Some of us don’t know exactly where our families come from. DNA kits can help, but one woman learned of her family’s back story the old-fashioned way — and it traces back hundreds of years.
She has a connection to the historic Sigdal House that sits right here in North Dakota.
“We just walked into it and it’s amazing!” said Jeanne Larsen.
Jeanne and her husband, Lynn, recently paid a visit to the Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot.
It’s a popular tourist destination for most, but for Jeanne, she has special ties to one of the buildings: the Sigdal House.
“My great-grandmother was born in 1860 in Sigdal, Norway, and actually she was born in this cabin!” Jeanne said.
Live, her great-grandmother, was the daughter of a peasant. She fell in love with the landowner’s son, Peder Green.
“By Norwegian law, you could not marry across these classes,” Jeanne said.
“She and her parents and all of her siblings except one came up to the northwest corner of Minnesota, and he came up there and they were married in the United States,” Jeanne added.
Twenty years ago, the Larsen’s took a trip to Sigdal, Norway, to visit her second cousins.
“We went up the hillside and into the woods and they said, ‘Look at this piece of land. This is where this cabin was that your great-grandmother was born in. It was taken apart, piece-by-piece, and shipped over and rebuilt in Minot.’ And they specified Minot!” Jeanne said.
“We have pictures of the bare land where this cabin stood. There are other buildings and it’s being farmed. But it’s still bare because it was a dirt floor in those days,” said Lynn.
“It’s an amazing tie to family because I am really, really lucky because I know where all my family was in Norway. And on the Tandberg side, they have records going back to the 11-1200s,” said Jeanne.
The Sigdal House came to Minot in 1991. It was donated by Thorvald Vatnaas.
Jeanne and Lynn’s most recent trip to the Sigdal House was their second visit — but the first time they were able to get inside.