The S.S. Angelo, built in 1874, carried my great-great-grandmother, Agnette, and her son Emil from Norway to America four years later. Later that year Agnette would marry my great-great-grandfather, Anders Roberg.
Of my 8 great-grandparents, the only one I ever met was Grandma Wilson: Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. Had she not lived to the age of 97, I might not have met her either. As it was, I only met her once, when I was three. I have dim memories of that meeting, of visiting the nursing home where she lived, and the fact that she gave me a dollar.
Sophie was born November 5, 1881 in Boone County, Nebraska, the daughter of Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, who were both born in Norway. On March 13, 1907 Sophie married Carl Ozro Wilson in Boone County, and they had a total of 10 children: Anders Clarence, Blanche Agnes (my grandma), Ozro Willie, Pearl Jeanette, Clarence Salmer, Woodrow, Mildred Genevieve, Irene Sophie, Maude Lucille, and Lester Laverne.
About 1915 the family moved from Nebraska to South Dakota; in 1920 they were enumerated in Cody, Mellette County. By 1930 Sophie and Carl had separated; that year’s census finds Carl living as a boarder in a hotel in Wood, South Dakota, and Sophie and her children in Witten, South Dakota, where she is employed taking in washing. Carl died in 1939, and in 1940 Sophie and those children still left at home are again in Witten, though the information she provided indicates that five years earlier she had been living in rural Tripp County.
Beginning in 1964 Grandma Wilson resided at the Winner Nursing Home in Winner, South Dakota; she suffered from diabetes. She died at McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls on September 24, 1979, a little more than a month shy of her 98th birthday. She was buried September 27 in the Winner Cemetery, near her estranged husband as well as her infant son Woodrow, who had died more than 60 years earlier.
My great-great-grandparents, Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, are buried in the South Branch Cemetery amidst rolling hills outside Newman Grove, Nebraska. Agnette’s half of the tombstone is detailed and written in Norwegian; Anders’s is simpler and lists only his dates of birth and death.
Both Anders and Agnette were born in Norway – Agnette in Biri, Oppland, on November 30, 1844, and and Anders, eleven years later, in Innvik, Sogn og Fjordane. Agnette married a Mr. Martin, and they had a son, Emil, on January 12, 1871. It appears Mr. Martin died, and in May 1878 Agnette and her young son sailed to America, arriving in Winona, Minnesota.
On December 3 of that year Agnette married Anders in Rushford, Minnesota. She was 34 and he was 23. He had emigrated to America in June 1875 along with his brother Arne. In May-June 1879 Anders, Agnette, and Emil traveled to Nebraska by covered wagon. The 1880 census finds the small family in Shell Creek , Boone County, Nebraska, joined now by the first of three children.
All three children were born in Boone County, Nebraska: Severin on February 17, 1880; Sophie Christine (my great-grandmother) on November 5, 1881; and Sena on June 2, 1884. In 1900 and 1910 Anders and Agnette were enumerated in Midland Precinct, Boone County. Agnette died of liver cancer on February 18, 1919. I have yet to find Anders in the 1920 census, but in 1930 and 1940 he was living in Newman Grove. He moved to the Newman Grove “Old Peoples Home” in May 1942 and died of chronic myocarditis on New Year’s Day 1943.
One of my many ancestral homelands is the small (population 378) village of Innvik, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. Innvik means “inner bay” in Norwegian; the original spelling of the name was Indviken and was in use by the 15th century.
Our earliest known connection to this village was the February 1760 birth of my 5th great grandfather, Anders Torgjersen Aaland, and that of his wife Ragnilde Christensdatter around 1766. Anders’s birth on the Haga Farm appears as the fourth entry on the following record from the Digitalarkivet website:
Anders and Ragnilde married July 7, 1786 and had nine children. Their sixth child was Arne Andersen Aland, born in 1799. He and his wife Ingeborg Svensdatter had a daughter Synneve, and a son, Svend Arneson Roberg. Svend was born June 2, 1824 and married another Synneve: Synneve Arnesdatter. Svend and Synneve had six children; the second was my great-great-grandfather, Anders Mathis Roberg. Several of the Roberg children emigrated to the U.S.; Anders and his brother Arne both emigrated in 1875. Three years later Anders married another Norwegian, Agnette Evansdatter Lien, eleven years his senior. Agnette had a child, Emil Martin, from a previous marriage; and she and Anders had three children of their own: Severin, Sophie (my great-grandmother), and Sena.
Anders Clarence Wilson, my grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery’s older brother, was born August 13, 1907 in Boone County, Nebraska. He was the oldest child of Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. My grandma, Blanche, was born a little over a year later, on December 17, 1908. Eight months later, on his second birthday, Anders died. According to his death certificate, his cause of death was cholera infantum. This disease, also known as “summer complaint,” was apparently a form of dysentery affecting children that was more prevalent in the hot summer months. Anders was laid to rest in the South Branch Lutheran Church Cemetery in Boone County. Ten years later his grandmother, Agnette (Lien) Roberg was buried beside him, and his grandfather and namesake another twenty-five years after that.
I’m still intending to post here more often but was in Vancouver for work for a week. I’m back now, though, and intend to get back on track (eventually!). Before I left, I discovered some new databases posted on the Norwegian site, Digitalarkivet. This site contains thousands of digitized Norwegian records covering census data, births, marriages, confirmations, emigrations, tax lists, and more. I’ve visited this site in the past, but the “digitised parish records” feature was recently added, and this has provided a wealth of new primary records on our Norwegian ancestors. The records are sorted by county and then parish, so it is fairly easy to look through the images for Sogn og Fjordane County, Innvik Parish, and locate many of our Roberg/Aaland relatives. You can now find a number of these records for Anders Roberg, Svend Roberg, and others posted in my genealogy database.