banner, past events

January 25th 2014
2nd Genealogy Seminar of 4 at Mindekirken

Our next seminar is Saturday, January 25th, "Successful Norwegian Genealogy Research Without Knowing the Language" Second in the series of Four seminars every year 8:30 to 1:00 PM at the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, 924 East 21st Street, Minneapolis. Topics:Techniques for researching Norwegian-American church records, emigration and immigration including transmigration with arrivals in Canada and the U.S.

Mindekirken web page

The Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (NAGA) and Mindekirken's Norwegian Language & Culture Program collaborate to offer four Genealogical Seminars per year.


December 2013
End of month Wednesday NAGA Meeting


End of the month Wednesday NAGA meeting was CANCELLED because the last Wed in the monthly meeting is during Christmas week and an upcoming January Saturday Genealogy Seminar which many NAGA members attend or teach.


Henning wood carving

November 20th 2013
No meeting because the last Wednesday in the month is Thanksgiving week.


October 30th 2013
Speaker-Slide Show:
The October last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m.  4th floor of Minnesota Genealogical Society building on Concord Street in South St. Paul

Erik Pettersen author of four books was our speaker. Erik presented his newest book "Leap of faith" with a slide show and talk. Mr. Pettersen's book tells the story of a Swedish nurse who received a wedding proposal by letter from the Norwegian man she loved - on the very day the Nazis invaded Norway in 1940. She later made the transatlantic crossing during wartime to finally join him in America and the love story continues. The couple was the author's parents. We all got to see and talk about his family genealogy charts. For additional information, a representative excerpt or to order the book from his publisher click here Treats were brought by the NAGA members to share.


October 26th 2013
Family History Fair at the Minneapolis Central Library

Family History Fair banner

9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.  NAGA participated with a booth at the Family History Fair at the Minneapolis Central Library. NAGA handed out brochures and flyers for our upcoming seminars. Twenty-six genealogical, historical and heritage groups were available at resource tables to answer questions and share information. Local genealogists led workshops throughout the day on various topics: Finding Family in the Federal Census; Using Religious Records in Genealogical Research; Digging up Clues in the Cemetery; Going Beyond Online Databases; Fun Ways to Share Family History.


September 21st 2013
Saturday 1st Genealogy Seminar of 4 this year at Mindekirken

Mindekirken banner

Instead of the normal last Wed in the month NAGA meeting, it was replaced with a Saturday seminar at Mindekirken. The Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (N-AGA) and Mindekirken's Norwegian Language & Culture Program collaborate to offer four Genealogical Seminars per year. This is the first in the series.


August 26th 2013
Speaker - Slide Show

presenter, Bob Rowe

The August last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. 4th floor of the Minnesota Genealogy Society Building on Concord  South St. Paul. is a wonderful online resource for cemetery research. looks simple and easy to use on the surface, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Bob Rowe demonstrated to us the less well-known features of the website and also demonstrated how to correct problems or mistakes in the data, making the database better for those who follow.


July 31st 2013
Research Night
The July last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m.  2nd floor library  at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Building on Concord Street in South St. Paul. Get out your to do list  -  organize your questions  -  and get ready for a research night. Members help each other, often beginning with a short meeting.


July 27th 2013
Saturday Genealogy Seminar at the MGS Library

How to seminar on Saturday at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library.  Demonstrations how to use the Norwegian genealogy sites on the Internet, especially how to work with the Digitalarkivet.


June 26th 2013
Speaker-slide show

The June last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. 4th floor of Minnesota Genealogical Society on Concord Street. Mollie Spillman from the Ramsey County Historical Society Research Center was our speaker. She talked about and demonstrated how their collections can assist historians, genealogists, home owners, and many others to discover the history of the people, places, and events of Ramsey County.
Mollie Spillman, Ramsey County Historical Society Research Center Curator/Archivist. Following work at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and receiving an M.A. in Historical Administration from Eastern Illinois University, Mollie worked as the corporate archivist for a communications company in Illinois. After relocating to Minnesota, she began work at the RCHS Research Center Curator/Archivist in 1996.  She has participated in the growth and expansion of RCHS and its living history site, Gibbs Museum of Pioneer and Dakotah Life, as well as many museum initiatives in the Twin Cities.



May 29th 2013
Viking Magazine editor and Presentation
Our new president

Old president and new president
The May last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m.  4th floor of Minnesota Genealogical Society on Concord Street in South St.Paul. Sharon Arends was elected the new President of NAGA at the meeting. Sharon replaces Bob O'Neil who had served as president for more than eight years. New president Sharon has been a member of Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America and Minnesota Genealogical Society for many years. You will still see Bob at just about every Norwegian event. Bob is active in dozens of organizations and will still be behind the scenes at NAGA. We all loved his Norwegian jokes at the start of every meeting - Outstanding job over the years.

presenter and Viking magazine editor

map of Svalbard Island

Our speaker for the night was the Viking Magazine editor who just recently came back from a trip to Northern Norway and then Svalbard Island. She got to visit a Norwegian Island about 300 miles Northeast of the most Northern tip of Norway. It is about midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The island is home to about 400 polar bears and a couple of Russian mining companies.

group photo


April 26-27th 2013
Nordic Genealogy Conference at Inver Hills College

Dick Lundgren at the Nordic Conference

Instead of the normal last Wed in the month NAGA meeting, members volunteered to help with a Nordic Genealogy Conference at Inver Hills Community Collage. Our booth was maned by Dick Lundgren, Mike Wick and Bob O'Neil. A lot of people were interested in what NAGA was all about and how we could help them. Bob O'Neil reported that the five Scandinavian interest groups made a small profit from the event. One of the things we learned was that we could have used a large Norwegian map to get even more people to stop at the booth. We did have a very good overall display. One of the things Mike did was tell people about "Lags." He was surprised at how few people have ever heard about "lags."

display at the Nordic Conference Nordic flyer

Nordic Genealogy Conference represented the National Danish-American Genealogical Society, the Finnish Genealogy Group of Minnesota, the Icelandic American Association of Minnesota, the Icelandic Hekla Club, the Norwegian-American Genealogical Association, the Sami Siida of North America, and the Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota. This conference was held at Inver Hills Community College and featured three plenary sessions, 18 breakout sessions, a variety of exhibitor tables, and other entertainment, information gathering, and social opportunities.


March 2013
Short Meeting - Research Night
The March last Wednesday in the month NAGA meeting was a research night. Members help each other, often beginning with a short meeting.


Febuary 27th 2013
Cancelled - Snowstorm

traffic in snow storm


January 30th 2013
Speaker-Presenter-Sweater Night

members wearing sweaters

The January last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Minnesota Genealogical Society Bldg on Concord, 4th floor. Bring or wear your Norwegian sweater  "So You Own How Many Norwegian Sweaters?" Karen Weiberg was our speaker. She is the former owner of Three Kittens Yarn Shoppe.  She unraveled some fun information about the tradition of Norwegian hand knitting designs, techniques, and colors.
For many of us, our trip to Norway includes finding the perfect Norwegian sweater for ourselves and/or our entire family.  Or maybe our Norwegian sweater is what tells others around us we have Norwegian heritage, or maybe it's what keeps us warm.  And we'd better love it, because it never wears out, maybe around the cuffs, but that can be fixed.

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December 26th 2012
Christmas goodies and research night
The December last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Bring leftover cookies and goodies to share. Members help each other, often beginning with a short meeting.



November 28th 2012
Speaker-Public Television DVD

Dick and Sharon

The November last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. 4th floor Minnesota Genealogical Society Bldg. So. St. Paul Sharon Arends, a NAGA member and a newly discovered "cousin" of Joy Sundrum, will be showing a video of "The Scandinavian Christmas. This one hour DVD was produced by Pioneer Public TV in Morris, Minnesota a couple of years ago. It's an amusing but insightful look at a family's attempt to continue their Norwegian Christmas traditions, complete with dancing around the Christmas tree. Features the music of Ole Olsson's Oldtime Orkestra." There were also recipes from the DVD which were made available to attendees. A 60-minute dining and musical adventure into the culture of Minnesotans who have their ancestral roots in Norway. For decades, Dennis and Carole Johnson of Morris have been hosting Norwegian dinner parties for their friends. Pioneer Public Television has invited people into the Johnson home for a Norwegian feast complete with music and dancing around the holiday tree!


November 3rd 2012
Family History Fair at the Minneapolis Central Library

Family History Fair banner

9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.  NAGA participated with a booth at the Family History Fair at the Mpls Central Library. NAGA handed out brochures and flyers for our up coming genealogy seminars. Up to twenty-six genealogical, historical and heritage groups were available at resource tables to answer questions and share information. Local genealogists led workshops throughout the day on various topics.


October 31st 2012
Norway House Speaker-Slide Show

Norway House representatives

The October last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. 4th floor Minnesota Genealogical Society 1185 Concord Street South St. Paul.

drawing of Norway House elevation view of Norway House

The program was presented by Nancy Olson, a NAGA member and also on the Board of Directors of Norway House. She presented a slide show on planning and capital campaign for a conference center building that will link American Norwegian heritage. In November 2013 Norway house met it's first fund raising goal to purchase a headquarters building.


October 20th 2012
Saturday Genealogy Seminar at Mindekirken church

The Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (N-AGA) and Mindekirken's Norwegian Language & Culture Program collaborate to offer four Genealogical Seminars per year.


September 26th 2012
Speaker-Slide Show

The September last Wednesday in the month NAGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. at Minnesota Genealogical Society Building on Concord, South St. Paul 4th floor conference room. Our program will be a modern day look at life in Norway presented by Dr. Beverly Stadum. Dr. Stadum grew up in North Dakota, but has spent several years living in Norway and wrote a book about the experiences "Newcomer Girl". Beverly Stadum is Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at St. Cloud University in Minnesota.


