Family Group Sheet

Monday, March 28, 2011

Marie's Poem

I was given a copy of a poem that Marie wrote. It tells of her life from the cradle to the grave. It is very special and my heart is deeply touched each time I read it. She lived a very hard life, just like everyone else during that time. She was born in 1827 and died in 1879, just three short years after arriving in America. Seven of their nine children were still in Norway, two of them were resting in graves.She suffered several years from consumption (tuberculosis) and it eventually took her life.
The last two stanzas were written shortly before her death.

Far from the place where my cradle stood
My widowed mother struggled and strove
Against heavy odds with children three,
But patient and trusting in God was she.

Want and work was our daily bread;
We children oft went hungry to bed.
She early in life sickened and died
Thus ending her struggles.  She was sorely tired.

I, young as I was, found a faithful friend;
Tried and true to the very end,
We had many children and trials too
And had to make shift as poor folk do.

All too soon my youth took flight
Like the roses in spring that die in the night.
Life's bright morning soon changed to gloom
Dark clouds arose with threatening doom.

Thus passed the weary years away
With labor and changing toil each day.
Then came the Gospel's welcome sound
We heard it gladly and happiness found.

But the towers of darkness can stand
The light that shines and brings joy to man.
With children eight we were driven from home
Into a cheerless world to roam.

An industrious man soon finds his place
This also happened in my husband's case.
We found a living and were satisfied
Though work was hard, it had its reward.

Hope springs ever and laughs at want
We stove to reach the Promised Land
Where God could our labor approve and bless
And we might live in happiness.

Now I have reached my life's great goal
But have also tasted the bitter cup
Of parting from those I have loved best
Yet through it all I was greatly blest.

Now my dear children, who alone must stand
Without your parents helping hand,
Keep faith with him who all power is given
He will erase your burden and grant you Heaven.

Listen, my children, to my last few words
Think not that on earth only roses grow.
No, thither beyond, on the Blessed Shore
Neither trial nor thorns will hurt anymore. 

The Passing Years by David C. Jensen

A few years ago I decided to do a "Google Search" on Ole and Maria. Boy, was I surprised when I found a website with histories and pictures. I could hardly believe it. The information was part of a website that has since been shut down and has been moved to this blog.
Some of the information was quoted from The Passing Years by David C. Jensen. It took me a long time and many phone calls to find a copy of the "book". It is not a published book but a typewritten manuscript that had been copied for family members. I was able to connect with David's son and he so graciously sent me a copy. I am not going to post the names of living individuals but I would be more than happy to share information if contacted.
David C. Jensen was the son on Antone H. Jensen the son of David Jensen, Ole's younger brother. I am going to quote some of the book that tells about Ole.

Ole Petterborg was born August 15, 1825 in Toten, Norway. He was the son of Ole Olsen and Gulline Olsen. Ole had two half-brothers, David and Antone Jensen. Ole came to America in 1873.
Ole changed his name from Olsen to Petterborg. The name Olsen was common in Ole's section of Norway. The various Olsens were identified by the place they lived. So it was with Ole. He was called Ole of Petterborg. Ole liked Petterborg better than Olsen.
Ole married Marie Eriksen. Marie was born November 6, 1827 in Norway. She died January 24, 1878. To this union were born nine children. The children were born in Norway. There names are Gine, John, Matilda, Emil, Even, Beate, who died in 1862, Beate who was born in 1864, Christine, and Oliane.
Even did not marry. He drank considerably during his life time which caused him to be hospitalized. He died in Walla Walla, Washington at the age of 78. He was brought back to Preston to be buried.
Two of the children died, but the rest married and had families. John Olsen settled in Ohio. He married twice and had two families. He and two boys were killed in a saw mill.
Emil settled in Preston. He is the only one who retained the name Petterborg, so he is the main root of the Petterborgs.
Ole homesteaded the place across from the Fifth Ward church. His place ran one mile north and was 1/4 mile wide. Christensen owned the place were Ole's house sat.
Ole was tall and thin. While he was in Norway, he did some drinking. He was mean during this time and would beat his wife. He was good otherwise. He was very close on money matters.
Ole lived a very quiet life. He did not take an active part in the affairs of the day. He accepted the gospel in April 1866. He was the type of man who tended his own business in a very mild mannered way.
Ole died in December 1885. He is buried in the Preston cemetery.
The name Petterborg is becoming common in the West. Ole left to his kin a unique name. The name started with him and will grow and grow. (from page 49)
 This information and a family group sheet is what I used to help me get started on my research for Ole and Maria. A few things are different than what I have since learned but it was such a thrill to have this information about MY family.
Below is a little more information from The Passing Years. It was written about David but since David and Ole are half-brothers, it also gives a good insight into Ole's life.

