Thursday, February 14, 2019

Norwegian Newspapers in America by Odd Lovoll

Norwegian Newspapers in America: Connecting Norway and the New Land  
by Odd Lovoll

Book review: Meticulously and extensively documented text supported by their historical, political, religious, and socially impacted events.
The digital edition makes its vast content easily searchable.
I wish I could have read it 60 years ago.
Thanks to Odd Lovoll and the Minnesota Historical Society for this monumental documentary.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

More Pieces to the Grimsrud Family Puzzle

More Pieces to the Grimsrud Family Puzzle

Grimsrud Name

Grimsruds are proud descendants of the Norse Vikings, among whom the name "Grim" was quite common. Various spellings are reflected by historical influences; 1401; Grimßrud,* German Hansa trading league occupation of Norway. 1593. Danish occupation. Grimsrød, 1668. Grimsrøed, Danish occupation, 1723 Grimsrued or Grimzrude, Swedish occupation. 1907 to date, Grimsrud.

*Note in the 1401 spelling of Grimßrud, the “ß” in the name comes from old German denoting a strong S, refereed to as eszett, it is in use to this day in the German language.

Fabled among the Norse Viking was the fierce “Skalla-Grim", whose exploits are described in the Chronicles of the Viking. Grim is, in fact, old Germanic meaning fierce. There are a number of localities in Norway with Grim as a noun, a prefix, or a suffix.

As to "Rud", also spelled in a variant Norwegian tongue as "Rød", it simply means a man-made clearance, whether in the forest, a hill, a plain, or whatever. Plenty of Norwegian names of places and families have the "rud" as a name or a suffix.

The best known "rud" in the United States is the famous Norwegian-American engineer Ejvind Rud, inventor of the outboard engines for boats. His name was, of course, changed in the United States to “Evinrud", which is the present brand of the outboard engines still being marketed today.*

*Note: Family names traditionally were taken from the farm where they resided.

First a brief history of Scandinavia:
The following are abridged excerpts from the book: Scandinavia: A History by Ewan Butler. for these marauders...applied to all three Scandinavian peoples. Normandy...reminds us of the Norse...and to this day Norwegians refer to themselves as Nordmenn. (The Norse invaders of Russia are alternately known as Varangians, derived from an old Norse word...meaning “confederate,” and Ruotsi, meaning the “rowing men” in old Finnish.)

Scandinavia fell victim to an invasion from England...The bubonic plague, or Black Death, had come to Europe... by infected rats from the holds of merchant ships...1349.
The pestilence spread to Norway and killed off two-thirds of its people...and spread to Sweden in 1350.

German traders brought the “hanse,” or League of Hanse Cities, a “protection racket” cities were expelled from the League for a breach of its rules.

Christianity took advantage to establish a monarchy in Denmark and quench Norwegian independence...Norway was a part of Denmark. Olaf Engelbrektsson, the last Roman Catholic archbishop of Norway, tried to lead an uprising.

1837...Ole Rynning published in Sweden and Norway a book entitled A True Account of America for the Information and Help of Peasant and Commoner. The book... inspired hundreds of families, especially in Norway, with dreams of settling in the New World. The first two ships sailed in 1825 and 1836...after the Civil War the American West settlement took off known as “the American Fever.”

1814, Norway was ceded to Sweden as a separate kingdom united to the Swedish crown. Denmark acquired in return Swedish Pomerania, Iceland, the Faroes, and Greenland.
Sweden’s Riksdag and Norway’s Storting - passed laws giving Norway full legal equality.

1905, the Norwegian government told Stockholm that Norway had the second largest merchant fleet in the world and was entitled to its own consular service worldwide...
The Norwegians stood firm... in June they issued a declaration.