September 16th 2012
DIS-Norge's genealogy tour of U.S.A & their Visit to NAGA

DIS-Norge web page
32 members of DIS-Norge, a genealogy association in Norway, made a week long trip to the USA. A day visit to our N-AGA; the Norwegian American Historical Society (NAHA) in Northfield; Sioux Falls-South Dakota; Billings-Montana and Salt Lake City.


August 29th 2012>
Speaker-Slide show

presenter, Barbara Horn

The August last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. 4th floor Minnesota Genealogical Society Building. Bode, Iowa?  Researching a Norwegian Immigrant area. At the August meeting, Barbara horn will present information about a project that she has been working on  for the past year. It is to document Norwegians from Land, Oppland, Norway who came to Bode, Humboldt County, Iowa.  The presentation will describe the effort and will also present some of the on-line databases that she has been using to build these families. The families spread out into MN, WI, ND, SD and beyond. Many of the resources, or ones similar to them, can be used wherever you are researching. Barbara will also present the benefits of taking on a similar project for highly Norwegian areas where your ancestors may have settled.


July 28th 2012
Genealogy 3 of 3 Seminars held at the MGS Library

Saturday, July 28, 2012  9:00 am to Noon (library open in afternoon for research) Minnesota Genealogical Society Library 1185 Concord St. N. Suite 218, South St. Paul, MN $10.00 for meeting expenses and coffee break by July 25, 2012 Registration at door is $12.00 Registration begins at 8:30 am and first presentation at 9:00 am. This is the Third in a series of three Norwegian genealogy seminars to provide instructions about Norwegian Genealogy research. Presentation about genealogy software primarily Legacy by Robert Rowe; Using the MGS Library Catalog on line by Joy Sundrum; Tour of the Library; Individual consultation assisting with Norwegian research and solving brick walls; help in using genealogy software on your own laptop.


July 25th 2012
There will NOT be a N-AGA meeting on Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Instead please attend the Special Summer Seminar on Saturday, July 28th.


July 8th 2012
Norway Day at Minnehaha Falls Park
The Norwegian-American Genealogical Association's booth was at the 81st observance of Norway Day, Sunday, July 8th, 10am to 4pm, Minnehaha Park. Sponsored by the Minneapolis Norwegian National League.

display at Norway Day

Here's some things we learned about having a booth by Edward "Mike" Wick

Again this year we had two Norway maps (North Norway and South) stationed at each end of the booth, which attracted just about every person attending Norway Day and got them to stop. NAGA members were then available to mingle with and help people with any and all genealogical questions. Got to hand out lots seminar flyers and collected E-mail addresses for the up coming seminars. You really have to ask for E-mails or people won't sign up for seminars. The map displays have proven to stop just about everyone Norwegian at our booth and for them to try to find a farm or area their grandparents came from. With the number of people stopping two large Southern Norway maps (gets crowded around South) and one Northern. I have an idea for new maps, both South and North on one display board.

map of Norway

We helped the "lags" by handing out flyers that explained what they were. All the "Lags" should have provided flyers for us during Norway Day at Minnehaha Park.


June 2012
The June last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. It was the 20th birthday of the Avisen Newsletter since May 1992 celebrated at the June meeting with a cake that had a Norwegian flag on it provided by president Bob O'Neil. We all enjoyed eating the Norwegian flag, thanks Bob.

In 1983 twenty charter members formed the Norwegian Genealogy Group, a branch of the Scandinavian American Genealogical Society (SAGS), which in turn, is a branch of MGS. In May 1995 the Norwegian Group reorganized, drafted our own constitution and our membership voted to seek a direct connection as a branch of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. In 1995 the group's offical name was changed to N-AGA and became a direct branch of MGS.


May 2012
The May last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. 4th floor of the Minnesota Genealogical Society Building


April 2012
The April last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m.. 4th floor of the Minnesota Genealogical Society Building


March 28th 2012>
Speaker - Presentation
: The March last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m.  Dr. Lawrence Moe, professor of English of Metropolitan State University of the Twin Cities who gave a well-received presentation on "Red River Valley Folk Poets" Moe presented samples from hundreds of Norwegian writers of the 1800's. In our "Avisen" newsletter, volume 20, number 2, May 2012 is a four page review of his presentation.


Feb 29th 2012
Speakers - Presentation
: The February last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m.  There was a presentation by Synnove Nordkap  the St. Paul, Minnesota, Sons of Norway lodge. They talked about the display they created and will be first displayed at Landmark Center, downtown St. Paul & about the Historic emigration of our ancestors to Minnesota from 1825 - 1925. The display took couple years to complete by all the members of the lodge and is designed to be shown around the U.S.A. There is a short fun video about the display on Youtube by N-AGA member Edward "Mike" Wick.

Reorganization of the N-AGA collection: A big thank you to Joy Sundrum for completely reorganizating the N-AGA genealogy book collection. Must also thank John Schade, the MGS Library Director, Jim LaValle (title unknown) and Joys sister, Bonnie, for all the extra help. Outstanding.

January 28, 2012
Genealogy 2 of 3 Seminars held at Mindekirken

Mindekirken banner
Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (N-AGA) in cooperation with the Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Cultural Program teamed up in the Mindekirken church basement on Saturday, January 28th, 2012 to present a Genealogy Seminar from 8:30 am to 2:00 p.m. This is the second in a series of three Norwegian genealogy seminars this year to provide instructions about Norwegian Genealogy research. The subjects covered in the seminar: Civil and clerical divisions of Norway, locating farms with maps, Norwegian Lanuage and working effectivly with a tongue the genealogists do not speak, available records documenting emigration from Norway and arrival in North America.


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December 28, 2011
Our annual Norwegian Sweater night and elections:
The December last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Several people brought "left over" sweets to share. Members help each other, often beginning with a short meeting.


November 30, 2011
Speaker - Slideshow

presenter, Turdi Campbell

The November last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Trudi Campbell with the Hennepin County Library System presented a talk on Exploring School Resources for Family History. Trudi provided some wonderful examples of the types of information that can be found in these records. Trudi Campbell is a librarian with 25 years of experience conducting genealogy research and working with Hennepin County Library's genealogy resources. Her personal research is in Irish and Swedish genealogy.


October 29, 2011
Genealogy 1 of 3 Seminars held at Mindekirken

Mindekirken banner
Norwegian-American Genealogical Association in cooperation with the Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Cultural Program teamed up in the Mindekirken church basement on Saturday, October 29th, 2011 to present a Genealogy Seminar from 8:30 am to 2:00 p.m. This is the first in a series of three Norwegian genealogy seminars this year to provide instructions about Norwegian Genealogy research. The subjects covered in the seminar: An introduction - What is Norwegian-American Genealogical Association N-AGA? And, what is a Bygdelag? How and where to start researching our ancestry, Where did that name come from? Using County records to find Norwegian origins and what do U.S. records tell us about our origins?


October 22, 2011
Second Annual Family History Fair

N-AGA members participated in the Second Annual Family History Fair at the Minneapolis Central Library on Saturday October 22nd from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. At the N-AGA genealogy table, Jo Ellen and N-AGA members provided research help and provided information about our organization. The purpose of the event was to celebrate Family History Month. N-AGA members got the opportunity to tell people stopping by at the table about the N-AGA genealogy seminar on October 29th cosponsored with the Mindekirken Norwegian Memorial Church. Because of the Annual Family History Fair and the Seminar on October 29th there was no monthly N-AGA meeting at the MGS on October 26th.

Hennepin County Library's website offers many additional resources for family history researchers. Free access to recommended websites and significant databases are available through the genealogy subject guides


September 28, 2011
The September last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Board meeting and NAGA research night was called to order by President Bob O'Neil. Discussions included the upcoming NAGA and Mindekirken Genealogy Seminar Oct 29th, Family History Fair on Oct 22nd at the Minneapolis Central Library, updates to recruitment brochure, who has the poster artwork, donation form ideas, resource web page ideas and suggestions, the library and our map collection sales. After the meeting members helped new members and visitors with research.


August 31, 2011
Speaker - Slide Show

presenter, Eric Dregni

Once again N-AGA was treated to a new book presentation by Eric Dregni.  Eric is a freelance writer from Minneapolis where he lives with his wife, Katy, and two sons Eilif and Otto. He is the author of Eleven books. Eric received a Fulbright Fellowship for creative writing which was to take him and his family to Trondheim for a year. Eric presented and talked about his latest book " Vikings in the Attic." His book was available at the meeting. Many have read his previous book, "In Cod We Trust"


July 30, 2011
Genealogy Seminar Saturday at MGS Library

N-AGA Presented a genealogy seminar on Saturday, July 30th, 2011, titled: Reading Bygdeboker and Researching at the MGS Library. The Seminar was held at the MGS library, preregister cost was $10 & $12 at door. Presenters included Bob O'Neil, Mariyln Sorensen, Tammy Foster and members of MGS who gave a library tour. Everyone then helped seminar visitors with research starting at 11:00 a.m. and into the afternoon.


July 10, 2011
80th Norway Day - Sunday - Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis

The Norwegian-American Genealogical Association's booth at the 80th observance of Norway Day, Minnehaha Park Sponsored by the Minneapolis Norwegian National League was another outstanding success for everyone.

Norway day 2011

This year we had a couple display maps stationed at each end of the booth, which attracted just about every person attending Norway Day. NAGA members were available to talk to and help people with any and all genealogical questions. Well over 200 recruitment flyers were handed out, dozens of business cards for Fellesraad (groups of Norwegian-Americans from certain districts in Norway) were taken. N-AGA was able to sell some Norwegian Maps. Marilyn Sorensen had a very successful day promoting the upcoming Genealogy Seminar on Saturday, July 30th, 2011 from 9 AM to Noon at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library, 1185 N Concord Street, South Saint Paul. A big thank you to N-AGA President Bob O'Neil, Research Coordinator Marilyn Sorensen, N-AGA Program Director Dick Lundgren, Membership Chairman Betty Strand, Avisen Newsletter Editor Linda Therkelsen and Edward "Mike" Wick for volunteering on a very hot muggy Sunday to help promote N-AGA. Check out this video about Minnehaha Park, Outstanding. Also a big thanks to Edward "Mike" Wick for all his photos and suggestions for our web site.