David Jensen's father, Jen Johansen, was a miller. Jens operated a small water power mill on the river that runs through the central part of what is called East and West Toten [Norway].
David's mother, Gulline Olsen Johansen, was a very large woman. She was tall and stately. Her hands and feet were very large for a woman. She was known among the people of Toten as Gulline Grotten. Grotten was the name of the place or house that she lived in after her husband, Jens, died. Jens was sixty-four years old when he married Gulline. Gulline was thirty-seven when she married.
Gulline had a child, before her marriage to Jens, who was named Ole Olsen. The records show that Ole's father's name was Ole Olsen. Ole went by the name of Ole Petterborg in America. Ole was born August 15, 1825.
Jens had been married before he married Gulline, and had raised a large family. Jens' first wife was Dorthe Gudmunsen Johansen. David's seven half sisters names were Marie, Agnethe, Johanne, Gulline, Hellene, Elline, and one name unknown.
Jens and Gulline had three children: David, Johannes who lived just a few hours and, Antone.   (from page 3)

Two Brothers with Completely Different Names

It seems that many of these beginning posts have dealt with names and their differences. As a genealogist, I have become aware of the importance of knowing a person's name or even names and the variations there may be. I have already written about patronymics in the Scandinavian countries but the practice really does make a big difference in knowing who to search for.
I decided, a couple of years ago, to try and find others who are related to Ole and Maria so that I could gather and share information with as many people as possible. I thought it might be a good idea to start doing collateral research--looking for Ole and Maria's brothers and sisters and their descendants.
It had not dawned on me that Ole's siblings had a different surname but they did. Ole was the illegitimate child of Ole Olsen and Gulline Olsdatter. His parents never married but when he was almost 11 years old, his mother married Jens Johansen. Jens and Gulline had 3 children, David, Johannes and Antone. David and Anton's surname was Jensen and Johannes' was Jensdatter.
A bell went off in my head--I had see a David Jensen also living in the Preston, Idaho area. Preston is where Ole and Maria settled in America. It ended up that this David Jensen was indeed Ole's younger brother. I have been blessed to find contacts on that side of Ole's family and they have shared wonderful information.
David moved to Franklin, Idaho in 1867 and Ole arrived in the area in 1876.
I am glad there was family waiting for them in this strange new country of America!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

You say tomato and I say tomahto; I say potato and you say potahto!

I thought it was bad enough growing up and having the name Petterborg ALWAYS misspelled and ALWAYS mispronounced. For those who may be reading this and do not know the pronunciation that most of the family has used, I will enter it the way it would be pronounced--Peterburg. Now you know why it was ALWAYS misspelled and mispronounced!
My Dad's older brother, Lynn, has two sons, "N" & "R".  Growing up, "N" got tired of the mispronunciations and misspellings and decided to pronounce Petterborg exactly as it is spelled. His reasoning was convincing enough so that when younger brother, "R" was old enough, he, too, decided to use that pronunciation.  I have apologized to "R's" family because I ALWAYS mispronounce their last name when I am with them. It is really hard to change the pronunciation--it automatically comes out "my way".
Ole and Maria's family got a double whammy since most of their first names were spelled one way in Norway and then another way in America and their last name being changed and then never pronounced or spelled correctly.
Here are a few examples:
Ole had it easy.  How many ways can you misspell Ole?
Maria was shown on most of the Norwegian records as Maria except she was shown as Marie on the farm books and in the LDS Church records.
Gina stayed in Norway but I have seen her named also spelled Gine there.
Ole Johan did not take the Petterborg name and became John Olsen in Akron, Ohio where he settled.
Anne Mathea was shown on LDS Church records in Norway and her emigration and passenger lists as Martha.  In America she was shown on census records as Matilda.
Emil was like Ole, not a lot of ways to be misspelled. He sometimes was referred to as Ole once he came to America. Lots of men whose last name is Olsen have been nicknamed Ole.
Even's name was spelled Evan in America.
Oliane was almost always spelled as Oliane although I did see her listed as Oliana or Oleana.
Beate was the name of two daughters.  I have listed them as Beate1 and Beate2. Beate1 was born in 1862 and died in 1863. Beate2 was born in 1864 and was also named Beate. This  was very common in European countries to name a new baby after a deceased sibling. It can be very confusing if careful attention is not paid to dates and places. I have seen Beate2 listed as Beata, Beatte and Beatrice.
Christina Bergetta has had me stumped for a long time. I have never found any proof of her birth or death.  She was born after the family joined the LDS Church. There are no records with the LDS Church, but their Norwegian records were very poor! They fell under the Swedish Mission and I found very few, if any, records of births among LDS church members. The national church in Norway had the legal responsibility of keeping tracks of all births, marriage and deaths.  I have not been able to find a record there, either.  I have not given up finding proof, so hopefully there will be a happy post in the future with her information.
As I write about these family members I am sure that the spelling of their names will go back and forth but hopefully we will all know who is being written about.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I don't have a lot of information on Even but I will post what I have.
Before I started doing any research I had seen his headstone in the Preston, Idaho City Cemetery.  There was just the date range of his life--1858-1936. It is a single headstone and I had no idea where he died.
While I was looking in Norway for information on the family, I found his birth and christening record. He was born 14 Feb 1858 in Heljoen, Nes, Hedmark, Norway and was christened 21 March 1858 in Nes, Hedmark, Norway.
From The National Archives of Norway website
I found the digitized images on The National Archives of Norway website.
The source is listed as: Hedmark county, Nes, Parish register copy nr. 5 (1852-1889), Birth and baptism records men 1858, page 58-59.
The permanent page link will show the entire image.

