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Searching for Bud’s roots in Norway

January 27, 2018


Bud, front row, L, probably took this toned photo with the time-delay feature on his camera.


January 26, 2018

We’re getting ready to study the roots of my uncle Carl Ralph Bonde Jr’s family.

Carl died in WWII as a 21-year-old private first class when his troopship was sunk by a torpedo in the English Channel.  His body was never recovered.  I never met Carl, but this young man profoundly changed my childhood by his sudden absence.  I grew up amidst his possessions and our family’s grief.

You see, Carl’s parents (my maternal grandparents) were both children of Norwegian immigrants.  Ellen’s parents—Wichstrom— came from Oslo from a family engaged in commerce, and Carl’s— Bonde— family came from the village of Vang in Valdres, Norway, where his great grandparents were farmers.

This coming March a bunch of us plan to visit family historian Bjorn Wichstrom in Oslo armed with family trees and old letters from Ellen’s aunt Margaret in Oslo.  Ellen’s maiden name was Wichstrom, same as our relatives in Oslo.

On grandfather’s side there’s Berit Bonde, the matriarch.  My mother said she had an iron hand.  When I heard about her iron hand as a child I was doubtful, but I figured the iron hand fit over a hook, or something.

Anyway,  Berit and her husband Thorstein had a farm near Vang, Norway, and they were apparently good at farming, but he got into trouble and had to go to Lillehammer to earn money to settle a lawsuit.  He died in his 30s just a few years after moving, and after another five or six years, Berit remarried to guy named Einar Halvorson.  In those parts people took the name of the farm, so the couple was known as Einar and Berit Bonde.   They left the farm in Norway that they worked but didn’t own, and moved to the United States.   They built a log house.  They are buried a few miles from Nerstrand, Minnesota.

Anyhow, my knowledge of Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr., will be much greater once I visit the places in Norway where his great grandparents lived.

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