June 30, 2011
Meeting and Research night
The June last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Meeting and N-AGA research night was called to order by President Bob O'Neil. After the meeting members helped new members and visitors with research.


May 2011
Speakers - Discussion Group

four speakers plus Dick Lundgren

Our speakers for the May, last Wednesday of the month meeting was titled "Norwegian Immigrant Experiences of Today" Our speakers were Elie Storeslette, Edith Pihl, June Engo Tearle and Pastor Kristin Sundt. NAGA program director Dick Lundgren helped lead the discussion group what it was like the first few years in America and the differences living in Norway.


April 27, 2011
Meeting and N-AGA research night

The April last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. Meeting and N-AGA research night was called to order by President Bob O'Neil. After the meeting members helped new members and visitors with research.


April 16, 2011
Genealogy Seminar held at Mindekirken

Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (N-AGA) and the Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Cultural Program teamed up in the church basement on Saturday, April 16, 2011 to present a Genealogy Seminar from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. titled "Locating Norwegian and Norwegian/American Records"

Marilyn Sorensen presenting

Krista Schweppe, language and cultural administrator, introduced Marilyn Sorensen (N-AGA) who started out the seminar with an introduction, "What is N-AGA and what are Bygdelags." The seminar's next topic, "Norwegian Words in Census Records," was presented by Joy Sundrum (N-AGA). The next topic, "Naming Customs," by Tammy Foster (N-AGA). The next topic was "Norwegian Census Records" by Barb Horn (N-AGA) and the final session, "Emigration Records,"by Marilyn Sorensen. According to Edward Wick, "About 30 people attended the seminar and got the impression that most people already were deep into genealogy by the questions being asked." Mike also said, "I personally got lots of new information and new tips from the seminar of how to track my family history and I'm sure everyone else did." To sum it up, "It was an outstanding seminar for anyone just starting out or already into genealogy, with lots of great handouts. The cookies brought by someone [Ed. note: Ray V.] to the seminar and dessert during Kaffepause really made the morning."

four seminar presenters


February 23rd 2011
Speaker - Presentation
Liv Marit Haakenstad of Genfind and Viking Roots of Norway made a surprise stop at the N-AGA meeting in February to tell of the new book she is working on in English translation. She is seeking financial backing in the U.S. for a combination of her books Utvandringen 1825-1930 and Slektsgransking that will demonstrate how to do Norwegian genealogy step-by-step with examples - beginning records and so on.


February 20-27, 2011
A special Norwegian Family History Research trip
: to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City by some of our members is a bygdelag project through Fellesraad the national council for the 29 (currently active) affiliated Norwegian-American bygdelag (Lag). The Fellesraad web site is a must site to visit which provides current information on, and links to each "lag".

Bygdelags are organizations (lags) comprised of descendants of emigrants from Norway to North America. Every "Lag" seeks to preserve and strengthen bonds with its home district or community-of-origin in Norway. An example: If your great grandparents came from Northern Norway, then Nordlandslaget av Amerika og Kanada is the Bygdelag to contact or join. There may be members in that lag that came from the same community as your grandparents. You could be related.


January 29th, 2011
Genealogy Seminar held at Mindekirken

Mindekirken banner
Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (N-AGA) and the Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Cultural Program teamed up in the church basement on Saturday Seminar "Clues for Reading and Locating Norwegian and Norwegian-American Church Records"


January 26, 2011
Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court Lorie Skjerven Gildea spoke at the N-AGA meeting on January 26th. Lorie addressed the group about Norwegian heritage and about leading our state's judiciary. She's about as Norwegian as it gets. Gildea is her husbands Irish name. As a chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, She not only presides over the highest court in the state, but also over trial courts, and the Court of Appeals.


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December 30, 2010
Meeting and N-AGA research night

Our annual Christmas meeting. The library doors were opened at 6:00. Members were asked to bring any Christmas goodies that were not eaten over the Holidays. The rest of night was socializing and researching.


Henning wood carving

November 24, 2010
No meeting
too close to Thanksgiving Eve. Do they have Wild Turkeys in Norway and Sweden?


October 30, 2010
Genealogy Seminar held at Mindekirken

Mindekirken banner
Norwegian-American Genealogical Association and the Mindekirken's Norwegian Language and Cultural Program teamed up in the church basement on Saturday, October 30th, 2010 to present a Genealogy Seminar from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Titled "Solving Unique Questions about Norwegian Ancestors" After an Introduction the first topic was "Locating Surnames of Norwegian Women" by Barb Horn, "Searching for Slekt" by Joy Sundrum, "Case Study and Pulling Altogether" by Linda Therkelsen and DIS-Norge "Web Page Treasures" by Tammy Foster.


September 20, 2010
DIS-Norge organization from Norway

DIS-Norge web page
A special meeting was called for Monday, September 20 at the MGS library and research center starting at 9:00 am and ending at Noon. It was a meeting organized to greet and welcome the 70 members of DIS-Norge from Norway. N-AGA planned some genealogical activities for the group. On Sunday the 19th they were visiting the Norwegian Memorial Church and the Minnesota Historical Society. Norwegians in the group come from all parts of Norway and DIS-Norge is the largest genealogy organization in Norway.


August 25th, 2010
Meeting and N-AGA research night

The August last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. A research night. Members brought their questions and researched after a short meeting.


July 28th, 2010
Our speaker for the meeting was Tor Magne Handeland, pastor from Norway currently a hospital chaplain at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park and a chaplain in Norway. He has lived in Minnesota previously and spoke about his life in Norway, how he got connected to Minnesota and Methodism.


June 30th, 2010
Meeting and N-AGA research night

The June last Wednesday in the month N-AGA Meeting started at 7:00 p.m. A research night. Members brought their questions and researched after a short meeting.


May 26th, 2010
Speaker: Vidar Holum
from DIS-Norge, the National Genealogy Society of Norway, was the guest speaker at the N-AGA meeting of May 26th. Vidar, who lives near Oslo, spoke about the history of the website for DIS-Norge, a free website with many resources. DIS-Norge is 20 years old this year and has over 10,000 members. Its purpose is to build and support a nationwide meeting place for computing and internet-assisted genealogy.


April 28, 2010
Meeting and N-AGA research night

Research nights. Library was opened at 6:00 pm with a membership meeting that started at 7:00 pm and lasting about one hour. The rest of the night was spent helping each other with research and other projects. Plans were discussed at the April meeting for N-AGA members, later this summer, to visit the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA) research collection at Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.


March 27, 2010
Special Quarterly Saturday Seminar

The Special Quarterly Saturday Seminar was held at the the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center (MGS) from 8:30 am ending around 4:00 pm. Lectures included The Andreas Historical Atlas of 1874 presented by Mary Bakeman, Finding Research Gems in Wisconsin presented by Barb Horn, Gifted Google and Brilliant Binging! presented by Dixie Hansen and Organizing Paperwork by Joy Sundrum.


February 24, 2010
Speaker - Presentation
Library was opened at 6:00 pm. The N-AGA membership meeting was called to order at 7:00. After a short meeting, our speaker for the night was JosMarie Vanderspek born and raised in the Netherlands, where she lived until she was 19. She was a young girl during the WWII Nazi occupation of Holland, living in a town not far from the German border. Her town was therefore one the first to be occupied and one of the last to be free of the occupiers. Her talk was called "What it Feels Like to be Occupied," a feeling that was surely the same for Norwegians in occupied Norway.


January 27, 2010
Speaker - Presentation
MGS Library was opened at 6:00 pm. The N-AGA meeting was called to order at 7:00. After a short meeting, our speaker for the night was former Hennepin County Sheriff Don Omodt. Don is a real presence in the Norwegian-American community in Minnesota. A past president of Norske Torskeklubben, he has provided security during the visits of the Kings of Norway and eastern Norway (aka Sweden) as well as Mikahil Gorbachev (Russia President). During his career he rubbed shoulders with all the movers and shakers in the Twin Cities, past and present, and presented a really outstanding lecture of his career. He served as elected law enforcement official in the criminal justice system from 1967 to 1994.


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September 30, 2009
Genealogical round-robin

Library was opened at 6:00 pm. The N-AGA meeting was called to order at 7:00. The Wednesday meeting was called a genealogical round-robin. It's been tried in the past and it always proves interesting. Every one came prepared to share stories about their recent family history research - both successes and failures. What clues did they follow. What was their favorite research tricks. What websites have they discovered to give their research a boost.


August 26, 2009
Speaker - Presentation
Library was opened at 6:00 pm. The N-AGA meeting was called to order at 7:00. After a short meeting, our speaker for the night was our very own Marilyn Sorensen. Marilyn has served (and is serving) on the boards of several Norwegian-American organizations. Marilyn has also been involved in organizing seminar trips about Norwegian genealogy including two to Norway. Her topic for the night was titled, "One man's Journey, the Journey of Martin Thorvald Martinson from Norway to Minnesota: Traced in Documents." The record of Martin Thorvald Martinsen's immigration and the documents surrounding it demonstrate the types of papers a family researcher looks for when tracing their ancestor's journey to this country.