During the 1700s smallpox vaccines were encouraged in Norway. The parish priest kept records of those who received these shots. Even's name was found on the 10 Sept 1858 records.
From The National Archives of Norway website
I found the digitized images on The National Archives of Norway website.
The source is listed as: Hedmark county, Nes, Parish register (official) nr. 4 (1852-1886), Vaccination records 1858, page 362.
The permanent page link will show the entire image.

Many of Even family member's joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have not been able to find his name on any the LDS Church records except on the passenger lists for members emigrating to the United States. I found the information on a microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL). It was film #0040994--Passageer-liste for udvandrerskibene fra København til Hull, 1872-1894.  The catalog gives this description of the film:
               "Passenger lists of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormoner) from the Scandinavian Mission who emigrated between the years 1872  to 1894. These lists may include the contract number, persons full name, age, last occupation, last place of residence, marital status, destination, and other miscellaneous information. The lists include the sailing date and the name of the ship. Most of these ships sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark to Hull, England where the passengers made their way to other ports and ships to continue their journey."
I found him listed on page 359. His name was Even C. Pettersborg, age 22 years, leaving on the ship Wyoming and the date was 29 Aug 1881. I was not able to see the original record, but I bet the C. for a middle initial really was an O.
I was able to find the immigration passenger list coming into New York City on  Here is the information I got from that database:
Name:  Owen Olsen Peterberg (it is indexed as Owen but it is Even when you know the name)
Arrival Date: 13 Sep 1881
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1859
Age: 22
Gender:     Male
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England and Queenstown, Ireland
Destination: United States of America
Place of Origin: Norway
/Nationality: Norwegian
Ship Name: Wyoming
Search Ship Database: Search the Wyoming in the 'Passenger Ships and Images' database
Port of Arrival: New York
Line: 27
Microfilm Serial:     M237
Microfilm Roll:     M237_441
List Number:     1283
Port Arrival State: New York
Port Arrival Country: United States

I was sad when I saw that he arrived in the United States after his mother had died. I wonder if he knew she had died 2 years before. His father died in 1885.

I am not even sure if he ever went to Idaho, since he arrived after the 1880 census and the 1890 census was burned. I only find him in the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 censuses. Each time he is living in the state of Washington.

1900 census shows he is living in Marengo Precinct, Columbia, Washington. The information listed for him in the extracted portion of database:
Name: Eben Petersberg   
Residence: Marengo Precinct, Columbia, Washington
Birth Date: Feb 1860
Birthplace: Norway   
Father Birthplace: Norway         
Mother Birthplace: Norway
Race or Color:  White
Gender: Male
Marital Status: Single   
Immigration Year:     1882
He is listed on page 6A, dwelling #105, family #105 and Even is on line #35. There are 6 men in the dwelling and five are listed as boarders and all are single. They range in age from 20-42 years. They are from New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, France, Norway and Kansas. The "Head" is the one from New Zealand and he is a sheepman, the other 3 immigrants are listed as sheep herders and Even and the man from Kansas are farm laborers.

