norwayIn 2001 Carolyn organized a trip to Norway so that we could all reconnect with our side of the family over there. More on how Carolyn and her brother Ron found our family over there below the video.
Note: this video looked good in 2001. Looks pretty
grainy now. But you get the idea.
Brother Ron's account of finding our family
Introduction: Carolyn Samson Cronin and Ronald George Samson were children of Bert Arthur Samson and Ellen Louise Kayser. Bert Samson (1901-1967) was the son of Norwegian parents, George and Bertha Samson. Ellen (1902-1976) was the daughter of Fredrik Kayser, Norwegian roots, and Sarah Jenny Berryhill, English, Scottish, etc. roots in Europe. She and Ellen Samson were both DAR members, able to trace roots back to before the revolution.
For years Carolyn and Ron have known about roots on the Kayser side in Norway, and know many Kayser cousins there. But, until our 1991 trip to Norway, we had not known anything about the Samson side. Mother, Ellen, had told Carolyn in the early 1970s that she thought Dad's parents came from an area name "Rose something" in Norway. So Carolyn had found a place called Rosendal on a Norway map.
During our 1991 trip we learned that:
Geoge M. Samson (1855-1937) was born Gjert Myklebust Sorenson on the Myklebust Farm, part of the Rosendal Baronry until the 1940s. Bertha Samson (1856-1915) was born Bolethe (Bol.) Jensdatter Storaeke at the Storaeke farm. Ron has what is believed to be her confirmation trunk, which has a date of 1870, and keeps it in their living room in Lincoln.
Carolyn and Ron both kept notes concerning our trip to Norway in 1991. Below are Ron's notes about August 8, 1991, when we visited near the Hardanger Fjord in Noway. We didn't follow up on contacting the Storaeke side, so that remains to be done.
8/8 (1991)Thursday--What a super day! We left Haugesund about 9:30 AM with sunny weather again. We headed north toward Rosendal & Uskedal on the Hardanger Fjord to see if we could learn anything about our Samson grandparents. We drove to Skanevik where we took a ferry ride (15-20 min) to Utaker. Ron ate lefse & a ham sandwich on board, saying, "You can't get lefse at Lincoln, except when Edith (Meintz) makes it." Drove to Hardanger Fjord area--beautiful blue water, sky, clouds, and fjord mountains. Could this be the land our Samson grandparents were forced to leave? We drove to Uskedal, by about 1:30 PM, and stopped at the church graveyard. We saw many gravestone markers with Mykelebust (means big estate in Norwegian) names but didn't see anyone to ask about our grandparent history. But, we could be in the right place. So, on to Rosendal.
We stopped for information (Rosendal has about 1500 population), and were sent to a "Culture Center," for more info. A women named Ellen Totland (Ron's and Carolyn's mother's name was Ellen--a good omen) helped look up the reference material and quickly found Bolethe Storaeke, born 1856, (Ellen was excited, too) and a picture of the old farm place. Ellen Totland had said, "This won't be difficult, you may have a lot of Storaeke relatives right here in Rosendal!" Bol. (short for Bolethe) was "Jen's datter" as it says on the old trunk/chest Ron and Susie have in Lincoln. We were happy, shocked, and excited, to say the least.
Next, we were to find the Mykelebust connection. Gjert Sorenson (Soren's son) was shown, born in 1855, and marrying "Bol," in 1877, and his name was included with the farm heritage, with his family. Again, we were happily surprised!! And again, there was a picture! The farm was described as being near Uskedal...."Myklebust Farm." We also learned that we are cousins to a head county nurse, at Rosendal, related to our Grandmother. The cousin-nurse was not at work, because her husband was ill, so we did not try to contact her. Her last name was Roagland?
We next drove about 5 km north on #13 highway, and quickly found the Storaeke Farm. Very run down, and locked, apparently used as a "hut" (what Norwegians call their get-away places) by someone, but not lived-in year round. We took pictures again (as we have for many reasons all week in Norway), then returned to Rosendal. We had photocopies of the reference material, but didn't proceed to the Myklebust Farm in the Uskedal area until we'd had a brief visit at the Baronry, an historical location at Rosendal.
At Uskedal, we didn't find the farm right away, but did find it after talking to several people in the area. Ron stopped to a ask a farmer, who didn't speak English, who was driving a tractor, pulling a trailer. The farmer looked at the picture and pointed indicating that we should continue east. We found the house has been replaced and the barn gone. People were living in the house! And they were outside relaxing and enjoying the sunny day.
We met Arne Myklebust, who has the same great grandfather as Carolyn and Ron! Arne is about our age, is a banker from Bergen. He and his family live in the home in summers, and the house is being fixed up now. Arne bought the place from a previous owner. Arne's grandfather built the "new" house in about 1910. Arne remembers staying in it in his youth. Arne and his family invited us for coffee and pancakes, and ice cream. His two daughters, Ingunn and Toril, are 30 and 37 years old. Ingunn and Toril were very friendly and interested in our visit. Toril has two children, who were with her. Arne and his family gave us a picture of the farm valley, plus Aud, age 56, Arne's wife, gave us a picture she had painted inside the house (of a mother and her 3 children). Arne's family were all friendly, yet a bit overcome, as we were. And, would you believe, Arne and Aud knew or knew of our Kayser cousins in Bergen, Ovind, Tove, and Fredrik!!
We stayed about two hours, saw some of Arne's old family trunks which
were in the house. We left a picture of our Grandmother Bolethe's
trunk. Again, we all took more photos. A 2000 meter high "Angel's
Wings Mountain" is beautiful and sits across the farm valley. Ingunn
told us that she had climbed the mountain recently, saying, "It's not
as hard as it looks." Both daughters are teachers and Susie enjoyed
visiting with them. The daughters had taken their boat from Bergen
to the farm, a faster means than driving. Again, more pictures, and
then back to our hotel in Rosendal. Yes!! ...it was a very good day!