Thursday, August 7, 2014

August is for Norwegians

In August we celebrate a number of birthdays of our Norwegian ancestors. Lars Olsen Baashus is the first. In Norway, children took their father's name as their surname. The farm name was added to show where they resided. When they came to America, some of them retained their father's name as their surname, and some used the farm name.

Lars Olsen Baashus (pronounced Baa-soo-s) was born 7 August 1855 in Ringsaker, Hedmark, Norway. Ringsaker, named for an old farm, is a farming area, containing the largest and oldest farms in Norway.It is situated on the east side of the lake Mjøsa, which is Norway's largest lake, and one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Ringsaker was first mentioned in written records in about 882 and has an interesting history.

Lars' father was Ole Guldbransen Riser, and his mother was Pernille Olsdatter Prastqvarn. We don't know about his childhood or his family because it has not been researched. We do know that he married Gina Matiasen on 7 November 1879 in Ringsaker. They were the parents of eleven children. Our ancestor, Gunda, was the sixth in the family and the only one of her siblings who made the trip to America. The family corresponded with her through letters and Gunda made at least one visit back to Norway.

Ringsaker Kirke was constructed before 1150, and was dedicated to St. Olav (king of Norway from 1015-1028). It was enlarged in the mid-1200's to its present size. There are several local churches, so we cannot know whether this was the church used by this family, but it is the oldest in the area.

Lars died on 20 August 1931 at Hamar, Hedmark, Norway, which is just south of Ringsaker, also on the shores of lake Mjøsa. The distance between Ringsaker and Hamar is 29 miles. It's always interesting to see just how far people travel in their lives.

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