July 25, 2009
Saturday Genealogy Session held at MGS
N-AGA Quarterly Saturday Session started at 9:00 am sharp at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center in South St. Paul and lasted until around 4 pm. The Keynote session was titled, "Little-known WWI Non-Military Sources," presented by Ruth Bauer Anderson, Reference Associate, Minnesota Historical Society. Ruth's many MHS jobs include Maps, State Archives, Genealogy, Medical History, and Genealogy Help Desk Co-Coordinator. Break out Sessions included: "Unique Databases in Norway" presented by Tammy Foster, "Surprises in the U.S. Census" presented by Barb Horn, "Sharing Success Stories," presented by Bob O'Neil, "Unique Records on Family Search," lead by Marilyn Sorensen, "Dates tell Stories," lead by Joy Sundrum and "What ever Happened to Bent?" by Linda Therkelsen.


June 29, 2009
Library was opened at 6:00 with a short meeting starting at 7:00. Most of the night was for uninterrupted research and teamwork on projects.


May 27, 2009
Speaker - Presenter
Our speaker was Matt Anderson, Curator of 3-Demensional Objects at the Minnesota Historical Society. His topic was titled: "Items with a Norwegian Connection in the Minnesota Historical Society Collection." Starting with a list of 144 items of possible interest, Matt (with a little input from the members) picked out a few items from the MHS collection for us to see in 3-D.


April 27, 2009
After short 7:00 pm meeting it was a research night and teamwork on projects. One of things discussed was an exploratory discussion by Bob O'Neil and Marilyn Sorensen with David Stewart, Luther Seminary Director of Libraries about the possibility of relocating N-AGA's book, map, film, and fiche collection from its current location to Luther Seminary. Of interest to researchers is the ELCA Region 3 collection which dates from 1843 and covers church communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Nearly 15,000 linear feet of records. If your interested in Nordic church music their collection is outstanding.


March 28, 2009
Saturday Genealogy Seminar held at MGS Library

A Special N-AGA Quarterly Saturday Seminar was held at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center (MGS) starting at 9:00 am ending around 4:00 pm. The Keynote session was titled, "Minnesota Norwegian-American Lutheran Church Records," presented by Mr. Duane Swanson, Reference Librarian, Minnesota Historical Society. Break out Sessions included: "Locating Church/Vital Records in MNHS Catalog" presented by Duane Swanson, "Sharing Research Successes" presented by Bob O'Neil, "Norwegian Research, Words for Reading Various Records," presented by Joy Sundrum, "Working with the Stedfortegnelse (Norwegian Place Index)" presented by Marilyn Sorensen and "Round Table Discussion about Goal Setting," presented by Jack Bergerson


February 25, 2009
Speaker - Presentation
Library opened at 6:00 pm, Short introduction and meeting started at 7:00 pm sharp. Speaker for the meeting was Mr. Duane Swanson, Topic: "Researching Court Records." Duane P. Swanson is a government records specialist with the MHS. Probate court, civil court, justice of the peace court, Supreme Court-how do you ever find anything? Duane discussed the history of the Minnesota Court system, the genealogical records that it created, and how to locate them today. Duane focused especially on what is available at the Minnesota Historical Society.


January 28, 2009
Speaker - Presentation
Speaker for the end of the month Wednesday meeting was Ann Zemke who told the fascinating "American Story of the Orphan Trains," which operated between 1854 and 1929. Thousands of children were transported to the midwest to start a new life on farms. Ann told the story of her Grandmother Marjorie and shared information about the orphan trains and of her own handcrafted tribute to her grandmother - a quilt that tells of Majorie's life story.

January was also our traditional Norwegian Sweater Night with everyone wearing his or her best Nordic Sweaters.

One of the discussions at the January meeting was dues and rent: As a result of the move to South St. Paul, N-AGA has been given a substantial increase in rent for 2008. The organization was able to cover this increase in 2008 as NAGA had built up our funds to a reasonable level. 2009 will be more different. With the rent being over $2,000 per year and Avisen (newsletter) mailing and reproduction costs about $800 per year, members can easily see that dues of $15 per year for approximately 150 members ($2,250) are not covering our costs. These figures do not include any honorariums that may be needed for speakers. The N-AGA board has discussed this at length and had come up with some suggestions for the January meeting.

Membership in response to increasing costs (in particular, the cost of rent at our MGS location in South St. Paul), voted to increase the dues. This is the first increase in many, many years The N-AGA membership year runs from 3/01/09 - 2/28/10. Dues were increased $15 for newsletter only, $20 for individual membership and $25 for family membership. Membership is still a great bargain - members have full access to the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library and Research Center, our collection of books and more and even full Internet access to many special resources while researching at MGS.


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October 25, 2008
All day Saturday Genealogy Session held at MGS

by N-AGA at the MGS Library in South Saint Paul. Included a keynote speech by Alison Purgiel MHS reference librarian, on naturalization records, breakout sessions on Digitalarkivet by Marilyn Sorensen, Beginning Norwegian Genealogy Research by Barb Horn, Using the N-AGA library by Bob O'Neil, Reading Bygdeboker by Joy Sundrum, Genealogy Software Programs by Bob Rowe, Working with Maps by Tammy Foster, and Brick Walls by Tom Lanman.


June 25, 2008

"Norwegian Interest Group" was founded and in short time started their own news letter.

25th annivesary celebration cake

The American-Norwegians at that time were always a group of people meeting within the Scandinavian American Genealogical Society (SAGS), which in turn, is a branch of MGS. N-AGA member/genealogist Marilyn Sorensen presided over the meeting and also gave a report on the recently concluded successful MGS meeting (6/14). Celebration alimentation for the anniversary included cakes and cookies.


May 28, 2008
The meeting of May 28th was a Norwegian genealogy research night. Members were asked to bring a research problem along and do a little digging, or to come and share their knowledge with others who are just getting started with their research. N-AGA members Barbara Horn and Dolores Barron provided volunteer staffing support for the MGS library prior to our meeting.


April 28, 2008
Speaker - Presentation
At our meeting of April 28th, we were very fortunate to have Judge John R. Tunheim as our speaker. A United States District Court Judge, Judge Tunheim has a unique and diverse background and could probably have spoken on any number of topics that would have interested N-AGA members. However, in light of his recent role as an active advisor in helping Kosovo reform and restructure their judiciary system and his current work in helping draft a constitution for an independent Kosovo, his lecture focused on that experience and about similarities and differences between the Kosovo Constitution and the Norwegian Constitution. Judge R. Tunheim also is President of the Norwegian-American Historical Association (NAHA) and was born and raised in Newfolden, a very Norwegian community in the Red River Valley. He has authored a book (1984), that was a study of immigration and settlement in northwestern Minnesota called A Scandinavian Saga.

N-AGA member Barbara Horn provided volunteer staffing support for the MGS library prior to our meeting.


March 26, 2008
Speaker - Presentation
Our presenter for the March 26th N-AGA meeting was Dan Karvonen, PhD from the University of Minnesota Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch. Dan's topic was "Genetic Genealogy - How and Why to Get Your DNA Tested." Dan shared his experience in having his DNA tested and participating in the National Geographic's Genographic Project as well as the Family Tree DNA country and surname projects. He told what to expect from DNA test results, how to interpret them, and what the results can tell you about your "deep" ancestry. Even though Dan's educational background is not in genetics, he applied his enthusiasm; his personal experience, his interest in heritage, and his teaching skills to this topic that's got him hooked, and surely infected some others too.


February 27, 2008
February 27th was another N-AGA research night. Members were asked to bring a research problem along and do a little digging, or to come and share their knowledge with others who are just getting started with their research.


January 30, 2008


December 26, 2007
Our Annual Xmas Meeting

Our annual Christmas meeting and game night was held on Boxing Day, December 26th. It was a chance to participate in a no-pressure, light-spirited "How Norwegian Are You?" quiz which included a rating system based on the number of correct answers. Members were asked to tell about their favorite old holiday tradition or (since families evolve and change over time) the best new tradition their family has adopted in recent years, or even the strangest/most non-traditional Thanksgiving or Christmas they ever celebrated. Post-holiday conversation with fellow N-AGA Members, accompanied by cookies, candies, or morsels of any kind left over from the holidays rounded out the evening's fare


November 28, 2007

map to the library

photo of library building

Our November 28th meeting was the first ever in our new location in South St. Paul. A bit of technical debugging was required, as might be expected, but then JoEllen Hargo from the Minneapolis Public Library gave a great presentation. She talked about the resources of the Minneapolis Public Library, an often overlooked source for genealogy in general (including classes offered), Norwegian genealogy, and also library resources of interest to family historians, accessible both in the library and over the Internet from home.


October 2007

the Golden Valley meeting place

Our October 24th meeting was our last-ever MGS Branch Meeting in the Golden Valley MGS building that has served us so well for the last 10 years. Very befitting the circumstances was a top-notch talk provided to us by Lyn Lacy on the amazing story of Borghild Dahl. Borghild Dahl (1890-1984) was a local author of children's stories who, rising to the challenges of mid-life blindness, provided a remarkable example of the Norwegian-American influence/work ethic. Dahl's books include, I Wanted to See, Stowaway to America, Homecoming, Karen, Marit, Cloud Shoes, Rikk of the Rendal Clan and others.


September 26, 2007
Speaker - Presentation
Our speaker on September 26th was Liv Marit Haakenstad, of the Genealogy Society of Norway (DIS-Norge) shared information with us on emigration from Norway, about the most-used traveling routes from Norway, about UK and the companies who transported emigrants, and about what happened to immigrants when they arrived in New York. She gave us a PowerPoint presentation based on recent immigrant research in England, assisted by a Scottish woman in Norway, a member of Liverpool Family History Society, and a guide at a museum in Liverpool. The Scottish woman was the first one to find some more about occupations and Norwegians in England. This was brand new information!