From my blog Bing’s Buzz, October 26, 2017:
Excerpts from my blog post October 26, 2017, NORWAY, DREAMING OF THE OLD COUNTRY.
The Vikings: A New History by Neil Oliver, an amazing book, and the best and most comprehensive I have ever read regarding the Vikings, was published just before the 2017 discovery up the Hudson River in New York State of the Vinland, Norse settlement that was described in the Norse sagas.

In his book Neil Oliver wrote: “Archaeologists doubt that Newfoundland was the ‘Vinland’ reported by Leif Erickson. Instead L’Anse aux Meadows is usually interpreted as a sort of way station, a staging post used by people in transit to and from a more fruitful settlement further south. It seems Vinland itself still awaits discovery.”

In 2017, at Stony Point, New York, up the Hudson River at Minisceongo Creek between New York City and Poughkeepsie, the ruins of a Viking village dating from the 9th and 10th centuries was unearthed. The remains of six buildings containing an iron forage and carpenter shop were part of the village of up to one hundred habitats. This had to be the Vinland or wine land of Leif Erickson, described in the Norse sagas. New York, is definitely wine country and this thousand year old settlement has definitely been confirmed to be Viking.

My wife and I on the maiden voyage of our sailing vessel Dursmirg passed this very spot on our way to Florida in 1972. Our journey is described in our book Sailing Beyond Lake Superior: Travels of Dursmirg. Later in Florida we met Tex Downs who had sailed the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York, and found there a strange coin that was identified as being Phoenician and nearly a thousand years old.

In the book The Vikings: A New History by Neil Oliver, the author describes finding coins used by the Viking in America. “The Scandinavian world had grown increasingly dependent upon Arab silver. From early on the Arab Durhams were identified as containing the purest, most desirable silver and during the decades and centuries to come millions of the coins were funneled west. Like a supply of oxygen, the flow of the silver helped energize the whole area, supplying the power to create nation states.”

At the time of the famous Norseman (Viking) Leif Erickson, the Vikings’ influence extended to Russia, Scotland, England, Spain, Greece, Italy, and France. Leif Erickson did indeed make it to America.

Over a thousand years ago, Lief Erickson, the best known Viking a renowned traveling man crossed the Atlantic, built settlements in Newfoundland [unearthed in 1960] and up the Hudson River between NYC and Poughkeepsie, [unearthed in 2017].
A little known fact about Lief Erickson; He became a Christian in Denmark and proceeded to proselytize in Norway.

Norway was the last Scandinavian country to give up it’s Viking religion.

A monument to that conversion still is in use to this day at Skoger, Norway. Up the Oslo Fjord it branches off into Oslo Fjord and Drammen Fjord. Skoger is a suburb of Drammen and has been since the Norse Vikings first went to sea.

From that monumental old church you can gaze across to the Grimsrud family farm, also still in use and occupied by my relatives...the Grimsruds.

To conclude: When I was a child my grandpa Christ started me on this lifelong journey by planting the seeds of curiosity. The jig-saw puzzle that followed rewarded me and whet my appetite for more.

Recommended reading:
Scandinavia: A History by Ewan Butler gives a historical overview of the impact, distribution, consequential effects and heritage of these unique stand alone people.

The Vikings: A New History by Neil Oliver did the most to bring this story together and the clincher was the discovery in 2017 of a settlement of Vinland up the Hudson River near Poughkeepsiei n New York.

Additional Reading:

Discovery of settlement in New York

Gold Run: The Rescue of Norway’s Gold Bullion from the Nazis, 1940 by Robert Pearson.

The Life Of John Ericsson, Volume I and II, by William Conant Church

Cycling North: from the French Mediterranean to the fjords of Norway by bicycle (Eurovelo Series Book 5) by Steven Herrick

Defiant Courage: A World War II Epic of Escape and Endurance by Astrid Karlsen Scott and Tore Haug

Norway To America: A History of the Migration by Ingrid Semmingsen

The Shetland Bus: A World War II Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure by David Howarth

We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth

Norwegian Newspapers in America: Connecting Norway and the New Land by Odd Lovoll

Defiant Courage: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by Astrid Karlsen Scott

Defiant Courage: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by Astrid Karlsen Scott, Tore Haug - FIVE STARS
A story of overrun Norway’s persistent iron will for unshackled freedom.

