Monday, August 04, 2008

Rich Heritage

This is a long and very special post.

This morning we attended church in Holmedal where both my great great grandmother and great great grandfather attended, long before they "met" in America.

My maternal grandmother (Elaine Carlson)'s father's parents were both born here in Norway, just across the fjord from each other. He was born in Hellevik. She was born in Engebo. But, it was in America where Kristian Hellevik met and married Anna Engebo. While they were in America, Kristian discovered that his brother had married his wife's sister! Torgier Hellevik and Sara Engebo stayed in Norway and ran the Hellevik farm. Torgier and Sara never had any children, but Kristian and Anna had three. Their youngest son Nils had four wonderful children, one of whom was my grandmother Elaine.

In those days the fjord was the main means of transportation. Thus, the parish included two "towns" across the water and both Kristian and Anna attended the same church. Kristian's parents (Nils and Helene) are buried in the church graveyard in Holmedal, along with Torgier and Sara. (The stone was recreated after the original was accidentally broken).

While in Holmedal, we were kindly hosted by Kirsten Engebo and shown the Engebo farm.

A few days earlier, we had the privilege of visiting the Hellevik farm and found photos of Nils & Helene on the wall. (These are my great great great grandparents!)

The hospitality and the view from the Hellevik farm were incredible. The Hellevik estate at one point included 2500 acres and included the island you can see in the photo.

On the way home from the Hellevik farm, we stopped at the schoolhouse where Kristian attended primary school. Nothing quite like standing in the place where your great great grandfather learned as a little boy.

I have found these experiences incredibly meaningful. I am sincerely grateful to all those who have opened up their homes and memories to us.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Fascinating! This is all so amazing! I love the pictures.