Introduction

Copyright 1916

Hans Jervell

Fargo, North Dakota

Why should this book be published? How did these conditions come about? Why organize it after the regional societies? What is the purpose of this book? It is questions like these that many will presumably ask and want answered.

As in my previous work with that provided “Fram” I have taken further opportunity to personally talk with many Norwegian people in the Northwestern United States. I have sent about 30 articles to “Fram” from my trips -- "From the Northwest" – in time the recorded information became worthy and of great historical interest, especially the accounts of the ancestral fathers and ancestral mothers of the families that grew up in America with Norwegian blood in their veins and with Norwegian ethnic features.

Gradually - especially in the rainy summer weeks - the thought ripened within me that I had gotten enough material for one or more books, and an important goal of contributing to the illustration of what the Norwegian people have achieved, especially for the development of the Northwest.

When I wanted to write about family and settlement history simultaneously, why did I put the material in the order seen and name it after the regional societies of a short time ago and take it settlement for settlement, town for town and so forth? It must also be explained and thought about. The Norwegian People in America move often, but there is one thing they cannot move – their cradle. What they have stood for, they must stand for always. It is it the only invariably in our human lives – our birthplace. Therefore we all have childhood and youth memories of father and mother, sister and brother, grandfather and grandmother, family and friends. From our birthplace we have all received our ethnic features and will keep them for the rest of our lives, despite all the changes in our homes and income.

I want to encourage and support the regional society movements with the power of my pen. The readers will grow strong and will hold themselves up if the adult family can convey historical knowledge, interest and sense for "My Ancestors" and their "Ancestral Heritage". And the most gifted therefore will have an increased interest and therefore the education for Norwegian songs, literature and history is rising in high schools and colleges. And it is wonderful.

When I went on these trips I used both my eyes and ears to get a better understanding that there is something distinctive and appealing about an authentic Halling or an authentic Saetesdol, Numedol, Gudbrandsdol, Romsdol, Sondmoring, Tronder, Nordlaending, etc. The ethnic features will also stay with the children in the cross-ethnics. Then the families that grew up in America will get their impressions of the road from which they came. And that is the only way that they will develop a connection and get a foothold and go willingly in their "Father's Tracks".

There are surely those that will find that several of the biographical recordings in my book, as I end the first part and begin to decide which direction my work will go, are of little significance and interest to many who find their names in this book. There are many records that are lacking in one way or another in the information on family or settlement history. Where it leads should be to try to satisfy the majority. The detailed people record, where the married woman's name contains both her maiden name and her husband’s name, will hopefully for some people, who had that concern in the former books, be worthy as a reference handbook. It if leads to a good friend or acquaintance or family member who can find one or more yearning spirits, then the book has its merit and worth.

If there are some who are dissatisfied with the information or find anyone who is not in this book, they can take comfort that there is an answer and cure: There is a place for them in Part II. Just give me the necessary Information. Possible errors and inaccuracies can also be corrected in Part II, when I become aware of them from the people concerned.

To the story writer in the various regional societies I also have a word about myself: I have had the opportunity to collaborate with the appropriate sources on what these most worthy biographies and recordings contain. It is a part of my duty to get Hallinger to read about Gudbrandsdoler, Romsdolinger about Telemarkinger, Sondmoringer about Saetesdoler, Nordlaendinger about Vestlaendinger and so forth. The regional society, which you could not find represented in its own department in part I, because I had not fewer than 20- 30 written records to order in its own section, you will maybe find one or more represented in the section "From Various Regions". The section becomes something largely of the basics in that the order of the book must first and foremost be taken into consideration, even though the unknown could not be placed in the correct section. The regional societies which are most strongly represented in this book will perhaps in Parts II and III and so on have to give up their place to other regional societies.

As a source writer for these books the only task I required of the people concerned my articles to “Fram” -- "From the Northwest" and Sondmors regional society year book from me as well as my friend Olav Redals' records: "Stone fighters and others in Montrail County North Dakota" in his letters to “Fram”. In several biographies you will see mentioned "(O.R.)", it means Olav Redal. Most importantly I know that basically what is important to Olav Redal is also important to me. We are kinsmen and I thank him for helping and invite him to continue to collaborate with me. Hopefully I can give Sondfjordingers their own paragraph in Part II. Now I must put "From Bergenskanten" together with several other brave people, who must attempt the same thing.

As my work on Norwegians living and working in America is has ended, I have had the chance to come up with an answer to this question: What have the Norwegian people, the Norwegian population, immigrants and their descendants achieved for development of the Northwest? Answer: They all very much deserve their place in history.

HANS JERVELL.

Source: Norwegians and Norwegian Homes in America by Hans Jervell - 1916 - Page 3

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