Ole Larson's Folks

I finally was able to look through a book I have been coveting for some time. It is not an old book, but is quite rare, and not available for inter-library loan, or even local library loan. The nearest copy to me is in the PLU library “special collection.”


Ringebu parish, Gudbrandsdal, is where the Slettens and the Moens came from. The first 40 pages of the book contain a narrative and discussion of emigration from Norway in general, and from Gudbrandsadal in particular. I copied that section, and will get part of it translated eventually. The rest of the book is filled with names of emigrants, arranged chronologically. I was lucky enough to find ten names I was looking for.

I began with Engebret and Gunder Olson (Sletten) as kind of a warm-up exercise. I had already found their emigration record, which shows they departed Oslo on 3 June 1881, on the steamship Angelo. As I hoped, they were easy to find.Engebret-GunderEncouraged by this success, I began scanning the following pages for the rest of the Slettens, who were said to have come at some unknown later date, not necessarily all at once. It turns out they *were* all together, in 1884.OleSletten-et-alSo, this is the new (to me) information: “Papa” Ole Ellefsen Sletten, Elsie, Johannes, and Mathia (the spellings they used in America), departed Oslo 16 May 1884, also on the Angelo. That gets them as far as England. Still to be traced is how they got from there to America. Note that there is no “residential” surname associated with any of them, not “Sletten” nor any other.

As for the Moens, cousin Orrin’s book “Whence We Came” says they came over in 1877, and sure enough:Torger-er-alGunder Torgerson (Moen) is Anna Moen’s father, my great-grandpa; Torger, then, is my great-great. This record is the first I have seen with destination Minnesota.  Be that as it may, they settled permanently in Vernon County, Wisconsin, as did the Slettens. I visited their graves in June 2009 at Brush Creek and Coon Prairie. I didn’t check with Orrin yet; he may already have known the date and ship, but they are new to me. Two of Torger’s daughters, Randine and Sigrid, are not listed. They must have come separately, as Randine married and raised a large family here. Orrin’s book has no information on Sigrid, other than she had no children, and a picture of Randine and Sigrid together.

Also of note in this record is “Moen,” as part of the residential surname, Rørviksmoen. The suffix “moen” appears with many farm names; I haven’t figured out what it may signify. There are some “Moen” farms elsewhere, but I can find no connection with this family. Orrin, who has explored the area, once told me he didn’t think there even was a “Moen” farm associated with the family. This is not at all unusual (see Slettens).

Analagous to the “moen” in “Rørviksmoen,” may be the suffix “-haugen,” as in “Skurdalshaugen” and  “Bakkehaugen.” “Haugen” is translated as “pasture,” or “small hill.” There are also a few farms named “Haugen,” period. Think: Professor Harold “Hill.”

Pardon the poor copy, it was scanned from the newspaper-like printing of Orrin’s book. Thanks to cousin Orrin for publishing it all those years ago.

Date of photos unknown

Date of photos unknown

This *may* be my last post before Thanksgiving. I need to get some fiction written; I’m falling behind on that project.

Amundsons, Part III
Larson "Mob" photo revisited

1 Comment