August 29, 2007
Speaker - Presentation
Genealogy done in Gudbrandsdal was the theme of the August 29th meeting. N-AGA genealogist Marilyn Sorensen was co-leader along with Rev. James Olson (President of the Gudbrandsdalslag) on a 16-day genealogy seminar/tour to Gudbrandsdal in June on 2007. All tour participants were members of Gudbrandsdalslag. Marilyn's talk, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, was called "Norwegian Genealogy Seminar, a Look Back," and it was indeed a look back on a very successful, very intensive, very well organized trip through the Valley of Gudbrand with stopping points of interest to all tour members. Marilyn discussed the highlights of this research trip, which spanned 8 archives (including 4 in Oslo and 2 in Hamar), and involved unique presentations, special opportunities for research, visits with relatives, and a rich learning experience for everyone involved. It should be noted that the archives visited included national, regional, city and town (kommunes/small town areas), public as well as private, libraries and museums.


July 2007

"Avisen" August 2007 issue "The Minnesota Genealogical society (MGS) Library - and with it the N-AGA library collection - will be moving before the end of the year. Tennant Corporation, early in the year, purchased the building in Golden Valley in which MGS has rented space for some years. Tennant notified the society that they would be taking over the Golden Valley building in order to expand its own headquarters. The Property Search Committee within MGS had been formed to search for a new site, and hired a professional real estate property locator.

library building

The site for the new MGS Library is the Historic Cenex Building at 1185 Concord Street North in South St. Paul. According to Robin PanLener, MGS president, they are currently negotiating a five-year lease. The space was chosen for its ample square footage at a reasonable cost, according to PanLener. "We looked at over 15 locations," he said, all within the I-694/I-494 loop." The parking lot can accommodate over 100 vehicles with overflow parking across the street. Some will be resurfaced this summer, and additional lighting provided for improved protection. The new location is also on the #71 bus route, which stops right in front of the building, according to PanLener. There is also an auditorium on the first floor for speakers or special programs, a boardroom upstairs, additional storage space, and a loading dock, besides the space for the library and offices all in one location. At the N-AGA meeting June 27, N-AGA president Bob O'Neil said that Tennant Corporation will provide some assistance with physically moving the books and documents, including trucks and plastic wrapping.


July 25, 2007
Speaker - Slide Show
Our speaker for July 25th was Duane Swanson from the Collections Management/Reference section of the Minnesota Historical Society. Duane, who has been a presenter to NAGA before, is a Government Records Specialist and a great resource person for all genealogical questions. Duane's presentation was entitled Using the Minnesota Birth Certificate Index. His main agenda items were the birth certificate project itself, what the index includes (and doesn't include), searching the index, info contained on a certificate, searching strategies and special cases.


June 27, 2007
It was N-AGA's 24th Anniversary, an event traditionally celebrated with cake and coffee. Also members were invited to bring and talk about an artifact of Norwegian content or one of unknown identity. This idea was popular last year and deemed worthy of an encore. Time before and after the meeting was available, as always, for genealogical research.


May 30, 2007
"Technology Use in the Library," conducted by Diane Lovrencevik of the Irish Genealogy Group. As she described it, genealogy is getting more digital everyday and researchers need to utilize the technology at the MGS library. Diane covered some common but not-quite-easy everyday tasks that users often have trouble with.


April 25, 2007
Speaker - Presentation
On April 25th Dr. William Halverson, a preeminent Edvard Grieg scholar and brother-in-law of NAGA member Alan Sortland, addressed the N-AGA membership on the subject of Edvard Grieg's Family Tree. The Grieg family name (originally Greig) took its origins from the Scottish MacGregor clan, and after relocation to Bergen, Grieg's ancestors included fish export businessmen, two British Consuls in Bergen, and a conductor of the precursor to the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.  2007 is the centennial of Edvard Grieg's death and well deserving of his remembrance.  Bill spoke of Grieg as if he had been with him at the time of childhood playmates, through the times of teenage adolescence and maturing adult, and into the ripening years.  Bill plied us with a unique combination of Grieg's musical selections and stories throughout his life, as recorded in letters and other sources.  The music included the imitative Larvik's Polka, followed by the raw bone saliently original Gamle mor (Old mother) from Opus 33 and the beautiful and internationally renowned Jeg Elsker Deg (I love thee).  Grieg's marriage to his first cousin Nina Hagerup was unblessed by both sets of parents, but it proceeded anyway.  His 'immortal' mother-in-law saw him as someone who was valueless and only wrote music that no one wanted to listen to.  Grieg's life included medical impairments, an issue of stature, and social ridicule, but most notably included self-discovery followed by launching into the remarkable musical career that came to define our Norwegian musical heritage.  Dr. Halvorson's presentation was world class and truly an encore performance.


March 28, 2007
Speaker - Presentation:
Our speaker for March 28th was JarleHjartåtaker, a medical doctor who has worked for the Government of Norway in the Hordaland area and now is in private practice in Øystesse.  His practice covers Norheimsund and the area along the Hardangerfjord as well as the Samnanger and Voss areas.  Dr. Hjartåtaker's presentation centered on the Norwegian Medical System He offered some ideas on how the US medical system could work a little better.  He was educated in Holland and has been serving Norwegian patients for over twenty years.


February 28, 2007
On February 28th, NAGA members had their first ever research evening utilizing the recently installed online resources. As part of the general meeting, Jim Lavalle, who is leading the expanded technology effort at the Minnesota Genealogical Society, gave a general overview of the "online system" in the building, and then N-AGA members proceeded upstairs to the MGS library where Jim continued with a hands-on presentation.  Following that, Dixie Hansen gave examples of usage of online resources such as, heritagequest, rootsweb, and others, all tailored to Norwegian ancestral searches.  Of particular interest was the accessing of the Norwegian Digitalarkivet and other Norwegian sources.  Dixie facilitated her presentation with her LCD projector/screen so that all members could view the image on the computer terminal.  A rapt audience illustrated the power of the online capability to hold current members and hopefully gather new ones.


January 2007
Speaker - Presentation
Are Norwegians gutsy or nutsy?  Who else would sail an 18-ft boat shaped like an egg from Norway to America 100 years ago?  Well, Ole Martin Brude, motivated by so much tragic loss of life at sea, did exactly that in order prove the seaworthiness of a small craft, that became the forerunner of today's lifeboats. His design was ingenious and revolutionary, and it worked.  Ole Brude is a legend in the Norwegian branch of the family history of our January 31st presenter, Paula Brugge. Paula is currently the Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and her strong academic background is in Scandinavian Studies.  Her great story, narrative plus supporting visual presentation was entitled Ole Martin Brude Across the Atlantic in an Egg.  It recounted the amazing wintertime voyage of his craft (named "Uræd" or Unafraid) an egg shape covered lifeboat and its crew from Alesund, Norway, to St. John's, Newfoundland, and on to Gloucester, Massachusetts.  A dozen of Paula's family members were on hand to relive the adventure.

Hent de norske genserne dine!  It was NAGA's annual January tradition, Norwegian Sweater Night, again. The ratio of Norwegian sweaters to attendees was almost one-to-one.  Several group photos were taken to record our wearable pride


December 27, 2006
Game of Norwegian Bingo
We relaxed between Christmas and New Year with a game of Norwegian Bingo and other easygoing activities.  The game was led on December 27th by N-AGA member Joy Sundrum and included the unexpected use of Norwegian in the Bingo calls.  We all paid more attention and learned a lot about our oral and aural abilities with Norwegian.


November 2006
Speaker - Presentation:
Don’t you wish your basement or attic could magically produce a box full of letters exchanged between a New Norwegian immigrant in America and the family members who remained behind in Norway?  This happened to our speaker for November 29th, Kristie Nelson-Neuhaus, whose great grandmother was a Norwegian immigrant, living in North Dakota from 1892 to 1923.  She was also a very organized person. The great grandmother's letters have been captured and published as Live Well: The Letters of Sigrid Gjeldaker Lillehaugen. Kristie highlighted selected letters and the stories woven through them.  As in everyone's immigrant background, moments of joy are balanced by moments of tragedy.


October 25, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
Our speaker on October 25th was rosemaling specialist Judy Kjenstad.  Judy is a Twin Cities artist who has studied decorative folk art painting for over 20 years, including a commission for the mural exterior of Ingebretsen's.

Ingebretsen's mural

She is a Vesterheim Gold Medal rosemaler who has worked on such large-scale designs as the Epcot Center Norway Pavilion in Orlando, Florida, and the Black Forest Inn in Minneapolis. She has taught Norwegian and Swedish painting at numerous locations, including the Norwegian American Museum, and has exhibited her work in the "Norwegian Folk Art: The Migration of a Tradition" exhibit. Judy also loves to play the nyckelharpa.

Judy's presentation, supported by excellent slides, traced the origins of rosemaling and its growth and development along the Oslo to Trondheim route. The heyday of rosemaling was 1750-1850 with most work done by Guild Artists. All known rosemalers in Norway were men, but in Sweden a few women excelled. 12-13 styles can be identified, but two had distinct characteristic features. The Telemark style featured predominantly red coloring with a "C" scroll acanthus leaf.  The Telemark style did not use the C scroll and had many flowers.

Judy also brought along many large ale bowls, which she had decorated.  Thoughtful words on the drinking theme surrounded the brims.  Many N-AGA members brought in rosemaled pieces for Judy to identify the style or other elements of particular interest.  It was a fascinating evening devoted to this unique skill of our Norwegian ancestors, a skill that began as a means to earn a living but now continues primarily as a wonderful avocation.


