of them asked me if I could find out which store it was but it wasn’t until I found an article by Svein Gilje in the Seattle Times (1980) stating that Valle Construction had done the addition in 1950-1951 that I knew for certain that it had to have been Frederick’s. As a result of the fine work Valle Construction did on the addition to the Fifth Avenue store they were hired to build the new Bellevue Square store without having to submit a bid.

Another connection is my sister-in-law who began working at Frederick’s in the 1970s. She worked in a couple of different departments before settling in the personnel department on the 9th floor of the Fifth Avenue store for several years. When I called to ask her a few things I remembered about the store she was able to fill in some gaps. Here are a few fun facts and figures about the store from her and from Wikipedia.

1. During the 1940s Frederick’s established a “Victory Post” on the main floor where they sold war bonds and stamps. Over 90% of the employees invested at least 10 percent of their earnings in war bonds. Because of this high participation Frederick’s was one of only a few stores that received a U.S. Treasury Department T-Flag.

2. The store philosophy was “If a customer asks for it, get it and if enough people want the same thing, start a department.”

3. When the Fifth Avenue store opened in 1918 over 25,000 shoppers and guests made it through the doors that day.

4. The store had ten floors above ground and two below. The lunch counter I fondly remembered was located in the first basement. The second basement was for deliveries and not open to the general shopping public.

5. The store had a beauty salon, post office, movie auditorium, a fully equipped medical facility, a nursery, reading and writing rooms, a bakery, a tearoom that could seat 400, and a modern candy kitchen. The candy kitchen was on the 10th floor.

6. Frango – the name probably came from Fr for Frederick and ango from the tango dance craze. Frango dessert was a frozen flaky chocolate delight eaten with a fork. The dessert line also included pies, ice cream, sodas and milk shakes but the one that has lasted is the chocolate mint truffle. Today there are several different flavors but mint was first. At one time the candy kitchen produced 500,000 pounds of Frango chocolates in a year. After the store closed in 1992 Frangos were produced by The Bon and when The Bon was sold to Macy’s they have continued to make them. There is nothing like a Frango. They are delicious!

7. Frederick’s always had a Door Man who greeted customers and opened the door. For a long while they had elevator operators as well but they were phased out in later years.

8. Frederick’s used to host art exhibits in a gallery on the same floor as the Tea Room (8th floor). I won a prize for one of my drawings and it was displayed in the gallery. It was a very exciting thing to go downtown and into the elegant Frederick’s store to see my picture hanging there. Never forgot the thrill.

9. Frederick’s was famous for the Christmas breakfasts with Santa Claus and I think there was an Easter brunch too.

10. The display windows were huge and ringed the street level. One of the display artists, Hugh Mann, would travel the world looking for items to put in the windows. One year there were automated figures for the Christmas windows. The electric model train window was another big attraction.

11. Santa Claus sat in a window that had an outside entrance. It was an annual event for many families to get pictures taken with the Frederick’s Santa.

For those of us who do remember the Frederick’s store with fondness and for those who missed out, I hope this post has painted a picture of what the grand days of a large department store were like.

For more information about Frederick & Nelson see

For more information about Henrik Valle see And

Frangos, yum!

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.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 28

Pioneer Square Pergola and Totem pole, ca 1909

This Robert A. Reid black & white postcard published in Seattle shows Pioneer Square or Pioneer Place as it was once called with the Iron Pergola and the Tlingit Totem pole. Pioneer Square was the original site of the city’s first sawmill built in 1853 by Henry Yesler. In the 1880s the land was turned into a public square following a massive street-straightening project.

The dictionary defines a "pergola" as a frame structure that supports climbing plants such as a grape arbor, a shady resting place in a park. The Iron Pergola was built in 1909 as a stop or public waiting area for the Yesler and James Street Cable Car Company. Julian Everett, a Seattle architect, designed the Pergola which was a waiting shelter built mostly of glass with ornamental cast iron columns and wrought iron ornamentation. It also had a large underground restroom that was described in one article as the eighth wonder of the world. The “comfort station” as it was called had marble stalls, brass fixtures, oak chairs, tiled walls and terrazzo floors. There were separate entrances for men and women with a combination of free and pay stalls. Each side had an anteroom with oak chairs, sinks and a shoeshine stand. The men’s room also had a place to purchase cigars. The restrooms were closed sometime after World War II. For a more complete description please see: http://www.historylink.....

In January 2001 an inexperienced driver of an 18-wheel semi truck crashed into the pergola and did significant damage. Many people did not think it would be possible to restore and repair the nearly 100 year old Pergola but in August of 2002 about a year and half after the accident at a cost of $3.9 million the repair and restoration was completed.
For pictures of the restoration project see

The totem pole first appeared in 1899. The Portland Post Card Company of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon published the card below [card #6114]. The card has the official logo of the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909.

Totem pole, Pioneer Square, Seattle, ca 1909

The totem pole had stood for more than 100 years in Alaska but was stolen from the Tlingit Indians by vacationing members of the Chamber of Commerce and brought to Seattle where it was gifted by the men to the city and erected in Pioneer Square. The Tlingit tribe sued for its return but the courts only assessed a $500 fine and let the city keep the ownership of the pole.

In 1938 the pole was vandalized and set on fire. The pieces were returned to the Tlingit tribe where their craftsmen carved a reproduction. The new pole was sent back to Seattle where it has remained unmolested in Pioneer Square. The article I read from the National Park Service stated that it “now stands as a symbol of the complicated relationship between American Indians and European Americans.”
See for the complete article with information about both the Pergola and the Totem Pole.

Another totem pole was recently erected at the Seattle Center. It is 33 feet tall and is a memorial to John T. Williams a slain Native American woodcarver. The article and photograph from the Seattle Post Intelligencer can be found at