I'd love to visit Norway someday. That's where my paternal 2nd great-grandfather, Iver Iverson, was born - Marteplads, Nes, Buskerud, Norway, to be exact. He was born on August 2, 1827 and passed away on January 1, 1895 in Glenwood, Pope, Minnesota. His parents were Iver Stenersen and Guri Olsdatter.
|Nesbyen, Nes, Buskerud, Norway|
Photo by John Erling Blad
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license
Isn't Iver's birth country gorgeous? It's just so picturesque. If this photo (above) looks anything like where he lived, I have to wonder why Iver would have ever wanted to leave his beautiful homeland of Norway. Please don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful Iver did decide to immigrate to the U.S.A so I could be born here. But I've still wondered why he decided to emigrate from Norway. What were the driving forces behind his decision to leave?
The following paragraph regarding economic difficulties in Norway could explain the reason why Iver and many other Norwegians left Norway.
The website "intro" states,1
"....In the last half of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, about 800,000 Norwegians emigrated to the USA. Norway's economy was poor and it was difficult to find work. Many people dreamed of starting a new life in the USA. They had heard that there were many opportunities there. Many people found life in this new country difficult at first, most did well."The information I have states that Iver and his brother Ole immigrated to the United States in April of 1858, and that his parents and another brother, Christopher, immigrated in April of 1861. I'd love to find proof of this someday. Years ago, my paternal grandmother, Ingrid Anna (Gillberg) Iverson, hired a professional genealogist in Salt Lake City to research our Scandinavian roots.
Following the death of my Grandma Ingrid, my father, Jan Iverson, inherited her family history stuff. My father was involved in researching his Norwegian and Swedish ancestry and for many years I've been researching my mom's ancestry. Since my dad's death, I've felt the need to continue researching his ancestry as well.
The immigration dates I have for Iver, Ole, Christopher, and their parents are from my dad's records. Perhaps he got this information from my Grandma Ingrid, who got this information from the professional genealogist. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to locate the professional genealogist's report or source materials regarding these immigration dates. And so far, my research hasn't produced any immigration information for Iver, his brothers, or his parents.
I know that Iver immigrated to the United States before February 23, 1860, because on this date Iver married Marit Thorsdatter in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In the United States, Marit went by Mary, as you see her name listed as Iver's widow in the pension file page above.
Four years after Mary and Iver were married, Iver enlisted in the U.S. Civil War. By then, Iver and Mary had one child and another one on the way.
Iver's enlistment date was February 19, 1864. He was involved in the Siege of Spanish Fort and Battle of Fort Blakely, Mobile. He was transferred to the 34th Iowa Infantry on July 12, 1865. Iver was honorably discharged on August 15, 1865.
By the time Iver enlisted, the war had been going on for three long years already. I have some questions.
- Assuming that Iver's immigration date of April 1858 is correct, what were Iver's thoughts and feelings when the war started only three short years after Iver arrived in the U.S.A.?
- How well did Iver speak English by the time he enlisted in the war?
- What was his citizenship status when he enlisted?
I can't help but wonder if Iver ever longed for the beautiful scenery of Norway as he faced horrific and terrifying scenes like this during the Civil War.
|Battle of Fort Blakely|
I'm grateful for Iver's service. He suffered long-term health problems from his service in the Civil War. I'm also grateful that he stayed in the United States after the Civil War ended so his many descendants, myself included, could enjoy the blessings of living in the United States.
I have Iver's Civil War pension file, which is very interesting. I will be sharing information from it in future posts.
Thanks for reading!
© 2013 Copyright by Jana Last
1 "Norwegian History: Immigration and Emigration." Norwegian History: Immigration and Emigration. Intro Student Book. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.↩