Friday, June 27, 2008
Another Family Adventure - to meet my Norwegian Cousins in the U.S.
This August, Pat and I will drive our Airstream north, and then East, to visit my cousins on my father's mother's side of the family. They are the great, grand-children of Norwegians who emmigrated in the 1840-1870s to the upper Mississippi and Missouri River valleys.
In order to maximize the chances of seeing them, I thought that I would use the travel blog to describe the journey, and who I have found so far to visit. That might help improve my chances of seeing them. It might also help me make better arrangements to visit them, and share the research of last Fall's visit to Norway. They know best where everyone is, and who might be willing in the late summer to chat with a new relative.
Starting with my father (who lives in the high California Sierras), I'll then head north to Pendleton, Oregon. My great-uncle Homer and Rosanna's family lives in Pendleton, Oregon and in the areas around Puyallup, Salem, and Auburn, Washington. His father, Julius Mikkelson Leen, died there in 1954, and is buried in the Auburn Cemetery. We'll try to visit with the Leen, Finney, Elton, and Pepper families living there.
While there's really no one living between there and North Dakota, we'll take a few days to enjoy the ride up through Glacier National Park to Ray, North Dakota. Equality Township (now Ray) was the home of many a cousin, and my grandfather was the Police Chief in the 1920's. We'll visit the Soine families living there, and travel to Williston, Bismark, Rugby, Fargo, Bagley, and Minot to visit the Holland, Pepper, Kirby, Soine, Skogman, Finney, Johnson, and other families.
Minnesota is where most of my cousins have lived for the past 150 years. Moorhead, Renville, Benson, Wilmar, Burnsville, Warsaw, Rice Lake, Prior Lake, Waverly, Eden Prairie, Coon Rapids, Maynard, Menomonee Falls, and Hennepin. There are at least 40 cousins in the Soine, Skare, Wasson, Glessner, Peterson, Larson, Sanders, Paulson, Miller, Elton, and Blomer famiies, and lots of places of interest, in Minnesota.
One person I would like to visit with is Shirley Manning in Moorhead, Minnesota. Without her, the information in my family tree would heve been very confusing. Terri Soine was extra helpful. As one familiar with both the Washington and Minnesota sides of the family, I'm hoping to connect with her to make this adventure even more successful.
I'd like to visit the cemeteries in the towns where most of our family lived in the late 1800's. Their names are familiar to me, now that I've been to Norway and seen the farms they came from. I'd like to see where they spent their lives, and meet those still celebrating them. I'd especially like to visit the grave of my grandfather in Waverly, Minnesota.
The families of my great Aunt Eloise are also special to me. She wrote me many times in the late 1990's, and her notes always revealed new insights into the family details. I believe they are living in Benson and Burnsville.
We may get to Wisconsin, depending on the pace of travel, but will probably then turn south and west to head back. We've always loved the stretch of country through New Mexico and Arizona, and want to spend some time there. We'd also like to visit Traci Crowell in Tucson. We'll enter California east of Los Angeles, and head up the central valley before we head out to the San Francisco Bay area and home.
When will we be traveling? That really depends on the arrangements we can make to meet people. I'll be sending emails to those I can find, and snailmail to others, to get their reactions. August is not the best month to be traveling, but it's probably a good guess for when it will happen. Assuming that we leave about August 10th, we should reach Washington by the 16th, North Dakota by the 20th, and Minesota by August 24th.
I'm sure that I have left out many cousins who might help our family visit to the Mid-West be successful. If you'd like to help, and especially if you might be interested in our stopping by for a chat, please let us know. the email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks much, and here's hoping we see you.