September 27, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
On September 27th President Bob O'Neil laid the groundwork for an interesting story connected to his recent trip to Norway. On that trip Bob was in the home of Tor Øvsthus in Førde, Norway where he heard the story of the wallet that got separated from its owner several generations ago as the owner immigrated to America. The wallet remained in the possession of the Øvsthus family in Norheimsund, Norway for 100 years. Tor Øvsthus then decided to try to find the rightful owner (owner's descendant). Bob O'Neil then introduced Don Maage of Fridley who related the story of how his great grandfather's wallet came to him. Bob also presented Don with a history of the farm of Don's ancestors back in Norway. The farm name was Måge in the flyke of Hordaland. This story has been written up in the Minneapolis Star Tribune by Chuck Haga, June 10, 2006 (An heir's gift of an heirloom; A wallet left in Norway 124 years ago, returned by a neighbor there, has enabled a Fridley man to meet his ancestors), who is also part Norwegian. The remainder of the evening was a research night.


August 30, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
As in August of 2005, Professor Odd Lovoll of St. Olaf College was again our speaker. On August 30th he gave a presentation entitled "A Place Called Home: Norwegians in Small-town America," a theme digested from his latest book, Norske småbyer på prærien (Norwegian Small Towns on the Prairie). The English version, entitled Norwegians on the Prairie: Ethnicity and the Development of the Country Town, was published August 1st by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. The three small towns studied and featured are Starbuck, Benson, and Madison, plus there are references to a few other towns, including Milan, Dawson, and Glenwood.


July 26, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
On July 26th N-AGA member and Valdres Samband bygdelag member Aaron Hanson showed an excellent video he made chronicling the highlights of a trip that the Valdres Samband (Oldest Bygdelag in America) took to Valdres in 2004. The video showed members attending events like the Welcome Reception and going on tours in Valdres. The tours showed many of the historic sites, such as Stave churches, runestones, (Minnesota's most talked about Kensington runestone is located in the town of Alexandria, Minnesota) and a stone bridge. Aaron is a good source for information on the Valdres Samband, the Valdres area and the bygdelag activities.

Aaron also had an unexpected connection to N-AGA's August speaker, Odd Lovoll. Aaron was Dr. Lovoll's research assistant for the book he recently wrote about Norwegians on the prairie, and he traveled with Dr. Lovoll to Madison, Benson, and Starbuck. It was a personally exciting experience for him since both his parents went to Benson High School and his Norwegian ancestors settled around Benson and Starbuck in the 1870s.


June 28, 2006
June 28, 2006 was a research night, and we also celebrated N-AGA's 23rd anniversary. Besides the traditional cake and coffee, several members brought and talked about an artifact of Norwegian content or one of unknown identity. This idea was engaging and was deemed worthy of a revisit next year.


May 31, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
On May 31st Lori Ann Lahlum gave a presentation on Norwegian Immigrant Women in the Upper Midwest. It was no easy life, but it had its rewards. Lori gave this talk as part of the opening event for a temporary exhibit featuring Norwegian immigrants to Dakota County in conjunction with the 2005 Dakota County Fair. It was extremely well received and highly recommended. Dr. Lahlum is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Minnesota State University, Mankato.


April 26, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
On April 26th N-AGA was treated to a presentation by Eric Dregni. Eric is a freelance writer from Minneapolis where he lives with his wife, Katy, and two sons Eilif and Otto. He is the author of nine books, including five books on motorscooters and Minnesota Marvels: Roadside Attractions in the Land of Lakes published by the University of Minnesota Press. Eric received a Fulbright Fellowship for creative writing which was to take him and his family to Trondheim for a year. In fact, the notice of winning the Fulbright Fellowship arrived the same week that his wife's pregnancy test came back positive. The arrival of the new baby in Norway and the generous Scandinavian health care became the material for an article Eric wrote for The Rake and The Viking. He also recently recounted his experiences in Norway in an article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Eric's immigrant ancestor was his great-grandfather "Drægni", who fled Norway in 1893 when Norway was the poorest country in Europe. By contrast, Eric got to experience Norway as Europe's richest land, but of course the old customs and traditions continue. Eric told us of the much-obeyed Janteloven (Jante's Law), and of the mørketid (the dark time). He also told us of his experience in tasting such things as rakfish (fermented fish), Klippefisk (dried cod), and Tran (cod liver oil), and his experience of discovering his great-grandfather's house in Lusterfjord and its sad fate. Other tales involve travels to Sweden for cheap salami, to Oslo for the Nobel ceremony, and to the Lofoten Islands (Northern Norway-Nordland) where he had a fan club of cats. His talk was accompanied by slides he has taken and it was an engaging event!


March 29, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
The topic for our N-AGA meeting on March 29th was the story behind the writing of a Norwegian bygdebok, but not the typical story of Norwegians from a community in Norway writing their own bygdebok. This story is about a collaborative effort between a Norwegian and a Norwegian-American. The Minnesota-born American is our own Apple Valley resident, Margaret (Peggy) Miller, and Peggy is doing the family lineage part of the bygdebok, a truly phenomenal and monumental effort. A Norwegian in Norway is doing the farm anecdotes, histories, etc. So how did this happen?

Peggy began in 1979 by looking for pictures of her Norwegian forbearers and tracing her family line that goes back to Sømna in Nordland. Her effort grew from documenting her own family genealogy to covering the whole parish. From her home and from the LDS branch library in Crystal, she has constructed the genealogical lines of the people in Sømna. More info about the Church of Latter-Day Saints branch libraries.

For her efforts she has she received two remarkable distinctions--one the Sømna Kulturpris, being only the second woman to receive the "prize" and the only non-Sømna-born person; and the St. Olav Medal in 1993 for her work on the Sømna books. She is a skilled reader of "churchbook script," and she has a fantastic memory for names and relationships.  She allowed that her secret for reading the handwriting in the church books is that if you just look at it long enough (or maybe revisit it a day or two later), then it starts to come clear! Peggy was also featured in the February 2006 Avisen in the article entitled Leif, Marilyn, Mr. Skille and I.


February 22, 2006
Speaker - Presentation
Leslee Lane Hoyum, the co-founder and current president of Lakselaget, (salmon society) was our engaging speaker on Wednesday, 22 February 2006.  Lakselaget is a very interesting organization of professional women and college and university students who are also Norwegian, of Norwegian descent, or are interested in contemporary Norwegian issues and all things Norwegian. Leslee described the background for the relatively recent founding of Lakselaget, its purpose, current membership, inter-generational efforts, scholarship programs, and future plans. Lakselaget has monthly meetings with a variety of speakers, delectable salmon, and good conversation about swimming upstream.

Leslee Hoyum is currently the media and public relations director for the Minnesota Department of Revenue.  Her educational background is in communications with a minor in Scandinavian studies, and she has done graduate work at the University of Oslo. Her genealogical roots, both maternal and paternal, go back to Norway, and she has made numerous trips to our favorite land. She has been heavily involved in many different organizations with a Norwegian connection, among them, Sons of Norway Lodges, Mindekirken, Solørlag, Nordmanns-Forbundet, Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce, Viking Age Club and many more.


January 25, 2006
Speaker - Presentation:
Our very short notice, just-flew-into-town, guest speaker for January 25th was Luci Baker Johnson. Luci is the daughter of N-AGA member Eunice Baker, and she is a Seattle resident, very active in Norwegian-American organizations and events there. Luci shared with us a large research project she has undertaken regarding three Norwegian men, two artists and one architect, who built the first Norway Hall in Seattle and provided the Norwegian art work for the same. It's a marvelous building today with an intriguing past. Luci also provided tips and resources for doing Norwegian genealogical research in the Pacific Northwest, should we need to be tracing family members there.

Luci is the Historian for the Leif Erikson Sons of Norway Lodge #2-001, This lodge has 1630 members and a 103 year history. She spoke of how many Sons of Norway lodges kept very good historical records, including member names and addresses, obituaries and sometimes member photos with names. All this data might be of use in gathering family history.

Luci is also a contributing writer for the Western Viking, the weekly Norwegian-American Newspaper with world wide coverage -- a 114-year old publication that comprises six of the 562 Norwegian newspapers which have existed in America, including Decorah Posten, Ved Arnen, Minneapolis-Tidende, Minnesota Posten, Washington Posten, Norrona and Skandinaben.


December 28, 2005
Fun-and-games night
The annual NAGA fun-and-games night was the event for December 28th. Members were challenged by two quizzes with Norwegian content, written by N-AGA program coordinator Dick Lundgren. The first was the warm-up quiz, roaming over various elements of Norwegian Food and Lore. The second, more challenging, one was called Who Wants to be a Norwegian Millionaire? and questions increased in difficulty as the value in Kroner went up. Fun and refreshments were had by all, and some learning may have taken place.


November 30, 2005
Speaker - Presentation
Our speaker on Wednesday, 30 November 2005 was Roger R. Hellesvig, AKA Ole Olesen, who, using an immigrant trunk as a focal point, described what it was like to immigrate in the 1800s. Ole described vividly the tough choices our immigrant ancestors had to make when they came to America. He also told about some of the traditions that went along with items in the immigrant's trunk.

Robert Hellesvig is a living historian and teacher, with broad experience as an historical interpreter and educator. He is a graduate of Concordia College in Saint Paul and did graduate work at Mankato State University and Hamline University.


October 26, 2005
Speaker - Presentation
Our presenter for the Wednesday, 26 October 2005 meeting was Patricia Allred.  Pat is very well versed in the historical and genealogical connections between Norway, Iceland, and Ireland. She has done research at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Her essay on the topic, The Icelandic-Norwegian Connection, used images, stories, and genealogy.

The two-cousin cultures of Norway and Iceland overlap in several ways. Historically the exodus of Norwegian families to Iceland resulted in a New Country, but also extended their own. In Iceland the ties to their homeland and its values were treasured and preserved in Genealogy and Sagas. Literature and Art maintained these intertwined roots. Icelander Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla presents a History of Norway that still fascinates after 1000 years, and contains the ancestry of all Icelanders (many Norwegians too).


September 28, 2005
Short Meeting - research and collaboration night

The N-AGA meeting on Wednesday, 28 September 2005 was a research and collaboration effort. Members did some genealogical digging on their own families and helped fellow members initiate their own research.