I found this book to be hauntingly captivating, well researched, and laced with interesting photos.
This is a true life saga from the Viking nation that keeps suspense moving at a breathtaking pace from beginning to end.

“If there is anyone who still wonders why this war is being fought—let him look to Norway. If there is anyone who has any delusions that this war could have been averted—let him look to Norway. And, if there is anyone who doubts of the democratic will to win, again I say, let him look to Norway.” —Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, September 16, 1942.

We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth

We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance by David Howarth

FIVE STARS - Survival beyond all odds

1943 occupied Norway resistance braves the Arctic, Nazi brutality, and overwhelming odds to persist. Excellent, fast moving and gripping. 

An excerpt:
Jan knew, and so did the Mandal men, the results of the uncontrolled anger of Germans when they found out that a whole community had deceived them. It had happened on the west coast, and villages had been systematically burnt, all the men in them shipped to Germany and the women and children herded into concentration camps in Norway.

The Shetland Bus: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure by David Howarth

The Shetland Bus: A WWII Epic of Escape, Survival, and Adventure by David Howarth

The saltiest sailors in the world.

A factual compilation of WWII Norse resistance: One of thirteen overrun nations, little Norway was the first to counterattack the Nazi invaders and they used German made Krupp cannons sending 1,600 sailors and three battle ships to the bottom of Oslo Fjord. 

Wartime resistance came from Norse fishermen using their own vessels along Norway’s North Atlantic coast nonstop through gales and hurricanes. Excellent!!!

Norway To America: A History of the Migration by Ingrid Semmingsen

Book Review
Norway To America: A History of the Migration by Ingrid Semmingsen

Historically documented, factually researched, and superbly edited, this book is a stand alone testimonial to America’s ethnic foundations. It is a memorable link to all emigrants that is hard to put down and tough to see finished.

An excerpt:

The old country honored its countrymen who had emigrated by sending representatives of the cabinet, the parliament, the church, the university and the colleges, and a number of organizations — from the Authors’ Society to the League of Farm Youth. Each brought greetings and homage. The high point in the festivities was reached on the day when Calvin Coolidge, president of the United States, appeared at the fairgrounds. He spoke to 80,000 listeners, and a new invention known as a loudspeaker carried his voice to all. He had handsome words for the work of Norwegians in America, emphasizing that they had been good citizens, loyal to their new country in peace and war, and he did not fail to make the connection with Leif Ericson and the discovery of Vinland.

These were days when it felt good to be a Norwegian-American. The pioneers of 1840 were long since gone, but some of the younger people from the wave of the 1860s and many of the later pioneers sat on the platform and listened. They might let their thoughts wander back in time and nod: Yes, it was true. They had worked hard. They had contributed something to the building of this country. They had seen vast changes since the time they tramped westward with a pair of oxen hitched to a covered wagon in the burning sun of the prairie looking for a piece of land they could till.

Cycling North: from the French Mediterranean to the fjords of Norway by bicycle (Eurovelo Series Book 5) by Steven Herrick

Cycling North: from the French Mediterranean to the fjords of Norway by bicycle (Eurovelo Series Book 5) by Steven Herrick
Steven Herrick is a talented writer with itchy feet and curiosity to explore people, places, culinary creations, and extraordinary destinations.

I loved this book that took me down a memory lane to places I have visited and idolized. Having cycled and explored Europe extensively over the years, Steven Herrick's books have given me a look back at a part of the world that is by far the very best for being people friendly. His insertion of historical tidbits coupled with personable experiences left me with a yearning to revisit.

