In fact, I found that my SWEDISH great grandfather's own grandfather was Norwegian! (Gasp!) ... But that is for another time.... ; )
The maternal side of my mother is Smith and Olsen. (Can you guess which is Norwegian?). The Smiths, I've had a ball with, finding treasures and stories and photos.... The Olsens? Well, I have found that there are a lot of Hannahs. And that my great grandmother's father was Ole Olsen. Beyond that, sadly, I've not had much luck.
Lo and behold Ancestry.com has made some connections, yet again. I received an email from a kind woman who told me that one of her (great) grandfathers came over from Norway with his best friend, Ole Olsen. MY Ole. What a surprise to receive in your mailbox!
To confirm, she sent me photos from her aunt's album, of my great grandmother, Ole's daughter.
She had more information and stories on Ole than I did! I was so happy to hear and see whatever she had to share. We began to pass photos around in hopes of identifying some from her albums that had never been labeled. I had high hopes of finally laying eyes on my great great grandfather. We haven't been able to confirm him yet, but I still have hope!
One day, she sent me a photo of a house. In the email, she said she had been told that this was Ole's house, but it wasn't confirmed. She wanted to know if I had any opinion on it. I sent the photo to my mother, not telling her what it was, but only asking if she recognized this house. She replied,
"Yes. This was where your grandma lived, It was your great grandmother's house. I was born in this house."
I wrote back that I had received this from someone who was told this was Ole's house. He is believed to have built it. My mother was surprised. She had no idea that house belonged in the family beyond her grandmother.
And I wonder, how do things like this get lost? It wasn't that long ago, how did we not know this already? How am I receiving this from the family of my great great grandfather's best friend?
My answer? Because some families talk, and some families don't. Some families cherish where they came from, and some might prefer to forget. Whether by dysfunction, or general disinterest, some families just DON'T TALK.
This side... They didn't talk. And how sad this is to me. But how happy I was to receive this information from someone who was searching through their own family, and kindly reached out.
We have shared a lot of tidbits and stories through our emails, this kind woman and me. In the future, with her permission, I will have to share some of those stories on this blog, and give my Norwegian roots a little air time. Lord knows they've been stuffed away for far too long.