Thursday, April 28, 2011


This is the beginning of the story of Asbjørn Hallvardsen Raae (Raa, Roe, Rowe) and his descendants. Asbjørn, his wife Ragnhild Andersdtr Raae and their two children, Anders and Anna left Norway in 1852 and came to America and Wisconsin. By 1860, according to the Federal Census, they were living in Portage Co. where Asbjørn and Ragnhild lived the rest of their lives.

Asbjørn's father, Hallvard Olsson Raa, was greatly influenced by Hans Nielsen Hauge, a traveling preacher who disagreed with the Church of Norway and espoused a simpler, pietistic Christianity. Asbjørn apparently followed in his father's footsteps for he too was a lay preacher both in Norway and in Wisconsin. I have included copies of letters written by Asbjørn to his Anders, after Anders had moved to Minnesota (with a rough translation) which vividly illustrate his beliefs.

This booklet deals mostly with the descendants of Anders Roe, but I correspond with a descendant of Anna (Roe) Berry, so perhaps her descendants can be included later. I also correspond with and have met a descendant of Lars Rowe, a brother of Ragnhild and a cousin of Asbjørn, so the circle ever widens.

Please inform me of errors, additions, better translations, etc., so that this can be given to our descendants as correctly as possible.

Verla Williams
4333 Pine Ridge Trail NE
Iowa City, IA 52240

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maps of Norway with Counties and Towns

Norway map. Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Position of Lærdal kommune within the county of Sogn og Fjordane. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Rå, Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane. Image courtesy of Google Maps. "A" marks the search result.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Raa Farm 1905

Raa Farm (1905). Image courtesy of Ingebrigt Rå. Photo by Vincent D. Williams (9 May 1986).

During Vincent Williams' 1986 sabbatical Vince and Verla met her distant cousin Ingebrigt Rå who currently farms on the Rå farm near Lærdal. He had a picture hanging on his wall of the farm in 1905. The above image is Vince's picture of the picture. This same image can be found in the Lærdal Bygdebok II (Espe 1990: 347).

Below is a picture of the farm in 1986.

Rå farm (9 May 1986). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rå Farm 1975-1986

Vincent and Verla Williams traveled to Norway in 1975 with Verla's sister, Sharon, and her husband, Dalen Asche. They also were there in 1986 during Vince's sabbatical as mentioned above. During both trips they visited Lærdal and the Rå farm.

Sharon Asche by a house at the Rå farm (1975). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Verla Williams in front of a barn at the Rå farm (1975). Image courtesy of Vince Williams.

Verla and Jené Williams, Ingebrigt and Tove Rå in front of their home (9 May 1986). Photograph by Vincent Williams.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Lærdal 1975

Sharon Asche and Verla Williams, Lærdal (1975). Photograph by Vincent Williams.

Borgund Hotel, Lærdal (1975). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Borgund Stavkirke, Lærdal (1975). Image courtesy of Verla Williams. See also Wikipedia.

Church, Lærdal (1975). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Tønjum Church, rear view. Image courtesy of Verla Williams. The Raae family belonged to this church situated between Lærdal and Borgund.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Borgund Hotel. Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

This 1914 postcard shows a picture of the Borgund Hotel in Lærdal. Interestingly it is addressed to Gustav Johnson, my paternal grandmother's father.

Postcard. Borgund Hotel, Lærdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway (18 Jun 1914). Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Reverse of Postcard addressed to Gustav Johnson. Image courtesy of Verla Williams.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Odd Olsen Skadengaard

We can be reasonably sure of Anders ROE's paternal line going back six generations from the Roe (Raae, Raa, Rå) and Kyrkjebø farm family histories. His earliest ancestor that we have documented was probably named Odd Olsen Skadengaard.

In the Ættebok for Kyrkjebø under Kyrkjebøn 68-1, A. Førsund wrote, "Det fyrste ekteparet på Skadengaard som kyrkjeboka nemner, er Odd og Kirsti." [Translation: "The first couple of Skadengaard church records mention is Odd and Kirsti."] Their children were: Ole (b. 1708), Embrik, (b. 1711), Halvor (b. c. 1714), Margit (b. c. 1717),  and Sigrid (b. c. 1719).

We can guess that Odd's father's name was probably Ole since that was what he named his oldest son. In his article describing Norwegian naming practices, author John Føllesdal wrote:
. . . the oldest son was named after his paternal grandfather, and the second son after his maternal grandfather. Likewise, the oldest daughter was named after her paternal grandmother, and the second daughter after her maternal grandmother. When the names of the paternal and maternal grandparents had been used up, the great grandparents names were used, but in no particular order.
Until I find time for more translation, we're left with the mystery of the actual connection between Skadengaard and Kyrkjebø or why and when Odd and his family moved to the latter farm. But we do know that his oldest son, Ole, received the Kyrkjebø farm (Førsund, 237), and that according to both of the Rå farm histories, (Laberg 1938) and (Espe 1990), around 1744-45, Odd and Kirsti's son, Halvor Oddsen Kyrkjebø, came to Lærdal and married the widow of the owner of the Rå farm, Ingeborg Larsdtr.

Odd Olsen Skadengaard Descendants Chart. Image courtesy of Mark D. Williams.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Halvor Oddsen Kyrkjebø (c. 1718-1778)

From the Lærdal og Borgund, Bydg og Aetter (Laberg 1938: 292):
I 1744 kjem det ein heilt framand mann på bruket. Det er Hallvard Oddson Kyrkjebø. Både fars- og gardsnamnet er greidt nok so me må tru at han er kome utanfrå. Farsnamnet Odd er og framandt i Lærdal. Hallvard vart i 1744 attgift med enkja etter Ola Nilsson Rå.