1910 census shows he is living in Spokane, Spokane, Washington. The information listed for him in the extracted portion of database:
Name:  Evan O Peterberg
Age in 1910: 52
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1858
Birthplace: Norway
Relation to Head of House:     Lodger
Father's Birth Place: Norway
Mother's Birth Place: Norway
Home in 1910: Spokane Ward 2, Spokane, Washington
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Gender: Male
Year of Immigration: 1882
Occupation: Carman on street car
He is listed on page 7B, line #77. The page is very messy and it is hard to read and hard to know what the numbers are.  He does live at 210 Sprague Ave. There are lots of lodgers listed all over the page but he is the only one listed for that address.  I looked it up on MapQuest to see what the name of the street really was because it was hard to read. It asked if it was East or West.  By looking at the other streets listed around his residence I have decided it was W. Sprague Ave.

1920 census shows he is living Espanola, Spokane, Washington. The information listed for him in the extracted portion of database:
Name:  Evan O Petterburg
Home in 1920: Espanola, Spokane, Washington
Age: 61 years
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1859
Birthplace: Norway
Relation to Head of House: Inmate
Father's Birth Place: Norway
Mother's Birth Place: Norway
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Sex: Male
Year of Immigration: 1882
Able to read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
He is listed on page 5B, line #53 and as an inmate of the Eastern State Hospital. His occupation is listed as a teamster on the farm. I wonder what condition caused him to be admitted to the hospital?

1930 census shows him living in the same Eastern State Hospital. The information listed for him in the extracted portion of database:
Name:  Evan Petersburg
Home in 1930: Espanola, Spokane, Washington
Age: 71
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1859
Birthplace: Norway
Relation to Head of House:     Inmate
Race: White
He is listed on page 6B, line #94. His occupation is listed as a laborer in the kitchen.

I found sexton records for Preston, Idaho City Cemetery on microfilm at the FHL.  The film is #7551 and the date range is 1892-1953. The information from those records:
Evan Petterborg, age 77 years, died 11 Jun 1936, buried 14 Jun 1936, died of old age. Emil Petterborg, Sr. owns plot.  Death place was not listed.

I also found his death information from Washington State Death Certificates 1907-1960 at the website. There were no images attached.  His death date is listed as 9 Jun 1936.  The extracted information:
Name: Evan Petersburg
Death date: 09 Jun 1936
Death place: Medical Lake, Spokane, Washington
Gender: Male
Age at death: 78 years
Estimated birth year: 1858
Father name: Ole Petersburg
Mother name: Mary Erickson
Film number: 2023357
Digital GS number: 4222375
Image number: 849
Collection: Washington Death Certificates, 1907-1960

I was really excited when I found his information in the death records so that I knew where he had died. I was glad to learn that he had been buried in Preston where he had family. Only one sibling was still alive, my great grandfather, Emil.  Emil is the brother just older than Even. Here is a picture of his headstone.
Image taken from the Find A Grave website
I look forward to the day when I can meet Even and the rest of those family members who have gone before me.

I'm Already Changing My Mind

When I started this blog, I was not quite sure what I wanted to do with it or what information I wanted to include. I have thought about it for 4 months and finally decided that I wanted to break it down into a section for each of the 9 children that are listed for Ole and Maria. I found that I could create "stand alone pages". I decided to create a page for each of the children.  I started with Even because he never married and I thought it would be an easy place to begin.  After I added all the information to Even's page, I realized that any additional information could only be added at the end and not as additional posts. That was not what I had in mind, since some of the children will have significant information to be posted.
So. . . I have now decided to add the information, on each child, as a regular post with labels added to make it easy to zero in on a particular person or topic.
I sure hope this method works.  If it doesn't,  stay tune for more changes!

Why Was the Name Changed?