August 31, 2005
Speaker - Presentation
N-AGA was honored on Wednesday, 31 August 2005 to have as our speaker Odd S. Lovoll, Professor of History and King Olaf V Professor of Scandinavian American Studies at St. Olaf College in Northfield. In this year of the centennial celebration of Norway’s independence, Dr. Lovoll’s talk centered on the interest and involvement of American immigrants of Scandinavian heritage in the momentous events that were occurring in their homeland at that time. Dr. Lovoll had published an article in the July 30, 2005 Oslo Dagbladet on the same subject.

Odd S. Lovoll earned his doctorate in U.S. History, specializing in immigration history, at the University of Minnesota. He has served on the faculty of St. Olaf College since 1971 and been publications editor for the Norwegian-American Historical Association since 1980. In 1992 he was appointed to fill the King Olav V Chair in Scandinavian-American Studies. Since 1995 he has held an appointment as Professor II in History at the University of Oslo and teaches there in the fall semester. His published works include A Folk Epic: The Bygdelag in America (1975), The Promise of America: A History of the Norwegian-American People (1984), A Century of Urban Life: The Norwegians in Chicago before 1930 (1988), and The Promise Fulfilled: A Portrait of Norwegian Americans Today (1998), in addition to a large number of articles dealing with Scandinavian-American topics. In 1986 Lovoll was decorated by H.M. King Olav V with the Knight's Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit and in 1989 he was invited to occupy a seat in the history section of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.


July 2005
Speaker - Presentation:
PastorJens Arne Dale talked about the importance of the centennial of Norway's independence from Sweden, and he provided the background for the events which lead up to the peaceful dissolution of the union. In particular, Norway’s separate Consular system was a main issue. Pastor Dale is competing his three years as Pastor at Mindekirken Church, and returning to Norway. N-AGA is proud to have had him as a very interesting and entertaining speaker, and all N-AGA members collectively wish him the best.


June 29, 2005
Group Presentation:
N-AGA celebrated its 22nd anniversary on Wednesday, 29 June 2005. The event was commemorated with cake and coffee. The cake was an ingenious array of individual cupcakes, uniquely colored and arrayed to replicate a Norwegian flag. Dixie Hansen inspired us to resurrect our immigrant ancestors. We took our Norwegian ancestral names and told our personal stories as if we had lived it. Dixie represented her great-grandmother, Ragnhild Marie Jonsdatter Tøfthaug Steivang (just call her Hilda) and she was prepared to tell a bit about herself... where she lived, about all of her unruly kids, what she did in her spare time (hah!) and when she came to Minnesota. Being your forefather in a role playing situation adds an interesting dimension to our genealogical reality.


May 2005
Speaker - Presentation

Karen Solgard
The speaker/musician/entertainer was Karen Solgard. With stories and the music of her Hardanger fiddle, Karen Solgard recreated the scenes and moods and humor of the traditional Norwegian wedding of our ancestors. She drew on her recent presentation at the Minnesota Historical Society called The Norse Fiddle, Bridal Crown,and Kransekake.


April 27, 2005
Speaker - Presentation:

Professor Gracia Grindal presented a lecture on Wednesday, 27 April 2005 on the Lutheran Parsonage tradition and how itcame from Norway to America as demonstrated in the lives of Linka Preus and Elisabeth Koren. These two immigrant women, wives of prominent early pastors in the Norwegian-American church, brought some of the old world parsonage traditions with them but, by necessity, had to adapt to a somewhat different life in America. They left a record of their interests, observations, and acculturation through diaries and letters and, in the case of Linka Preus, through her pencil drawings, which depict various aspects of life at Luther College and the Decorah area in the 1850s and 1860s.

Gracia M. Grindal is a Professor of Rhetoric at Luther Seminary. She has spent a lifetime learning about the history of Norwegian hymnody.


March 30, 2005
Speaker - Presentation

On Wednesday, 30 March 2005, Deb Nelson Gourley told us about her new bilingual English/Norsk book My Astri: Norwegian Heritage Stories, a gem of a genealogical find. Deb's interest in her Norwegian roots was sparked (almost literally) when, at the age of 8, she rescued an old family immigrant trunk from a pile of scrap lumber on a wagon bound for the burn pile. The trunk raised many more questions than it answered. Who made it and when and why? What was the funny kind of painting on it? Who was the girl whose name was on it? Where did she come from? Who was she in the family history? What happened to her? Some years later, Deb made her first trip to Norway and began, in earnest, the rewarding unraveling of a rich family history.


February 23, 2005
Speaker - Presentation

The presentation for Wednesday, 23 February 2005 was "Trolls, Nisser, and Huldre: The Supernatural Creatures of Norwegian Folklore." Marte Hvam Hult, Ph.D., explained how the imagination of our ancestors invented the creatures to fill their stories. Oral tradition and later written literature fleshed out the ancient characters of the supernatural. The artistic capabilities of our ancestors brought visual life to the supernatural beings through marvelous imagery. Even music embellished the personalities and activities of the creatures of our heritage. Many of Norway's greatest artists have used these folk creatures in their works, and it isn't all just trolls. There are nisser, water sprites, changelings, draugr, huldre and more! Dr. Hult has her Ph. D. in Scandinavian Languages and Literature from the University of Minnesota, and she is the author of Framing a National Narrative: The Legend Collections of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen


January 2005
Speaker - Presentation - Sweater Night
Dave Ringstad
regaled us with the interesting story of Knute Nelson and his 1882 Congressional Campaign. Knute Nelson was the first Norwegian-American to serve in the United States Congress and senate. He was also the first Norwegian Governor of Minnesota. His first campaign for congress was in 1882. The campaign was a humorous, outrageous, hard fought battle between two Republicans and one Democrat in northern Minnesota. It was fun to gain insight on how some of the Norwegian cultural traits of our ancestors such as modesty, politeness, decency, etc. (recognize them in yourself?) played themselves out in a political campaign.

Nelson was born in Voss in 1843. He and his mother came to Chicago in 1849. Later he fought in the Civil War and served in the Wisconsin legislature before moving to Alexandria, Minnesota in 1871.

Sweater night in 2005
By the way, N-AGA Secretary Dixie Hansen (below) officially declared the January N-AGA Meeting (now and forever more) as 'Norwegian Sweater Night.' Remember that for future years and future group photos.

Dixie Hansen


December 29, 2004
Speaker - Video

The program for Wednesday, 29 December 2004 was an interesting and informative video provided by N-AGA program coordinator Dick Lundgren. It was called The Falun - Røros Expedition, An Historic Journey with Horse and Sled. For over a thousand years they trudged through the winter landscape, steam rising off the horses broad backs, fur clad men urging them on as they pulled the heavily loaded sleds along the winter trail.Like today's truck drivers hauling goods across the country, these trail drivers transported goods from Dalarna in Sweden, via the mountain market town, Røros, to the ice free port of Trondheim, Norway and back again. There were no roads, no railways, but the one-horse drawn sleds that glided through the snowy woods and across the frozen lakes could carry the valuable but heavy loads of iron and iron goods to Trondheim and from there out into the world.

The modern re-enactment

On February 2, 2003, 30 men and women, from the Dalarna Femund Forkörarförening (The Trail Drivers Club) left the city of Falun in Sweden, with 17 horses pulling old-style sleds, and drove out into the forest. Eighteen cold, foggy days later a group of tired but happy trail drivers arrived at the historic market in Røros, Norway, welcomed by thousands of happy market goers. This video allowed us to ride the ancient trail and experience the beauty of the Scandinavian countryside, the camaraderie and laughter along the way, and the music of the Dalarna Femund Trail Driver Players.


November 2004
November was another N-AGA research night. Members were asked to bring a research problem along and do a little digging, or to come and share their knowledge with others who are just getting started with their research.


October 27, 2004
Short Meeting - Game of Fylke Feud

N-AGA member Judy Larsen created the frolicking game of Fylke Feud for Wednesday, 27 October! Contestants joined forces with fellow-fylkers and matched their wits and knowledge of things Nordic against those competitive guys and girls from the next valley over. Collective team wisdom produced good answers, bad answers, and weird answers! There were winners and losers, arguments and back-slapping and even oofdas, fun and prizes!

by Mike Wick: Now this is a great idea. One Son of Norway Lodge against each other. Have a pile of photos (or index cards) of Norwegian items that people should know what they are called and what they are used for or certain words and what they mean. On the back of the cards describe what it is and what it is used for. Such as longboat, Stevne, Christmas Cake, cod fish, etc. It would be a great way to educate members of a lodge. Outstanding idea Judy! Basically flash cards.


September 29, 2004
Speaker - Presentation

Our presenters on Wednesday, 29 September 2004 were Tom and Sandra Robinson. Sandra's aunt, Rakel Erickson, learned folk tales on her mother's knee, and now in her 90s Rakel has published two books titled Folkeminnevitskap and Folkeminnevitskap II. They are wonderful collections of Norwegian Folktales and Legends retold by Rakel in English.


August 2004
Speaker - Presentation

Professor Robert Karlén spoke about the music of our Norwegian ancestors and how it evolved from very early church music and folk tunes to capture and define the Norwegian national identity in the 19th and 20th centuries. Dr. Karlén is a retired professor of music at Augsburg College.


July 2004
Speaker - Presentation

John and Jan Dalby shared their long-time and genealogically important on-line project of recording Minnesota cemeteries.


June 2004
N-AGA Anniversary night! The main ingredients were cake, fellowship, and some research.


April 28, 2004
Speaker - Presentation

Barbara Horn, N-AGA historian, discussed the Norwegian 1801 and 1865 Censuses on April 28th. N-AGA has the 1801 census on microfiche and the 1865 census on microfilm. Barb told us about the types of information available in each census. Both censuses and others are searchable on the Internet. (Norwegian) or (English). There are advantages to using both the on-line transcription and the original microfilm.