Hallvard og Ingeborg fekk 3 born: Ola som fekk garden, Marita vart ugift, og Kirsti vart gift med Anders Olson, husmann under Rikheim.

TRANSLATION: In 1744 a completely foreign husband comes to the farm. He is Hallvard Oddson Kyrkjebø. Both the father's and the farm name are strange enough we must believe that he came from outside. The father's name of Odd is foreign to Lærdal. Hallvard was married to the widow of Ola Nilsson Rå in 1744.

Hallvard and Ingeborg had three children: Ole, who got the farm; Marita, was unmarried; and Kirsti was married to Anders Olson, a cotter under Rikheim.
The Lærdal parish records provide the death dates for both Halvor and Ingeborg:

Detail of Sogn og Fjordane county, Lærdal, Parish register (official) nr. A 2 (1752-1782), Death and burial records 1778, page 256. Image courtesy of Digitalarkivet.

Though difficult to make out, we can see that Halvor Aadsen Raae of Tynjum died 11 Mar 1778, was buried the 18th, age 60 years, which would make his birth date c. 1718. His wife, Ingeborg Larsdtr of Thynjums, Sogn, died 15 Mar 1784 and was buried the 20th, age 76 years. This would make her birth date c. 1708.

Detail of Sogn og Fjordane county, Lærdal, Parish register (official) nr. A 3 (1783-1804), Death and burial records 1784, page 133. Image courtesy of Digitalarkivet.

During their 1986 visit to Norway, Verla and Vince Williams met the current owner of the Rå farm, Ingebrigt Rå, who is Verla's 4th cousin. Some time after that he sent Verla a chart he had created showing their descent from Halvor Oddson (Raae) Kirkjabo in addition to Helene (Rowe) Furst's descent through Anders Oleson Raae's son, Lars. This chart is reproduced below.

Halvor Oddson (RAAE) Kirkjabo Descendants Chart (c. 1986). Courtesy of Ingebrigt Rå.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ole Halvorsen RAAE (1749-1812)

In the section of his book about the history of the Rå farm, Laberg (1938: 293) wrote that:
Ola Hallvardson var fødd 1749 og vart i 1770 g. m. Jesa Olsdtr. Ho var f. 1745 og dotter til ein Ola Andersson under Rå. Det må ha vore ikkje so lite framtak hjå han Ola. Som før sagt, var det kyrkja på Tonjum og Hauge som åtte ein god part av bruket hans. For å verta sjølveigar av dette, kjøpte han kyrkjene og dermed og jordi dei åtte. Kann hende dette vart is so mykje å stå i for han Ola, for i 1805 selde han halvparten av dei to kyrkjene til Jens Æri, og fekk då mest det same for denne parten som det han hadde gjeve for det heile.

Ola og kona hadde 7 born. Av desse vart 6 vaksne: Hallvard og Anders vart på farsgarden, Ola som kom til Ljøsne, Lars døydde ung, Ingeborg g. m. Knut Kvigne, og Brita gift til N. Voll.

Ola Hallvardson var den siste som hadde bruket åleine. I 1807 let han garden frå seg til dei to eldste sønene sine, Hallvard og Anders. Soleis vert det her etter å tala om bruk 1 og 1 a.

TRANSLATION: Ola Hallvardson was born in 1749 and in 1770 married Jesa Olsdtr. She was born in 1745 and was the daughter of one Ola Andersson under Rå. It must have been not so little [framtak] Ola. Like I said, it was the churches at Tønjum and Hauge as eight had use of a good part of his farm. To [ ] himself of this, he bought the churches and thus the earth and the eight. [ ] this was possible is so much to stand in for Ola, for in 1805 he sold half of the two churches to Jens Ærie, and then got mostly the same for that part which he had given of it all.

Ola and his wife had seven children. Of these 6 reached adulthood: Hallvard and Anders were on the family farm, Ola went to Ljøsne, Lars died young, Ingeborg married Knut Kvigne, and Brita married to N. Voll.

Ola Hallvardson was the last to have sole use. In 1807 he passed down the farm to his two eldest sons, Hallvard and Anders. [ ] it here after to talk about using 1 and 1a.
The Lærdal parish records corroborate the marriage date of Ole and Jesa (Giæse) showing that they were married on 29 Oct 1770.

Detail of Sogn og Fjordane county, Lærdal, Parish register (official) nr. A 2 (1752-1782), Marriage records 1768-1772, page 220. Image courtesy of Digitalarkivet. A search for Ole Halvorsen Raae returns this digital record.

Ole Halvorsen Raae, his wife Jesa (Giese), and their family also appear in the Folketelling 1801 for 1422P Lærdal Prestegjeld, (the 1801 Census for Lærdal parish).

Detail of Folketelling 1801 for 1422P Lærdal prestegjeld. Image courtesy of Digitalarkivet.

The Lærdal parish records also record the deaths and burials of Ole and Jesa.

Detail of Sogn og Fjordane county, Lærdal, Parish register (official) nr. A 4 (1805-1821), Death and burial records 1812, page 204-205. Image courtesy of Digitalarkivet.

One can barely make out the second entry from the bottom, but it is indeed for Ole Halvorsen Raae and it indicates that Ole died on 27 May 1812 at the age of 63 and was buried on 4 Jun 1812. Jesa (Giæsa) died on 5 Apr 1818 at the age of 75 and was buried on the 10th of the same month.

Detail of Sogn og Fjordane county, Lærdal, Parish register (official) nr. A 4 (1805-1821), Death and burial records 1818, page 218-219. Image courtesy of Digitalarkivet.