Monday, April 11, 2011

A Young Woman's Journey

Today's post is an excerpt of my father's family history which he wrote in 1996 and sent to all family members. This is the story my paternal grandmother's journey to the United States in 1925. I've amended it to be written from my perspective.

From 1825 to 1925,  800,000 persons left Norway, mostly for North America. Included were three sons and three daughters (out of 10 children) of Andreas Kristiansen, my great-great-grandfather. As a result of this mass migration there are more people of Norwegian ancestry living outside of Norway (5 million) than there were [in 1996] in Norway (4.3  million). The impact of the migration of mostly younger persons results in labor shortages today, compelling the Government to encourage immigration of foreign refugees to Norway. Immigrants from over 100 countries now live and work in Norway.

 (Here's a family portrait of the Stangeland family, including my grandmother Frida, and my father Edwin and his sister Marion. This was probably the summer my father spent in Norway when he was six. He spoke Norwegian while he was there and had to re-learn English when he returned to Syracuse.)

Alfrida Stangeland, one of eight children of Peder Stangeland and Christine Hatleskog, emigrated from Norway when she was only 17. Her mother had died, her father was planning to re-marry, and she did not like her prospective step-mother. Her grandfather Andreas, to the chagrin of her father, suggested that she go to Syracuse, New York where she had two aunts and two uncles. Andreas said if she remained in Norway she would become the surrogate mother to her two younger sisters. Alfrida did so, sailing to Montreal enroute to Syracuse. Here's a copy of the passenger list that she kept all these years.

Passenger Ship Information from 1925 which I thought was interesting. 

 (I can't be sure, but I think my grandmother is the younger woman with the fancier hat, below. I plan to confirm this with Norwegian family members. )

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