With the maiden name of Petterborg, I had always been curious about the origin of the name. I was told that it had been changed from Olsen to Petterborg when the family came from Norway and that the name had some connection to the farm the family lived on before coming to America.
The Scandinavian countries all practiced "patronymics"--each person's surname was the first name of their father with "sen" added for boys and "datter" added for the girls in Norway and Denmark and "son" and "dotter" in Sweden and Finland. Each generation had a new surname. When women married, they didn't change their surname to their husband's. Just by this naming practice, I knew Ole Olsen's father's name was Ole and Maria's father's name was Erik. I had already done research in Sweden and I was familiar with this pattern.  I thought it would be very hard to figure out and find people but it turned out to be just the opposite--I could follow people and keep couples separated quite easily.
As the population really grew, some men were assigned a "new" name to be added to their patronymic name. This helped to differentiate several men with the same names.
I have read in one of Ole and Marie's daughter's journals (another post to come) that when the Olsen family joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they lost their farm because of the local persecution. I noticed that in the LDS Church records they were listed as Olsen Petterborg.  I am not sure if they took the name Petterborg to differentiate themselves from the other Olsen families or if they took the name because of the love they had for the farm they lost and that would be a way to remember.
I may never know the answer until I can ask Ole and Maria themselves.

About Sept. 2008 I was able to take a Norwegian research class at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.  One of my main goals was to find the correct name of the farm where they lived. I found a book entitled, Norsk stedsfortegnelse (Norwegian place name index). It shows the community, county, ZIP code, post office name, and the telegraph office name for all most of the villages and farms. As I was looking through the book, I found lots of names that looked familiar--Petersborg, Petersburg, Petraborg and Pettersborg. The reason these all looked so familiar was they were all the different ways my last name had been misspelled my whole life. Imagine how excited I was when I saw Petterborg listed. How was I ever going to know which one, if any, was the correct place where Ole, Marie and their children had lived?
I was then introduced to using the "farm books" or "bygdebøke". They are Norwegian books, arranged by large geographic areas, then broken down into smaller areas.  I found one volume, Utgitt av Nes Historielag ved Gunhild Kolstad (A genealogy and a history of the people and their farms in Nes and Helgøy, Hedmark County, Norway). I checked the book for the area where I knew the family had lived--Nes. Then within Nes, they had lived in Hovinsholm.  I found Hovinsholm-eie on page 56. The book was all in Norwegian, which made it hard to know exactly what I was reading. I am pretty sure I had help from some of the consultants at the Scandinavian desk at the Family History Library. As I am writing this, I am looking at the same pages and it is not as easy to figure out as it was that day. It all just fell into place so easily then. As I looked at the information, I could tell it was in chronological order, so I checked until I found when the family lived there and there they were--listed on page 58! They really had lived on the farm named PETTERBORG!!!!! Wow, my maiden name had been correct all along.
The book listed Ole, Marie and their 8 children. It also gave the year and place they were born and the year of Ole and Maria's marriage.
The following is the information listed in the book: Utgitt av Nes Historielag ved Gunhild Kolstad (FHL Call #948.23/N1 D2k volume 2 part 1), page 58.
Ole Olsen f. ca. 1826 (Toten, pä Vien da han giftet seg) g. 1850 m. Marie Erikdtr. (Hovelsrud-eie).
1. Gine f. 1850 (Hovinsholm-eie)
2. Ole Johan f. 1851 (Hovinsholm-eie)
3. Anne Mathea f. 1853 (Hovinsholm-eie)
4. Emil f. 1856 (Hovinsholm-eie)
5. Even f. 1858 (Hovinsholm-eie)
6. Oleane f. 1860 (Prestegardsmoen)
7. Beate f. 1862 (P.g.moen)
8. Beata f. 1864 (Peterborg)
Ole og Marie var husfolk i Øvremoen under Prestegarden i 1865.

There is another book, Utgitt av Nes Historielag ved Gunhild Kolstad (FHL Call #948.23/N1 D2k volume 2 part 2), page 109-110. It gives a one page history of the farm and then gives information on the families who have lived there. The information on Ole and Marie is a little different than in part 1. I am showing it below. The reason I am going into so much detail is because as a genealogist, I have tried to find all the information I can about a person or family. That way I can try and recreate the family as accurately as possible. I never know what information will be in any source. If I had only looked at this book, Part 2,  I would have missed two of their children and where they all were born.
Ole Olsen f. ca. 1842 (Toten) i var husmann med jord 1865. G. 1850 m. Marie Erikdtr. f ca 1844. Han var jeger og hadde tjent på Vien. I 1865 ble denne plassen kalt  Øvermoen av Petterborg ikke ble nevnt.
1. Johan f ca 1851
2. Anne Mathea f ca 1853
3. Emil f 1855
4. Even f 1857
5. Oleane f 1859
6. Beate f 1864
I am going to get the information from these two books translated and I will add that as a later post.