March 31, 2004
On Wednesday March 31st travelogue guide Bill Handsaker presented a narrated photographic visit to our ancestral land. Bill traveled by ship up the coast from Bergen to Nordkapp and captured on film the spectacular coastal scenery that is unsurpassed anywhere. Then he returned south by car and completed the inland tour of Norway's incredible scenery, cultural monuments, and festivities. Bill's unique visual tour was augmented by an informative audio presentation of historical, geographical, and cultural background. For those who have been to Norway, Bill's photos made you yearn to return. For those yet to visit the old country, this ingenious travelogue lit the fire for planning.


February 2004
N-AGA Librarian, David Cross, made a presentation on the MGS card catalogue system; how to navigate it and how to use it to find resources within our library.


November 2003
Game of N-AGA Jeopardy

N-AGA members challenged each other in a game of "NAGA Jeopardy!"Everyone came away smarter and happier.


October 2003
Duane Swanson
, Reference Specialist from the Minnesota Historical Society, gave a presentation entitled Genealogical Sources at the Minnesota Historical Society. The breadth and depth of these sources indicates a potential gold mine of family history data waiting to be discovered in the MHS archives.


September 24, 2003
N-AGA Secretary Dixie Hansen spoke about the Alien Registration Forms, covering such aspects as data usually provided, problems encountered by the recorders, varying degrees of completeness, fuzzy/funny penmanship, and perception of the need for doing the form in the first place.


August 27, 2003
Mary Ann Olsen, Thelma Johnson, and Marion Auker
presented information on Lutheran Church Altar Art on Wednesday August 27th. They featured the early Lutheran churches of the settlers and immigrants of Scandinavian descent, mainly in Minnesota and Wisconsin.


July 2003
Our presentation for July, called Publishing Family Histories was given by Bergetta F. Monroe. It was not the typical "how to" presentation but rather a family history publishing discussion. The August issue of Family Tree magazine carried an article by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack entitled Telling Time; Are You Ready to Start Writing? This article offered some great tips on how to start recording the story of your family, and Bergetta's discussion moved the process to the publishing phase.


June 2003
Laura Aanenson
, NAGA's Communication Director, introduced the new N-AGA website, Members had an opportunity to view the various areas of the website and to contribute ideas and content.


May 2003
Lee Rokke, editor of N-AGA's newsletter, Avisen, gave a very interesting talk about the Rowberg file, located at NAHA at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. The Rowberg file consists of about 200,000 (and growing) clippings of biographical articles on Norwegian-Americans from Norwegian-American newspapers, English-language country weeklies, church and lodge magazines. Many are obituaries, golden wedding celebrations, etc. For more details about the Rowberg files go to NAHA at Saint Olaf


April 2003
Our speaker was Alison Purgiel, Reference Librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society. Alison surveyed pre- and post-1906 Naturalization records in the Minnesota State Archives and offered strategies for using them in genealogical research.


March 2003
Debbie Miller
, Reference Specialist at the Minnesota Historical Society gave an ethnically tasty talk about Norwegian Cookbooks.


February 2003
David Cross
gave an overview of the MGS library and led mini tours of the collection. David is the N-AGA Librarian and a member of the MGS executive committee.


August 2002
Thomas Reiersgord
discussed the theory he has developed about the Kensington Rune Stone. His theory is documented in his book, The Kensington Rune Stone: Its Place in History. The stone mentions "when the viking ship mates returned to their camp the other party members were all covered with red blood" as if they were attacked. During the middle ages lots of sailors got the black plaque and died of bleeding to death. His book can also be found at


June 2002
Pastor Jens Arne Dale of Mindekirken, the Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church in Minneapolis, spoke about the State Church of Norway and related topics.


May 2002
Debbie Miller
, Reference Specialist from the Minnesota Historical Society, talked about MHS' newly published book Norwegians in Minnesota, written by Jon Gjerde and Carlton C. Qualey, and with a foreword by Icelander Bill Holm.


April 2002
The meeting was a research night, supported by coffee and cookies.


February 2002
Mary Bakeman
gave a presentation on the soon-to-be released 1930 census.


January 2002
N-AGA genealogist Marilyn Sorensen gave a presentation on Internet Resources (and other resources) that can be helpful for US research before a trip to Norway.


May 1993

"Avisen" newsletter was published in 1993, by the "Norwegian Genealogy Group, a branch of the Scandinavian American Genealogical Society (SAGS), which in turn, is a branch of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS). We were originally launched as the Norwegian Genealogy Group in 1983.


Horizontal line


1983 Scandinavian American
Genealogical Society (SAGS)

March 1983

Initially a person named Al Dahlquist (St. Paul) gathered a group of Scandinavians together who were interested in the five Nordic countries. This group was called the Scandinavian American Genealogy Society (SAGS). This organization was a branch of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS). Sub groups of SAGS were the Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish Genealogy groups.

Throughout N-AGA's early history MGS has actually been our "Grandparent."

first meeting place

The groups met for a number of years together and separately. Gradually each group had a meeting place, access to a newsletter and set meeting times for the year. As a result SAGS was dissolved and each group established their own relationship with MGS.

According to the N-AGA newsletter Volume 4, Number 4, February 1997 in an article by Marion Widme Gunnufson, the twenty 1983 charter members were: Bob and Diane Skogman, Betty Schoon, Ella Johnson, Marilyn Sorensen, Marion and Coni Gunnufson, Margaret Space Stan Uggen, Ruth and Marianne Hageman, Dolores Barron, Agnes Peterson, Deloren Smith, Lyle Hanson, Pauline Johnson, Hilda and Darlene larson, Elsie Nodler and Lois Wandmacker.

food at first meeting place

Over the fourteen years of Norwegian Genealogy Group all meetings were held at Calvary Lutheran Church. In June 1988 one SAGS meeting was at the Norwegian Memorial Church. That was our largest meeting - one hundred and twenty members signed the attendance book.

Marion Widme Gunnufson

According to Marion Widme Gunnufson she became chairman of the attendance and calling committee at the June 1986 meeting for SAGS. There are nine people who helped with calling SAGS members for meetings and special events: Doris Nygard, Dave Anshus, Audrey Johnson, Richard Hanson, Ione Lunusm, Medford Thomley, Florence Ellefson, Betty Lou Gerholz, and Phyllis Pladdson. They have all been phone callers for quite a few years. Some were already callers when I took over the job. Each caller has 15 to 18 people on their list. As a group we contact between 150 to 175 people before each SAGS meeting or special event. I update the calling list every fifteen months. We drop any people who have not been at a meeting in the past year. As new people come to the meetings they are put on the list that I call, until the next updating.

another view of first meeting place

tenth anniversary cake


May 1993

"Avisen" newsletter 1993, published by the "Norwegian Genealogy Group, a branch of the Scandinavian American Genealogical Society (SAGS), which in turn, is a branch of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS). We were originally launched as the Norwegian Genealogy Group in 1983.

First Newsletter

May 1995
WE BECOME N-AGA a direct branch of MGS

In May 1995 the Norwegian Group reorganized, drafted our own constitution and our membership voted to seek a direct connection as an immediate branch of the Minnesota Genealogical Society. The Norwegian Group (soon to be called N-AGA) members wanted to be a seperate organization from the Danish, Finnish and Swedish groups. In July 1995 offically became the the Norwegian-American Genealogical Association (NAGA) directly under MGS

1984 officers

According to the N-AGA newsletter Volume 3, Number 1, May 1995 in an article by Dixie Hansen, Secretary of N-AGA, Past President of MGS, The Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) is the "parent" organization of N-AGA, as well as several other ethnic and genealogical interest groups. It is through MGS's status as an educational non-profit organization that we have established our official non-profit status.

another shot of the officers

Because we have close familial ties, because our organizational missions have much in common, and because we can accomplish more together than we can separately, N-AGA has many cooperative connections to MGS. We use their P.O. box as our mailing address; we use their postal permit; we publish information about our meetings in their newsletter; we promote their activities at our gatherings and in the "Avisen" newsletter; we have information tables at their quarterly meetings; and, from time to time, we teach classes at their library. All N-AGA officers are members of MGS, and we appoint a representative to the MGS Branch Council. Over the years, many of our members have taken leadership roles on the board and committees of MGS on a quarterly basis, and they file all necessary reports with the State of Minnesota and the IRS. We also purchase liability insurance under the MGS umbrella.


January 1998
In what promises to be a milestone event in our history, at the January meeting the membership of N-AGA voted to pull up stakes, pack their wagons, and trek west to Golden Valley. We're settling into a new home at 5768 Olson Memorial Highway. And we're not alone in the journey: our kinfolk are migrating with us. Ma and Pa (the Minnesota Genealogical Society) and many of our sibs (the fellow Branches: Irish, Germans, etc) are headed to the same settlement.

Golden Valley meeting place

The new building in Golden Valley has many great features. Access is good. It's located on the north frontage road of Highway 55 (Olson Memorial Highway) just a stone's throw west of Highway 100. It has significantly more bookshelf and film-reader space than the current MGS library. Big windows, running the length of the north wall, making the library bright and pleasant. There's a spacious parking lot immediately adjacent and a new entrance with an elevator under construction. The front half of the building is leased to other tenants and may be available to MGS for future expansion. MGS holds the "master lease" on the back portion of the building. The possible move was first suggested to N-AGA members at the July 1997 meeting and there have been brief updates and discussions at every meeting since then.

February 1998
PACK THE WAGONS: 1995 BECAME N-AGA and soon moved in 1998

According to the N-AGA newsletter Volume 5, Number 4, February 1998 "Pack the Wagons: N-AGA to Move! The Norwegian Genealogy Group met at the Calvary Lutheran Church on a monthly basis.

NAGA viking logo

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