The book deserves more than five stars

Excerpts; I never lost my wanderlust or the sense that a map spread across a table was a tableau of endless possibilities - so many roads, so many adventures.

“cycling is just an interlude between meals.”

We allow corporations to dictate how our food is grown and what we can eat. The market doesn’t care for health, only endless economic growth and increased production. Yet another reason to treasure the attitude of the French who eat seasonally and shop locally. The only market the everyday French country folk care about is the numerous cheese, fish and meat stalls open in the town square each Wednesday. The town market, not the market of bankers and financiers and faceless corporations.

The Life Of John Ericsson, Volumes I and II

The Life Of John Ericsson, Volumes I and II, by William Conant Church

John Erickson (1803-1899), the superman and mechanical engineer of the Industrial Revolution.

John Erickson seemed to be light years ahead of everybody both physically and mentally as he stepped into the developmental stages of steam power, military armaments and naval architecture. He was the right person at the right time and the right place in history. He helped humankind speed ahead powered by his cutting edge innovations.
He was a humanitarian who wanted to share his creative achievements for the betterment of all revealed his Swedish heritage.
The book spans an action packed long lifetime of monumental achievements.
Philosophical, political and personal insight into a transitory period in the coarse of human events from the speed of the horse and buggy to the speeding steam locomotive that Erickson stood at the forefront of.
John Erickson made his mark in world history as one of the superstars.

I truly loved the book and its powerful messages.


Unfortunately the digital addition I was able to obtain was poorly converted from the original.

More about John Ericsson from Wikipedia:

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Vikings: A New History by Neil Oliver

The Vikings: A New History by Neil Oliver

The most comprehensive and well researched book on this subject I have ever read.
I loved and was thrilled to find such a compendium of history chronicling the impact and far reaching consequences of the Vikings. 

The men and women we call Vikings came not from one country but from three, namely Denmark, Norway and Sweden. To add to the confusion, they emerged into the wider world at a time before those countries had labels. Part of all that resulted, from the so-called ‘Viking Age’, was the very creation of those states — or at least the laying down of their foundation stones.

Viking Scandinavian
The truth of the matter of course is that most of the people who populated Scandinavia between the eighth and eleventh centuries spent no more time sailing, raiding and pillaging than anyone else in Europe. The vast majority of people in Denmark, Norway and Sweden were peaceable farmers, working only to provide for their families and to meet their obligations to those above them in a clearly defined hierarchical society. In general physical appearance the Viking Age population was little different to that in Scandinavia today.

Over-population in the Scandinavian homelands. The Vikings were well known to have an insatiable appetite for women after all, and it therefore made sense to imagine that too many couplings had fathered more offspring than could usefully be absorbed at home. All those illegitimate sons and daughters had had to go elsewhere in search of living space and land to farm. Added to over-breeding has been the idea that naked, barbaric aggression by peoples ignorant of Christianity simply inspired the pagans to put to sea in their thousands in search of Godly people to terrorize.

The Vikings and Their Enemies: Warfare in Northern Europe by Philip Line

The Vikings and Their Enemies: Warfare in Northern Europe by Philip Line

A look at European history and driving forces that altered its courses to this day.
I loved this books approach to a complex subject that answers many questions overlooked by historians. It is definitely a five star good read.

Viking ship explained:
It is no secret that Scandinavians were great seafarers in the Viking Era. Boats had always been of vital importance in Scandinavia. Waterways offered better communication routes than inland paths over mountains or through forest and marshland, and the vast majority of settlements had access to the sea via fjords.. Boats similar to this were still built in northern Russia up to the 1950s...In the Viking Era slavery was endemic and an integral part of the early medieval European economy...
There are many contemporary accounts of attacks on communities in which the adult men were slaughtered and women and children taken as captives.
Anyone taken as a slave could find themselves at the other end of Europe. This was not just a result of transport by sea to slave emporia in distant lands by Vikings, but movement of “goods,” in this case people, across mainland Europe…