Ole Larson's Folks

Sødorp congregation

One of several churches in Nord-Fron parish is Sødorp. It is located on the west side of the river, just a mile from the cabin where we stayed three nights.

SødorpThis was not the building’s original location, however. It was moved here in 1910 from across the river, just south of the town of Vinstra. A smaller chapel now stands at that location.

Sødorp chapelBut long before the 1750’s, when the larger church was built on this spot , there was a church about a kilometer to the north, high on the hill. The site was unknown in modern times, until recently, when some relics were uncovered. A simple wooden cross now marks the spot.


Below the cross is the Lillegård farm. This is where Ole Larson’s grandfather (Lars Paulsen’s father) Paul Svendsen was born, as well as several generations before him.

LillegårdIt was only weeks before our visit that my doubts about this connection were eliminated, when Pål Kjorstad found documents proving that it was solid. I had not fully processed that situation, or I would have pursued Lillegård more closely. Reviewing the definitive farm book yet again after retuning home, I found that at the time the book was compiled (1980’s?), the farm was still owned by a descendant of the same Svend Paulsen Lillegård (1702-1756) who is verifiably my 4th great-grandfather.

The gravestone below, at the Sødorp chapel, is one of the oldest readable monuments we saw in any cemetery, and very likely marks a cousin of ours (several generation removed).

Lillegard headstoneThe inscription is quite touching: It gives the precise times of her birth and death, referring tenderly to her lifespan of “14 years, 10 months, 3 weeks, 5 days, and 7-1/4 hours.”

I did not inquire who owns the farm today, but there are numerous folks with the Lillegård surname in the immediate area. I should have tried to make contact, as some of them are surely our biological relatives (although at 5th cousins or further). But alas, I missed the chance.

This concludes my tour of ancestral sites in Gudbrandsdalen. I hope you have enjoyed it. Next: the only stop on my “roots” agenda outside this one valley. I refer, of course, to Norway’s capital city, and the former site of Oslo prison.

Sør-Fron, Part 3: Anna Moen's Mother
Links to My "Tourist" Photos of Norway